Amplified: For if we go on deliberately and willingly sinning after once acquiring the knowledge of the Truth, there is no longer any sacrifice left to atone for [our] sins [no further offering to which to look forward]. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
Barclay: For, if we deliberately sin after we have received full knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sin is left. (Westminster Press)
NLT: Dear friends, if we deliberately continue sinning after we have received a full knowledge of the truth, there is no other sacrifice that will cover these sins. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: Now if we sin deliberately after we have known and accepted the truth, there can be no further sacrifice for sin for us (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: For if we go on sinning willfully after having received a full knowledge of the truth, no longer for sins does there remain a sacrifice, (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: For we -- wilfully sinning after the receiving the full knowledge of the truth -- no more for sins doth there remain a sacrifice,
THE FIVE WARNING PASSAGES
|Heb 2:1-4 (notes)|
|Heb 3:7-4:13 (notes)|
|Heb 5:11-6:12 (notes)|
|Heb 10:19-39 (notes)|
|Heb 12:14-29 (notes)|
As you study this difficult (and controversial) passage, that accurate interpretation demands good exegesis ( taking out of the text what is there), not eisegesis (putting into the text what is not there to fit our "theological" persuasion). Keep the overall flow and purpose of this book in mind and lean heavily on the context to guide your interpretation. Finally, (actually first) ask your Teacher the Spirit of Truth to lead you into all the Truth (Jn 14:26, 16:13, 1Jn 2:27, 1Cor 2:12)
FOR IF WE GO ON SINNING WILLFULLY: hekousios gar hamartanonton (PAPMPG) hemon: (He 6:4, 5, 6; Leviticus 4:2,13; Numbers 15:28, 29, 30, 31; Deuteronomy 17:12; Psalms 19:12,13; Daniel 5:22,23; Matthew 12:31,32,43, 44, 45; John 9:41; 1Timothy 1:13; 2Peter 2:20, 21, 22; 1John 5:16) (Luke 12:47; John 13:17; 15:22, 23, 24; 2Thessalonians 2:10; James 4:17)
Wuest - This willful sin must be defined in its context. It will not do to ignore the historical background of this book and its analysis, and then put an arbitrary meaning upon the words. That is not Exegesis, namely, taking out of the text what is there, but Eisegesis, putting into the text what is not there. The sin which the book warns against is that of a Jew of the first century who left the temple sacrifices, identified himself with the visible Church and made a profession of Messiah as High Priest, renouncing that profession and returning to the temple sacrifices. This sin is spoken of in Heb 2:1-note as letting New Testament truth slip away, in Heb 3:7, 8-note as hardening the heart against the Holy Spirit, in Heb 6:4-note as falling away and crucifying the Son of God, in Heb 10:26 as a willful sin, and is analyzed in Heb 10:29-note as the three-fold sin against the three Persons of the Triune God. This sin could only be committed in the first century while the temple was still standing and only by an unsaved Jew or proselyte to Judaism. In this case, there can be no secondary application to present day circumstances or individuals. This sin is described as a wilful sin. The word is hekousios, which means, “voluntarily, of one’s own accord.” It is opposed to sins committed inconsiderately, and from ignorance or weakness. The Greek has it, “If we go on sinning wilfully,” stress being placed upon the habitual aspect of the sin. The immediate context defines that sin as one of the continued forsaking of the means of grace at the services of the Christian assemblies, and the habitual commission of the sin defined in Heb 10:29-note. (Hebrews Commentary online)
Steven Cole recognizing that the warning passages in Hebrews do not make for popular pulpit preaching introduces his sermon in Hebrews 10:26-31 with a pithy illustration…
Phil Newton introduces this difficult teaching harking back to Jonathan Edwards' famous sermon Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God…
Calvin - He shows how severe a vengeance of God awaits all those who fall away from the grace of Christ; for being without that one true salvation, they are now as it were given up to an inevitable destruction.
For - The writer now elaborates on the exhortation of Hebrews 10:25 to not forsake the assembly of the church and return to Judaism.
This passage recalls John’s warning in 1Jn 2:19 concerning those who “went out (active voice = expresses a decision of one's will, a volitional choice) from us” where their departure (compare "apostasy") was clear indication that they were not genuine believers. They had known about the way of life, but they had not chosen to "receive" (Jn 1:11, 12) the truth. An unmistakable sign of apostasy is an unwillingness to continue association with true believers.
