No More Sacrifice for Sin?


Here is #31 of 31 Questions in 31 Days! To learn more about this 31 Day series, just search "31 Questions" in the search bar above or click here!

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 grace?" 

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!

Check out more posts from the 31 Questions series on subjects as varied as marijuanainfidelity666the eternal destiny of children who diedealing with discouragement, cremationco-habitationbaptismsuicideprayer, the origins of scripturehell, workthe third heaventithingOld Testament salvationgiving in the Old Testament, reading Proverbsrecovering from failuretaking the Bible literallyunderstanding the parablesuniversalism, Bible credibility,disappointment with peoplerecovering spiritual directionfastinggetting closer to God, stress, and even speaking in tongues

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!

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