After addressing the necessity of assembling together to provoke and exhort one another (Hebrews 10:24-25), the inspired writers of this letter deal with the consequences of disobedience. Again, lest we fail to remember this, faithful brethren are ESSENTIAL to our salvation (Hebrews 3:13). Faithful brethren aid each other in keeping the course. With that in mind, let’s proceed with our study.
The text we are looking at in this article is this: “For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries” (Hebrews 10:26-27).
Earlier in this epistle the impossibility of restoration for those who experienced spiritual gifts and still fell away was addressed (Hebrews 6:4-6). Now, we have willful sins addressed. By implication, if there are willful sins there must also be sins that are not willful. Under the Law of Moses there were sins of ignorance and sacrifices that were to be made for those sins (Leviticus 4:1-35 and Leviticus 5:15). Those sins of ignorance were considered different than sins committed presumptuously (Numbers 15:22-31). Regardless, whether sins were willful or not, they were still sins. Such is true even today.
Sin has and does require the ability to know right from wrong (James 4:17). Sin then is defined as transgression of the law (I John 3:4). There is not a greater or lesser transgression today (James 2:10-13). Nor is there an excuse for ignorance (Acts 17:22-31). Therefore, we cannot infer from Hebrews 10:26 that any sin is excusable (John 5:22-29, Romans 2:1-11, Romans 6:23, Galatians 6:7-8, and James 1:13-16). Even when a babe in Christ erred from the faith there was full accountability (Acts 8:4-25). So, what is taught here?
If you will recall the context, therein is the basis of the points in this text. In chapters nine and ten, we have read about the superiority of the death of Christ over the sacrifices offered under the Law of Moses. There will be no greater sacrifice than Christ for the sins of mankind. There is no future plan for another way. Jesus is the way (John 14:6). Again, as the context has stated, the next thing that will happen is the return of our Lord unto salvation (Hebrews 9:28). The Jewish Christians of the first century needed to understand that there is/was no “Plan C” for salvation. If they blew it with Jesus, they're done for all eternity.
Instead of thinking about some other sacrifice they could offer to appease God for their disobedience, they needed to understand what was coming next. There is no other sacrifice coming. Jesus is not coming to provide greater mercy or extended grace. What they have to look forward to is the fiery judgment of the Lord.
When Christ comes at an unknown time (Matthew 24:35-25:13), this is what there is to look forward to: “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal” (Matthew 25:31-46).
There is a reason why eternal damnation is know as Hell fire (Mark 9:43-48). That understanding is fuel for obedience. In fact, we will later read this in this same letter: “Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: For our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:28-29).
The vengeance of God is scary. God does not acquit evil doers. He holds on to His wrath and executes it on His adversaries (Nahum 1:2-3). That same fiery vengeance that comes upon Christians who sin willfully is what the enemies of God’s people have to look forward to (II Thessalonians 1:7-9). Wait, consider something else. What’s the difference between an erring Christian and a rebellious person of the world? The answer is that it is worse for the erring Christian who falls (II Peter 2:20-22). Our Sacrifice said, you are either with Him or against Him (Matthew 12:30). Walk, talk, and live with Him!
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