Matthew Henry commenting on the related passage in 1Jn 2:19 writes that "They were not inwardly such as we are: But they were not of us; they had not from the heart obeyed the form of sound doctrine delivered to them; they were not of our union with Christ the head. Then here is, the reason upon which it is concluded that they were not of us, were not what they pretended, or what we are, and that is their actual defection: "For, if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us" (1Jn 2:19); had the sacred truth been rooted in their hearts it would have held them with us (Ed: cp "rocky soil" Mk 4:5, 6, 17); had they had the anointing from above, by which they had been made true and real Christians, they would not have turned antichrists. Those that apostatize from religion sufficiently indicate that, before, they were hypocrites in religion: those who have imbibed the spirit of gospel truth have a good preservative against destructive error.
Such persons, regardless of their outward appearance which might otherwise suggest they were believers never actually believed in Christ. (See related studies on - The verb to believe = pisteuo; the noun faith = pistis)
Other NT passages have a similar warning about the danger of those who profess to be believers, but who fail to continue in the faith and thereby demonstrate that they are not truly born again. Here are a few examples to ponder…
Although the writer includes himself in this warning ("if we go on sinning" - just as he wrote in Heb 2:3-note) note that he switches pronouns in Hebrews 10:29 to "he". And at the end of the chapter (Heb 10:39-note), the writer makes it clear that he considers himself a true believer by including himself in the "we" who do not "shrink back to destruction".
Sinning (264) (hamartano) means to miss a mark and in this context means to miss God's will. It means to act contrary to the will and law of God. In classic Greek hamartano was used to describe a warrior who threw his spear but failed to strike his adversary or a traveler who missed his way.
The present tense this indicates this is their lifestyle, their habitual practice. Saved persons still commit but sinning is not their continual practice once they are born again by the Holy Spirit. They become new creations in Christ (cp 2Cor 5:17-note) and if such an alteration has not transpired, such a person should be very careful to perform a self-examination (cp 2Cor 13:5) to be absolutely certain their is tangible evidence they are possessors of Christ and not simply professors of Christ. Jesus gave a stern, even frightening warning that "many" would profess knowing Him, but that their life would indicate otherwise (ponder Mt 7:21-note, Mt 7:22, 7:23-note). Beloved, do not confuse what the writer is saying - he is not teaching sinless perfection, but he is teaching about the "general direction" of your life as indicated by your behavior.
Phil Newton applies the idea of the present tense which indicates habitual or continuous action to make the important point that "Apostasy does not happen overnight. It is a process, a deliberate process, on the part of one who is not satisfied with the revelation of God in Christ and the effectiveness of the redemptive work of Christ. (The Peril of Playing Christian)
Newton goes on to explain that "The "sinning" has reference to rejection of precisely what this writer has set forth: the person of Christ and his effective work as our great high priest. They are rejecting or speaking against the revelation of Jesus Christ as the one in whom God has spoken with finality, Who created and upholds all things in the world, and Who as the Incarnate Son came to make purification for sins (Heb 1:1-3). They reject that Christ is more excellent than the angels and Moses and all the Aaronic priesthood (Heb 1:5-2:9; Heb 3:1-6; Heb 5:1-10). They reject that Christ mediated a new covenant that totally replaces the old covenant, and that He ratified its excellence by His atoning death (Heb 8:6-13; Heb 9:11-28). Instead of depending upon the atoning death of Christ they cling to the blood of bulls and goats as superior to that of the Son of God offered at Calvary (Heb 10:1-18). It was not a momentary lapse, a struggle because of pressure from family or culture that was the problem. They "willfully" sinned, in calculated fashion they picked through the revelation of God in Christ and rejected precisely what the gospel reveals. (The Peril of Playing Christian) (Bolding added)
The NIV gives an accurate sense of the present tense of the verb rendering it -
John gives a similar warning explaining that "the one who practices (present tense again indicating not perfection but "direction" of one's life) sin is of the devil" (1Jn 3:8) adding that "no one who is born of God practices (present tense) sin". Why not? Simply put, they can't habitually, willfully, deliberately, continually sin because God's holy "seed abides in (them)… because (they are) born of God." (1Jn 3:9)
Willfully (1596) (hekousios from hekousios = voluntary) means willing to do something without being forced or pressured. Doing something of one's own free will = voluntarily, deliberately, willfully, intentionally.
