Hebrews 10

Hebrews has a few difficult passages. I first took time to address Hebrews 6, now in chapter 10, verse 26 may also cause concern:

“If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.”

My first reading asked “what deliberate sin?” Any sin? I have definitely deliberately sinned… especially when I am angry. Am I in danger of “raging fire”?? 

This Greek word for sin, αμαρτανω, is only used twice in Hebrews, here and in 3:17. In chapter three the sin refers to those who turned away from God in the wilderness. Those who would not follow into the promised land, instead, they desired to return to Egypt. 

So, this is not referring to just any sin. But rejecting God and turning back to your old way (even returning to slavery). I think we can say this is a reference to what Jesus calls the unforgivable sin: rejecting the power of the Holy Spirit (Mark 3:28-29). Rejecting the power created through the sacrifice of the High Priest, Jesus.  

“no sacrifice for sins is left” — Is not about the sacrifice of Jesus. Instead these are the old covenant sacrifices. You can not go back to the sacrifice of the tabernacle or temple. That covenant is finished and replaced by Jesus! The saving power of the cross overcomes everything, but if you reject it… there is no alternative. **

These verses are building from v22&23 — “draw near”, “hold unswervingly” — the danger of fire is removed from those who cling to Jesus. Though we continue to sin, sometimes deliberately, his loving sacrifice provides grace!

** Remember, this book is written to Hebrews. Faithful Jews who had accepted Jesus, but were now facing difficulty (maybe persecution, certainly strained relationship with the Jewish community). There was a temptation to go back to the Jewish system. The warning of 10:26 is that you can not go back and find hope. There is only salvation in Jesus. 

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