If we deliberately go on sinning after receiving the knowledge of the truth no sacrifice for sins is left, only a terrifying expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.
– Hebrews 10:26.
Many teach that this is a warning from God to Christians, that if anyone continues to sin after accepting Christ we will be consumed in God’s raging fire.
Well, that would be everyone!
None of us would have any hope.
How does this stand with the grace message, forgiveness is on tap for those who have given their lives to Christ? That we are dead to sin? That there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ? That Christ’s sacrifice cleansed us from our sin once for all? That before God we stand righteous as a free gift?
First, we have to remember that this letter was written to Jews who had come to know Christ, yet some of them were turning back to the law and sacrifices to cleanse them of their sin. The writer tells them over and over again through chapters 9 & 10 that those sacrifices can never take away sin. They were only a ‘yearly reminder’ of sin.
For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sin.
Only Christ could take away sin.
He did away with sin once for all by the sacrifice of Himself.
He did away with it.
Sin no longer exists for those who put their faith in Jesus.
This is why John tells us twice that it is impossible for the Christian to sin. (1 John 3:9 & 1 John 5:18).
It is impossible for the Christian to sin because His ‘seed’ lives in us.
That is, Christ’s Spirit.
Where Christ is, sin cannot be.
What is sin?
Sin is anything we do in life that ‘misses the mark’ – misses the standard which God has set – which is moral perfection. So, basically, everything! This is why David says in Psalm 51 we are sinful from our mother’s wombs.
This is why it puzzles me, and I’m sure it puzzles God, when Christians believe they can overcome their own sin. We cannot. Christ overcame it for us. Christ defeated sin on the cross. Some Christians believe the Holy Spirit gives us the power to overcome sin by doing ‘righteous’ things. But remember Isaiah 64:6 tells us that even our righteous acts are like filthy rags to God! So what hope have we got?
Christ is our hope.
Our only hope.
Because of Christ, sin has no power to destroy us.
Paul says the wages of sin is death. But the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ, our LORD.
If we were not in Christ our sin would have the power to destroy us.
However, when we accept Christ sin’s power disintegrates in Christ’s blood, like a tiny piece of paper dropped into a raging fire.
Sin cannot stand against the power of Christ’s love.
As Peter says we are ‘shielded by God’s power.’
Joseph Prince likens our position in Christ to our being rocks in a waterfall, constantly cleaned. Spurgeon says it is as though we are ‘bathing in Christ’s blood.’
So what does Hebrews 10:26 mean then?
Let’s check the biblehub website.
Matthew Henry’s Commentary says this:
“The sin mentioned is a total and final falling away, when men despise and reject Christ, the only Saviour; despise and resist the Spirit, the only Sanctifier; and despise and renounce the gospel.”
So, according to this commentary, the sin he’s referring to is the total rejection of Christ.
But where’s the evidence for this?
Check out verse 28:
Anyone rejecting the Law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.
How much more severely do you think someone ought to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot…
The writer is comparing the Law of Moses with Jesus.
He is comparing the Old Covenant – the Law – with the New Covenant – Jesus.
First he mentions law of Moses. Then he compares the punishment for breaking the law with the punishment for ‘trampling the Son of God under foot’ – rejecting Jesus.
So, Matthew Henry is right, the sin the writer is talking about is rejecting Jesus.
Look at what the verse says next:
How much more severely do you think someone ought to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot and regarded as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him?
The sin he is addressing is the sin of rejecting ‘the blood of the covenant’ that sanctified him – Christ’s sacrifice, for all people, for all sin, once for all.
And check out what the writer says next:
…and has insulted the Spirit of grace.
God poured out His grace, through Christ on the cross, and forgave everyone’s sin.
Anyone who turns back to the law and rejects Christ insults the Spirit of grace – that is, the free forgiveness that comes from Christ and the righteounsess God gives as a gift to those put their faith in Him.
But the Jews this letter is addressed to had rejected Christ’s sacrifice and were going back to the law of Moses, sacrificing animals.
That’s why the writer says if they reject Jesus –
No sacrifice for sin is left, only a fearful expectation of judgement…
If we reject Christ’s sacrifice we will also face God’s judgement. No matter how many animals we sacrifice, it can never take away sin.
The only sacrifice that can take away sin is Jesus.
So rest assured, those of you who have accepted Christ and have embraced the Spirit of grace – you are saved, forever cleansed, forever free.