“For if we deliberately sin after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire about to consume the adversaries.” Hebrews 10:26-27
The author’s words in Hebrews 10:26-27 have long been misunderstood and misapplied, and it is not difficult to see why. When these verses are read at face value, they appear to be saying that there is no forgiveness for any deliberate sin committed after coming to salvation. For many generations, this was the accepted interpretation of this passage, resulting in many believers being unsure of their salvation.
Thankfully, the author of Hebrews was saying something very different in this passage. These verses are not saying that believers will lose their salvation because of sins committed after their conversion. We will always struggle with sin while we are in this world; our flesh is sinful, and we still deal with the consequences of that. What then is the author talking about?
The key to this answer is found in Numbers 15:22-30. In this passage, God is explaining to Moses the appropriate sacrifices that must be made for sins committed unintentionally or out of weakness. In Numbers 15:30, God explains a specific situation–one in which a person sins deliberately, or “with a raised hand.” The phrase “raised hand” refers to a raised fist. It is describing a person who chose to sin deliberately in outright rebellion against God. It is as though they did so while shaking their fist at God to dare Him to do something about it. This is blatant and remorseless sin, and for such behavior, no sacrifice can bring forgiveness. There is no forgiveness for the person who behaves in this manner because they are spurning God, who is the very source of their forgiveness.
The author of Hebrews mirrors the language of Numbers 15 and is letting us know today that this statute still stands today. There is no forgiveness for one who thinks so little of Christ that they would continue to go about sinning and rebelling against Him in such a remorseless and flagrant manner. The author says that those who are sinning with their fists raised in Christ’s face are guilty of trampling Him underfoot and of insulting the Holy Spirit. The author tells us that those who rejected the Law of Moses were put to death. Since that was the case then, how much greater must the punishment now be for those who reject the One who is superior to the Law?
We are fallen and sinful creatures, but Christ shed His precious blood to redeem us. If we are His people, we must live differently than the world around us. We will fall into sin at times–sometimes we might even fall into sin intentionally. When this happens, we must not continue in our sin; we must see the error of our ways, and we must humbly seek God’s forgiveness. Those who come to God in humility will be pardoned, but those who continue rebelling and sinning with their fists raised to challenge God will face the terror of falling into the hands of the living God.