Newton observes that "Willfully stands at the front of the sentence (Ed: In the original Greek text) in an emphatic position as a reminder that the ones he addresses are not the weak or immature or ignorant or occasional doubters that are true believers but struggling with their perseverance. It is the deliberate, intentional, voluntary rejection of the sufficiency of Christ that he refers to. (The Peril of Playing Christian)
Hekousios conveys the idea of deliberate intention that is habitual without being forced or pressured. In other words, in context this adverb modifies the present tense verb sinning indicating that this is a personal choice to deliberately rebel against the truth God has graciously revealed!
The only other NT use of hekousios is in a positive context where Peter exhorts the elders to…
This description is not referring to "sins of ignorance" (Heb 9:7) or weakness, but to those that are planned out, determined, done with forethought (cp Paul's command in Ro 13:14-note to "make no provision [pronoia] for the flesh in regard to its lusts.").
A similar warning against defection from the faith (falling away from the truth about the great High Priest Jesus) is presented in Heb 2:1-note, He 2:3-note where it is described as letting truth slip away, in Heb 3:7, 8-note where it is described as hardening the heart against the Holy Spirit, in He 6:4, 5-note, He 6:6-note where it is described as falling away and crucifying the Son of God and lastly in Heb 12:25-note where it is described as a refusal to hear and heed God's warning from heaven. Clearly, the writer of Hebrews viewed apostasy as a very real and serious possibility for his Jewish audience who had heard the good news about their Messiah, Jesus.
Henry Morris notes that "There is probably an allusion here to such Old Testament passages as Nu 15:30,31; Dt 17:2-7; etc. The presumptuous sins (Ps 19:13), especially of deliberate apostasy into idolatry and paganism, were punishable by death. In similar fashion, the deliberate rejection of Christ and His sacrifice for one's sins, after one fully understands its significance and may even have made profession of faith therein, is without remedy. This is the only means God has provided, and there is nothing more that can be said or done to save such a person. That person already knows and understands it all and has rejected it (Heb 6:4-6). Such a person, regardless of outward appearances, had never truly committed his faith and life to Christ in the first place (1Jn 2:19). This verse does not, in context, apply to other sins of a true Christian (He 10:39). The remedy for these is repentance and confession, for the blood of Christ has already paid for them (1Jn 1:7, 8, 9).
W A Criswell adds that to "Sin willfully" is similar to the rebellion against God that is described in the O.T. as sinning "with a high hand" or "presumptuously" (Nu 15:30, 31; defiantly, literally "with a high hand"). This sin is a sin of premeditation, committed only by those who have had the advantage of great light. In the rejecting of Christ's sacrifice, they discover that there is no other acceptable sacrifice for sin.
Note that these are not those willful sins most believers commit daily, but the immediate context defines this sin as one of the continually forsaking the only means of grace God provides for salvation.
Most believers either commit willful sins or can even lapse into a season of sin and will experience broken fellowship and intimacy with the Lord and with His people, but they will not be guilty of the sin which this passage is describing. Believers who commit such willful sins, will return to the Lord, for they are under too great a conviction to stay away permanently. In the meanwhile, they will be robbed of the Spirit given joy and peace, spiritual power, intimacy, etc. For a believer the price of unconfessed sin is "steep". Ponder these relevant passages…
Don't sweep sin under the rug.
AFTER RECEIVING THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE TRUTH: meta to labein (AAN) ten epignosin tes aletheias ouketi peri hamartion apoleipetai (3PPPI) thusia:
Vincent - The truth is the revelation through Christ.
The same phrase (the knowledge of the truth) appears in the pastoral epistles…
1Timothy 2:4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
2Timothy 2:25-note with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth,
2Timothy 3:7-note always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
Titus 1:1-note Paul, a bond-servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the faith of those chosen of God and the knowledge of the truth which is according to godliness,
Note above that in Titus Paul links the phrase knowledge the truth and to godliness, which is what knowledge of the truth can and should produce. The failure of the knowledge of the truth to produce godliness in the present context does not denigrate the efficacy of truth but does disclose the evil of the hearer's heart!
