"We have become partners of Christ only if we maintain to the end." —Hebrews 3:14
We are tempted to make our hearts hardened (Heb 3:8) and erring (Heb 3:10) "by the deceit of sin" (Heb 3:13). Our hardened hearts lead to our having "an evil and unfaithful spirit" and our falling "away from the living God" (Heb 3:12).
Many Christians don't intend to or expect to fall away from God. They find it hard to imagine themselves in the hell of separation from God forever. Nevertheless, many Christians aren't that alarmed when they harden their hearts by sin and self-deception. However, "the wages of sin is death" (Rm 6:23), the second death (Rv 2:11), hell forever. Satan doesn't have to seduce us into choosing hell immediately. He need only get us on the path to hell and then keep us on that path.
To get ourselves off the wide, smooth, well-traveled path to hell (see Mt 7:13), we need the Holy Spirit to convict us of our sinful compromises with the world (Jn 16:8). The Spirit will encourage us that the Lord is not only just but merciful (see Heb 3:13). By the light of the Spirit, may we see every sin as leprosy which will spread and destroy us if we don't repent and let Jesus remove it (see Mk 1:40ff). May the Holy Spirit teach us to get alarmed by the possibility of sinning and hardening our hearts. Then we will accept His grace to resist temptation immediately and vigorously — even to the point of shedding our blood (Heb 12:4).
Prayer: Father, teach me to hate sin and love sinners.
Promise: Jesus "said: 'I do will it. Be cured.' " —Mk 1:41
Praise: After years of difficulty in their marriage relationship, Norman told Alice that he would leave her after their daughter graduated. She prayed constantly for reconciliation. Norman developed terminal cancer, repented, reconciled with his wife, and showered her with his love in their final weeks together. Alice witnessed to her entire congregation about the mercy of God.
Nihil obstat: Reverend Robert J. Buschmiller, June 11, 1998
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July 20, 1998
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