The Truth About Hebrews 10:26
“If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left”
Hebrews 10:26 is a scary passage if we don’t understand who it is written to and why. What makes this section of Scripture even more terrifying is when we read the next verse out of context, right along with it. From a twisted perspective–which would be applying Hebrews 10:26 and 27 to Christians–we can expect some bad stuff from God. The person who struggles with sanctimoniousness will say if we deliberately keep on sinning we should have:
“a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.” (See Hebrews 10:27)
Friend, let me ease your mind. This is not directed at believers in Christ but only toward those who had heard the message about Jesus and refused to believe. They listened to the apostles’ information but were stonewalling at admitting Christ was the final sacrifice for sins. They tasted the gospel, but never swallowed, therefore making a mockery of the Son of God (see Hebrews 6:4-6).
The book of Hebrews is called Hebrews for a reason. It’s a letter written to people who sacrificed animals for forgiveness at the temple, the Jews (see Hebrews 9:22). Has a Christian ever done this? No we have not. So this passage is not pointed at you, believer.
Yes, this was written to both believers and unbelievers–the author doesn’t know who has been saved and who hasn’t. But it’s specifically directed at Jewish people, the Hebrews. Pay attention to the context of Hebrews 10:26: animal sacrifices at the temple for sin forgiveness.
These people were used to receiving forgiveness–not by confession or repentance–but only by blood. Along comes Jesus and in essence, says, “You don’t have to do that anymore. Just believe I’ve forgiven you, once, and I will.” (Hebrews 1:3, 10:8,9, John 1:29, 8:24, 3:16-18).
After the Good News messengers came through town and told them about Jesus, they had received knowledge of the truth but kept on sinning according to the Law of Moses. This required animal blood for atonement, but now, no animal sacrifice for sins was left. Jesus dealt with all law-breaking–Mosaic or from the conscience–at the Cross.
Therefore, dear Christian, you don’t have to be afraid of Hebrews 10:26 and 27. The individuals who should be afraid are unbelievers who balk at faith in Jesus.
Further, if you keep reading until verse 31, you’ll see they trampled on Jesus–on the Spirit of grace–by refusing to turn from the Law and toward faith in Him alone. They had to repent from Moses and believe in Jesus. Are you doing this? Again, no you are not. You have no relationship with Moses’ Law and you’re fully enjoying God’s grace! (See Romans 6:14, Titus 2:11,12, Hebrews 13:9).
With this liberating information we must confront another legalistic elephant in the room: What will happen if we deliberately keep on sinning, as Christians.
To answer this, first, how many of our sins are deliberate? All of them. How many of our sins are willful? All of them. We can’t accidentally sin, our wills are involved every single time. We’re not robots. So if that’s the case then what does Hebrews 10:26 mean for us? Nothing. It’s not for us. We can’t apply this to our lives in any way because we’re not going to the temple to offer animal sacrifices for sins.
For us, when we sin, God’s grace increases. It doesn’t decrease or run out. We can’t abuse His grace either. That would mean we are wrong when we use it “too much”–and we always will, unendingly. But we can get more grace by sinning. Paul told the Romans:
“The Law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more” (Romans 5:20)
Now, the person who battles legalanity will immediately think I’m saying we should sin. I’m not. DON’T SIN. I’m putting those words in all caps so you don’t think I’m saying, “Sin is cool, go for it!” Not at all. Paul faced the same type of people when he wrote to the church in Rome, those who were focused on their lack of sinning for righteousness:
“What then? Are we to sin because we are not under Law but under grace? By no means!” (Romans 6:15)
Again, the answer is no. Do not sin. But at the same time, did Paul ever say God’s grace would run out when they sinned? Never. In fact, he made clear God’s grace increased.
More sin, more grace.
More sin, more grace.
More sin, MORE GRACE.
This is hard to fathom for those who are focused on behavior and not identity. Religious thoughts are hard to shake! Many self-proclaimed “devout” individuals cannot get this into their heads: God has rigged it to where we can’t out-sin His grace.
They don’t comprehend the power of the blood of Jesus! They think we–created finite beings–can somehow offer on our part to “make” His blood suffice! Not true, thankfully.
