Epistle to the Hebrews (10:26-31)   Leave a comment

Epistle to the HebrewsIf 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. Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 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? For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”and again, “The Lord will judge his people.”It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” Hebrews 10:26-31

This warning the author is giving the Hebrews is often dismissed by preachers. The author is not talking about the “common sins” where you lie today or hurt someone. The author is talking about this kind of sin where you persist to do what is wrong and refuse to repent. You know that God hates it but you deliberately continue in it.  You are not losing eternal life because you just said a lie. No, what the author is talking about refers to those Christians who continuously live in lies, they live in adultery, they live in a continuous state of sinful life without any desire to repent. It has become their lifestyles and they deny Him by the way they live.

Such people claim they know God, but they deny him by the way they live. They are detestable and disobedient, worthless for doing anything good.” Titus 1:16

We often fail and are unfaithful to God but He remains faithful to us. We need to persevere till our last breath awaiting this blessed day He will take us to this place He prepared (John 17). We will reign with Him and judge. But if we deny Him, He will deny us. There is no escape. Peter denied Him 3 times before the Jesus’ sacrifice but he was still under the old covenant when he did. Jesus’ life was not yet offered as a sacrifice. When Jesus said “It is finished”, there will no longer be new sacrifices which will remove God’s wrath on those who denied Him.

This is a trustworthy saying:If we die with him,we will also live with him.If we endure hardship,we will reign with him.If we deny him,he will deny us.If we are unfaithful,he remains faithful,for he cannot deny who he is.” 2 Tim. 2:11-13

Anyone who continues to live in him will not sin. But anyone who keeps on sinning does not know him or understand who he is.” 1 John 3:6

As Paul said to Timothy:

Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.” 2 Tim 2:19

If someone who was born again, returned to his past life, he has denied Christ through his lifestyle. What a terrible judgement he will face! As Peter said:

If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. Of them the proverbs are true: “A dog returns to its vomit,” and, “A sow that is washed returns to her wallowing in the mud.” 2 Pet. 2:20-22

These people portrayed here by Peter were Christians. They were born again and knew Christ. But they were entangled again and returned to their previous life. It is like the Prodigal Son returning to the mud and sow. It would have been better he never knew Christ and experienced justification. What a disgrace to the work of the Son of God!  How could he insult the Holy Spirit who was indwelling in him? This is an unforgivable sin. This person turned his back from the Lord who saved him. This Christians who knew Christ will not be granted repentance again. He is a Judas, a betrayer. On Judgement day he’ll not be able to say he did not know. Never will this person be granted repentance again. He will be like Esau who cried bitterly because he lost his inheritance and could do nothing to get it back.

See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son.Afterward, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. Even though he sought the blessing with tears, he could not change what he had done.” Hebrews 12:16-17

The author says that there is no more sacrifice left for that person. We have seen the majesty of Jesus in the previous chapters. He is the One who was crushed by the Father and to whom God has placed all judgments in His hands. He was the perfect sacrifice and is the perfect mediator. He is God Almighty.

Our author mentioned earlier in Hebrews 6 that it is impossible to bring back such Christians to repentance:

For it is impossible to bring back to repentance those who were once enlightened—those who have experienced the good things of heaven and shared in the Holy Spirit,who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the power of the age to come—and who then turn away from God. It is impossible to bring such people back to repentance; by rejecting the Son of God, they themselves are nailing him to the cross once again and holding him up to public shame. When the ground soaks up the falling rain and bears a good crop for the farmer, it has God’s blessing. But if a field bears thorns and thistles, it is useless. The farmer will soon condemn that field and burn it.” Hebrews 6:4-8

These Christians were enlightened by the truth of the Gospel and experienced the glory of the new covenant.  When we talk about someone who has fallen away or turned away, it actually portraits that this person was previously in a better position.They received the Holy Spirit as a mark of their ownership to Christ but they turned away! How scandalous, what an awful thing!

It is impossible to bring back to repentance such people because they did something awful, they denied the Son! Jesus will never take again a flog or go to the cross again. He offered Himself once for all time. Repentance will not be granted again to them. Grace has been removed and they have been rejected by God. They are like these dry branches severed from the Vine.  Our author says that this field bearing thorns and thistles is useless and will soon be burned up. Jesus clearly portrayed it as such:

““I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more.You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you.Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned.” John 15:1-6

As long as a Christian remains in Christ, He will bear fruits. When a Christian refuses to remain in Christ, he eventually starts to die and withers. This dead component on the Vine has to be removed lest it corrupts other branches. It is cut off from the Vine and thrown away. Such branches are piled up and are headed for destruction through fire.

As 1 John 5 says: “Whoever believes in the Son of God accepts this testimony. Whoever does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because they have not believed the testimony God has given about his Son. And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.”

One who no longer believes in Jesus has no longer life. Eternal life is conditional on our dependance on Christ. We need to remain in Him. He is the source of living water and the bread of life. Apart from Him we die. One who no longer has the Son no longer have eternal life for eternal life is found only in the Son. God will never abandon or forsake us. The devil or any power cannot separate us from God. BUT if we want to turn away from God, He will not force us to remain in Him. Nothing can remove us from God’s mighty hand but if we want to turn away, God will not force us to remain in His loving hands.

