Hebrews 10:28-29 Commentary

 

Hebrews 10:28 Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. (NASB: Lockman)

Greek: athetesas (AAPMSN) tis nomon Mouseos choris oiktirmon epi dusin e trisin martusin apothneskei; (3SPAI)

Amplified: Any person who has violated and [thus] rejected and set at naught the Law of Moses is put to death without pity or mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. [Deut. 17:2-6.] (Amplified Bible - Lockman)

Barclay: Anyone who regards the law of Moses as a dead letter dies without pity on the evidence of two or three witnesses. (Westminster Press)

NLT: Anyone who refused to obey the law of Moses was put to death without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. (NLT - Tyndale House)

Phillips: The man who showed contempt for Moses' Law died without hope of appeal on the evidence of two or three of his fellows. (Phillips: Touchstone)

Wuest: Anyone who has set aside Moses’ law, without mercy, upon the evidence of two or three witnesses, dies. (Eerdmans)

Young's Literal: any one who did set at nought a law of Moses, apart from mercies, by two or three witnesses, doth die,

THE FIVE WARNING PASSAGES
IN HEBREWS

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)

ANYONE WHO HAS SET ASIDE THE LAW OF MOSES DIES WITHOUT MERCY ON THE TESTIMONY OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES: athethsas (AAPMSN) tis nomon Mouseos choris oiktirmon… apothneskei (3SPAI) epi dusin e trisin martusin: (He 2:2; Numbers 15:30,31,36; Deuteronomy 13:6, 7, 8, 9, 10; 17:2-13; 2Samuel 12:9,13)

(Dt 19:13; Isaiah 27:11; Jeremiah 13:14; Romans 9:15; James 2:13) (Dt 17:2,6,7; 19:15; Matthew 18:16; John 8:17; 2Cor 13:1)

The writer now proceeds to describe the process by which one traverses the treacherous road to the eternal dead end in apostasy.

Anyone (tis) means just that - "anyone". In other words, there are no exceptions to this basic tenet.

Set aside - This verb is placed first in sentence for emphasis. This "anyone" regards God's laws as nothing as shown by their rebellion. Rejecting the Law brought just recompense (He 2:2) from which there was no escape. Dt 17:2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

Set aside (114) (atheteo [word study] from áthetos = not placed from a = without + thetós = placed) means to regard as nothing, to declare invalid, to not recognize, to annul (make ineffective, inoperative or nonexistent), to spurn, to despise. To do away with what has been laid down (in this case the Law of Moses).

Thayer writes that atheteo means "to act toward anything as though it were annulled; hence, to deprive a law of force by opinions or acts opposed to it, to transgress… to thwart the efficacy of anything, nullify, make void, frustrate… to render prudent plans of no effect (1Cor 1:19)… to reject, refuse, slight (eg, "the grace of God" Gal 2:21)

Atheteo - 16x in 16v - Mark 6:26; 7:9; Luke 7:30; 10:16; John 12:48; 1 Cor 1:19; Gal 2:21; 3:15; 1 Thess 4:8; 1 Tim 5:12; Heb 10:28; Jude 1:8. NAS = nullify(1), refuse(1), reject(1), rejected(1), rejects(6), rejecting(1), set aside(3), sets… aside(1), setting aside(1).

Atheteo - 52x in the Septuagint (LXX) - Ex 21:8; Deut 21:14; Judg 9:23; 1 Sam 2:17; 13:3; 1 Kgs 8:50; 12:19; 2 Kgs 1:1; 3:5, 7; 8:20, 22; 18:7, 20; 24:1, 20; 1 Chr 2:7; 5:25; 2 Chr 10:19; 36:13f; Esth 2:15; Ps 14:4; 32:10; 88:35; 131:11; Isa 1:2; 21:2; 24:16; 31:2; 33:1; 48:8; 63:8; Jer 3:20; 5:11; 9:1; 12:1, 6; 15:16; Lam 1:2; Ezek 22:26; 39:23; Dan 3:95.

Judges 9:23 Then God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the men of Shechem; and the men of Shechem dealt treacherously (Hebrew = bagad = were disloyal, acted unfaithfully, were traitorous; Lxx = atheteo) with Abimelech, (Comment: Treachery against man)

Isaiah 48:8 "You have not heard, you have not known. Even from long ago your ear has not been open, Because I knew that you would deal very treacherously (Hebrew = bagad = were disloyal, acted unfaithfully, were traitorous; Lxx= atheteo); And you have been called a rebel from birth. (Comment: Treachery against God)

Jeremiah 3:20 "Surely, as a woman treacherously departs (Hebrew = bagad = were disloyal, acted unfaithfully, were traitorous; Lxx= atheteo) from her lover, so you (Jehovah speaking to His chosen people Israel) have dealt treacherously (Hebrew = bagad = were disloyal, acted unfaithfully, were traitorous; Lxx= atheteo) with Me, O house of Israel," declares the LORD. (cp same picture in Jer 5:11)

From these OT passages we can see that the Greek verb atheteo is used to translate the Hebrew word bagad, a verb which speaks of unfaithfulness and is fittingly translated as dealing treacherously! Indeed, is not apostasy dealing unfaithfully with God's revealed truth and thus dealing treacherously with His Truth which is manifest in Jesus? Webster says that "treacherous" identifies one who violates allegiance or faith pledged, one who betrays a trust, one who violates his engagements or his pledged faith, fitting descriptions of an apostate!

The Law of Moses - The Law was a shadow or picture of the reality (substance) fulfilled in Christ and His perfect sacrifice. And so even under the Old Covenant to reject the Law of Moses brought dire consequences. It follows that even more serious consequences will be incurred for rejecting the reality (substance) of Messiah.

Testimony of two or three witnesses alludes to the OT law prescribed in Deuteronomy 17…

If there is found in your midst, in any of your towns, which the LORD your God is giving you, a man or a woman who does what is evil in the sight of the LORD your God, by transgressing His covenant, 3 and has gone and served other gods and worshiped them, or the sun or the moon or any of the heavenly host, which I have not commanded (In short, practiced idolatry, thus breaking the first 3 laws of the old covenant - Ex 20:3, 4, 5 cp Dt 4:23), 4 and if it is told you and you have heard of it, then you shall inquire thoroughly. And behold, if it is true and the thing certain that this detestable thing has been done in Israel, 5 then you shall bring out that man or that woman who has done this evil deed, to your gates, that is, the man or the woman, and you shall stone them to death. 6 "On the evidence of two witnesses or three witnesses, he who is to die shall be put to death; he shall not be put to death on the evidence of one witness. 7 "The hand of the witnesses shall be first against him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people. So you shall purge the evil from your midst. (Dt 17:2-7) (cp Similar imposition of the death penalty on the testimony of at least two witnesses in Nu 35:30 as punishment for murder)

Dies without mercy - Mercy is shown by not allowing the death sentence on the basis of a single witness. Once duly convicted of idolatry against God, there is no longer a sacrifice remaining to so speak and no remaining mercy. Why? Because this heinous act represents the purposeful personal choice of deliberate sin against clear commandments in the Law of Moses. The public demonstration of God's punishment for idolatry was to serve to awaken the remaining Israelites to their need to pursue holiness (Lev 11:44, 45, 19:2; 20:7, 26). The Jewish reader's were aware of this old covenant law and thus the reader uses it to emphasize the even greater condemnation brought on by setting aside or regarding as nothing Christ's blood of the new covenant!

Charles Simeon's sermon on…

THE EVIL AND DANGER OF APOSTASY
Hebrews 10:26-31

WE cannot be too strongly on our guard against attaching ourselves to human systems in religion. The partisans of human systems take a partial view of the Scriptures, leaning invariably to those passages which appear to sanction their favourite dogmas, and excluding all mention of those which have a contrary aspect. They all take it for granted, that the things which they know not how to reconcile, are contrary to, and inconsistent with, each other. But as in a machine wheels may move in opposite directions, and yet so harmonize as to subserve one common end, so, in the word of God, truths, which have an opposite aspect, may be perfectly reconcileable to each other, and equally conducive to the accomplishment of the Divine purposes. The Apostle Paul insisted, as strongly as any one could do, on the doctrines of grace, shewing that all was ordered by God according to the counsel of his own will: yet no Apostle spoke more strongly than he on the danger of apostasy; or taught more forcibly the necessity of continual watchfulness on our part in order to the attainment of those blessings which God had from all eternity prepared for us. It is on this subject that he is speaking in the passage before us; wherein he cautions the Hebrew converts against apostasy, bidding them to hold fast the profession of their faith without wavering; and warning them, that, if they turned back from God, it would be to their everlasting perdition.