The knowledge the truth - The "full" knowledge of the truth about Jesus the Great High Priest and His better covenant promises. In short, these individuals have not been "short changed". The cannot claim ignorance and so God is unjust in "His austere dealing with them." They have not been given a "watered down" version of the good news. They have received the unadulterated truth! They clearly understood the truth they had heard about Jesus. It was their overt rejection of that truth which defined their apostasy which in turn warranted such a severe "judicial sentence" by God. Exposure to such great light, makes them guilty of even greater condemnation! (cp Jesus' teaching of "degrees" of punishment proportional to the amount of light - Mt 11:21, 22, 23, 24)
Spurgeon - It would have been better for you never to have had any knowledge of the truth, than to have known it, and then sinned willfully against it, and so, after all, to be a castaway. If you are a true child of God, though a wanderer from His ways, you will be brought back to Him, and I pray that you may be brought back to Him this very hour. But if you are an apostate, a backslider in heart, you will be filled with your own ways. Having filled up the measure of your iniquity, you will be driven from God’s presence into the place of woe where hope and mercy never can come. How foolish you are who are looking for signs and wonders or else you will not believe. May the Spirit of God show you that Jesus is now able and willing to save you, and that all you have to do is to take what He has done, and simply trust Him, and you shall be saved, completely saved, perfected through His one sacrifice. There remains no more to be done by the Redeemer. He sits down, and He will not rise for any further sacrifice.
Knowledge (1922)(epignosis [word study] from verb epiginosko from epí = upon + ginosko = to know) is a strengthened or intensified form of "gnosis" and conveys the thought of a more full, larger and thorough knowledge. It also conveys the idea of an intimate and personal relationship than the simple term. Vine says the verb form epiginosko suggests generally a directive, a more special, recognition of the object known than ginosko.
There are a few resources that suggest there is very little difference between gnósis and epignosis. This discussion holds the opinion that epignosis does have subtle but real differences.
Epígnosis refers to exact, complete, thorough, accurate, experiential knowledge, not just abstract, intellectual, head knowledge of God or even facts about Him. Epígnosis always describes moral and religious knowledge in the NT and especially refers to full and comprehensive knowledge of God’s will that rests on the knowledge of God and of Christ found today in His Word.
Wuest - The word “knowledge” is not the simple word gnosis, but the stronger word epignosis. Alford quotes Delitzsch as saying: “When epignosis is used, there is the assumption of an actual direction of the spirit to a definite object and of a real grasping of the same: so that we may speak of a false gnosis, but not of a false epignosis. And the Writer, by the use of this word, gives us to understand that he means by it not only a shallow historical notion about the Truth, but a living believing knowledge of it, which has laid hold of a man and fused him into union with itself.” Thus it is clear that the Jew who committed this sin, was fully informed by the Holy Spirit of the issues involved between the First Testament and the New Testament, and also of the meaning and the implications of the New Testament, (cp Heb 6:4-note, “who were once enlightened”) and therefore, he sinned with his eyes wide open. Should he commit this sin, there would remain no more sacrifice for sin. Expositor’s quotes Delitzsch as follows: “The meaning is not merely that the Jewish sacrifices to which the apostate has returned have in themselves no sin-destroying power, nor even that there is no second sacrifice additional to that of Christ, but further that for a sinner of this kind the very sacrifice of Christ itself has no more atoning or reconciling power.” Alford, commenting upon this same thing says: “There is but One true sacrifice for sins: if a man, having availed himself of that One, then deliberately casts it behind him, there is no second left for him. It will be observed that one thing is not, and need not be, specified in the text. That he has exhausted the virtue of the one sacrifice, is not said: but in proportion to his willing rejection of it, has ceased to operate for him. He has in fact, as Delitzsch observes, shut the door of repentance behind him, by the very fact of his being in an abiding state of willing sin.” All of which means that this abandonment of the New Testament sacrifice, the Messiah, and the return to the abrogated sacrifices of the First Testament, was not a snap judgment on the part of this first century Jew, but a confirmed state of heart. (Hebrews Commentary online) (Bolding added)
Spurgeon asks "Have you ever considered how much you insult God the Father by rejecting Christ? If you were invited to a feast and you should come to the table and dash down every dish, and throw them on the ground, and trample on them, would not this be an insult? If you were a poor beggar at the door, and a rich man had bidden you into his feast out of pure charity, what would you deserve if you had treated his provisions in this way? And yet this is just your case. You were not deserving of God, you were a poor sinner without any claim upon Him, and yet He has been pleased to prepare a table. His oxen and His fattened cattle have been killed, and now you will not come. You do worse: you raise objections to the feast; you despise the pleasant land and the goodly provision of God. Just think at what an expense the provision of salvation has been made."
