Heart disease is the leading cause of the death of adults in the United States.
According to statistics compiled by the American Heart Association, the disease kills more than 425,000 people in the U.S. annually and there are more than 1.25 million new cases of the disease diagnosed each year.
There is a heart disease that is deadlier, and its effects are longer lasting. That disease is the hardening of the heart or soul. It’s a disease that can be eternally deadly, and the afflicted may not know they’ve a problem.
It only took the writer of Hebrews three chapters before he broadcasts a specific warning: watch out for your heart!”
“Harden not your hearts,” the writer says in Hebrews 3:8. In verse 12, he says, “Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.” He repeats the warning in verse 8 in verse 15 and says in verse 19, “So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.”
The people this writer addresses may not have even known they were about to descend into a fatal heart disease, but they were. The hardened heart and the evil heart of unbelief are the same thing. Here’s what it does.
The evil heart of unbelief tells a person, “It doesn’t matter which church you belong to.” It matters quite a bit to God, because his son only shed his blood for one church, not for a smattering of denominations (Ephesians 4:4-6). But, people believe men and not God and are stricken with an evil heart of unbelief.
The evil heart of unbelief tells a person, “Baptism is only a sign of conversion. A person is saved well before baptism.” The Spirit of truth doesn’t agree. In 1 Peter 3:21, the apostle wrote, “The like figure whereunto baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” But, people believe men and not God and are stricken with an evil heart of unbelief.
The evil heart of unbelief tells a person, “You don’t have to do anything after you’ve been baptized. You can’t be lost.” This very passage in Hebrews refutes that idea. It tells these brethren that if it was impossible for the Israelites to enter Canaan because of their unbelief and disobedience, it is likewise impossible for them to enter into God’s rest of heaven for the same reason.
Watch out for your soul’s heart. A hardened heart of unbelief can be deadly.