In the words which I have just read, he sets forth,

I. The evil of apostasy—

It is not of all sin, or even of all wilful sin, that he speaks: for, if there were no pardon for wilful sin after baptism, or after we have embraced the Gospel, who could hope ever to attain salvation, since there is not a man in the universe who has not, on some one occasion at least, knowingly and willfully done what he ought not, or left undone what he ought to have done.

The sin spoken of in the text, is, a total and wilful apostasy from the Gospel of Christ. This appears from the whole context, both from that which precedes, and that which follows. In the preceding context he bids them to “hold fast the profession of their faith without wavering;” (Heb 10:23-note) and then he adds, “for, if we sin willfully;” (Heb 10:26-note) that is, by renouncing our holy profession, we reduce ourselves to the most awful condition that can be imagined; seeing that, having put away all affiance (= The marriage contract or promise; faith pledged; trust in general; confidence) in the sacrifice of Christ, there remains no other sacrifice for our sins. In the following context the sin is opened at large under three separate heads, which, whilst they mark distinctly the nature of the sin which is intended, display the evil of it in most tremendous colours.

Let us consider each of them in its order—

[Apostasy, he tells us, is a “treading under foot the Son of God.” The Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, came down from heaven to seek and to save them that were lost. We, when we are baptized in his name (cp Ro 6:3-note, 1Co 12:13), or make a profession of faith in Him, acknowledge Him before all to be the Saviour of the world. All other lords we then renounce; and all other grounds of hope before God; and in effect we say with Peter, “Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life: and we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Jn 6:68, 69) But when we renounce our faith in Him, we, as far as in us lies, cast Him down from His throne, and trample him under our feet; declaring, that He is unworthy of the honour which we had erroneously put upon Him, and that we will “no longer have him to reign over us:” (Lk 19:14) yea, we even “crucify Him afresh, and put Him to an open shame.” (Heb 6:6)

Next, it is a “counting of the blood of the covenant an unholy thing.” (Heb 10:29) The Mosaic covenant was ratified with blood; and with that blood both the tabernacle with all its vessels, and the people who worshipped before it, were sanctified, and set apart as holy to the Lord. The covenant of grace is ratified with the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ; and, when we “come to the knowledge of the truth,” (He 10:26) we also are sanctified with it, and set apart to the service of our God. We profess to consider that blood as the one procuring cause of all that we either have or hope for: and we look for all the blessings of the covenant solely through the merit of His blood as shed for us, and as sprinkled on us.

But, when we cast off our profession, we declare before all, that we consider the blood of Christ as having no virtue at all as an atonement for sin, and as being, in fact, of no more efficacy than the blood of bulls and goats, or even of a malefactor, justly put to death.

Further, it is a doing of “despite unto the Spirit of grace.” (Heb 10:29) The Holy Spirit, both before and after the death of Jesus, bare witness to Him by signs and wonders innumerable (cp Heb 2:4): and, when we are brought to the knowledge of the truth, it is by that same blessed Spirit illuminating our minds (Heb 10:32KJV), and sealing the truth with power upon our souls (cp 2Co 1:22, Ep 1:13, Ep 4:30). But, when we renounce the truth we have received, we insult that Divine Agent, as having borne witness to a falsehood: and we ascribe all His miracles either to Satanic agency, or to some mysterious imposture. We even laugh also at the impressions which He has made upon our minds, and deride all his merciful suggestions as fanaticism and delusion.]

In this view of apostasy, say, if it be not a most tremendous evil?

[Those who are guilty of it, speak of it only as a change of sentiment resulting from conviction; and thus they take credit to themselves as having grown in wisdom, and been faithful to their convictions. But God seeth not as man seeth. God beholds all the evils of the heart which have been accessory to this change; and all the injury that results from it, both to his honour, and to the world at large. He sees the pride of heart which will not receive the truth upon his testimony. He sees the love of the world which operates to draw the heart from him; yea, and the enmity of the heart against him, which will not submit, either to be saved or governed in so mysterious a way. In other sins he beholds only a resistance to his authority; but in this, a contempt of all the wonders of his wisdom and love. A person who has never received the knowledge of the truth, cannot commit this sin, or any sin of equal malignity. It is the resisting of light that has been imparted, and the acting contrary to it to such an extent as to call it darkness; this it is which makes the guilt so great, that, humanly speaking, it can never be forgiven. Were it indeed repented of, and were mercy sought through the blood of Jesus, even this sin, great as it is, might be forgiven: but the commission of it implies such desperate wickedness and obduracy, that it never can, without a miracle of mercy, be repented of.]

Hence then may be seen,

II. The danger of it—

This is declared,

1. From the very nature of the sin itself—

[Consider what the sin is: it is a discarding of the only remedy which God has provided for the necessities of fallen man. Under the Mosaic dispensation, God revealed himself to the Hebrews as the only true God; and entered into covenant with them to be their God, if they would serve Him in sincerity and truth. But, if any one made void that law, and departed from Him to worship other gods, He appointed, that, upon the fact being proved by two or three witnesses, the offender should be stoned to death; and it was expressly forbidden to any person to conceal the crime: if it should have been committed by a man’s dearest friend or relative, he must reveal it to the constituted authorities, and take the lead in executing sentence on the offender. In this law the Hebrews had acquiesced as holy, and just, and good (Ro 7:12). (Here let me suggest, by the way, that the illustration here brought by the Apostle farther shows, what the sin was of which he spake; namely, that it was not every wilful sin, but a wilful renunciation of the Gospel of Christ.)

Now, says the Apostle, if so severe a sentence was executed, without any mercy, on the contemner (a despiser; a scorner) of the Mosaic covenant, and the judges themselves declared the offender to be “worthy of it,” “of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who has renounced the Christian covenant; since he has trodden under-foot the Son of God, &c.?”

Here he appeals to them, and makes them judges in their own cause. And to you also do I appeal. If they who renounced that legal covenant, the provisions of which were chiefly of a temporal nature, and the engagements of it ratified only with the blood of beasts, were counted worthy of such a tremendous punishment as death; of how much sorer punishment must he be worthy, who renounces the covenant of grace, in which all the blessings of grace and glory are made over to us, and which has been ratified and confirmed with the blood of God’s only dear Son? I consent that you shall be judges in your own cause, and the arbiters of your own fate. They who renounced the law were guilty of most egregious folly and ingratitude: but their impiety was not to be compared with yours: for whilst, as renouncing the only means of salvation, you resemble them, your impiety is greater than theirs, in proportion as the covenant which you despise is more glorious than theirs, and the mercies which you reject have been purchased for you at a dearer rate.

Know then, that to such persons “there remains no more sacrifice for sins.” Under the law, the sacrifices were repeated from year to year; but not so under the Gospel: Christ will never die for your sins again; nor will any other offering be made in his stead: and therefore, having renounced him, “nothing remains for you but a certain fearful looking-for of judgment,” whilst you continue here; and “of fiery indignation,” when you go hence, “that shall devour all the adversaries” of God and his Christ. Even here, I say, the punishment of such persons is awful: for, to say the least, they are in a state of uncertainty what shall be their fate in the eternal world; and they have frequently in their minds and consciences such an anticipation of their doom, as appals their souls, and terrifies their spirits, and forms a very hell within them: and the moment they go hence, the wrath of an incensed God comes upon them to the uttermost.]

2. From the fixed determination of God to punish it—

[God has said, “Vengeance belongeth unto me; and I will recompense.” And again, “The Lord shall judge his people.” Now if he, as the moral Governor of the universe, has determined to execute justice, as well as to shew mercy; and if the administering of justice be no less necessary to his own glory than the dispensing of mercy, what have the contemners of his Gospel to expect? He has said, he will thus display his righteousness at the last day: and “we know him who has said it:” we know that he is almighty, and therefore able to inflict punishment; and we know he is true, and therefore will fulfil his word. It is in vain to think that he will change: for “he is not a man, that he should lie; or the son of man, that he should repent.” Seeing then that he will take the matter into his own hands, judge ye, whether it be not “a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” Were it only a mortal man that was incensed, and you had no way of escape from him, it were a terrible state for you to be in: but what must it be to be exposed to the wrath of the living God, who, whilst he ever lives to execute vengeance, will preserve you in existence, that you may eternally endure it? Think of enduring “the wrath of the Lamb,” which will be so much the more terrible, in proportion as his mercy in submitting to be slain for you has been slighted and despised.]

