We are now in Hebrews 10:26-39 and in the final section of the book of Hebrews. We have been away from our sermon series in the book of Hebrews for a few weeks so it would be helpful to recap where we have been. Hebrews demonstrates the supremacy of Jesus and the New Covenant over the Old Covenant. Jesus is superior to the Prophets, the Angels, and the first High Priest of the Old Covenant: Aaron. Jesus is the fulfillment of all of the Old Covenant and is our Great High Priest who intercedes for us with God the Father. In the final section, the writer of Hebrews makes some important points of application of these great truths. In the section of Scripture before us today, we learn that when the Holy Spirit indwells us, He secures us; therefore, being secure, we are able to endure.
Our verses today comprise the fourth of five warnings found in the book of Hebrews. The first warning was to not drift away (Heb 2:1). The second warning was to not harden your heart (Heb 3:12). The third warning was to not fail to grow up (Heb 5:11). In the fourth warning, we learn about the danger of drawing back from Christ and throwing away our confidence (Heb 10:29-39).
The Problem: Drawing Back from Christ
In verse 26, we are presented with a problem: “If we deliberately go on sinning after receiving the knowledge of the truth…”. This type of sin is deliberate, intentional, and habitual. For this type of sin, there is no forgiveness. If someone sins before receiving the knowledge of the truth, there is the hope that they will repent and believe. If someone deliberately, intentionally, and habitually sins after receiving the knowledge of truth, “there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins.” (10:26). If someone deliberately rejects the only means of salvation, how can they be saved? This is the basis for Church Discipline as Jesus discussed in Matt 18:15-20. Did you know that expulsion from a local church is only appropriate for one sin? The only sin that excludes you from the church is lack of repentance. We are told in our text that those who sin willfully will receive judgment. There is nothing for them except “a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire about to consume the adversaries” (10:27). After using a comparison from the Old Covenant, we are given this terrifying warning: “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (10:31).
The Solution: You Need to Endure
In order to stay close to Christ and not draw back, we must endure. The writer of Hebrews encourages his readers to “remember the earlier days when, after you had been enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings” (10:32). The Christian life calls for endurance. What does endurance look like? To endure means to remain. Rather than draw back you remain. Enduring means to suffer patiently and continue without giving up. An aspect of Christian endurance includes “sympathy” and “joy” (10:34). In verse 35, we are told “do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward.” You can more easily endure when you understand that your enemies can take nothing of eternal value from you. If they take your house, you have a better home waiting for you. If they kill your fellow Christians, you will see them again soon in heaven. If they take your life, you will immediately be in the presence of Jesus (2 Cor 5:8). Verse 36 tells us, “you need endurance, so that after you have done God’s will, you may receive what was promised.”
The Promise: Christ Preserves You
We have a warning to not draw back from Christ and the counsel to endure through trials. We then have the writer of Hebrews write: “We are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul.” The preservation/keeping of the soul is in contrast to the destruction (eternal damnation – see Rev 20:15) that comes upon those who shrink back.
We have a great promise in these verses. We are told that “My righteous one shall live by faith” (10:38). This is a wonderful promise because it means that our perseverance does not depend upon us but upon God Himself. When we are told to live by faith it is in contrast to living by works. The great promise is that Christ preserves us. Jude 1:24 is one of my favorite verses. It says, “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy.”
The Conclusion: Live by Faith
Here are a few points to remember:
- The purpose of trials is to test the genuineness of our faith (1 Peter 1:6-7). God knows whether or not our faith is genuine and He uses trials to reveal this to us. This reveals to us God’s good purpose of allowing trials to come to us.
- God prevents certain trials from coming upon us and the trials that do come upon you are specifically allowed by God (1 Cor 10:13).
- There are those who profess to be Christians yet draw back and fall away under trials. Their falling away reveals their lack of faith (Matt 13:18-22).
- The trials God allows are specifically designed to expose the false faith of the unbeliever and lead them to repentance (2 Timothy 2:24-26).
- Those who endure trials do so by faith and the trials which God allows are specifically designed to grow the Christians faith (1 Peter 1:7).
When you become a Christian, the Holy Spirit indwells you. When the Holy Spirit indwells you, He secures you. Being secure, we are able to endure during trials. One great way to help you endure is knowing that Christ Himself preserves us. Trust Him and depend upon Him. Live by faith.