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According to Joseph Stalin’s daughter, her father was once a seminary student, preparing for the ministry. But later in life, he made a decisive break from his belief in God and eventually hated of all religion. Under his rule in Russia, he gave permission to kill and persecute untold millions of people. As he lay dying, his one last gesture of rebellion was to clench his fist toward God. It is said that his heart was as cold and hard as steel. Not every rebel against God would do what he did, but Stalin’s life shows how callous the human heart can get. The book of Hebrews (Chapter 3) warns people of being hardened against God. The writer says, “Be careful then, dear brothers and sisters. Make sure that your own hearts are not evil and unbelieving, turning you away from the living God. You must warn each other every day, while it is still ‘today,’ so that none of you will be deceived by sin and hardened against God. For if we are faithful to the end, trusting God just as firmly as when we first believed, we will share in all that belongs to Christ.” Of course, we are glad for the eternal security God promises all who accept His Son as their Savior; but by staying faithful, we gain greater confidence of a living relationship with God.

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