THERE NO LONGER REMAINS A SACRIFICE FOR SINS: ouketi peri hamartion apoleipetai (3PPPI) thusia:
No (ouketi) means absolutely no longer. In other words when one knows the truth about Jesus and rejects Jesus, "times up!". This is a serious warning. There are no second chances!
Marvin Vincent adds "Of course not. For the Levitical sacrifices are abolished. It is Christ’s sacrifice or none."
Spurgeon on no longer remains a sacrifice - How can there be? Do you think when you are in hell that Christ will come a second time to die for you? Will He pour out His blood again to bring you from the place of torment? Have you so vain an imagination as to dream that there will be a second ransom offered for those who have not escaped the wrath to come, and that God the Holy Ghost will again come and strive with sinners who willfully rejected Him? All the atonement that could save me in ten years’ time is here now. All that I can ever rely upon if I postpone all thoughts of faith—all is here already. There will be no improvement in Christ. He has perfected His work. Oh, poor troubled soul, rest on Him now.
Remains (620) (apoleipo from apo = from + leipo = lack, leave, forsake) means literally to leave behind. Paul uses it in the active voice to describe leaving behind of his cloak (2Ti 4:13-note cp the two other uses of the active voice - 2Ti 4:20-note; Titus 1:5-note). The passive voice as used here in Hebrews means to be reserved or to remain, to be left over.
Apoleipo - 7x in 7v - 2Ti 4:13, 20; Titus 1:5; Heb 4:6, 9; 10:26; Jude 1:6
Just like Heb 6:6 (impossible to renew then again to repentance) warns of the critical danger of turning from Christ’s once-for-all, perfect sacrifice back to the shadows which could never make the worshiper perfect in conscience.
If we sin willfully reveals that this act is deliberate. It parallels the sin of Nu 15:30,31. When one willingly or defiantly disobeyed God, there was no sacrifice for such apostasy. He had to die (Nu 15:35,36). This OT teaching gives us a picture of the definition of "WILLFUL SINNING".
V28 seems to allude to Dt 17:2-7 which records that upon testimony of 2 or 3 witnesses, death by stoning was punishment for apostasy—going after and serving false gods (Dt 17:2). Now in v29, the one who would despise the person of Jesus and His ministry as High Priest is worthy of even greater judgment. V29 (due to the verb and participles used) should not be understood as judgment that has happened because of such apostasy, but as judgment that would happen should such apostasy occur. The author places his recipients and himself ("we" go on sinning) under this warning just as he did in the earlier warnings. By so doing he demonstrates that the warnings are intended for the saved as well as for the unsaved. Yet, here, as in Heb6, the author does not say that anyone has committed this sin. He describes what would happen, not what has happened. He is describing a hypothetical situation. The severe admonition of this warning, and all others in Scripture, is God’s means to ensure our perseverance.
SOME TRUE BELIEVERS MIGHT WORRY THEY HAD COMMITTED THIS SIN
Matthew Henry has some comforting remarks writing that "This text has been the occasion of great distress to some gracious souls; they have been ready to conclude that every willful sin, after conviction and against knowledge, is the unpardonable sin: but this has been their infirmity and error. The sin here mentioned is a total and final apostasy, when men with a full and fixed will and resolution despise and reject Christ, the only Saviour, -- despise and resist the Spirit, the only Sanctifier, -- and despise and renounce the gospel, the only way of salvation, and the words of eternal life; and all this after they have known, owned, and professed, the Christian religion, and continue to do so obstinately and maliciously."
Dennis De Haan adds that since this "text speaks of trampling underfoot the precious Son of God… this warning, along with Hebrews 6:1-8, has caused untold agony to many sensitive Christians. It’s as if Satan uses Hebrews 6:4 and Hebrews 10:26 to create hopelessness and despair. But what do these passages teach? F. F. Bruce points out that they refer to people who have deliberately abandoned reliance on the perfect sacrifice of Christ. Raymond Brown said that theirs is not a single act of falling away, but a state of willful, determined renunciation of all dependence on Christ’s atoning work. God has no other plan for saving those who regard Christ’s sacrifice as useless.
