That is, is this passage saying a believer or former believer could lose salvation by works, or lose salvation by defecting from Christ? Or is it speaking of backsliding, or speaking only to unbelievers, or something else?
ESV - 26 For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins.
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It amazes me that no one even considers who the book of Hebrews was written to. Could we all agree that it was to the Hebrews, the Jews? What is the main purpose or theme of Hebrews? Christ is “better than” or superior to all other persons, angels and Moses. He provided a better, complete and enduring sacrifice superseding the old Levitical sacrificial system which was only temporary in nature and mere shadows and types of the true. His position is that of High Priest and intercessor for every believer. What was the overwhelming tendency of the Jews? For those who never accepted Messiah as savior it was to continue with outdated ordinances and sacrifices rejecting their fulfillment in the life, death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. For the converted Jew it was failure to recognize and believe in the total and complete redeeming power of Christ’s blood with the inclination to slip back into the bondage of Judaism. With this in mind, please carefully consider the following passages. Hebrews 10:26 “For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,” Hebrews 10:27 “But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.” Hebrews 10:28 “He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:” Hebrews 10:29 “Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden underfoot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? Do you not recognize the parallel that is being made here with Numbers 15? Referring back to Moses law, what were the two types of sin dealt with and what did the law require as remedy? Numbers 15:29 “Ye shall have one law for him that sinneth through ignorance, both for him that is born among the children of Israel, and for the stranger that sojourneth among them.” According to Strong’s concordance the word ignorance comes from the Hebrew shegagah which means: 1. sin, sin of error or inadvertence, inadvertent sin A. error. (done unintentionally or without thinking, not paying attention or taking enough care) Numbers 15:30 “But the soul that doeth ought presumptuously, whether he be born in the land, or a stranger, the same reproacheth the LORD; and that soul shall be cut off from among his people.” Numbers 15:31 “Because he hath despised the word of the LORD, and hath broken his commandment, that soul shall utterly be cut off; his iniquity shall be upon him.” According to Strong’s presumptuously in the Hebrew is ruwm meaning: to rise, rise up, be high, be lofty, be exalted. The second entry is yad meaning: hand, strength, power, etc. The PRESUMPTUOUS sinner exalted himself in defiant arrogance denying and refusing to bring the required sacrifice for his sin. He was cut off, killed and would end up in hell. If those of Moses time were cut off and killed, how much worse punishment is he worthy of today who tramples the Son of God, profaning the blood covenant by which he was sanctified and has insulted the Spirit of Grace? So you see, this has absolutely NOTHING to do with one losing their salvation. Under the law presumptuous sin was refusal to bring the required sacrifice. Under grace willful sin is rejection of the sacrifice provided by God, the life, blood and body of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Hebrews 10:26 is speaking of believers, who have received a personal knowledge of the truth. The word used is 'epignosis' - the relational knowledge, first hand experience of Christ - vs. the head knowledge of gnosis. How horrible if this verse were speaking to unbelievers! For then, if they did not have faith after hearing the gospel only once, they would stand condemned forever! Paul would have been condemned and never been able to be saved, for he knew of Jesus, and was actively persecuting him. Rather, this verse is in the same vein as II Peter 2:17-22 and Heb 6:4-8. Believers who have come to faith; who have shared with the Holy Spirit with which we have unity with other believers and are sealed for redemption and have been apportioned spiritual gifts like others; who experienced Christ's gift, who had their faces unveiled that they might understand the gospel and believe; who then fall away ('to fall from close beside', that is, to defect from something you were once a part of) and subject themselves again to the law of sin and death - it is for these that there is no "second salvation". 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) ['Those who are waiting for Him' of Heb 9:28 shows not only our eager expectation for Christ, but our complete separation from everything we leave behind in order to wait. It is a complex triple compound, (apekdehkomahee) - 'away from' + 'out of' + 'welcome']. Contrast this to the people who "looked back" to the world: (Luke 9:62, II Tim 4:10, Zeph 6:4-6, II Peter 2:17-22, etc). We must also be patient with longsuffering (James 5:7)] Heb 10:26 does not teach that we can lose salvation (once people are granted salvation at Christ's second coming, nothing can snatch them from the father's hand (John 10:25-29). As for the seal/promise of salvation we now hold (the Holy Spirit), no power above or below can separate us from this. (Heb 9:14-15, Rom 8:31-39) It does, however, teach that we can reject the saving faith we once held and return to the law of condemnation. If we do not stand the test, then we will not receive the crown of life. (James 1:12, Heb 6:4-8, Matt 7:15-27) 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 and 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). If we do so, Christ cannot buy us again. We were redeemed from death once, if we seek redemption from death a second time, then 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). Only God knows the state of someone's heart, so we should not make assumptions on the state of salvation for those people who claim to follow God, then deny Jesus, then later follow God again. Rather, all the warnings in scripture to not turn back to the world, to remain and abide with Christ, and to endure to the end are meant for us personally, so that we are encouraged to be diligent in eagerly awaiting the coming of Christ, and trust that God has given us everything we need to get through trials (II Peter 1:3, Phil 4:13), At such time, God will make good on the earnest payment he has given us (the Holy Spirit) and grant us eternal life (Eph 1:11-14).
