Resisting Gods Plan And Sanctification

Resisting Gods plan and sanctification. Why does mankind resist the Lord and His perfect work in our lives? This weeks Bible study will focus on the Book of Hebrews, chapter 3, verses 7 through 19. Well study the actions of the Israelites in the wilderness and their attitude towards the Lord. Furthermore, well see what the wilderness signifies from a standpoint of walking in the life of the faith and the difficulties we endure in the process of the sanctification. This will help us better understanding what resisting God’s plan and sanctification have truly mean. Additionally, as we learn about these verses, lets examine our hearts to determine if we are resisting the Lord and His plan of sanctification in our lives – as did the Israelites in the wilderness. The danger of resisting the Lord is the development of bitterness and a hardness of the heart. This of course will prevent you to enjoy the joy of the Lord as well as the manifestation of Christs glory in our lives.

Verse 7 11 states, Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, In the day of trial in the wilderness, Where your fathers tested Me, tried Me, And saw My works forty years.  Therefore I was angry with that generation,

And said, They always go astray in their heart, And they have not known My ways. So I swore in My wrath, They shall not enter My rest.  These verses reference Psalm 95:7-11 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: Do not harden your hearts, as in the rebellion, As in the day of trial in the wilderness, When your fathers tested Me; They tried Me, though they saw My work. For forty years I was grieved with that generation, And said, It is a people who go astray in their hearts, And they do not know My ways. So I swore in My wrath, They shall not enter My rest. 

There are three primary takeaways from these verses: 1) state of mans heart rebellion and pride, 2) the work that God wants to do in us (unfortunately, this is not painless) 3) resistance to God and 4) the consequence to our disobedience:

Lets examine the state of mans heart and sinful nature as it relates to the example of the Israelites in the wilderness.   Mans heart is wicked, haughty, and corrupt.  It asserts that all his/her ways are the best, continuously rebelling against God.  This sinful nature manifested in the wilderness, as the Israelites complained and blamed God every step of the way.   They resisted the Lord and attempted to assert their will over the situation.  Essentially, the Israelites said, God, we know better, and we demand that you do things our way.  Asserting our will as opposed to submitting to God is major problem which is truly the sin of pride.  One key factor of attempting to assert our will is doubting God when the situation is not what we want it to be.  A relevant example is John the Baptist and the message his followers sent to Jesus on his behalf.  He asked from his prison cell, Jesus, Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another? (Matthew 11:3).  So, when dont like the circumstance or the situation doesnt progress according to our will, we begin to doubt the Lord.  Guard your hearts to avoid this situation from occurring in your life. 

In the case of the Israelites, they kept looking back and fantasizing the bondage they were in, in Egypt.  Its interesting how mans sinful nature continues to resort to sin and the painful state they were once in.  Most believers havent been taught that the process of sanctification is painful, and it requires a stripping away of the old man before God can transform us into His new creation.   The wilderness for the Israelites was this exact process.  God wanted the Israelites to rely on Him as their Heavenly Father, however, they failed to realize this process.  Its key that we understand the process and the order of how God operates.  Once we receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we are justified and are redeemed to the Father.  We are considered co-heirs to Christ, adopted to the family of the Most High.   Justification is followed by sanctification which is the process of holiness. This process is done at Gods timing and at His discretion.  His work in us is meant to make us like Jesus.  Here are a few verses that speak to us about the process of sanctification:

1 Peter 1:7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Isaiah 48:10 Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.

Proverbs 17:3 The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, But the LORD tests the hearts.

Now that we understand the state of mans heart and the example of Israelites as a collective example of individual heart of man, the question is, do we allow God to work through?  Or, do resist the Lord and constant fight with God? Lets not be the seed that fell on the rocks in the parable of the Sower.  In the Gospel of Luke chapter 8 verse 3, our Lord states But the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, who believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away.  This is the seed that fell on the rocks, and with trials and tribulations, they lacked the faith to stand strong in the Lord.  They quickly left the faith; therefore, this is why the wilderness example is relevant and significant.  During the trials and tribulations (which is also the process of testing in the fire or the process of sanctification) do we conform to God or walk away?   The Israelites effectively refused Gods process of refinement and that is why God rejected them.   This is what is known as My rest which is mentioned in the verses in Hebrews that were studying.  Its the end result of the sanctification process and the time that we enter heaven as Gods children to enjoy eternity with the Lord.  We see a parallel with Moses and Jesus in this regard.  Moses led the Israelites from bondage in Egypt into the promised land, and Jesus does the same for all mankind; He leads us out of our sinful bondage and into eternal salvation. 

The next 8 verses from 12 to 19 is based on the consequences of rebelling against the Lord.  There is certainly a consequence in rejecting God and hardening our hearts to Him.  In the instance of the Messianic Jews that the author is writing to, the author warns that like their forefathers who failed in the wilderness, if they to fail in keeping steadfast to the faith, they too will not enter the rest of God basically, they will not enter heaven if they fall away from the faith.   

Hebrews 3:12-19

Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called Today, lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end, while it is said: Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion. Failure of the Wilderness Wanderers For who, having heard, rebelled? Indeed, was it not all who came out of Egypt, led by Moses? Now with whom was He angry forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose corpses fell in the wilderness? And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.

As such, if you havent received Jesus as Lord and Savior, do so immediately; time is short.  None of us knows how long we will be on this earth.  For those who are in the faith and are wavering, looking to abandon the faith, reconsider rejecting God and remain steadfast in the faith.  Dont be like the Israelites who knowing God constantly tested God and rejected Him.  Lets stand strong in the faith, run this race to the end as Paul the Apostles states in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.  Live in commitment to Christ and in discipline in the faith to win the race that Paul talks about. 

Finally, Paul the Apostle in Romans 10:9 states that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  Pray to the Lord Jesus for Him to forgive you of your sins and receive Him as your Lord and Savior.  Amen.