Hebrews 10:26-29 (NASB):
26 “For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice of sins, 27 but a certain terrifying expectation of judgment, and THE FURY OF A FIRE WHICH WILL CONSUME THE ADVERSARIES. 28 Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 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.”
APOSTASY IN THE HOUSE –
HEBREWS 10:26-29 gives a warning against the SIN OF APOSTASY.
Apostasy is an intentional falling away or defection.
APOSTATES are those who move toward Christ Jesus right up to the edge of a saving faith, but then rejects what they have learned and turns away from the truth.
These are the people who are perhaps even aware of their SIN, even make a profession of faith. But rather than moving on to spiritual maturity, their interest in Jesus begins to diminish, and the things of the world have more attraction to them rather than less and eventually… lose all desire for the things of God and they turn away. And when we have members of our immediate family who have turned away, we spend hours, days, months and yes, years on our knees in prayer that they will heed the biblical WARNINGS.
On that note, we are faced with the fact that there are only TWO RESPONSES when one is presented with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
- One either goes on to believe with a sincere heart of faith, and is SAVED, or…
- One stops short of actually believing and becomes APOSTATE.
Some people in our society today obviously consider their involvement with the local church at some point in their lives as adequate cover from God’s wrath. These are the individuals who although they may have been a part of the Church all their lives, really are not BELIEVERS. They are ACTORS.
Outwardly they appeared to share in the BLESSINGS of God, but inwardly their hearts are unchanged.
The Harsh Reality–
The visible church doesn’t contain a pure body of genuine believers.
TARES are going to be found among the WHEAT. And yes, there are GOATS & SHEEP there as well.
John MacArthur says, “Every apostate is an unbeliever, but not every unbeliever is an apostate.” I had to think about that for a while; let it sink in and meditate.
Okay, I think I’ve got the idea of what he was referring to.
There are many people who do not know the Gospel; they have never had anyone explain to them the SAVING MESSAGE of Jesus. This isn’t true of an apostate.
AN APOSTATE knows the truth intellectually–they know the TRUTH, but they have refused to RECEIVE the TRUTH, so that it might transform their lives.
I love the words given in 1 John 2:19 in the Amplified Bible:
“They went out from our number, but they did not [really] belong to us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us. But [they withdrew] that it might be plain that they all are not of us.”
John says that some who had made a profession of being Christians in that day had all the outward appearances of being Christians.
- They bore the Christian name and they identified themselves with some local assembly, some church.
- They were baptized, immersed in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
- They took the bread and the cup at Communion service.
BUT John says, the way you can tell whether or not one is really a child of the King is that eventually…a person will show their true colors and will leave the assembly of God if he’s not a child of God. He will withdraw from Christians, the body of believers, and go back into the world’s version of the Truth.
To know God’s Truth–to study about it, to hear about it and then turn away, that is to become an APOSTATE.
And yes, it does happen today!
Young people who grow up in the church with Christian parents–heard the gospel on a regular basis, may even professed to be Christians at some point in their early years giving the outward appearance of being serious…and then one day, Poof! …they are all done with Church, Christianity. There is a willful and deliberate denial of the TRUTH.
“For if we go on sinning willfully…” (v 26)
The Greek word for “willfully” (he kousios) means “voluntarily, willingly, of one’s own accord, to sin willfully as opposed to sins committed from ignorance or from weakness.”
John MacArthur writes in his commentary on HEBREWS:
“Willfully…carries the idea of deliberate intention that is habitual. The reference is not to sins of ignorance or weakness, but to those that are planned out, determined and done with forethought. The difference between sins of ignorance and sinning willfully, is like the differences between involuntary manslaughter and first-degree murder…it not only is deliberate, but is an established way of thinking and believing. It is the permanent renuncification of the bible, the permanent forsaking of God’s Grace.” [John MacArthur, The MacArthur New Testament Commentary – HEBREWS (Chicago Moody, 1983) p. 273]
THE “TRUE” BELIEVER –
So by now, you should have at least the concept of the definition of an APOSTATE. But how about a “true believer”, doesn’t he/she, mess up and sin as well?
The TRUE BELIEVER is one who at times lapses into SIN, and loses temporary fellowship with God. But he/she, will eventually return to God in repentance because our heavenly Father will continually woo and convict him until we can’t stay away any longer.
1 John 3:9 says, “No one who is born of God practices sin because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.”
The Poignant Results of APOSTASY (vv 26-31):
- There is no more forgiveness (v 26).
Anyone who rejects the SACRIFICE of Jesus for our sins, will not find any other means of removing their sin.
If you reject the one and only path God has provided for an eternal heavenly security in life, then you have in essence, committed the unforgivable sin.
The greater the sin the greater the JUDGMENT.
Since APOSTASY is the worst SIN, then it will inevitably have the worst judgment.
VERSE 27 reveals “but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries.”
Maybe I can use a different bible translation for the same verse to make it a little plainer:
“There will be nothing to look forward to but the terrible punishment of God’s awful anger which will consume all his enemies” (The Living Bible).
This “JUDGMENT” is deserved because APOSTASY is a personal rejection of each member of the Trinity.
VERSE 28 states, “Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses” and (29) “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.”
What I want you to particular notice here is how this REJECTION is directed to all three parts of the TRINITY.
FIRST, it regards as nothing the Father’s SACRIFICE of His only Son, “trample the Son of God under foot”…
SECONDLY, regards the shed of blood of JESUS on Calvary as nothing: “counted the blood of the covenant by which He was sacrificed a common thing”…
THIRD, “insulted the Spirit of grace”…that is the APOSTATE disregarded the work of the Holy Spirit and the work of SALVATION.
REPENTANCE IS IN ORDER –
In Acts 17:30-31, the apostle Paul is preaching in Athens, saying…
“Such [former] ages of ignorance God, it is true, ignored and allowed to pass unnoticed; but now He charges all people everywhere to repent (to change their minds for the better and heartily to amend their ways, with abhorrence of their past sins). Because He has fixed a day when He will judge the world righteously (justly) by a Man Whom He has destined and appointed for that task, and He has made the credible and given conviction and assurance and evidence to everyone by raising Him from the dead” (Amplified Bible).
Now Hebrews 10:31: “It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”
Far from being more tolerant of SIN today…God is less tolerant because mankind today have the advantage of the greater Light!
Remember how different it is for TRUE BELIEVERS. David said in 2 Samuel 24:14:
“Let us fall into the hands of the Lord, for His mercies are many and great…”
For the BELIEVER, no hands are as gentle as God’s hands.
QUESTIONS WE SHOULD ALL ASK OURSELVES.
I have asked myself the following question before and it is a good reminder:
“Am I just playing church? Or, “Am I a ‘professor’ or an ‘possessor’?”
I would like to offer THREE SIGNS you might be able to identify with:
– You have never made a personal commitment to Christ JESUS.
– You know more Bible than you live out in your life.
– You continue to hear God’s word preached but you are never convicted to change any of your actions.
In closing my thoughts for this blog-POST, so there is little or no confusion to the question that seems to arise now and then, let me say this:
“Does Hebrews 10:26-29 mean that a believer can lose salvation?”
This passage is NOT speaking of a TRUE BELIEVER who falls away, but rather someone who may claim to be a believer, but truly is not!
Anyone who apostatized… is proving that they never had a genuine faith to begin with.
They become PROFESSORS OF THE TRUTH and not POSSESSORS OF THE TRUTH and live out their daily lives with a Camouflaged Hearts.
Recommended Resource: Eternal Security by Charles Stanley.
Photo Credits: Google Search Images.
Bible Translations Used for this POST: New American Standard Bible (NASB) or as noted.