Thursday, April 6, 2017

HEBREWS 10:26-31

The following verses are solemn indeed!

"For if we go on sinning willfully
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 which will consume the adversaries.'
Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy
on the testimony of two or three witnesses,
How much severer punishment do you think
he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God,
and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant
by which he was sanctified,
and has insulted the spirit of grace?
For we know Him who said again, 
'Vengeance is Mine, I will.'repay' saith the Lord.
And again, 'The Lord will judge His people.'
It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God."

I feel like I need to diagram these verses and write them on a green chalkboard like the one in my English class in 9thgrade, Marshall Junior High, Pasadena, California.  Squirming in my oak desk chair, it was as if I was looking at the skeleton of a poor sentence, all its bones, wondering why this nice gray-haired matron would slay it like that.  But still I was in awe of her as she stood at the front to teach thirty pimply peons because this was the same woman who had introduced us to the wonderful book, Charles Dicken's "David Copperfield."  Well, that's a digression, but let's dissect these verses, shall we?

"For if we go on sinning willfully
after receiving the knowledge of the truth,
there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins..."

As John Wesley said, "There remaineth no more sacrifice for sins--
None but that which we obstinately reject."

Well, this is at the crux of the argument, "Can Christians lose their salvation?" Perhaps it would be better said, "Can Christians reject their salvation?"  The author to the Hebrews refers to one of whom it could be said, "after receiving the knowledge of the truth (NASV) or "after that we have received the knowledge of the truth," (KJV), and then later in verse 29, "wherewith he was sanctified (with a heart sprinkled and cleansed from an evil conscience)."  A Christian cannot mistakenly lose their salvation.  It cannot be lost by slipping back into sin kind of backsliding, but a total obstinate, deliberate rejection of the Gospel and  His atonement. 

Adam Clarke said, "It has nothing to do with backsliders in our common use of that term.  A man may be overtaken in a fault, or he may deliberately go into sin, and yet neither renounce the Gospel, nor deny the Lord...His case is drear and dangerous, but it is not hopeless; no case is hopeless but that of the deliberate apostate, who rejects the whole Gospel system, after having been saved by grace, or convinced of the truth of the Gospel.  To him there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins; for there was but one, Jesus, and this he has utterly rejected." 

Does that make you at least feel a little better.? Yeah, but it is a warning, a caution, a blinking yellow light, especially to those who have been warned about neglecting fellowship in the prior verses, skipping church, not honoring God by reverencing Him above all else.  Now,  skipping church does not an apostate make, but you can see it from there, if you know what I mean.  How else does one go from being a Christian to wandering so far away that he can no longer hear His shepherd calling, deciding one day that he himself is his own master and doesn't need a Shepherd anymore?  He has quit worshipping.

Instead of all the wonderful things God has prepared for those who love Him, there is promised "a certain, and fiery indignant," (KJV),  "a zeal or fervor of fire,"a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire that will consume the adversaries."   Who would want to be an adversary of God?  "From this it is evident that God will pardon no man without a sacrifice for sin...(The Jews) rejected this only sacrifice at a time when God abolished their own: to that nation, therefore, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sin."

"A Jew who "despised Moses' law died  without mercy...
Such offenses were trifling in comparison of this." (verse 28)

And here it is, something of such horror that it is hard to write. 
Adam Clarke says of these verses...

"Trodden under foot the Son of God"
"trampled under foot the Son of God,
and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant
by which he was sanctified,
and has insulted the Spirit of grace?"

"And counting this unholy, or common...
that they expect no more benefit from the blood of Christ
than they do from that of a cow or a sheep!"

"This is properly the sin against the Holy Spirit."
It is insulting the Spirit of grace by rejection.

These verses always bring to my mind Jesus bearing the cross on his wounded back, with blood pouring from His crown of thorns, dragging it down the Via Delarosa, as the murderous crowd surrounded Him, trampling on His blood spilt on the way to the Place of the Skull, where crucifixions were held.

What is God to do with someone like that?  This is a Judas of the faith, one who followed Jesus for three years, who was in the inner circle, who kissed Him on the cheek in order to betray Him."

"It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God."

"Apostates, and all the persecutors and enemies of God's cause and people,
may expect the heaviest judgments of an incensed Deity;
and these, not for a time, but through eternity."

In the mystery of the Trinity, we find God incensed for His Son and the precious
cost to His most beloved.

"John Bunyan, in his dream, saw a way leading from the very gate of heaven down to the pit.  It is not only the Holies of All that is set wide open for us;
the gate of hell is opened wide, too, to receive all who neglect or refuse
to enter the gate of mercy and of heaven...listen with holy fear."
(Andrew Murray)

"A captain of a ship, sailing between two harbours on a rocky coast, was once asked by an anxious passenger if the coast was not very dangerous.  The answer was, Very.  And was he not afraid?--No; our way is perfectly safe; you can be at ease.  But how, if the rocks are so dangerous?  Oh, very simply!--I put out to sea, and keep far from the rocks.  O Christian!  here is thy only safety: launch out into the deep of full obedience to all the will of God; keep far from sin, and thou shalt be kept from willful sinning."
(Andrew Murray)

I would say that meditating on this passage would be a good thing as we prepare our hearts for Easter.


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