If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.
The last half of Hebrews 10 contains the fourth and harshest of the five warning passages in the book (Hebrews 2:1-4, 3:7-4:13, 5:11-6:12, 10:19-39, 12:14-29).
In the middle of this warning, the writer says, “If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God” (Hebrews 10:26). This warning has caused a great deal of anxiety for Christians over the centuries and has led many to wonder whether they are guilty of committing this deliberate sin.
The writer of Hebrews would undoubtedly say that all sin is inappropriate for followers of Jesus, and we see this throughout the New Testament. In Romans 6:1-2 it says, “Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?” But, when we look closely at the description of this particular sin for which “no sacrifice” remains, it becomes clear that it is a proud, persistent, and purposeful rejection of Jesus as the source of our salvation. This sin proves that it is proud when it has “insulted the Spirit of grace” (Hebrews 10:29). It is persistent because it is something people “keep on” doing (Hebrews 10:26). It proves that it is a purposeful rejection of Jesus as the source of salvation when it has “trampled the Son of God underfoot” and
has “treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant” (Hebrews 10:29). In other words, the person who commits this sin knows exactly what they are doing when they reject Jesus and never shows remorse or repentance.
In light of this description, we should not anxiously wonder whether we have committed this sin. If we are worried about whether or not we have committed this sin then, ironically, we prove that we have not committed it. We are not continually rejecting Jesus. That said, we should pay close attention to this warning. If we reject Jesus as the source of our salvation, “no sacrifice . . . is left” for this sin because there is no other sacrifice that can save us.
A CALL TO PERSEVERE IN FAITH
19 Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
26 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. 28 Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge his people.” 31 It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
32 Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you endured in a great conflict full of suffering. 33 Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. 34 You suffered along with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions. 35 So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.
36 You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. 37 For,
“In just a little while,
he who is coming will come and will not delay.”
“But my righteous one will live by faith.
And I take no pleasure
in the one who shrinks back.”
39 But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.
We all have to choose if we are going to accept or reject Christ. Sadly, many people decide they don’t need God in their lives and choose to reject Him. Scripture is clear that those who reject Christ will be judged by God. This is why it is so important for Christians to spread the “Good News.” Who in your life has rejected Christ and/or isn’t actively seeking Him? Write their name(s) here. Commit to praying that God would equip you to share the Good News with them and that they would be open to receiving it.
In Hebrews 10:25, the author instructs us to not give up “meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing,” and to encourage one another. We gather together for church and small group to share our faith and strengthen one another. However, the world will always be vying for our attention. Work, school, sports, family, etc., will always tempt us from making church a priority. What things are pulling you away from a weekly commitment to church or small group? Although it might be counter-cultural, what changes do you and your family need to make to ensure that your priorities are in alignment with Scripture?
Hebrews 10:32-36 encourages believers to persevere when facing persecution and pressure. We don’t often think of suffering as good for us, but it can build our character and our patience. In what ways has God used suffering to shape you? What have you learned or how have you grown because of it? Consider journaling about a specific example.