Steven Cole in his sermon on Hebrews 10:26-31 emphasizes that…
OF WILFUL SIN
IN mentioning those who forsake the assembling together of God's people, the writer has touched one of those sore places which, to him, are the symptom of imminent danger. This neglect of Christian fellowship is at once the indication of that indifference which is so dangerous, and the cause of further backsliding. All this leads him once again to sound the alarm, and to point out how neglect of outward, apparently secondary duties, opens the way to positive sin and eternal loss. He has scarcely finished his wondrous exposition of the glory of the heavenly Priest and the heavenly sanctuary and the way into it, he has only just begun to speak of the life and walk to which that opened sanctuary calls us, when, thinking of the state of the Hebrews, he sounds a trumpet-blast of warning more terrible than any we have heard yet. In the three previous warnings he had spoken first of neglect (Hebrews 2:1-4), then of unbelief and disobedience (Hebrews 3:1; 4:13), then of sloth, leading to hopeless falling away (Hebrews 5:3; 6:9): here he now speaks of wilful sinning, with the awful rejection of God's mercy it implies, and the sore and certain punishment it will inevitably bring. John Bunyan, in his dream, saw a way leading from the very gate of heaven down to the pit. It is not only the Holiest of All that is set wide open for us; the gate of hell is opened wide, too, to receive all who neglect or refuse to enter the gate of mercy and of heaven. Let all who believe that it is indeed God who, by His Spirit speaks in this word, listen with holy fear.
For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more a sacrifice for sins. As we had in Hebrews 10:26. mention of those who were once enlightened, and tasted the heavenly gift and the good word of God, and who yet fell away, so here he speaks of those who, after having received the knowledge of the truth, yet sin wilfully. The expressions used show us that in the case of these the enlightening and the acceptance of the truth had been more with the mind than with the heart. Their judgment had been convinced, through the mind their desire and will had been affected and wrought upon; and yet, the heart, the whole inner life, had never been truly regenerate, had never received that eternal life, which cannot be taken away. And so there was a possibility of their still sinning wilfully and being shut out for ever from the one sacrifice for sin. As we saw before, the true assurance of salvation, the assuring of our hearts before God, cam only be enjoyed in a life under the teaching of the Spirit, and a walk in obedience to God's will (1 John 3:19-24.) True assurance of faith is the witness of the Holy Spirit that is given in living fellowship with and obedience to Christ as Leader.
If we sin wilfully. The question will be asked, But what is wilful sin? How are we to know when we are guilty of it? No answer can be given; no one on earth can draw the line between what is and what is not wilful sin. Only He who sits on the throne, and who knows the heart, can judge. But how will this warning profit, if we cannot see what wilful sin is? The warning will just thus profit us most--it will make us fearful of committing any sin, lest it might be, or lead us into wilful sin. He that would know what wilful sin is, with the thought that he is safe, as long as he keeps from that extreme, deceives himself. The only sure way of being kept from wilful sin is to keep far from all sin.
A captain of a ship, sailing between two harbours on a rocky coast, was once asked by an anxious passenger if the coast was not very dangerous. The answer was, Very. And was he not afraid? No; our way is perfectly safe; you can be at ease. But how, if the rocks are so dangerous? Oh, very simply! I put out to sea, and keep far from the rocks. O Christian! here is thy only safety: launch out into the deep of full obedience to all the will of God; keep far from all sin, and thou shalt be kept from wilful sinning.
For if we sin wilfully, there remaineth no more a sacrifice for sins. What a terrible contrast to the same expression as we had it before (Hebrews 10:18): No more offering for sin. There it was the blessed secret of the glory of the gospel and redemption, the joy of Christian faith and life no more offering for sin: salvation finished and perfected for ever. Here it is the awful revelation of the highest sin and its terrible doom: the one sacrifice rejected, and now no more a sacrifice for sins ever to be found, How awful to sin wilfully.
There remaineth no more a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and a fierceness of fire, which shall devour the adversaries. Fearful judgment, fierceness of fire, devouring the adversaries,--these words are in God's gospel; they follow close on its highest teaching; they are words He speaks to us in His Son. In the religion of the world, alas, in a great deal of the Christian teaching and the religious literature of our day, professing to honour the God of love whom the Bible reveals--these words are set aside and rejected. And yet there they stand, and behind them stand the divine realities they express. God help us to believe them with our whole heart, and to exhort one another, if so be we may save some, snatching them out of the fire!
