For if we deliberately sin after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire about to consume the adversaries. Hebrews 10:26-27
This scripture has undermined the confidence of more believers than about any other scripture. It has tormented mothers and fathers of children who once made a genuine decision to follow Christ but no longer walk in His ways. How then can any of us be at peace if these words have bred fear? I need to understand who it was written to and what it means.
There are many warnings throughout the book of Hebrews. This book was written to the Jewish people – many of whom were being persecuted for their faith because they had embraced Jesus, and to many who were still deciding if they should go back to Old Covenant ways and reject Jesus.
These words were for Jews who had heard the Gospel, understood the Gospel message completely, but then turned away from embracing Jesus by going back to Judaism. All the warnings, previously in Hebrews, were written to this same group of Jewish people, a people who were trying to decide whether or not to put their hope and trust in Jesus.
The message was clear ~ If they kept on sinning by rejecting Jesus, there would be no other sacrifice for their sins. If they remained in Judaism and contined in the sacrificial system, their sins would not be forgiven as they had been before the advent of Christ. To reject Jesus is to be eternally condemned, even if Jewish. To reject Jesus is to become His adversary, even though Jewish.
If I remove this scripture from its context, I wander in the mire regarding someone I know who once believed but lives like an apostate. Did they really believe and are they really still God’s child? Those are questions for another day because this scripture is not written to, and about, them. Hebrews was written by a Jew ~ to the Jewish people.
How hard it must have been, and still is, for a Jewish person (so loved and chosen by God to be His) to understand that if they reject Jesus, they reject Yahweh. Shunning Jesus as the Messiah sets them up for eternal condemnation. This idea for a Jewish person is unthinkable which is why Jesus warns His people not to stumble over Him. The consequences are dire.
Perhaps this ended up in a place you never expected. I’ve seen this passage send parents, spouses, and friends of wayward believers into fear. At this moment however, as we understand that this was written to God’s chosen people – in eternal peril – let’s pray for them. Pray for Israel that their spiritual blindness would be cured by the power of the Holy Spirit blowing over their darkened minds.
Remove the veil, Father, from their eyes. 2 Corinthians 3:16 AMEN