Question:

Could you explain Hebrews 10:26-28?


Answer:

"Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. Anyone who has rejected Moses' law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know Him who said, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord. And again, "The LORD will judge His people." It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God" (Hebrews 10:23-31).

Hebrews 10:26 starts out with a "for," which means building on the point previously made. Therefore, to understand the Hebrews 10:26, we first must be aware of the previous point covered in Hebrews 10:23-25.

The writer's emphasis throughout Hebrews is the need for Christians to remain stable.

  • "And Moses indeed was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which would be spoken afterward, but Christ as a Son over His own house, whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end" (Hebrews 3:5-6).
  • "For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end" (Hebrews 3:14).
  • "Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience" (Hebrews 4:11).
  • "Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession" (Hebrews 4:14).
  • "And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises" (Hebrews 6:11-12).
  • "Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward" (Hebrews 10:35).
  • "Now the just shall live by faith; but if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him. But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul" (Hebrews 10:38-39).

One way that stability is maintained is through the assemblies of the saints (Hebrews 10:24-25). As we gather together, we are able to encourage each other to remain faithful and to work. It is only by putting the teaching of Christ into practice can we achieve stability.

  • "For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil" (Hebrews 5:13-14).
  • "Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does" (James 1:21-25).

Hebrews 10:26 then addresses what happens to Christians who choose to be unfaithful and sin. The writer is not talking about those are deceived into sinning or who sin in a moment of weakness, but those, who knowing full well that it is wrong, purposely choose to sin anyway. This person cannot claim to be ignorant of what God teaches, He has "received the knowledge of the truth."

When such a person choses to return to sin, he has rejected the salvation offered to him by the Lord Jesus. There is no other way to be saved. "Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me"" (John 14:6). There is nothing else to be offered to save him from his sins. It is the same state spoken earlier:

"For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame" (Hebrews 6:4-6).

It isn't that such a person cannot be saved, but that he cannot be saved while he remains in that state and there is nothing additional which will be offered by God to persuade him out of that state. It is impossible for Christians to encourage such a person to be faithful. Perhaps such a person will realize the error of his way and turn back to God, but it is unlikely since he has turned his back on the one available means of salvation.

Thus, all that remains is an expectation of hell because he will have no adequate excuse to offer God in Judgment. If the Old Law took a firm stand against sinners where men were judges and you needed several witnesses to prove the facts, what would a person expect facing the all-knowing God in Judgment with the Book of Life opened to show the record of all things he ever did. And then to be charged with purposely defying the Judge and Creator's own Son! As the writer concludes: "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God" (Hebrews 10:31).