Hebrews 3:13 But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
The true idol of a Pharisee, then and now, is sin. When Jesus was on the earth, the Pharisee and Sadducee were obsessed with his apparent sinfulness. “This Man is Sinner! (John 9:24),” they would say to people. They lay around waiting to trap and accuse him of sin, (John8:6). They were so sin-conscious, they couldn’t see their Messiah standing right in front of them.
Today there is no better example than how the modern Pharisees take the verse of Hebrews 3:13, out of it’s context to preach something they can use to manipulate and scare people into good behavior. For the Pharisee, Christianity has a single goal. That goal is not to enjoy our union with God and with other people and grow in the knowledge of God. Oh no, the Pharisee is fixated on one objective, to get people to stop sinning by any means necessary, even if they are not believers.
To accomplish this goal, the Pharisee needs a villain. Something or someone to scare people into submission without question. This brings me to the verse above, and their interpretation of “The deceitfulness of sin.” To the modern-day Pharisee, they think that if a person keeps on sinning as a believer, that can lead to a hardness of heart and can result in a person losing their salvation. But is that what Hebrews 3:13 is talking about?
Let’s examine the Scriptures to see if sin has been endowed with such power to over take the believer and draw them back into unbelief and darkness.
Romans 6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
The first things that we must know as a believer is that sin has no power to do anything over our lives. The power of sin has been broken, for we are now under Grace. But can enough sin make us out-sin the Grace of God?
Romans 5:20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:
The answer is no. Where sin abounded, Grace did much more abound. We cannot out-sin God’s Grace. In fact the author of Hebrews was so convinced of the defeated nature of sin, that he said that once we have accepted our salvation, we will have no more conscience of sins.
Hebrews 10:2 For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins.
Paul was so convinced of the utter defeated nature of sin, that when people accused him of preaching a licence to sin, he responded this way.
Romans 6:1 -2 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
If a preacher actually believes people can continue to sin, after they have come to knowledge of Grace, then verse 2 is for them. If the preacher actually has an answer as to how people can go on sinning when they are dead to sin, then the preacher obviously knows more the Paul, because even Paul couldn’t answer it. Paul is flatly saying, those who are dead to sin, cannot go on sinning, much to the disappointment of the modern Pharisee.
Further, Paul says we are dead to sin, and when we are dead to something is has no power whatsoever to affect us. Not only can it not affect us if we see it in our own lives, but it cannot affect us if we see it in other people’s lives.
Also, I’ve already addressed Hebrews 10:26, in another article, which I won’t go over here, but you can read that here, if you want to know more about it’s context. Also I’ve addressed the matter of Galatians 5:4, about how we fall from Grace. Neither passages endows sin with as much power as the Pharisee needs, for sin to do what he claims it does.
The final nail in the Pharisee’s argument, that if we continuing sinning we will be hardened to the Grace of God, is not a scriptural one, but a practical one. If continuous sin can keep us from the grace of God, how did we get saved? If this kind of thinking is true, then obviously our hearts must have been most hardened when we were in unbelief. Surely, if there was ever a time when sin had more power than the power of God’s Grace it was before we believed. But we somehow managed to come to salvation, even in our sin.
So what then is the Deceitfulness of sin, if it does not mean that if we continue in sin we will be hardened and lose our salvation? Simple, the deceitfulness of sin, in it’s context is to continue in Temple Sacrifices and Law-keeping to attain righteousness until you don’t think you need Jesus anymore. In other words, the deceitfulness of sin, is to convince you it’s your job to deal with sin, rather than relying on the Grace of God.
Remember the story I started with about the Pharisee? They could not see their Messiah because they viewed everything through the Law, and thought it was their job to expose and deal with sin. Remember that verse about sin having no dominion over you because you are under Grace? Well, read the other party and guess what happens when you go back under the Law and attempt to deal with sin by some means outside faith in what Jesus has done (Romans 6:14).
Sin will never be solved by anything we can do enough of. We cannot fast it out, pray it out, repent it out, scream it out, or read enough Bible to get it out. The only victory for sin, is trust in what Paul said Jesus has already accomplished. That God has made us dead to sin. If we think we can get victory over sin by our effrots and striving, then you have fallen for the deceptiveness of sin.
Because the way this world works, whatever you seek, you will find. If you want to see sin, you will see it, and there will be a never-ending abyss of sin to yell at, accuse people of and and live under. You will see more and more of it, until just like the Pharisees, the Glorious light of our Lord and Savior, will grow slowly dim, as your self-willed, effort-driven pursuit to eradicate darkness will eventually consume you, to the point where you wouldn’t recognize Jesus any better than the Pharisees did in their day.
In closing, I’m reminded of the account in the book of Isaiah, of the Angels crying Holy Holy Holy,
Isaiah 6:3 And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.
From the perspective of the Angels, since the time of the writing of Isaiah, the whole earth IS full of God’s Glory. Not will be filled, not might be filled, but the Earth was already full of His Glory. But what was the perspective of Isaiah?
Isaiah 6:5 Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.
There is no clearer picture to understand the perspective of what we seek, we will find. Isaiah was so conscious of his sin, he could not see the Glory that had filled the Earth. What about now, with the greater glory of the Finished Work of Jesus, how much more this Glory now after the Cross, where God has joined himself with humanity, fills and consumes the creation (Ephesians 1:10 )? Unfortunately, we still sound more like Isaiah, rather than seeing things from the perspective of heaven. And the modern day Pharisee wouldn’t have it any other way.
Paul White, talking about the Deceitfulness of Sin.