But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
It matters little whether we take the reference here as to the sin of unbelief specially, or to sin in general. All sin is deceiving in its beginnings. The seed hides much which the sower cannot understand until he is compelled to reap the fruit. And his only safety is to trust a timely warning, and have nothing to do with the seed. And though to each of us individually some forms of sin appear not at all deceitful, yet we are deceived by others. Some form of sin is deceitful to every one of us. The great enemy of man considers us according to our individuality. There are temptations for the appetite, temptations for the senses, temptations for the intellect.
I. WE SHOULD REST IN THE CONVICTION THAT SIN IS A DECEITFUL THING. We cannot be too cautious, too observant, in pursuing our path through this complicated world. Agencies are always at work to make the worse appear the better reason. Things visible, whether things attractive or repulsive, press upon our eyes; and concerning the attractive we find ourselves saying, "This is worth making ours even at a great price;' concerning the repulsive," This is to be avoided at whatever cost." The world around us speaks with a voice that discountenances things invisible and Divine. If we begin to act as hearing a voice from heaven, others say they have heard no voice; whereupon we are easily persuaded that no voice really spoke. Sometimes sin dresses itself up in the guise of liberality and charity, and again it is found beneath the appearance of zeal for God and goodness. If there is no danger that we should be tempted into any kind of vicious living, then most of all is the deceitfulness of sin be feared. Before the readers of this Epistle a great historical example was put, drawn from the conduct of their own ancestors. The behavior of the children of Israel in the wilderness is an illustration, on a great scale, of the deceitfulness of sin; especially of the proneness of the heart to kill into unbelief with respect to spiritual things. It might have seemed safe to predict that, after all the great Divine deliverance of which they had been objects, they would have steadily gone on in the way of obedience; whereas only a very short time elapses before they are found believing the wishes of their own hearts rather than the word of God through Moses. "Let him that standeth take heed lest he fall." Those who are fallen today were standing yesterday, and some standing today will be fallen to-morrow. And if we are not among the fallen, it will be because we are giving daily practical heed to this truth concerning the deceitfulness of sin.
II. HOW ARE WE TO GUARD AGAINST THIS DECEITFULNESS? All that the writer says just in this part of the Epistle is negative - at least, it seems negative. But that simply means the iteration and reiteration of the danger of unbelief. No one knows better than the writer that we cannot guard against unbelief in a negative way. The only way of getting better of the deceitfulness of sin is to rise above it, and be so intent on our Savior's business as to have no time, no inclination, to attend to what sin may have to say. - Y.
Parallel VersesKJV: But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.