The Willful Sin
From a sermon, "The Meaning of Faith," preached for the Nashville Road church, February 1967, brother Wallace was giving a synopsis of the book of Hebrews, when he said... [Billy Moore]
The following chapters of eight, nine and ten are new covenant chapters. The apostle quotes from Jeremiah 31, which foretold the spiritual nature of the new covenant: "I will put my laws into their hearts and in their minds will I write them." That was not true of the outward and carnal old covenant, but the new covenant is a spiritual covenant and is designated "the law of the mind." The old covenant was written and engraved on tables of stone, as stated in II Corinthians 3:7-8. But the new covenant is a mind and heart covenant, as described in Hebews 8:10 and 10:16. The purpose of this contrast of the covenants was to prevent defecting to the old system.
An analysis of chapter 10, to connect with the beginning of chapter 11, will define the meaning and use of the phrase "Now faith is the substance." After describing the character of this new covenant, and apostle exhorted the Hebrews to provoke one another unto the good works of the new covenant. Hebrews 10:24-25: "And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching." Now there are two days mentioned in this passage: The exhortation not to forsake the assembly refers to the first day of the week assembly. It stands for the new covenant. Jesus Christ arose from the dead on the first day of the week; the day of Pentecost was the first day of the week: the Holy Spirit began the work of conviction and conversion through the preaching of the gospel on the first day of the week; the law of pardon was announced unto all men for a tie on the first day of the week: the church was established on the first day of the week; the disciples came together on the first day of the week to break bread, as recorded in Acts 20:7; and here in Hebrews 10:25 the apostle warned them against abandoning it. The word forsake here means to abandon, and connects Paul's admonition with this danger of a mass apostasy under the threat of Nero's persecution on one hand and the pressures of the Judaizers on the other hand. Some had abandoned the first day of the week assembly. When Jesus set up the Lord's Supper, he said: "This is the new covenant in my blood." Therefore, the assembly on the first day of the week and the observance of the Lord's supper become the very essence of the new covenant, and stand for it, a symbol of it.
To abandon the first day of the week assembly would be to repudiate the new covenant. The neglect of a duty is wrong, but this passage is not dealing with the sin of neglect — the word forsake does not mean neglect: it is not the same word; the word forsake means to abandon. One has not forsaken anything until he has renounced it, until he has abandoned it. A man may neglect his family without forsaking them. Some husbands have been reminded of neglect on anniversary days and occasions, when they fail to remember. Our women never fail — they will think of it all day, but do not say a word about it. They are getting us in a trap, and it costs something to get out. But "neglect" in that case would not mean that "forsake" at all. To forsake a thing is to abandon it, renounce it, and repudiate it. And some of them had done that very thing.