What does Hebrews 10:26 mean when it says that there is no sacrifice for sins if we wilfully “deliberately” sin? Does this mean I cannot be saved if I deliberately sin after becoming a Christian?
The following passage has struck terror into the heart of many a poor soul:
For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. (Heb. 10:26-27).
What does it mean? Is anyone who sins “deliberately” beyond hope of salvation?
That hardly can be the case, since the Bible teaches that God is willing to forgive us of all sin (cf. Tit. 2:14; 1 Jn. 1:9), provided we submit to Heaven’s plan for pardon.
The key to this passage is in understanding that the recipients of the letter to the Hebrews were on the brink of renouncing Jesus as their Messiah and Savior. They were being tempted to revert to the Mosaic regime in anticipation of some other Redeemer yet to come.
Since the supposed other savior-to-be would provide the real cleansing, some labored under the illusion that they could thus plunge themselves back into a life of sin until the remedy arrived.
A consideration of certain grammatical forms within this text is essential to grasping the significance of the inspired admonition.
The verb “sin” (hamartanonton) is a present tense participle, which conveys the concept of a continuing and habitual life of sin. It suggests a resolute action of abandonment of moral and religious restraint.
This reckless course, it should be noted, is pursued by one who has “received the knowledge of the truth.” The Greek term for “knowledge” is a strong one. The thought might be paraphrased as “[we] very well knew the truth.”
Thrusting gospel truth from his mind, the apostate wantonly turns his back on the Savior.
When one embarks upon such a course, while anticipating another future deliverer (who does not exist), what hope has he? None!
That this represents a clear example of one who falls from the grace of God is evident from the subsequent context. The transgressor is described as one who has “trodden under foot the Son of God, and counted the blood of the covenant wherewith he was sanctified an unholy [or common] thing” (Heb. 10:29).
This describes those who had been sanctified by Christ’s blood, hence were Christian people (cf. 1 Cor. 6:11; Eph. 5:26). But now they are close to renouncing their allegiance to the Lord (cf. 2 Pet. 2:2b).
Their looming fate is a “fierceness of fire” that will consume God’s adversaries (Heb. 10:27), a “sorer punishment” than that of mere death (Heb. 10:28-29).
Could they receive pardon if they turn back to the Lord? Of course they could, if they but would.