The Bible is very clear that you can lose your salvation. There are many passages that show you can fall away forever. Why do you think Jesus said to "put on the whole armor of God"? Bc He knew that the evil one would deceive many! The devil wants to pull you away from the Almighty and drag you into hell with him! Its exactly what he's doin today to many Christians, he cunningly and unknowingly works his way into our hearts and Churches. Paul said to "work out our salvation!" Here are many more passages to look up: Galations 5:1-4, Galations 4:8-9, Galations 1:6-9, 2nd Cor 13:5, 2nd Cor 11:1-3, 1st Cor10:11-12, 1st Cor 9:24-27, Romans 11:20-22, Acts 20:28-30, Luke 8:13, Mark 13:20-23, Mark 4:16-18, 2nd Peter 2:20-22............ Hopefullly these verses will open your eyes to the fact you can lose your salvation. "
'Ephesians 1: 4-5 'According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love: Having predestined us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will'. This scripture tells us that believers do not choose to follow Christ, He chooses them. How clear can this be? Believers do not 'decide' to follow and then perhaps 'decide' to un-follow Him later on. We belong to Him. Jesus, the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, chooses us - weak and pathetic as we are, not for the good in us, but because of the love He has for us. He did not choose us because He 'foresaw' that we would one day choose Him, as though He was hedging His bets. He doesn't need to - He doesn't even need us! He is all-powerful. He chose us for no reason that we can possibly think of, and He will never let us fall away. If we could 'choose' to fall away after being in His hands, He would not be a very effective Saviour would He? To own something and then lose it? But He loves us too much to lose us because of our own folly. No, once we are His we are His for ever. Paul says elsewhere that 'Those who go out from us were not of us, or else they would have remained'. It doesn't seem to me, to get any clearer than that. Yes, Paul gives warnings - even to believers. Just as you tell a child not to go near the fire etc. If the child trusts you, he will heed your warning and thus will not be burned. The point is that believers will heed the warnings. They may slip and slide but they will not fall away.
The question of "ONCE SAVED ALWAYS SAVED" has been debated since Christ was on the Earth, and will continue to be until He returns. My stance is, why teach it? Many of the debates revolve around semantics. "Were they really saved to begin with? " etc. The danger in teaching 'once saved always saved' is that the individual who when he was 10 years old (or 12 or 16 or 20) and responded to an altar call, but later in life drifted away from God (or never got close to begin with), and is now living a life of sin because he was told that once he was Saved he would always be, still carries his "get out of Hell free card". In his own mind he has no reason to change or repent. It does not matter if he was ever saved or not if he isn't NOW! As Christian's, we should be more interested that he get the discipleship that he needs to become rooted, instead of promising him something we cannot deliver even if it is true. (Only God can). We should be careful we do not create stumbling blocks, such as in Mark 9:42 "If anyone causes one of these little ones - - those who believe in me--to stumble, it would be better for them if a large millstone were hung around their neck and they were thrown into the sea."
