“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. 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 NIV).
This is a hard message for us to take, but we must first look at a few key words. First, the word deliberately, meaning not by mistake or happenstance, but sin deliberate with intention. Second, is the words ‘keep on,’ meaning to persistently sin. Third, is the word reject, meaning to purposely refuse. We can go on, but the point I am making is that the writer of Hebrews is using these negative passages not to address Christians that are struggling with their faith, but to address those who willfully and intentionally reject or do not accept Jesus Christ as the Son of God, that He died on the cross for us to be saved. Or those that spit in the face of the Holy Spirit in defiance and rejection, and want to do things their way not the way Jesus teaches.
There are a lot of great theology in these verses. First, these passages follow several incredibly positive and uplifting passages on how we as Christians should persevere and strive to receive the grace of sanctification Christ has given to us, so we may to become more fully human. These passages however are an ominous warning of what will happen to those that reject Christ.
The writer of Hebrews was also clearly dealing with Jews that had become Christians; they had heard and accepted Christ as the Messiah and then turned away back to their Jewish practices. Possibly not even knowing that their going back to old ways were an insult to Jesus and His death upon the cross. However, we clearly read here that, “no sacrifice for sins is left.” Meaning that Jesus’ death upon the cross and His blood shed for us is the only sacrifice. Once and for all, Jesus’s sacrifice replaced all others, and to reject this has consequences. The writer goes on to say that if under the Old Covenant those that rejected the law were removed from the community and God’s grace, how much more will the ones under the New Covenant that have, “trampled the Son of God underfoot.” The writer does not stop there, he goes on to also include treating the holy blood of Christ, the only thing that has the power to cleanse and heal us, to sanctify us, as an unholy thing. Then he also includes insulting the Holy Spirit by rejecting Him. There will certainly be consequences for those who know better yet reject Jesus.
The most ominous line is the last line though, where it says, “It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” Ominous that is for those who reject Jesus as Lord and Savior, reject His death on a cross, and reject the transforming power of what He did. When you read it in this light it is dreadful, it is ominous. However, to fall into the hands of the living God, for those who love and fear God, who call Jesus Lord, who know His power, grace, and mercy; then it is a place of peace, a place of rest.
How do you see God’s hands? As a place of rest or a place of dread?
How does reading these passages make you feel? Please tell a friend how they make you feel.