Here is #31 of 31 Questions in 31 Days! To
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Q #31: What does it mean when the Bible says, for he
who know grace and willfully sin there can be no more sacrifice for their sin?
A: The questioner
is asking about Hebrews 10:26 that reads, "If
we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the
truth, no sacrifice for sins is left."
A verse like this can seem alarming when we first come
across it. It could seem like the writer of Hebrews is saying that there
is no sacrifice for sin that is deliberate. If that were true, it would
be difficult to reconcile with Jesus' teaching that there is only one sin that
is unpardonable--the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 12:21-22).
Furthermore, we would find that everyone who follows Christ has committed
sins for which there is no sacrifice or forgiveness. Beyond that, we
would have to say that Christ's sacrifice was limited only to sins that were
committed before conversion and sins then that we commit that are unknown to us
or done unwillingly.
The New Testament clearly teaches that Christ's sacrifice involved taking on
all the sins of the world. John puts it like this: "He is
the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins
of the whole world" (1 John 2:2). That would indicate that
Christ's sacrifice is not just for sins committed before you
came to repentance, but that the sacrifice of Christ on the cross is
efficacious to cleanse people of all their sins--past, present and future.
Christ's sacrifice on the cross has a universal, global effect for those
who persevere in faith in Christ.
SO, what does Hebrews 10:26 mean? The book of Hebrews appears to be
written to Jerusalem Jews who are in danger of reverting back to Judaism,
forsaking Christ. The writer of Hebrews (we don't know who wrote it) is
warning them not to do this, pointing out to them over and over throughout the
book that there is no hope found in any system of relating to God outside of
Christ. In fact, knowing this helps to make sense of Hebrews 10:29,
"How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who
has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the
blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of
These are not threats
to make us drown in guilt, but they are meant to encourage the recipients of
the letter to the Hebrews to understand that abandoning Christ for anything else
results in well-deserved judgment from God.
Hope this brings some
clarity to this thought-provoking question!
more posts from the 31 Questions series
on subjects as varied as marijuana, infidelity, 666, the
eternal destiny of children who die, dealing
with discouragement, cremation, co-habitation, baptism, suicide, prayer, the origins of scripture, hell, work, the third heaven, tithing, Old Testament salvation, giving in the Old Testament, reading Proverbs, recovering from failure, taking the Bible literally, understanding the parables, universalism, Bible credibility,disappointment with people, recovering spiritual direction, fasting, getting closer to God, stress, and even speaking
This marks the end of the 31 Questions in 31 Days series! It's been a lot
of fun. Thanks so much for taking the blog over 100,000 views and for the
participation of so many readers in comments this month!
Labels: 31 questions, Bible, Bible studies, Christianity, discipleship, eternal security, exegesis, Hebrews, hermeneutics, New Testament, Q Sunday, Question and Answer, salvation