“Suffer ye then, brethren, a word of Exhortation”—

1. Watch and pray against every wilful sin—

[“Keep thy servant from presumptuous sin,” said David; “then shall I be innocent from the great transgression.” Now, though it is true that every wilful sin, or every presumptuous sin, does not involve us in all the guilt of apostasy, yet it leads to apostasy as its natural end and issue; because it hardens the heart, and sears the conscience, and grieves the Holy Spirit, and provokes God to leave us to ourselves: and, if once God say of us, “They are joined to idols; let them alone;” our doom is sealed, and our perdition sure. Let me then affectionately entreat you to guard against every wilful sin, whether of commission or omission. A man does not become an apostate all at once: he first indulges some secret lust, some filthiness either of the flesh or spirit. Then he declines into formality in his secret walk with God: then his besetting sin gets an ascendant over him: then he becomes indifferent to public ordinances; and so, from opposing the Gospel in his heart and life, he comes to abandon it even in profession, and to relapse into avowed infidelity, and a contempt of all true religion. The misery which such persons frequently endure in this life, is sufficient to make us dread such an event as this — — — But that which the apostate soul shall endure in the eternal world, surpasses all conception. It would have been better for such an one never to have known the way of righteousness, than, having known it, to desert it, and make shipwreck of his faith.]

2. Bear in mind your obligations to Christ and to his Holy Spirit—

[Why did the Lord Jesus Christ die under the load of all your guilt? Was it that you might continue in your sins? — — — Why did the Holy Spirit undertake to renew and sanctify your souls; and why has he begun a work of grace in your hearts? Was it that you might “return again with the dog to his vomit, and the sow that was washed to a wallowing in the mire?” Let then the Lord Jesus Christ behold in you the fruits of his love — — — and let the Holy Spirit rejoice in beholding in you the efficacy of his grace — — — Then it will be no formidable thing to “fall into the hands of the living God:” on the contrary, you may then with joyful hope look forward to the time of your departure, and, after the example of that Saviour in whom you have believed, you may say in your dying hour, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.”] (Simeon, C. 1832-63. Horae Homileticae Vol. 19: 2 Timothy to Hebrews Page 343)

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Andrew Murray

THE SIN AGAINST THE TRIUNE GOD
Hebrews 10:28-31

THE Epistle has set before us the more excellent glory of the New Testament. We can draw near to God as Israel never could; God hath indeed made His grace to abound more exceedingly. But let no one think that greater grace means less stringency with sin, or less fierceness of the fire of judgment. Nay, the very opposite. Greater privilege brings greater reasonability, and, in case of failure, greater judgment. As elsewhere (Hebrews 2:2; 12:25) we are reminded that the New Testament exceeds the Old not only in its blessing but also in its curse. As he had asked "How much more will the blood of Christ cleanse?" so here he asks, "How much more sore will the punishment be?" Oh that men would believe it; the New Testament, with its revelation of God as love, brings on its rejecters a far more fearful judgment than the Old. May God in mercy show us what it means, for our own sakes and that of others.

A man that hath set at naught Moses' law dieth without compassion, note this terrible word, without compassion: of how much sorer punishment, think ye, shall he be judged worthy, who sins against New Testament grace? The measure" of the superior greatness of the New Testament will be the only measure of the greater fearfulness of the punishment sent; as in the first warning the greatness of salvation was connected with the part each person in the Holy Trinity had taken in it, so here too. The Father gave His Son: of how much sorer punishment shall he be counted worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God. The Son gave His blood: here is one who hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing. The Father and the Son gave the Spirit: he hath done despite to the Spirit of grace. Under Moses' law a man died without compassion: how much sorer punishment, without compassion, shall be the fate of them that reject Christ. Hear what all this means.

Who hath trodden under foot the lion of God! There was once an aged father, who had often pleaded in vain with a dissipated son to forsake his evil ways. One night, as the son was preparing again to go out, the father, after renewing his entreaties, went and stood in the door, saying, "My son, I cannot let you go, if you do, it will be over my body." The son tried to push the father aside. The old man fell, and in rushing out he trod on the father! Jesus Christ, God's Son, comes and stands in the sinner's way, pleading with him to turn from his evil way. He casts Himself in the way, with His wounded, bleeding body. And the sinner, not heeding what he does, passes over it: he hath trodden under foot the Son of God! What a sin against the Father and the love that gave the Son!

And hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he Was sanctified, an unholy thing. The Father gave the Son.

And the Son gave His blood, the blood of the covenant, securing and conveying to us all its wondrous privileges--the blood with which he was sanctified, admitted to the Holiest of All and the Holy One, he hath counted an unholy thing. When I come to water in which I wish to wash, and find it impure, I reject it; I throw it out. Christ calls the sinner to wash in His blood and be clean. He rejects it as an unclean thing. Yes, the blood that speaks of the love of Jesus, and remission of sins, and the opened heaven, is rejected and cast aside! Oh, what sin! If the rejecters of the blood of bulls and goats died without compassion, how much more--the despisers of the blood of the Son of God.

And hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace! I can put no greater affront on my king, or my father, than by shutting my door in his face. If they come to me with a message or a gift of love in my Wretchedness, to turn them away is to do them despite. The Spirit comes as the Spirit of grace, to convince of sin and stir to prayer and lead to Jesus. To close the door, to refuse surrender, to open the heart to the spirit of the world instead of Him, is to do despite to the Spirit of grace! The Son trodden under foot, the blood counted unclean, the Spirit of grace despised and rejected,--alas, what terrible sin!

For such there remaineth no more a sacrifice for sins! And such are they among us and around us who reject the Christ of God! And such their fate! For we know Him that said, Vengeance belongeth unto Me, I will recompense. And again, the Lord shall judge His people.--For we know Kiln! How many there are who profess to believe in Scripture, and to worship God, but who do not know this God. They have framed to themselves a God, after their own instincts and imagination; they believe not in the Holy One in whom righteousness and love meet in perfect harmony. They refuse to say, We know Him that said, Vengeance belongeth unto Me, I will recompense. Oh, let us seek so to know Him" that our hearts may be filled with compassion for all who are still exposed to this fearful vengeance. For it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Let us think in love on all who are still exposed to this judgment, until it stir us to thanksgiving for our own redemption, to an infinite compassion for all who are in danger, to new fervency of prayer for their salvation, and to a consecration of ourselves to the one work of warning them of their danger and leading them to Christ.

1. In accepting God's word let us remember that as little as we could have devised or understood the glorious redemption in Christ, such as God's love has provided, without a divine revelation, can we arrange for or understand a judgment day such as God's righteousness requires. The one is a mystery of love and the other a mystery of wrath, beyond all we can think or know.

2. It was to meet the judgment and the wrath of God Christ's blood was needed. The blood stands midway between the judgment threatened and the Judgment yet to be poured out, As we believe in the judgment we shall honour the blood; as we believe in the blood we shall fear the judgment.

Andrew Murray. The Holiest of All

Hebrews 10:29 How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace? (NASB: Lockman)

Greek: poso dokeite (2PPAI) cheironos axiothesetai (3SFPI) timorias o ton uion tou theou katapatesas, (AAPMSN) kai to aima tes diathekes koinon egesamenos (AMPMSN) en o egiasthe, (3SAPI) kai to pneuma tes charitos enubrisas? (AAPMSN)

Amplified: How much worse (sterner and heavier) punishment do you suppose he will be judged to deserve who has spurned and [thus] trampled underfoot the Son of God, and who has considered the covenant blood by which he was consecrated common and unhallowed, thus profaning it and insulting and outraging the [Holy] Spirit [Who imparts] grace (the unmerited favor and blessing of God)? [Exod. 24:8.] (Amplified Bible - Lockman)

Barclay: Of how much worse punishment, do you think, that man will be deemed worthy who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, who has failed to regard the blood of the new covenant, with which he was made fit for God’s presence, as a sacred thing, and who has insulted the Spirit through whom God’s grace comes to us? (Westminster Press)

NLT: Think how much more terrible the punishment will be for those who have trampled on the Son of God and have treated the blood of the covenant as if it were common and unholy. Such people have insulted and enraged the Holy Spirit who brings God's mercy to his people. (NLT - Tyndale House)

Phillips: How much more dreadful a punishment will he be thought to deserve who has poured scorn on the Son of God, treated like dirt the blood of the agreement which had once made him holy, and insulted the very Spirit of grace? (Phillips: Touchstone)

Wuest: By how much do you think shall he be thought worthy of sorer punishment who has trodden under foot the Son of God, and has considered the blood of the testament a common thing by which [blood] he was set apart for God and His service, and has insulted the Spirit of grace? (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,

HOW MUCH SEVERER PUNISHMENT DO YOU THINK HE WILL DESERVE: poso dokeite (2PPAI) cheironos axiothesetai (3SFPI): (He 2:3; 12:25)

How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve - Charles Simeon notes that "here he appeals to them, and makes them judges in their own cause."

