Take heed, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.
I. THERE IS MUCH UNCONSCIOUS BACKSLIDING. In a petrifying spring articles are often placed under the dropping water, and as it trickles down upon them they are gradually hardened till they become like the very stone. So is it with sin. Gently and slowly it seeks its way into the heart, and hardens it day by day, even while the possessor of that heart may be more or less unconscious of the change that is going on. This is backsliding. Sin permitted, the heart gradually hardened, unbelief taking his place on the throne, and then, departure from the living God.
II. THIS UNCONSCIOUS BACKSLIDING MAY EXIST IN QUARTERS WHERE WE LEAST SUSPECT IT. The word of the text is, "lest there be in any of you." "Any of you," what a searching word! "Lord, is it I?" It is always dangerous to stay ourselves upon our strength, our knowledge, our experience; upon anything, in fact, but the sustaining grace of God supplied to us through faith from moment to moment. It is worthy of note, and has often been remarked, that in the accounts of backsliding furnished in Scripture, men seem to have failed just in those points of character where they were supposed to be strongest.
III. THE TRUE SAFEGUARD AGAINST THIS UNCONSCIOUS DECLENSION. "Consider... Christ Jesus." As the devout Jew was encouraged to walk about the holy city, and note her strength and beauty, so are we urged to consider the Lord Jesus in every aspect of His blessed character, offices, and work. Only with the eye of faith fixed on a full-orbed Christ, and a heart occupied in the consideration of Him, shall we be able to comply with the exhortation of the text.
(W. P. Lockhart.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.