Summary: In this text, the writer of Hebrews was exhorting them to maintain their faith in Jesus Christ, no matter what kind of trials they might have to face. These words are an encouragement for all believers going through difficult days.
MAINTAINING YOUR CONFIDENCE IN CHRIST
The original readers of Hebrews had been going through difficult times of persecution for their faith. Some were tempted to detach themselves from their Christian fellowship in order to avoid arrest, reproach, and suffering. Moreover, some were in danger of turning their backs on Christianity and reverting to Judaism. In this text, the writer of Hebrews was exhorting them to maintain their faith in Jesus Christ, no matter what kind of trials they might have to face. These words are an encouragement for all believers going through difficult days. They needed this exhortation, especially in view of Christ’s imminent return. When Jesus comes again, those who truly believe in Jesus will be on the winning side. Until then, there is need for steadfastness.
In verse 26, the writer introduces his fourth warning. It is a warning against apostasy, and is described as a deliberate sin. There is considerable disagreement among Bible believers as to the nature of this sin. The problem is whether it refers to: (1) True Christians who subsequently turn away from Christ and are lost. (2) True Christians who backslide but who are still saved. (3) Those who profess to be Christians for a while, identify themselves with a local church, but then deliberately turn away from Christ. They were never truly born again, and now they never can be.
Admittedly there are difficulties in all these views. My own opinion is that the third view is correct. In verse 26 apostasy is defined as sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth. Like Judas, the person has heard the gospel. He knows the way of salvation; he has even pretended to receive it; but then he deliberately rejects it. If a person rejects the Lord, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins. He has by his own volition willfully rejected the once-for-all sacrifice of Christ. Therefore God has no other way of salvation to offer to him.
There is a sense in which all sin is willful, but the author here speaks of apostasy as a willful sin of extraordinary seriousness. The fact that the author uses we in this passage does not necessarily mean that he includes himself. In verse 39 he definitely excludes himself and his fellow believers from those who draw back into perdition.
10:27 There is nothing left for the apostate but a certain fearful expectation of judgment; there is no hope of escape. It is impossible to renew the apostate to repentance (6:4). He has knowingly and willfully cut himself off from the grace of God. He is not only an apostate, he has become an adversary of the Christian faith. He is not mildly neutral to Jesus Christ. He is violently opposed to Christ. His fate is a fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. It is pointless to haggle over whether this means literal fire. The language is obviously designed to denote punishment that is dreadfully severe.
10:28 The doom of the lawbreaker in the Old Testament is now introduced to form a backdrop against which to contrast the greater doom of the apostate. A man who broke Moses’ law by becoming an idolater died without mercy when his guilt was proven by the testimony of two or three witnesses (Deut. 17:2–6).