Much severer punishment - The judgment on those who reject God’s work in Christ will be immeasurably worse than the judgment of Israel (and they were stoned in the OT passages to which the writer refers! Woe!).

Several “how much more” arguments (based first on the OT illustration, then the NT application) are woven throughout Hebrews (obviously here in Hebrews 10:29) -

Heb 2:2-note For if the word spoken through angels proved unalterable, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense,3 how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? (In other words how much worse will the "just recompense" be to those who make light of, are careless or, fail to regard the "great salvation" in and through the sacrifice of the Great High Priest) After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard

Heb 12:25-note See (present imperative = keep on being aware) to it that you do not refuse Him Who is speaking. For if those did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less shall we escape who turn away from Him who warns from heaven (In other words how much worse is the fate from which there is no escape).

This style of argument was typical of the Rabbinical school and was “the first of Hillel’s seven rules for exegesis”.

Ponder what the writer is saying here - The judgment of God is described as punishment and it is a punishment that is worse than death, because it goes beyond the grave. Now try and imagine a punishment worse than death! Although the doctrine of degrees of punishment in hell is not directly taught here, the Scriptures clearly teach this truth (See Mt 11:21,22, 23, 24, Mt 10:15; Mk 6:11; Lk 12:47, 48). As Jesus explained to Pilate

He who delivered Me up to you has the greater sin (Jn 19:11).

In other words the sin of Judas Iscariot was greater than the sin of Pilate. To be sure both men were unbelievers, but Judas' unbelief the "greater" unbelief of an apostate. Judas had more "light" (the knowledge of the truth) than Pilate, for he had seen signs and wonders at the hands of Jesus, and in spite of this truth, he willfully, deliberately choose to betray the Lord.

WHO HAS TRAMPLED UNDER FOOT THE SON OF GOD: timorias o ton huion tou theou katapatesas (AAPMSN): (2Kings 9:33; Psalms 91:13; Isaiah 14:19; 28:3; Lamentations 1:15; Ezekiel 16:6; Micah 7:10; Matthew 7:6; Romans 16:20; 1Corinthians 15:25,27)

AN ALMOST UNSPEAKABLE
DESCRIPTION!

Who has trampled under foot (2662) (katapateo from kata = intensifies the meaning + pateo = tread, trample) is used literally in Mt 5:13-note, Lk 8:5 and Lk 12:1, but here in Hebrews 10:29 katapateo is clearly used figuratively with the sense of to treat contemptuously, to thoroughly despise, to spurn (reject disdainfully) or to treat with insulting neglect.

See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled that there be no immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal. (He 12:15, 16)

Comment: Esau is described as "ungodly" which is the Greek word bebelos [word study] which literally means trodden under foot and figuratively describes Esau as radically separate from that which is holy. The idea of bebelos and the picture of Esau is that of one who lacks any relationship or affinity to God!

1Sa 2:29 In the ancient Near East one of the gestures used to show contempt for someone was to “lift up the foot” against or toward them (cf Ps 41:9). To walk on top of someone or something was a more extreme gesture showing utter contempt and scorn (cf 2Ki 9:33; Isa 14:19; Mic 7:10; Zec 10:5). Such contempt demonstrates a complete rejection of Christ as Savior and Lord.

Jesus employed katapateo to describe the fate of salt which has lost its saltiness: Mt 5:13. On another occasion he warned his disciples not to “throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet” (Mt 7:6). Those who “deliberately keep on sinning” evidence the same attitude toward the Son of God. They regard him as not good for anything and life in complete disregard for his worth.

Wuest - Trampled under foot the Son of God, is a sin against God the Father who gave the Son to become the Sin-offering (John 3:16). (Hebrews Commentary online)

He lived for himself, and himself alone;
For himself, and none beside.
Just as if Jesus had never lived,
And as if he had never died!

AND HAS REGARDED AS UNCLEAN THE BLOOD OF THE COVENANT BY WHICH HE WAS SANCTIFIED: kai to haima tes diathekes koinon egesamenos, (AMPMSN) en o hegiasthe (3SAPI): (He 9:20; 13:20) (He 2:11; 9:13; Jeremiah 1:5; John 10:36; 17:19; 1Corinthians 11:27,29)

Has regarded (2233)(hegeomai) refers to a conscious judgment resting on deliberate weighing of the facts. The verb is an aorist middle participle, (middle voice initiates action and participates in results thereof) which implies this is a deliberate, contemptuous rejection of the Messianic sacrifice of the Son of God. Once they regarded themselves as holy (sanctified) by the blood of Jesus, but now they deny this and reject the Cross (His blood was spilt on Calvary) as unnecessary for acceptance before God. Do you know any folks who have been at one time seemingly zealous for the Lord Jesus, but now scoff at the Name above all names? Most of us who have been believers for a few decades (3 in my case), sadly know of such individuals. Our hope and prayer of course is that somehow, some way they come to their senses before their last breath on earth (Amen)!

Wuest - Counting (hegeomai = has regarded) the blood of the New Testament an unholy (unclean) thing, is a sin against God the Son who shed His blood. The word “counted” in the Greek text refers to a conscious judgment resting on deliberate weighing of the facts. Here it implies a deliberate, contemptuous rejection of the Messianic sacrifice of the Son of God (Ed: Note also the use of the reflexive middle voice). The word “unholy” is the translation of koinos, the fundamental idea of which is “shared by all, public.” From this comes the idea of “not sacred” that is, “not set apart for God’s use.” The idea here is that the apostate regarded Messiah’s blood as common, having no more sacred character or specific worth than the blood of any ordinary person. (Hebrews Commentary online)

Unclean (2839)(koinos) conveys the fundamental idea is that which is “shared by all, public” of that which was “common” or “unclean” (Mk 7:2; Acts 10:14, 28; 11:8; Ro 14:14). From this comes the idea of “not sacred” that is, “not set apart for God’s use.” The idea here is that the apostate regarded Messiah’s blood as common, having no more sacred character or specific worth than the blood of any ordinary person and implies that Christ was a sinner and a blemished sacrifice!

The implication is that they "took communion", drinking the cup which symbolized the blood of the new covenant, and went away to sin, as if it were not the most precious reality in the universe. (cp the serious, sober manner in which one should enter into the taking of the cup symbolic of the blood of the New Covenant - 1Co 11:23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30 where "sleep" = death!)

The blood of the covenant -

Oh, precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow;
No other fount I know,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
(Play Nothing but the Blood)

Covenant (1242) (diatheke - see word study from dia = two + tithemi = to place pictures that which is placed between two Thus, a covenant is something placed between two, an arrangement between two parties.) was a commonly used in the Greco-Roman world to define a legal transaction in settling an inheritance. Diatheke denotes an irrevocable decision, which cannot be cancelled by anyone. A prerequisite of its effectiveness before the law is the death of the disposer and thus diatheke was like a "final will and testament". In reference to the divine covenants, such as the Abrahamic covenant, diatheke is not a covenant in the sense that God came to agreement or compromise with fallen man as if signing a contract. Rather, it involves declaration of God’s unconditional promise to make Abraham and his seed the recipients of certain blessings.

Christ’s death inaugurated or ratified the New Covenant

for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins. (Mt 26:28)

And He said to them, "This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. (Mark 14:24)

And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, "This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood. (Luke 22:19)

His blood was poured out for the forgiveness of sins. Thus to regard this precious blood as "unclean" leaves absolutely no sacrifice for sins! Would a genuine born again person trample the precious blood of the Lamb of God. I doubt it. Yes it is true -- We all wander (and wonder) and stray off path but not to the point of such abysmal, utter blasphemy as to trample ( figuratively it means to treat contemptuously) Jesus' blood!