Unfortunately, as a result they revert back to Bible passages directed at unbelievers to scare the dickens out of people into not sinning. This never works, permanently. Legalists think they need to threaten our forgiveness to make us behave better, yet God never does such a thing. He uses grace instead. Only grace can teach us how to live properly, fear cannot! (See Titus 2:11,12, 1 John 4:18).
Hebrews 10:26 can be read by believers fearlessly. The one and only sin mentioned in the first ten chapters of Hebrews is unbelief. This is the only unforgivable sin and it’s impossible for a Christian to commit it. We’ve already believed and been reborn. Birth is final. We can’t be unborn from God’s Spirit just the same as we can’t be unborn from our mother’s womb. Nor can we “walk away” from being born due to poor choices and bad attitudes; and it’s not possible to “give up” on God. Don’t believe that garbage. You can give up on legalism, overbearing church crap, and the pressure from self-righteous individuals, but not from your birth into the family of God. He is faithful to us even when we think we’re faithless (see 2 Timothy 2:13). You cannot lose your salvation, and you can’t give it up either. You’re not more powerful than the blood of Jesus.
These Jewish men and women had received the knowledge of the truth. Who is the truth? Jesus (see John 14:6). They had the best teachers present the news of the gospel yet still wanted to go to the temple to receive forgiveness by animal sacrifices, but no sacrifice for sins was left. Why not? Because Jesus was the last one, on the Cross. He finished all sacrificial requirements for the entire planet (see John 19:30, Hebrews 1:3, 1 John 2:2).
They heard all about Him but said, “Nope. I’m sticking with Moses, animal blood, human priests, and the temple. I’m good. I’m not giving up my tradition for some carpenter’s son.” They deliberately kept on sinning and had no other way to receive God’s forgiveness. Under the Law, without the shedding of animal blood there is no forgiveness. Under grace, without believing in the shed blood of Jesus there is no forgiveness. The Law was now set aside because it was weak and useless, obsolete for all who believe in Messiah. Jesus fulfilled it in Himself! (See Hebrews 3:3,4, 7:18, 8:13, 9:22, Romans 10:4, Galatians 3:24,25).
Christ is now the only way to receive forgiveness from God. His physical body was the final sacrifice:
“And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” (Hebrews 10:10)
“For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.” (Hebrews 10:14)
That’s you and me, Christian. Therefore when we sin, we should turn from it every time but never to receive more forgiveness. Jesus would have to repeatedly die for that to happen (see Hebrews 7:25, 9:26). Instead, we turn from sin to enjoy our forgiveness and to be our true selves! Holy saints! Children of God! We turn from sin because we’ve died to it and sin will never make sense in any lasting way! (See Romans 6:2-11, 2 Peter 1:3-9).
So today, my friends, know this: Don’t be afraid of Hebrews 10:26. It’s not directed at you, believer. Any Bible verse which creates fear is not directed at you. You have peace with God (see Romans 5:1). You can’t mess this up because of the Cross. Due to the Father and Son’s promise to one another, and you becoming the beneficiary to that promise, you’re safe (see Romans 5:9, Hebrews 6:16-19, 9:16-18). God’s love is perfect and casts out all fear because fear has to do with punishment (see 1 John 4:18). But Jesus was already punished plenty for you. No more sacrifices from Him, or you, is necessary, even when you sin. You are free.
A prayer for you: Father, thank you for the freedom of biblical context. Since you’ve taught me to pay close attention to who’s being written to and why, all throughout the Bible, it’s given me so much confidence in the Cross. How amazing is your grace! Right now, I lift up all who are reading this, directly to you. For some, what they’ve just read has set them free from fear, but for others, they might want to believe this but are having a hard time. Help them to shift their focus onto the power of Jesus’ blood and off sin. The Jews in Hebrews 10:26 refused to do this and that’s why they were still your enemies. But for us, we know that Jesus’ blood is the most powerful thing ever! We trust it! Amen!
This devotional is from my upcoming book, The Christian Identity, Volume 3. Check out my other bestselling books here!