1. Let all who have entered the Holiest of All turn round and look to the hole of the pit--the horrible pit--whence they have been drawn up. And as they see the multitudes going down to the pit, oh let them remember that the highest glory of life in the Holiest is, even as it is of Him who opened it with His blood and sits on the throne, to go out and bring others in.
2. Even though thou knewest, through grace, that thou hadst escaped the judgment and the fire, take time to gaze upon them. Take upon thee the burden of those who are asleep, and plead with Christ to use thee to warn and to save them.
Andrew Murray. The Holiest of All
Amplified: [There is nothing left for us then] but a kind of awful and fearful prospect and expectation of divine judgment and the fury of burning wrath and indignation which will consume those who put themselves in opposition [to God]. [Isa. 26:11.] (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
Barclay: All that we can expect is to wait in terror for judgment and for that flaming wrath which will consume the adversaries of God. (Westminster Press)
NLT: There will be nothing to look forward to but the terrible expectation of God's judgment and the raging fire that will consume his enemies. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: but only a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fire of God's indignation, which will one day consume all that sets itself against him. (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: but a certain fearful expectation of judgment and fiery indignation which is about to be devouring the adversaries. (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: but a certain fearful looking for of judgment, and fiery zeal, about to devour the opposers;
BUT A CERTAIN TERRIFYING EXPECTATION OF JUDGMENT AND THE FURY OF A FIRE: phobera de tis ekdoche kriseos kai puros zelos: (He 2:3; 12:25; 1Samuel 28:19,20; Isaiah 33:14; Daniel 5:6; Hosea 10:8; Matthew 8:29; Luke 21:26; 23:30; Revelation 6:15, 16, 17) (He 12:29; Numbers 16:35; Psalms 21:9; Jeremiah 4:4; Ezekiel 36:5; 38:19; Joel 2:30; Nahum 1:5,6; Zephaniah 1:18; 3:8; Malachi 4:1; Matthew 3:10,12; 13:42,50; 25:41; Mark 9:43, 44, 45 ,46 47, 48, 49; Luke 16:24; 2Thessalonians 1:8; James 5:3; Revelation 20:15)
But - Stark contrast! This "but" introduces the inevitable, inestimably terrifying alternative to every person who has ever received and rejected the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Hebrews 2:3-note the writer asks his wavering readers "how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?" and here in Hebrews 10:27 essentially answers that question stating emphatically "If we neglect God's great salvation, we can't escape God's great fire"!
In Hebrews 12:25-note we see another allusion to "no escape"…
A certain terrifying expectation - Plainly stated the judgment of God is inevitable and unavoidable and naturally this truth engenders fear for those who have a reason to fear.
Wuest - Instead of a sacrifice for sin awaiting this apostate, there awaits him a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation. The Greek could be rendered, “a kind of fearful expectation.”(Hebrews Commentary online)
Saul was an example of "willful sinning" in OT = see his terrifying expectation =
Belshazzar the king upon defiling the Lord's holy vessels suddenly saw a hand appear with handwriting on the palace wall and…
At the breaking of the fourth seal we see the God rejecting world's fearful reaction…
We see the certain expectation of the demons when confronted by Jesus…
Jesus describes the reaction of the Christ rejecting world when the events of the Great Tribulation begin to unfold…
Jesus foretold the destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD and the terrifying expectation…
You cannot have the Jesus of the Scriptures without the doctrines of judgment and Hell.
Fury of a fire - Literally = "zeal of fire" = a fiery passion. This phrase describes an anger (zeal, jealousy) marked by fire. The emotional picture is that His wrath is "the fury of a fire." God is not just a little bit angry, but passionate with fury!
Vincent says this phrase conveys "the radical idea of… ferment of spirit". Vincent adds that this phrase is an adaptation from Isaiah 26:11
God's "burning anger" is frequently pictured in the Old Testament and here are a few examples - 250 men who rebelled w/ Korah = Nu 16:35; Against Judah = Jer 4:4; Nineveh = Na 1:5, 6; Zeph 1:18 (the fire of His jealousy); Zeph 3:8; Mal 4:1; Ps 79:5.
Paul records a NT account of the "certain terrifying expectation"…
Peter observes that
Jude cites the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah “as example of those who suffer punishment of eternal fire” (Jude 1:7) and encourages his readers to “snatch others from the fire and save them” (Jude 1:23).