He was sanctified - It should not be surprising that sanctified is controversial and some take it to mean that one can be born again, justified by faith, on their way to heaven, experiencing sanctification, and yet in the final analysis be lost and destroyed as a result of forsaking the truth. This type of interpretation arises from the fact that these apostates are said to have been sanctified. But Scripture does not support the teaching that one can lose their salvation. In Hebrews 3:14 the writer says "For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end (see note Hebrews 3:14)

The meaning is that if we do not hold fast to the end, then we "had not become a partaker of Christ." It follows that failure to persevere in the faith is not a sign of losing salvation but of never having had it in the first place. You cannot lose what you never possess. And Hebrews 10:14 says "By one offering He has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified (descriptive of an ongoing process of growth in Christlikeness). (see note Hebrews 10:14)

In other words, there is a kind of true, spiritual sanctification that is sure evidence that one is eternally perfected in God's sight and for all time. And the evidence that it is done, is that we are progressively being truly made holy or sanctified.

Wuest - The words by which he was sanctified in connection with the identity of the person who committed this sin, might trouble the reader when he remembers that the historical background and analysis of the book show that that person is an unsaved person. But the difficulty disappears when we remember that the writer is addressing himself to the professing Christian church, made up of saved and unsaved, and that the idea here is, “by which he professed to be sanctified.” (Hebrews Commentary online)

Others interpret this verse as stating that the possibility of sanctified persons committing apostasy will never happen, because those who are truly elect and born again will be kept from apostasy by the work of the Holy Spirit. So sanctified persons never actually apostatize. And they thus conclude that the prospect in Hebrews 10:26-31 never happens. The warning they say is theoretical and meant to spur believers onward. This manner of interpreting this passage goes on to say that the elect will take heed to the warning and persevere in faith.

In my opinion, the correct interpretation of this difficult passage is that the apostate pictured here at one time professed faith in Christ, listened to the Word preached, and even celebrated the Lord’s Supper with genuine believers. His "faith", such as it was, was not internal and was not genuine (see discussion of faith), and the fruit of that root of his faithlessness was a conscious rejection of Christ’s finished work. For example, he might come to the point where he says something like "The blood of Christ is common and just like any other man’s. There is nothing special about it".

In short, this latter interpretation necessitates a conclusion that sanctification of Hebrews 10:29-note is not the same as the sanctification of Hebrews 10:14-note. The one proves eternal perfection (Hebrews 10:14) and the other proves great guilt after apostasy (Hebrews 10:29).

What is this fruitless sanctification? What does it look like? As alluded to above, this "sanctification" appears to be an external religious separation and outward purification that often happens when a person becomes part of the visible church. The Pharisees of Jesus' day are a perfect illustration of those who on the outside looked so devout, so legitimate, so "set apart" (the root meaning of Pharisee even means set apart - from Aramaic word peras, signifying to separate to a different manner of life from that of the general public - sounds a lot like "sanctified"!) or "sanctified". Jesus Himself testified to their external set apartness or "sanctification" declaring to the audience listening to His sermon on the mount…

For I say to you, that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:20-note)

Could anyone have been more righteous appearing than the Pharisees? Clearly not, at least according to Jesus' assessment. And yet what did these "set apart" ones do (most of them at least)? Did they not reject Jesus the essence of Truth even to the point of seeking to kill Him (compare "trampled under foot the Son of God")? Surely their desire to kill Jesus was nothing short of willful sinning and an insult to the Spirit of grace!

In the same way, the apostates the writer of Hebrews is describing had heard and come under the influence of truth about Jesus. They had mingled with and to a degree come under the influence of the love of Christ among His true followers. They had come under the influence of Christian ordinances like water baptism and the Lord's Supper (both of which are external acts that can easily be performed by unbelievers). And when one looked at their acclamations and actions, for all intents and purposes these men and women appeared to be set apart from the corruption of the world. But their sanctification was only on the outside. They were set apart in much the same way as were the people of Israel in the OT who were set apart from the Gentile nations, even though many of them were faithless apostates!

Spurgeon - Everything lies in the bowels of this sin—the rejecting of Christ. There is murder in this; for if the man on the scaffold rejects a pardon, does he not murder himself? There is pride in this; for you reject Christ, because your proud hearts have turned you aside. There is rebellion in this; for we rebel against God when we reject Christ. There is high treason in this; for you reject a king. You put far from you Him who is crowned king of the earth, and you incur therefore the weightiest of all guilt. Oh, to think that the Lord Jesus should come from heaven—to think for a moment that He should hang upon the tree—that there He should die in extreme agonies, and that from that cross He should this day look down upon you, and should say, “Come to me, all of you who labor and are burdened” (Matt 11:28), that you should still turn away from him—it is the unkindest stab of all. What more brutish, what more devilish, than to turn away from Him who gave His life for you? If this does not mean that unbelief is a sin, and the sin that, above all others, damns men’s souls, they do not mean anything at all. But they are just a dead letter in the Word of God. Now, adultery and murder, and theft, and lying—all these are damning and deadly sins; but repentance can cleanse all these, through the blood of Christ. But to reject Christ destroys a man hopelessly. The murderer, the thief, the drunkard, may yet enter the kingdom of heaven, if, repenting of his sins, he will lay hold on the cross of Christ. But with these sins, a man is inevitably lost, if he does not believe on the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 16:31).

AND HAS INSULTED THE SPIRIT OF GRACE: kai to pneuma tes charitos enubrisas (AAPMSN): (Isaiah 63:10; Matthew 12:31,32; Luke 12:10; Acts 7:51; Ephesians 4:30) (Ps 143:10; Zechariah 12:10)

THE HOLY SPIRIT:
THE SPIRIT OF GRACE

James Smith writes:

Brethren, we need the Holy Spirit, as the Spirit of grace--to make us gracious and graceful Christians. Without the Spirit of grace . . .
  we cannot live up to our profession; 
  we cannot copy the example of our beloved Master; 
  we cannot keep His commandments;
  we cannot love one another as He has loved us; 
  we cannot sympathize with lost sinners as we should; 
  we cannot keep God's glory in view in all that we do; 
  we cannot walk in high and holy fellowship with God;
  we cannot meet death with peace and joy 
(see his full message below)

Has insulted (1796) (enubrizo from en = in + hubrizo = act arrogantly, ill-treat, exercise violence, abuse, use reproachfully or despitefully, act insolently or spitefully toward someone) means to treat with reproach.

Wuest - Doing despite (Webster = Extreme malice; violent hatred; malignity; malice irritated or enraged; active malignity; angry hatred) to the Spirit of grace is a sin against God the Holy Spirit. “Despite” in the Greek text has the idea of insulting. It refers to the act of this professed Hebrew, who after allowing the Holy Spirit to lead him along in His pre-salvation work of convicting him of sin and of energizing him to the act of repentance, now turns away from His further ministration of imparting faith, back to the temple sacrifices. (Hebrews Commentary online)

The Spirit can be...

Quenched - 1Th 5:19-note

Grieved - Eph 4:30-note

Resisted - Acts 7:51-note 

Lewis Sperry Chafer, founder of Dallas Theological Seminary, made a statement that certainly sounds reasonable that if we grieve not the Spirit (Eph. 4:30), quench not the Spirit (1 Thess. 5:19-20), and walk by the Spirit (Gal. 5:16-note), we will be filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5:18-note). I would "adjust" it slightly because I think that there is no way to obey the command to walk by the Spirit unless we are filled with, controlled by and empowered by the Holy Spirit. The negative commands if broken (grieve, quench) clearly will effectively "neutralize" the power of the Spirit in our lives. For that reason, in some ways those two negative commands are actually the most important commands in the Bible for a believer pursuing sanctification/holiness (Heb 12:14-note)!

Compare Isaiah

(Isa 63:10) But they rebelled And grieved (Heb = atsab = to hurt, pain; Lxx =  paroxuno = to provoke to wrath, irritate, cause to be upset) His Holy Spirit; Therefore, He turned Himself to become their enemy, He fought against them.

