A Sobering Reality
One of the most terrifying passages of scripture is Hebrews 10:26-31. It starts off by saying that those who sin deliberately have no sacrifice to atone for their sins, and then it ends with the blunt statement that it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Lord. Not only is this passage terrifying, but it is also confusing, as it is sandwiched between two sections of verses that tell us to have confidence as trouble comes, and another that calls us to remember our former confidence. How can we have confidence in the blood of Jesus, if our continued, deliberate sin leaves us with no sacrifice capable for paying for it?
When the author of Hebrews says if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth…and if they set aside the law of Moses, they will die on the testimony of 2 or 3 witnesses, he is referencing the apostasy laws outlined in Deuteronomy 17:2-7. Christ’s sacrifice is more than capable of covering all your sins, both those that you knowingly commit and those that you don’t know that you commit. What is in view here is someone who knows about Jesus but rejects Him. They may have been raised in the church, they may have been baptized, they may know a lot of theology, they have received the truth, they know what scripture says is true, but now they reject it.
Truth is a Person
The world views truth as just an idea, however, Scripture teaches that truth is a person. By rejecting the truth of God’s word, they aren’t simply rejecting an idea, they reject Christ Himself. Christ is not just the truth; He is also the only way you can be right with God. If you reject Christ, then you’re on your own, there is no other way you can be saved. There are no other sacrifices, no other priests, no other kings. All that awaits is death, and it is a death you will pay. In rejecting scripture, you reject the law of God, and you reject Christ as king. Rebels deserve to die as traitors. It was one thing to reject the law of God when the only one we saw was Moses, but it is another thing entirely to reject the law of God when you have seen Christ.
Hell is Worse for Some
Jesus says in Matthew 11, that final judgement will be worse for the Jewish cities who saw Jesus than it will be for even cities like Sodom, cities that were destroyed by God’s wrath. Hell is bad for everyone, but it is worse for those who were at one-point members of God’s people, and then rejected Him. Such behavior rejects the grace of God and tramples on the blood of Jesus, thus outraging the Holy Spirit.
God’s Wrath as Encouragement
It is a hopeless situation if God is against you. However, let that be an encouragement to us as this is God’s approach to all His enemies. If you remain in Christ, then you receive His loving grace, but the enemies of His body will receive the terror of His anger.
A Testimony for our Children
Let us face the reality of God’s judgement. We are only able to escape God’s judgement because we have been washed by His blood and united to His body. So then, don’t cut yourself off from Him and in doing so rejecting the promises of your baptism. Hebrews 10:25 calls us to reject the habits of those who neglect to meet. When people stop coming to church, they are in effect slowly cutting themselves off from the body of Christ. When we reject God’s word, and instead set up a theology of our own, we act as our own priests and our own kings and queens. There is only one outcome for that, death. So then, let us not cut ourselves off from the body of Christ, and let us not teach our families or our children how to cut themselves off either. This is what is at stake when governments attempt to shut down church services for months and weeks on end. They tempt us to both cut ourselves off from the body of Christ and teach our children to do the same. They rob us of the encouragement that we are called to give one another, and they make us weak. May our children one day say, “we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.”