God’s wrath will be terrible on those who have figuratively trampled underfoot His beloved Son. They have treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them and have insulted the Spirit of grace. They have rejected the Son of God and nailed him to the cross once again and hold him up to public shame. It is infamy and a slanderous act to deny the Son. God will avenge Himself. He will pour out His mighty wrath on them. That would be a dreadful judgement that even the worst sinners on earth who were not Christians will not face. Under the Mosaic law, people were stoned when they violated the law. 2 or 3 human witnesses were enough to terminate the life of the law breaker. But when trampling on God’s Son, there will be the heavenly armies who will testify, the devil who will accuse, the Son looking this disgrace in the eyes and the Father’s wrath ready to pour out.

Paul was talking to the Galatian Christians and warned them ” I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.” How can a Christian continue to live in debauchery and idolatry? It is impossible to have thorns on a fig tree. Paul warned the churches to be careful because there was the possibility to fall away from grace.

To the Christians in Ephesians: “For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.”   Eph. 5:5

And to the Christians in Corinthians he warned:

Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers and sisters. Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” 1 Cor 6:10

I do not believe a Christian can “lose his salvation” or eternal life when he commits a sin. Otherwise no one will go to heaven for we all sin.

As John said, Jesus is faithful and just to forgive us. He is our High Priest and He intercedes for us.

If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth.But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” 1 John 1:9

BUT if that Christian denies Christ by his lifestyle, refuses to remain in Him or publicly deny Him, He will be denied by Christ and “lose his salvation”. This is not just an unforgivable sin, it is rebellion and a public declaration of opposition against the Son. If the Christian’s lifestyle no longer reflects the beauty of Jesus, how can God claim that He is the Father of that person?  As we have read in the previous passages, these verses were addressed to people who were really Christians and not fake converts.

This is called apostasy i.e. when Christians turn away from the faith. If it were not true, the bible would not have mentioned it. It is therefore a heretical teaching to teach that a Christian cannot turn away from Christ. We have the freewill and God will not force us to remain in Christ. We have to be foolish to turn away from Christ. Calvinism appears to give all glory to God through its so-called teachings about God’s sovereignty. It’s 5 points are very subtle and are awful insults to God’s grace on all men(1 Tim 2:3, John 3:16). With all my countenance and till my last breath I will oppose and fight against its teachings. My rage against calvinism is permanent because of the lies it proliferates. Calvinism implicitly teaches that no matter what how an elect lives, salvation cannot be lost. As we saw above, these verses talked about real Christians. We should not neglect this warning. This is a great deception and it can make believers take salvation for granted. It must be worked out with fear and trembling as Paul said.

Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear” Phil 2:12

This does not mean that we need to add works to what Christ did. No, that would be blasphemy and rebellion against the perfect work of Christ. It rather means that because we are saved, there should be works which follows. Their should be visible results that we are saved, there should be fruits.

The elects are simply Christians and Jesus warned that the devil will even try to seduce the elects (Mat 24:24).

For the time has come for judgment, and it must begin with God’s household. And if judgment begins with us, what terrible fate awaits those who have never obeyed God’s Good News? And also,“If the righteous are barely saved,what will happen to godless sinners?” 1 Peter 4:17

It’s only by grace we are saved from God’s wrath. We escape hell because we hold fast to the Vine. Let us not forget that small is the gate and narrow is the road that leads to life. By the narrow road we have an illustration of continuous perseverance amidst difficulties.

Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Mat 7:13

Unfortunately, many will be deceived and few will persevere till the end.

Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” Mat 24:12

We need to demonstrate the fruits of our salvation. Where are the evidence that we are saved? Do we continue to walk in the flesh or are we led by the Spirit? Are we still slave of some vices? If the righteous are barely saved,what will happen to godless sinners and those who trampled on Him?

You have been redeemed, what have you done with this liberty? You say Christ is your foundation, your solid Rock but how are you building your life upon Him? Is your love to Christ divided? Do you offer Him the best or do you offer Him a blind animal like the priest in Malachi? What are the materials you are using to glorify Him? Is it straw or gold?

Anyone who builds on that foundation may use a variety of materials—gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay, or straw. But on the judgment day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. The fire will show if a person’s work has any value. If the work survives, that builder will receive a reward.But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss. The builder will be saved, but like someone barely escaping through a wall of flames.Don’t you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in you? God will destroy anyone who destroys this temple. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.” 1 Cor 3:12-17

Dear readers, Jesus’ work on the cross is not a joke. Those who rejected the Son in ignorance will be judged severely but woe to those who deny and turn away from Him after knowing Him. God crushed His innocent Son with His mighty hands on the cross. What kind of wrath will He pour out on a betrayer, an enemy, a scoffer and a blasphemer?

“It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”and again, “The Lord will judge his people.”It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God

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Posted April 13, 2013 by Cedric in Theology

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