John Phillips explains that "There are three ways in which the Holy Spirit can be opposed. He can be grieved, He can be quenched, and He can be resisted. Only a Spirit-indwelt believer can grieve the Holy Spirit. The word grieve is a love-word. We can grieve only someone who loves us and who stands in a special relationship to us. A church can quench the Holy Spirit by allowing men to usurp His authority, by refusing to follow His leading, or by permitting false doctrine or moral evil to take root. Sinners resist the Holy Spirit. Stephen now dropped his defense and went boldly to the attack, vilifying his listeners for their persistent and continuing opposition to God. Their chief sin was that of resisting the Holy Spirit. Their treatment of the saviors, the Scriptures, and the sanctuaries God had given them, and, above all, their treatment of the Son of God, constituted a persistent sin against the Holy Ghost." (Exploring Acts)

Insulted the Spirit of grace - As explained above, this phrase most likely refers to the act of a professed Hebrew believer, who after allowing the Holy Spirit to lead him along in His pre-salvation work of convicting of sin and of energizing him to consider repentance, now turns away from the Spirit's further impartation of faith, instead choosing to turn from grace and go back to the Law and the temple sacrifices.

Elmer Towns - A third sin against the Holy Spirit is described as insulting the Holy Spirit (Heb. 10:29). This sin is identified in one of the five warning passages of Hebrews. Many Bible teachers believe these passages were specifically directed to unsaved persons who had become a part of the Early Church, yet had not entered into a personal relationship with God through Christ. This teaching serves as a warning of the consequences of continued delay in responding to the gospel. Therefore, insulting the Holy Spirit may involve unnecessary delay in receiving the gospel once one has realized his or her need and been drawn to Christ by the Holy Spirit. (The Names of the Holy Spirit)

Towns summarizes the...

 TERMS FOR THE MATURING WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT Indwelling Names of the Spirit
  1. A New Spirit - He gives the believer the Spirit-filled life.
  2. A Spirit of Grace - He helps the believer walk by grace, not law.
  3. Spirit of Supplication -      He motivates the believer to pray.
  4. My Witness - He bears witness of the believer's salvation.
  5. My Helper - He helps the believer grow in Christ. 

The Life of God in Human Lives
  1. Union with God - He puts the believer in God.
  2. Communion with God - He helps the believer's fellowship with God. (Ibid)

Robertson McQuilkin - He is called the Spirit of grace (Zech. 12:10) because He is actually the dispenser of all of God's free gifts. (Life in the Spirit)

A C Gaebelein -  He is called in this verse "the Spirit ,of Grace" because He is given through the grace of God and He communicates that grace to the heart and life of the believing sinner. This exhortation (Heb 10:29) had its special meaning for those Hebrews who had not been fully converted and were halting between two opinions; it is of the same meaning as Hebrews 6:1-6. (The Holy Spirit in the NT)

R A Torrey on the Spirit of grace - This name brings out the fact that it is the Holy Spirit’s work to administer and apply the grace of God: He Himself is gracious, it is true, but the name means far more than that, it means that He makes ours experimentally the manifold grace of God. It is only by the work of the Spirit of grace in our hearts that we are enabled to appropriate to ourselves that infinite fullness of grace that God has, from the beginning, bestowed upon us in Jesus Christ. It is ours from the beginning, as far as belonging to us is concerned, but it is only ours experimentally as we claim it by the power of the Spirit of grace.

William Evans - As the executive of the Godhead, the Spirit confers grace. To resist the Spirit, therefore, is to shut off all hope of salvation. To resist His appeal is to insult the Godhead. That is why the punishment mentioned here is so awful. (The Great Doctrines of the Bible)

We see this same phrase "Spirit of grace" in the end times when "all" (all those who believe) will be saved (Ro 11:26-note), which is the diametric opposite of Heb 10:29!

Zech 12:10 “And I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him, like the bitter weeping over a first-born.

Hughes comments that "This is the only place in the New Testament where the Holy Spirit is called “the Spirit of grace” (Ed: but see Zechariah 12:10), and what a beautiful and fitting title it is. He enlightens our minds (Eph 1:18, 1Cor 2:12-16), He seals our hearts in adoption (Eph 1:13, Eph 4:30), He regenerates us with spiritual life (Jn 3:6-8, Titus 3:5), and he grafts us into the Body of Christ (1Cor 12:13)—all effects of grace. We ought to make note of this lovely ascription and use it devotionally. The Spirit of grace—the Holy Spirit of grace—He gives and gives and gives! (Hughes, R. K. Hebrews: An Anchor for the Soul. Volume 1. Crossway Books; Volume 2)

Morris - there are seven distinct appellations given to the Holy Spirit in the New Testament. He is called: (1) Spirit of Truth (John 16:13); (2) Spirit of Holiness (Romans 1:4); (3) Spirit of Faith (2 Corinthians 4:13); (4) Spirit of Wisdom (Ephesians 1:17); (5) Spirit of Power (2 Timothy 1:7); (6) Spirit of Grace (Hebrews 10:29); and (7) Spirit of Glory (1 Peter 4:14).

Herbert Lockyer - The Holy Spirit is styled—
    • The Spirit of Grace, since He is the Dispenser of the divine favor to all men. 
    • The Spirit of Supplication, because He teaches us how to pray and for what to pray. 
    • The Spirit of Revelation, because He reveals Christ to the eye of faith. 
    • The Spirit of Wisdom, because He imparts wisdom from above. 
    • The Spirit of Adoption, because He certifies the believer's sonship. 
    • The Spirit of Christ, because He was sent by the Father through the mediation of the Son. 
   • The Spirit of Truth, because He makes the Word of Truth and "The Truth" real to us. "Theology without the Holy Spirit," said Professor Beck of Tūbingen, "is not only a cold stone, it is a deadly poison." 
    • The Spirit of the Lord God, because He shares the sovereignty of the Godhead. 
    • The Seven Spirits of God, because of the plenitude of His power and His diversified activity. 

Grace (favor) (5485)(charis from from chairo = to rejoice. English = charity. Beggars need "charity" even as sinners need grace, for we are all spiritual paupers outside of Christ, but "God gives where he finds empty hands"-Augustine [cp Mt 5:3-note]) is a word which defies a simple definition but at its core conveys the sense of favor while the specific nuances of charis depend on the context in which it is used. Someone has written that the word grace is probably the greatest word in the Scriptures, even greater even than “love,” because grace is love in action, and therefore includes it. It is hardly too much to say that God has in no word uttered Himself and all that was in His heart more distinctly than in this word grace (charis)!

Grace in simple terms is God's unmerited favor and supernatural enablement and empowerment for salvation and for daily sanctification. Grace is everything for nothing to those who don't deserve anything. Grace is what every man needs, what none can earn and what God Alone can and does freely give (see Ro 8:32-note where "freely give" is charizomai [word study] from charis = a grace gift!). Grace addresses man's sin, while mercy addresses man's misery. The gift of grace makes men fit for salvation, miraculously making separated strangers into God's beloved sons (1Th 1:4-note, 1Jn 3:1-note, 1Jn 3:2-note, 1Jn 3:3-note).

Too many of us (yours truly included far too often!) are like the story of the poor European family who saved for years to buy tickets to sail to America. Once at sea, they carefully rationed the cheese and bread they had brought for the journey. After 3 days, the boy complained to his father, “I hate cheese sandwiches. If I don’t eat anything else before we get to America, I’m going to die.” Giving the boy his last nickel, the father told him to go to the ship’s galley and buy an ice-cream cone. When the boy returned a long time later with a wide smile, his worried dad asked, “Where were you?” “In the galley, eating three ice-cream cones and a steak dinner!” “All that for a nickel?” “Oh, no, the food is free,” the boy replied. “It comes with the ticket.” Indeed, Amazing Grace, not cheap, but free, sufficient to save a wretch like me, the first day, and then every day for the rest (pun intended) of my life!

In a passage that bears some resemblance to that here in Hebrews 10, Matthew records Jesus words regarding blasphemy of the Spirit…

Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven men, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven. And whoever shall speak a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever shall speak against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age, or in the age to come. (Matthew 12:31,32)

Jesus' warning deserves some explanation. From the context one notes that the unpardonable sin is a knowledgeable, verbal, and continuous attributing of the work of the Holy Spirit to Satan. Can one commit this sin today is the question?

Here are two other related NT passages upon which to mediate…

Luke 12:10 “And everyone who will speak a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him.

Acts 7:51 “You men who are stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears are always resisting the Holy Spirit; you are doing just as your fathers did.

Comment: Stiff-necked = sklerotrachelos (sklerós = hard + tráchelos = the neck) - Note that this word is first in the Greek for emphasis. This is the climax of Stephen’s speech, the personal application that cut his hearers to the heart. Throughout the centuries, Israel had refused to submit to God and obey the truths He had revealed to them. Their ears heard sounds but did not hear the truth, their hearts did not receive the truth, and their necks did not bow (surrender, submit) to the truth. As a result, they killed their own Messiah!

