70 myths about losing salvation. Myth No: 2 Hardening your heart Hebrews 3:12-13

Myth No: 2

Hardening of our hearts: Hebrews 3:12


Dear friends,

This is the 2nd of the series of 70 myths about losing your salvation.  As you are aware a few days ago I stumble across a website that has listed 70 ways you can lose your salvation. For the complete list of the 70 “ways”, kindly refer to: https://hischarisisenough.wordpress.com/2012/06/06/70-ways-of-losing-your-salvation-1-stop-believing-luke-813/ 

Today we want to deal with the 2nd ground. Since he lists two verses, we will deal with them separately. Let us deal with firstly Hebrews 3:12.

12 See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God.


Well the verse about “hardening your heart” is actually found in Hebrews 3:13.

13 but exhort one another day by day, so long as it is called To-day; lest any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin:


The writer argues that it is possible that if you hardened you heart by sinning you can turn away from God.

This is another classic example of taking Scripture out of context. Let us now put the 2 verses together.

Hebrews 3:12-13

New International Version 1984 (NIV1984)

12 See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.

Reading this carefully you would note the intended audience is the writer’s Hebrew brothers and not the Gentiles. This gives us a clue what the writer is writing about when he penned the words “hardened by sin’s deceitfulness”. The key to understanding this verse lies in the undertaking of what sin (singular, yes one sin) that would cause the hardening of heart. Note it does not says sins but sin.

There is only one “sin” that hardens a person heart. It is found in verse 12. The clue is found in these words “a sinful, unbelieving heart”.

Let see the whole passage. Firstly you must understand the writer is addressing the Jews.

There are 2 relevant passages about hardening one’s heart here.

The first

So, as the Holy Spirit says:

“Today, if you hear his voice,
    do not harden your hearts 
as you did in the rebellion,
    during the time of testing in the desert,
9 where your fathers tested and tried me
    and for forty years saw what I did. 
10 That is why I was angry with that generation,
    and I said, ‘Their hearts are always going astray,
    and they have not known my ways.’
11 So I declared on oath in my anger, 
    ‘They shall never enter my rest.’ ”[a]

The 2nd

“Today, if you hear his voice,
    do not harden your hearts
as you did in the rebellion.”[b]      

Note the 1st verse comes from Psalm 95:7-11 and the 2nd from Psalm 95:7, 8. Both from Psalm 95.

Let’s look at Psalm 95

 Psalm 95

O come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the Rock of our salvation!

Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to Him with songs of praise!

For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods.

In His hand are the deep places of the earth; the heights and strength of the hills are His also.

The sea is His, for He made it; and His hands formed the dry land.

O come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker [in reverent praise and supplication].

For He is our God and we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand. Today, if you will hear His voice,

Harden not your hearts as at Meribah and as at Massah in the day of temptation in the wilderness,

When your fathers tried My patience and tested Me, proved Me, and saw My work [of judgment].

10 Forty years long was I grieved and disgusted with that generation, and I said, It is a people that do err in their hearts, and they do not approve, acknowledge, or regard My ways.

11 Wherefore I swore in My wrath that they would not enter My rest [the land of promise].

Look at verse 8. The Holy Spirit actually tells us this “sin that hardens the heart” of the person was the sin at Meribah and at Massah. What happen at Meribah and Massah?

Let’s find out:

Exodus 17

All the congregation of the Israelites moved on from the Wilderness of Sin by stages, according to the commandment of the Lord, and encamped at Rephidim; but there was no water for the people to drink.

Therefore, the people contended with Moses, and said, Give us water that we may drink. And Moses said to them, Why do you find fault with me? Why do you tempt the Lord and try His patience?

But the people thirsted there for water, and the people murmured against Moses, and said, Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to kill us and our children and livestock with thirst?

So Moses cried to the Lord, What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me.

And the Lord said to Moses, Pass on before the people, and take with you some of the elders of Israel; and take in your hand the rod with which you smote the river [Nile], and go.

Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock at [Mount] Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water shall come out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.

He called the place Massah [proof] and Meribah [contention] because of the faultfinding of the Israelites and because they tempted and tried the patience of the Lord, saying, Is the Lord among us or not?

It is here the Jews said the Lord has brought them to die. Look at the meanings of Massah (proof) and Meribah (strive). Meaning, striving with God and asking Him to prove himself. In one word, “unbelief”.

Look at verse 19: So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief.

It is pertinent here, the writer is not refer to Gentile believers as the book is written to the Jews. In other words, what the writer is calling the Jews who have heard the Gospel to be careful of their unbelief in Christ. He is actually saying “Please believe in Jesus while it is TODAY. Our ancestors failed because of unbelief!”.

As such Hebrews 3:12 and 13 is a reference made to Jewish-yet-to be believers. They do not refer to believers!

If they have yet to believe, there is always a chance the person will fall away. When you have believe, you did not commit the sin of unbelief of Massah and Meribah, you are not in that category.

You see the Gospel has to be sin proof because you are not sin proof. That is the only way you can be saved. The Gospel is sin proof because God is sin-proof!


  1. “As such Hebrews 3:12 and 13 is a reference
    made to Jewish-yet-to be believers. They do
    not refer to believers!”

    Your conclusion may be faulty in this particular regard, because the beginning of this same chapter begins thus:

    “Wherefore, holy BRETHREN, PARTAKERS of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of OUR profession, Christ Jesus;”
    – (Hebrews 3:1)


    You don’t use such words to someone who is not born-again, even if they are Jews. The only way a person becomes a partaker of the heavenly calling is through Christ, and that is why the writer unites himself in this common faith with the Jews he is writing to by describing Jesus as the High Priest of “OUR” profession.

    Your exegesis of this portion of scripture depends heavily on these Jews to whom the book of Hebrews is written being non-believers, but that may be a shaky assumption, as there are numerous other references that indicate otherwise.

    Keep in mind also that the book of Acts specifically tells us that a great number of Jews, including some of the chief priests, came to the faith and believed in Jesus, primarily through the ministry of the Apostle Peter.

    So personally speaking, I believe the theme of the book of Hebrews is quite clear:

    It is written to BELIEVING Jews who were in danger of going back to the Mosaic Law and once again putting their faith in the blood of bullocks and goats as a means of attaining righteousness with God.

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