Summary: Don’t abandon Christ; He causes the wicked to perish, but He has mercy on His people!
January 6, 2013
What would you say to a brother or sister who began doubting Christ or doubting the righteousness that comes by faith? That’s the main question answered in Hebrews and even here in chapter ten. Since we have such a great High Priest let us draw near to God and let us hold fast our profession:
24And let us consider one another to provoke
Pay close attention to each other to provoke. The Greek means to irritate or exasperate. The idea is to goad or to drive something along by poking it with a sharp stick. We’re to do this to each other,
unto love and to good works:
How do we do this? Think of a few examples from the New Testament: Paul, in a public letter to the church, encouraged Euodias and Syntyche to work out their problems between each other (Phil. 4:2). In I Cor. 5 he warned the Corinthian church against even eating with an immoral brother. In Galatians 2:11-14 Paul wrote about the time he confronted Peter to his face because of hypocrisy. These are all examples of provoking each other for the sake of love and good works.
25Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
Don’t quit meeting together like some people do, but rather encourage each other to even greater degrees until every enemy is under Christ’s feet and we’re finally at home with Him (10:13-14).
26For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,
Obviously we all sin willfully even after salvation, but you have to keep this verse in context. Think like the 1st century Jews would have thought: And if any soul sin through ignorance, then he shall bring a she goat of the first year for a sin offering. 28And the priest shall make an atonement for the soul that sinneth ignorantly, when he sinneth by ignorance before the LORD, to make an atonement for him; and it shall be forgiven him. 29Ye shall have one law for him that sinneth through ignorance, both for him that is born among the children of Israel, and for the stranger that sojourneth among them. 30But the soul that doeth ought presumptuously, whether he be born in the land, or a stranger, the same reproacheth the LORD; and that soul shall be cut off from among his people. 31Because he hath despised the word of the LORD, and hath broken his commandment, that soul shall utterly be cut off; his iniquity shall be upon him (Num. 15:27-31).
It’s no coincidence that the very next verse describes a man who gathered sticks on the Sabbath despite having the Law and he was stoned. And in the very next chapter we read about Korah’s rebellion against Moses and how the ground opened up to swallow him alive!
All the Jews came out of Egypt, but most of them fell in the desert because they willfully rejected God’s rest; there is no other Promised Land, and there is no other Messiah. To reject Christ is to reject the only sacrifice for sins, and there’s nothing left…
27But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. 28He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: 29Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God,
If a man was treated so harshly for rejecting the Law given by Moses, how much worse will it be for him for rejecting 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?
Note that it doesn’t say they were justified by blood—he’s referring to Exodus 24:8 where “Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the LORD hath made with you concerning all these words.” These people were clearly set apart as God’s people (although only as a type), but they rejected and despised the blood which set them apart. They had no faith and no life and no communion with Christ, so they all perished in the desert as proof that there is no other sacrifice. The soul that sins shall surely die!
30For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. 31It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
In Deuteronomy 32 Moses sings a song to the Israelites, and it’s very interesting to see how he puts two things together. On one hand he speaks to the wicked who will follow their own ways and go against God: they will be judged and will not stand. But on the other hand he speaks to the righteous: they will fail and abandon God, but God will make them stand and He will have mercy (:35-41). The author of Hebrews grabs this to show his point: don’t abandon Christ because we know that God will punish the wicked, but He has mercy on His people!