Uncircumcised  = aperitmetos - They had only the physical circumcision which was useless. The Jews placed great stress on the physical ritual of circumcision, forgetting that it was meant to be symbolic of their complete dedication to the will and purposes of God. Thus, their hearts were still cold toward God and their ears inattentive to His Word, so that God could not reach them

Resisting - antipipto in present tense (continually) falling or rushing against in a hostile manner, assault, resist by force and violence.

Gracious Spirit
   Come, Holy Dove,
   Descend on silent pinion,
   Brood o'er my sinful soul with patient love,
   Till all my being owns Thy mild dominion.

   Spirit of grace,
   Reveal in me my Saviour,
   That I may gaze upon His mirrored Face,
   Till I reflect it in my whole behaviour.
 —Richard Wilton,
quoted in You Can Say That Again.
Christianity Today,

William MacDonald has a well worded thought on the unpardonable sin writing that…

These verses mark a crisis in Christ’s dealings with the leaders of Israel. He accuses them of committing the unpardonable sin by blaspheming against the Holy Spirit, that is, by charging that Jesus performed His miracles by the power of Satan rather than by the power of the Holy Spirit. In effect, this was calling the Holy Spirit Beelzebub, the ruler of demons.

There is forgiveness for other forms of sin and blasphemy. A man may even speak against the Son of Man and be forgiven. But to blaspheme the Holy Spirit is a sin for which there is no forgiveness in this age or in the millennial age to come. When Jesus said in this age, He was speaking of the days of His public ministry on earth. There is reasonable doubt whether the unpardonable sin can be committed today, because He is not bodily present performing miracles.

The unpardonable sin is not the same as rejecting the gospel; a man may spurn the Savior for years, then repent, believe, and be saved. (Of course, if he dies in unbelief, he remains unforgiven.) Nor is the unforgivable sin the same as backsliding; a believer may wander far from the Lord, yet be restored to fellowship in God’s family.

Many people worry that they have committed the unpardonable sin. Even if this sin could be committed today, the fact that a person is concerned is evidence that he is not guilty of it. Those who committed it were hard and unrelenting in their opposition to Christ. They had no qualms about insulting the Spirit and no hesitancy in plotting the death of the Son. They showed neither remorse nor repentance. (MacDonald, W & Farstad, A. Believer's Bible Commentary: Thomas Nelson)

Kent Hughes gives an illustration of trampling "the Son of God under foot" writing that…

The January 1991 issue of Harper’s Magazine carried a reproduction of an anti-Christian tract entitled Dear Believer, a “non-tract” published by the Freedom from Religion Foundation of Madison, Wisconsin. The tract variously attacked creation and miracles and then God Himself, finally coming to Jesus and saying:

And Jesus is a chip off the old block. He said, “I and My Father are One,” and He upheld “every jot and tittle” of the Old Testament law. He preached the same old judgment: vengeance and death, wrath and distress, hell and torture for all nonconformists. He never denounced the subjugation of slaves or women. He irrationally cursed and withered a fig tree for being barren out of season. He mandated burning unbelievers. (The Church has complied with relish.) He stole a horse. You want me to accept Jesus, but I think I’ll pick my own friends, thank you. I also find Christianity to be morally repugnant. The concepts of original sin, depravity, substitutionary forgiveness, intolerance, eternal punishment, and humble worship are all beneath the dignity of intelligent human beings.

This tract captures the emotion of the word “trampled,” which is a singularly powerful expression for disdain as, for example, when the swine find your pearls and “trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces” (Matthew 7:6; cf. Matthew 5:13; Luke 8:5). Figuratively, the metaphor portrays taking “the Son of God”—the highest accord given to Christ in Hebrews—and grinding him into the dirt. Thus, turning away from Christ is an attack on his person. (Hughes, R. K. Hebrews: An Anchor for the Soul. Volume 1. Crossway Books; Volume 2 )


 SPIRIT OF GRACE
 The Spirit of grace. (Hebrews 10:29)

The book of Hebrews addressed genuine believers who, during a time of persecution, were sorely tempted to return to their Jewish roots. But if they had taken such a drastic step, they would have lost a great reward and ultimately faced the judgment of God. For them to leave the Christian church would have been the equivalent of deliberately sinning after receiving the knowledge of the truth (Hebrews 10:26). In that case, they would discover that there is no other sacrifice for sin. If you turn away from Jesus, you’re leaving the only One who can forgive your sins. No one else can do what He does.
The only thing that is left for such a person is the expectation of God’s judgment, a fact taught in the law of Moses (vv. 27–28). If God judged His people for the sin of unbelief in the Old Testament, the same sin will bring greater punishment during the age of grace (v. 29). The law itself reminds us of this truth (v. 30). It is a dreadful thing for a sinning believer to fall into God’s hands for judgment (v. 31).
     The particular sin envisioned has three parts: First, there is public rejection of Christ (“trampled the Son of God under foot”). Second, there is disrespect for the blood of Christ (“treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him”). Third, there is mocking the Holy Spirit (“insulted the Spirit of grace”). A person committing such a sin deserves God’s harsh punishment.
Could a genuine believer ever do such a thing? The answer seems to be yes. In fact, it seems likely that only a believer could sin this way. More than that, this sin (however rare it may be) can only be committed by those who have been Christians for a fairly long period of time. Of all people, they should know better because they have experienced the riches of God’s salvation. On the other hand, an unbeliever has never been truly “sanctified” by the blood of Christ.
     In that light, the title “Spirit of grace” comes into clear focus. Only willful, presumptuous, hard-hearted believers who rebel in the face of all that God’s Spirit has done for them can commit such a sin.
      Such a prospect ought to fill every believer with godly fear. When Jesus announced that one of the disciples would betray Him, they individually (and rightly) replied, “Lord, is it I?” (Matthew 26:22 KJV). Peter boasted that he would never deny His Lord, but he fell into sin less than four hours later.
     God’s grace ought to lead us to righteous living, but our self-confidence may lead us into unexpected sin. Take nothing for granted. Guard your heart. Keep short accounts with God.
      If we follow Jesus with grateful hearts, we have nothing to fear.

     Keep me true to You, Lord Jesus, lest I should begin to drift away. May I never take You for granted, not even for a moment. Amen. (Ray Pritchard - Names of the Holy Spirit)


The Spirit of Grace
James Smith, 1864

"And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son." Zechariah 12:10  

Grace is one of the most beautiful words in God's Book. The very sound of it is musical to the believer who understands it. It just meets our case, for it tells us that God is inclined to be favorable unto us; more, that he is prepared to shower down the richest blessings upon us; and that what he gives — he gives freely, from the love of his own heart. 

Grace is favor shown to the unworthy, without any cause or reason — but what is found in God's own bosom. Grace never looks outside of itself for a motive — but is its own motive. It dwells in all its fullness in Jesus, and is the glory of the gospel scheme. But we are not going to dwell upon grace itself — but to fix the eye upon the Holy Spirit, as called, "the Spirit of grace."

The Spirit is the gift of God's grace — one of it's greatest gifts. Indeed, it has no greater. Grace gave Jesus, and it gives the Holy Spirit; these gifts are equal in value and importance, as they are equal in nature, power, and glory. Without Jesus, we could have no deliverance from wrath, or title to Heaven; and without the Holy Spirit, we would never realize deliverance, or be made fit for glory. The Father promised the Spirit to his Son, and the Son bestows the Spirit upon his church, and makes us new creatures in Christ Jesus. The Father laid up our fortune in Jesus; Jesus has preserved for us all that the Father entrusted to him; but it is the Holy Spirit who makes known to us — the wealth which our heavenly Father has laid up for us, and conveys the foretastes and pledges of it into our souls. Holy and blessed Spirit, daily bring down into our souls fresh and fuller supplies of grace from the Father and the Son!

The Holy Spirit produces all our graces within us. He is the root — and our graces are his fruits; hence we read, "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance." If we believe, it is through grace. If we love, it is because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. If we rejoice, it is in consequence of his revealing and applying the truth to our souls. When his influence is put forth within us — then we . . .

believe God's word, 
hope in his mercy, 
rejoice in his goodness, 
cleave to his cause, 
walk in his ways, 
love his truth, his people, and himself,
holiness is then happiness,
duties are then pleasant, and
even the cross lays light upon our shoulders. 

But if the Spirit hides Himself, withdraws His influences, and leaves us to ourselves — then we . . .

doubt and fear,
fret and pine, 
kick and rebel, 
rove from thing to thing, and 
nothing will either please or satisfy us. 