In Revelation, those who worship the beast “will be tormented with burning sulfur” (Re 14:10-note) while the beast, the devil, death, and Hades are all thrown into “the lake of burning sulfur” (Re 19:20-note; 20:9-note, 10-note, 14-note, 15-note) which is the “second death” (Rev 21:8-note). Such will be the inescapable fate of all of those who are found to be “the enemies of God.” And such will be the case for any of us should we persist in a purposeful choice of deliberate and continual sin and persistent rejection of Jesus.
Phil Newton asks a very pragmatic question…
WHICH WILL CONSUME THE ADVERSARIES: esthiein (PAN) mellontos (PAPNSG) tous hupenantious: (Dt 32:43; Ps 68:1,2; Nah 1:2,8, 9, 10; Lk 19:27; 1Th 2:15,16)
Consume (2068)(esthio) literally means to consume as when one eats or drinks but here is used figuratively meaning to destroy or devour with the implication of doing away with all traces of an object, in this case the adversary. These are surely words that should cause any enemy of God great woe.
Esthio - 158x in 139v - Matt 6:25, 31; 9:11; 11:18f; 12:1, 4; 14:16, 20f; 15:2, 20, 27, 32, 37f; 24:49; 25:35, 42; 26:17, 21, 26; Mark 1:6; 2:16, 26; 3:20; 5:43; 6:31, 36f, 42, 44; 7:2ff, 28; 8:1f, 8; 11:14; 14:12, 14, 18, 22; Luke 4:2; 5:30, 33; 6:1, 4; 7:33f, 36; 8:55; 9:13, 17; 10:7f; 12:19, 22, 29, 45; 13:26; 14:1, 15; 15:16, 23; 17:8, 27f; 22:8, 11, 15f, 30; 24:43; John 4:31ff; 6:5, 23, 26, 31, 49ff, 58; 18:28; Acts 9:9; 10:13f; 11:7; 23:12, 21; 27:35; Rom 14:2f, 6, 20f, 23; 1 Cor 8:7f, 10, 13; 9:4, 7, 13; 10:3, 7, 18, 25, 27f, 31; 11:20ff, 26ff, 33f; 15:32; 2 Thess 3:8, 10, 12; Heb 10:27; 13:10; Jas 5:3; Rev 2:7, 14, 20; 10:10; 17:16; 19:18. NAS = ate(21), consume(2), diet(1), dine(1), does so(1), eat(96), eaten(2), eating(19), eats(11), feed(2), use(1).
The Septuagint uses esthio in a passage that is related to Hebrews 10:27…
Compare a similar sense of esthio in…
The truth about God in Hebrews 10:27 is an extension of similar truths recorded in the OT in such passages as…
In Numbers Moses records that…
As noted above, Paul associates the second appearance of Jesus with “blazing fire” and the punishment of those who do not know God or obey the gospel (2Th 1:8).
James addresses those rich with material goods in this present world warning them that…
Adversaries (5227) (hupenantios from hupo = intensifies + enantios = contrary > cp wind as contrary = Mt14:24 or people as hostile toward = 1Th 2:15) literally means set over against or opposite and thus an apt description of those who are opposed or contrary, those who are hostile toward another. Webster adds that the English word adversary describes one that contends with, opposes, or resists.
To what/who are they opposed? Obviously to God and to His Son and the new covenant He puts into effect in His blood, a better covenant than the old system of law and/or works based salvation which can never satisfy God's demands for perfection. In context these are those men and women who have heard the good news clearly presented but who have clearly rejected that news and now are in effect enemies of the Most High God. The have become apostates, those who have abandoned what they previously professed. They have deserted Jesus and His promise of a better covenant and departed only to return to the obsolete covenant of the law practices by Judaism.
NOTICE TO ALL GOD HATERS:
God haters include depraved men like Voltaire who said of Christ the frightening words
Ironically, shortly after his death the very house in which Voltaire printed his foul anti-Christ literature became the depot of the Geneva Bible Society! Does God have a "sense of humor"! But His judgment is real and it is no joke!
The nurse who attended Voltaire in his last days said
Voltaire's physician Trochim, waiting with Voltaire at his death, said he cried out most desperately
Consider Thomas Paine, the enemy of Christianity whose last hour came in 1809, finding him a disillusioned and unfulfilled individual who in his final moments declared…