ESV - 26 For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins.
Community answers are sorted based on votes. The higher the vote, the further up an answer is.
In Numbers 15:24-31 scripture catorgizes two types of sin. The first is ignorant sin, a trespass committed in error, inadvertently, the offender did not know better, misunderstood. The passage referenced above provided the remedy. The second classification is presumptuous sin. This type sin is deliberate, committed in self willed defiance to known authority. I.E. "I don't care what the law says, I'm doing (or not doing) what I want". I believe presumptuous sin is what Paul was describing In Hebrews 10:26 as willful sin.
Heb 10:26 is part of a larger section (Heb 10:19-39) where Paul exhorts believers to hold unswervingly to faith. His admonition not to engage in willful sin, in brief, is an admonition not to return to slavery to sin after having entered a relationship with Christ - since if you return to the world in rejection of Christ, Christ's blood cannot cover you a 'second time.' Paul is not speaking of believers struggling with sin or even deliberately sinning, but specifically and willfully returning to an ongoing state of sinfulness. In more detail: Paul is speaking to believers, to 'brothers and sisters' who have confidence to enter the Holy of Holies through the blood of Christ (Heb 10:19), who have had their hearts cleansed from guilt and been baptized (Heb 10:22), who have been sanctified by the covenant (Heb 10:29), who received the light (Heb 10:32), and who have the assurance of lasting possessions due to the promises of God (Heb 10:34-36) In Heb 10:26, he specifically warns these Christians of the dangers of returning to a willful state of sin after having received personal/exact knowledge of the truth. The word used in Heb 10:26 for knowledge is 'epignosis' - relational or true knowledge, first-hand experience of Christ. (John 16:13, II Pet 1:3, II Pet 1:8, Col 3:10, Col 1:10, Col 2:2, etc.) Scripture treats the true knowledge (epignosis) that only Christians have of Christ as very distinct from mere 'head knowledge' (gnosis) about the way of salvation. But what, exactly, does Paul mean by willful sin? Is he referring to a Christian deliberately ignoring God to engage in a sin, or to something we could accidentally do? No on both counts. 'Hamartano' (go on sinning) here is a present active participle in the Greek, denoting an ongoing action or continuous state. Hekousios is an adverb, meaning willingly, voluntarily, or of one's own accord. This warning, then, does not apply to the general struggle Christians have with sin involuntarily, such as Paul describes in Rom 7:23-25, or to one-off sins that we commit knowingly (James 4:17). Rather, this would apply to those people who once received Christ and had a personal relationship with Him (true knowledge), but then either immediately or at a later date returned to a state of slavery to sin, rather than walking by the Spirit. Going back to the beginning of Heb 10, Paul is specifically warning these Christians not to give in to persecution and try to return to being under the law, rather than trusting the promises of God in faith. The law of grace is opposed to the regulations of the old covenant (Gal 2:15-21, Gal 3:1-14, James 2:8-12). If we return again to dead works rather than diligently abiding with Christ with faith, long-suffering until the end (Heb 6:1-12), then we are rejecting the sovereign Lord who bought us (II Peter 2:1-3, II Tim 2:18-13). Christ only died once, and his death was sufficient. However, if that payment is rejected, what then? Can Christ die a second time? No. (Rom 6:10-14, Num 20:6-12, Heb 9:28) Paul's warning is dire. We were redeemed from death once, but if we later reject that redemption, we cannot be redeemed a second time. To do so, Christ would have to die a second time - which would mean death still had power over Christ (which it does not) (Rom 6:9-10, Acts 2:24). This warning to hold fast to the faith and not turn back to our previous, pre-Christ state is found many places in scripture. (John 15:1-8, II Pet 1:3-11, II Pet 2:21-22, Heb 3:14, I Tim 1:18-19, Jn 8:30-32, I Cor 15:1-2, etc.) Yet Paul's warning is not without encouragement. God has given us everything we need to get through trials (II Peter 1:3, Phil 4:13), including each other, and we have the assured hope that at the Ressurection God will make good on the earnest payment he has given us (the Holy Spirit) and grant us eternal life (Eph 1:11-14). For more on Heb 10:26, see http://ebible.com/answers/7631?ori=167400
To answer questions like this, it is good to read the whole passage leading up to the verse so you know the entire point being made. The author is talking about those who are offered salvation through surrender to Christ and who want to follow Jesus, but then also don't want to be reborn in him nor do they want to give up their sins in any real way. They have the appearance of Christians but have not submitted to Christ. They want justification without commiting to sanctification. They want the reward of heaven without acknowledging the cost. The author is warning that God sees through hypocritical faith, and it is not acceptable to just go through the motions. God wants a real relationship with us and not a false friendship from us because his love is real and genuine. Ours love for him should also be real and genuine or when the end comes, our faithlessness will be revealed and we will face judgement without the protection of Jesus. It is important to understand that you cannot lose your salvation if you are truly saved, but you can fail to progress in sanctification and thus bear no fruit for God. To arrive at the throne of God in such a state is a tragedy.
All answers are REVIEWED and MODERATED.
Please ensure your answer MEETS all our guidelines.
A good answer provides new insight and perspective. Here are guidelines to help facilitate a meaningful learning experience for everyone.