We often . . .

question the past, 
are wretched at present, 
and dread the future. 

But when he puts forth his power in us again . . .

our graces shoot forth like bulbous roots in the spring, 
our sighs are exchanged for songs, 
our fears are exchanged for fortitude, 
our doubts are exchanged for confidence, 
and our murmurings are exchanged for gratitude and love. 

We then . . .

sink into the dust of self-abasement, 
admire the forbearance and longsuffering of God, 
condemn our own conduct, and 
wonder that we are out of Hell. 

Then we take down our harps from the willows, and with a melting heart, a weeping eye, and a tremulous voice we sing, "The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land. The fig tree forms its early fruit; the blossoming vines spread their fragrance." Our wilderness is now turned into an Eden, and our desert into the garden of the Lord. Come, Holy Spirit, come, and produce a spring season in our souls, for, with the church of old, we cry, "Turn us again, O Lord God Almighty; cause your face to shine, and we shall be saved."

The Holy Spirit is, emphatically, the gracious Spirit. All that he does for us, and all that he works within us — is of grace. His grace is his glory, and he glories in his grace. We may obtain his presence, and receive his blessing in answer to prayer — but we can never deserve either, nor can we by any works we perform merit them. He graciously . . .

quickens the dead,
instructs the ignorant,
liberates the captives,
restores the wanderers,
comforts the dejected,
strengthens the weak,
and sanctifies the impure. 

His work is his delight, and to see us holy and happy his pleasure!

Nothing grieves him like neglect, indifference, and going back to the beggarly elements of this present world. Such conduct wounds his loving heart, grieves his kind and tender nature; hence it was said of Israel: "They vexed and grieved his Holy Spirit." And the apostle exhorts us: "Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God."

Brethren, we need the Holy Spirit, as the Spirit of grace--to make us gracious and graceful Christians. Without the Spirit of grace

  we cannot live up to our profession; 
  we cannot copy the example of our beloved Master; 
  we cannot keep His commandments;
  we cannot love one another as He has loved us; 
  we cannot sympathize with lost sinners as we should; 
  we cannot keep God's glory in view in all that we do; 
  we cannot walk in high and holy fellowship with God;
  we cannot meet death with peace and joy

Let us look up, therefore, to our heavenly Father, let us plead his precious promises, let us go in the name of the Lord Jesus, and let us entreat him to give us more of "the Spirit of grace." He is not backward to bestow — if we are willing to receive. He will not refuse to listen to us — if we are earnest, hearty, and importunate. He will grant us the blessing — if we seek it as that which is essential to our holiness and happiness, and to his honor and praise. His word warrants us to expect that he will give his Holy Spirit to those who ask him. (Luke 11:13). His nature and his name, encourage us to persevere in our application to his throne, until we receive. Oh, For Jacob's spirit — that we may wrestle until we prevail! Oh, for David's power with God — that a messenger may be caused to fly very swiftly, to assure us that our prayer is heard! Oh, for the faith and fervor of the first Christians — that we may be all filled with the Holy Spirit and with power! Oh, for the fullness of "the Spirit of grace," to be poured out upon every member of the one church of Jesus, that we may all love each other, and endeavor, by all possible means, to glorify his glorious name! 


THE SPIRIT OF GRACE 
James Smith
The Great Comforter

"I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem — a spirit of grace and supplication." Zechariah 12:10  

"The Spirit of grace" - Heb 10:29 

The Holy Spirit is gracious in his nature, and his office in the economy of redemption is, to convey grace . . .

from the Father, 
through the Son, 
into the sinner's heart. 

Our heavenly Father is the God of all grace; 
this grace flows into Jesus, and he is full of grace and truth; 
and this grace is by the Holy Spirit directed into our hearts, so that out of his fullness we receive grace upon grace. 

The grace we receive from Jesus — conforms us to Jesus; for grace is that which purifies and elevates our nature, and sanctifies us to the Lord's glory and praise. Grace is . . .

the spring of all real prayer, 
the source of all good works, and 
the root of all spiritual excellency. 

If we would serve God acceptably — we must receive grace to do so. 

If we would live as befits the gospel of Christ — it must be by grace received from God. 

If we would patiently endure afflictions, and cheerfully carry our cross — we must come boldly to a throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help us in time of need. 

All our graces are wrought in us by the Spirit. 

All our graces are preserved and kept alive by the Spirit. 

All our graces are excited and drawn forth by the Spirit. 

Nor is the plant in nature more dependent on the moisture of the soil, the rays of the sun, the dews of heaven, and the air of the atmosphere — than our graces are dependent on the Spirit of grace. We can do anything through grace — but we can do nothing correctly, or as it ought to be done, without grace. 

O Spirit of grace, fill us with grace from Jesus, and teach us to make use of all our grace for Jesus, and at length may grace ripen into glory to the honor of Jesus!

"Restore unto me the joy of your salvation; and uphold me with your free Spirit." Psalm 51:12. 


Resist Not the Spirit
Robert Neighbour

"Ye do always resist the Holy Ghost" (Acts 7:51).
The Lord Jesus Christ stands outside the life of each individual man, seeking to enter in.
He is willing to save; He is unwilling that any should perish.
To His own people, Israel, Christ said: "How often would I * * and ye would not" (Matt. 23:37).
Christ seemed to be saying, "I would, ye would not, I could not."
We are now about to consider the fact that man may refuse the work of the Holy Ghost.
The Spirit of God convicts him of his sin, but he will not hear.
Three things may be said.
1. The sinner may resist Christ. The scene in Acts is a solemn one. Stephen was a man full of faith and power. He preached a plain, positive, pungent message, to Israel, concerning her treatment of the Prophets, and of the Saviour.
Those who heard Stephen were pricked in their hearts. They knew that he spoke of them; they knew that they were a stiffnecked and an uncircumcised people, both in their heart and in their ears.
Stephen told them plainly: "Ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye" (Acts 7:51).
Then the men, cut to their heart, gnashed on him with their teeth; stopping their ears and crying with a loud voice, they ran upon him with one accord, "and cast him out of the city, and stoned him" (Acts 7:58).
This is the attitude of many a lost man toward the Lord Jesus Christ.
They will not come unto Him that they might have life; they stubbornly and steadfastly set their hearts against Him; and they will not hear.
2. The sinner may do despite (definition of despite) unto the Holy Spirit. "He that despised Moses' Law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace" (Heb. 10:28, 29).
The passage above seems to speak of "doing despite unto the Spirit of grace," as a climax of sin.
Does "doing despite" mean more than "hardening the heart, and stiffening the neck?"
Does "doing despite" mean more than "neglecting so great salvation," and "refusing Him Who spake?" (see Heb. 2:3).
Is there not carried in the Word "despite" almost the depth of that sin against the Spirit, elsewhere called "blasphemy"?
One thing we know — it is a sin of terrible results. Let no one do despite unto the Spirit of Grace. (Sermons and Bible Studies)


Half-Baked Christians - The prophet Hosea used the tribe of Ephraim as a poetic representation of the northern kingdom of Israel. In a colorful admonition, he wrote that Ephraim had become "a cake unturned" (Hosea 7:8).

In today's terminology, the prophet might have said that Ephraim was "half-baked." The people were like a pancake burned on one side but raw on the other. Although they took advantage of the Lord's goodness, they did not seek Him with their heart. When they needed help, they turned to other sources (Hos 7:10, 11,14, 15,16). They had become tasteless and useless to God, so He was forced to judge them.

Jesus echoed the words of the prophet. Although He had gentle words for penitent sinners, He gave a scathing rebuke to the haughty and self-righteous who wanted to live as they pleased. He was furious at two-faced religious leaders who talked a good talk but turned around and exploited their followers (Matthew 23:13-30).

God is never soft on sin. He sent His only Son to redeem us from sin's penalty (John 3:16). Let's not be half-baked Christians, claiming God's forgiveness but still living as we please. The only fitting response to God's mercy and grace is to serve Him in humility and love.—Haddon W. Robinson (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Thinking It Through
What is the basis of our salvation? (Ephesians 2:8-9).
How are we to respond to God's grace? (v.10).
How does God correct His children? (Hebrews 12:5-11).

God's grace is not license to live as we please—it's liberty to please God.

We all depend upon the strength
We draw from one another,
For we are one in faith and love
With every Christian brother. --Sper

Two Christians are better than one--when they're one.

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