Unlike the repeated sacrifices of the Old Testament, Christ’s once-for-all sacrifice saves forever (Hebrews 10:1-18). Because of Jesus’ death for us (Matthew 27:45-50), the curtain has been torn (Matthew 27:45-50). In Him we have 100% forgiveness of sins and 100% access to God. Because of Jesus, God’s presence is always with us in worship and in our daily lives. (Hebrews 10:19-21)
This moves us to action. Christ’s curtain-ripping, once-for-all sacrifice calls us to worship, faith and perseverance (Hebrews 10:22-25). And it comes with a warning:
For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. (Hebrews 10:26-31)
This is a warning for professing Christians who have received “the knowledge of the truth” (verse 26). Because of of trials, temptations and adversities in the Christian life, we are tempted so many times to forsake Jesus and return to our old Christless lives or religion. (This is what “sinning deliberately” means in this verse – apostasy.)
The author of Hebrews describes to us what apostasy is in God’s eyes (verse 29).
- Christ-forsakers have “trampled underfoot the Son of God.” This means that they have treated Jesus’ person like a worthless insect.
- They have “profaned the blood of the covenant.” This means that they treated His death as an unclean sacrifice.
- They have “outraged” or insulted the Holy Spirit.
Because of sin, we earned and deserve nothing but God’s “merciless” judgment and wrath. But because of His amazing grace, He sent His Son Jesus to suffer the wrath and punishment that our sins earned and deserve. And all who come to Jesus by faith receive 100% forgiveness and 100% reconciliation with God.
Now that’s utterly amazing! Christ’s sacrifice on the cross is infinite in its sanctity and power – glorious and beautiful beyond words! It moves us to faith, worship and commitment.
In contrast, those who forsake Christ have cut themselves off from the only sacrifice that can save truly and eternally. More than that, they blaspheme Jesus’ person and sacrifice, and “insult” the Holy Spirit who testifies of the glory of Christ’s death and resurrection. God’s punishment for them is sure and “fearful” (verses 30-31).
Brothers and sisters in Christ, fear the Lord “who said, ‘Vengeance is mine; I will repay. And again, “The Lord will judge his people.’” Never forsake Jesus. Never return to your old Christless life and religion.
Now, we do not have in ourselves the power or ability to persevere in the Christian faith. But our merciful God and Father has given us His Spirit as our Counselor-Helper. Ask the Holy Spirit to preserve your faith and walk in Christ. He promised to do it, and so He will… If you ask with all your heart.
“God will judge his people; no one escapes his judgment. Those whose faith is rooted in Jesus Christ finds a God of grace and mercy. Their sins have been forgiven because of the Son’s sacrifice on the cross. And they will hear the verdict ‘acquitted’. But they who have spurned the person and work of Christ and have arrogantly despised the Holy Spirit face the infinite wrath of God, the judge of heaven and earth.” – Simon Kistemaker
“The kind of sin that the author of Hebrews is talking about… is explicitly rejecting the unique and solely sufficient sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is basically a person who has made a profession of faith in Christ and yet who at some point has decided that the work of Christ is not necessary for them in order to enjoy fellowship with God forever and they have deliberately and despicably utterly rejected the sacrifice of Christ for them. They have turned their back on Christ and returned to some other form of religion in approaching God and fellowship.” – Ligon Duncan