Jesus died to make us His own. He lives to keep us His own. He is coming back to claim His own. All throughout the Old Covenant and the New Covenant, we see God proclaiming that His people are to be saved and no matter what happens in the rolling of ages He will preserve His own. I believe with all my heart that one fact sums up the whole of our consternation on this most important issue when we are weak, He is strong. When we have self dis-trust and feel helpless, then Jesus's love and power are infinite. When Peter was sinking after boldly wanting to walk on the water, he didn't gain secure safety by "holding on," but Jesus "stretched out His hand and caught him." Matthew 14:29-31. Our Salvation is not dependant on what we do but on what Jesus did and continues to do, die and shed His sacrificial blood, but then consummate the covenant promise by rising from the dead in order to reign supreme over death and the grave and hell. This is then my foundation I am able to stand on, it is not me but He that keeps my salvation.2 Timothy 2:13.If my getting to Heaven depending on me "holding on" I believe it would be my flesh I would glory in, as Paul says " God Forbid." It is He who began a good work in me and it is He who shall complete that good work.Galatians 3:3 and Philippians 1:6 For Salvation is of the Lord. Philippians 3:8-11. One more point, this same Hebrews letter says this, Jesus will never be crucified again and shed His atoning blood, the blood is placed on the heavenly altar to be the eternal offering for all who are washed in the blood. I didn't earn my salvation, I can't keep my salvation, I'm in Jesus and He is in me. His Spirit seals me, keeps me and shall deliver me completely. There is no I in Jesus, there is only a Us.
We know that the parable of the sower in Matt 13 tells us that out of the four groups Jesus spoke about only the group of true believers (the good soil) will produce fruit...The others will not and eventually they fall away as Jesus explains...I believe that is whom Heb 10:26 and Heb 6:4-6 refers to. As to "willful sinning" the KJ Version of 1 John 3:9 actually says those born of God DO NOT commit sin and CAN NOT sin... 1Jo 3:9 KJV - Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. Paul also tells us that even though people sinned before the law of Moses was given, their sins were not counted against them because there was no law to break. We know Abraham and Sarah lied, Jacob lied to and cheated Esau out of his father's blessing and his mother Rebecca was an accomplice. And Moses committed murder... God never punished any of them for what they did...they did not break any law or command because none existed at that time. If there is no speed limit, any speed you travel at will be permissible and will not be against the law... Adam and Eve were punished because they did break a command (law) of God... Rom 5:13 NLT - Yes, people sinned even before the law was given. But it was not counted as sin because there was not yet any law to break. So if all our sins, past, present and future, were paid for by Jesus at the cross and we are not under the Law but under Grace, then 1 John 3:9 KJV is correct in that we do not and can not sin. In order to be acceptable to the Lord we can not have even one sin on our record. We have to be wearing robes washed in the blood of the Lamb that are made white without even a blemish. Rev 7:14 Therefore those born of God do not and can not willfully sin and can not lose their salvation. So anyone willfully sinning can not be born of God and therefore not a child of God but a member of one of the three groups Jesus spoke in the parable of the sower, Matt 13... They might even be followers of satan. Those that disguise themselves as angels of light...2 Cor 11:12-15 Those people were never saved to begin with...1 John 2:19 All Glory and Praise to the Lord!
These Scriptures from Hebrews 10 are proof that even the writer could be included in those who draw back to perdition. I see here that the writer includes himself as those who might choose to go astray unlike those who reject free will regarding the possibility of a free will choice that would make the person lose his salvation. This devastating choice can be clearly seen in Romans 11:22. Let's take another look at the choice one could make about abiding in Christ. I want this to be clear from what the Scripture teaches. Every branch in Christ! How does one become a branch in Christ? John 1 says that anyone that chose to receive Christ God gave them power to become son's of God. This power to become a son of God came to any who first chose to receive Him not as some report, after they are regenerated they then have the will to receive. That same will to receive Christ is also left with us all our Christian life and it is warned in the parable of the True Vine, that any disciple of Christ may still be cut off from the Vine. If this parable taught that our free will choice was not involved in whether we remain in Christ it might be worded simply like this. "I am the True Vine you are the branches. "Since I have abided you in Me forever, so that you as a branch cannot decide not to abide in me, this means you as the branch cannot dry up because of the perseverance of the saints." But of course that is not what is taught here. Let us look closely at the parable so that we can understand what Jesus was really teaching. Joh 15:27 And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning. this scripture proves that Jesus, in this dissertation was talking to the 12 apostles because they were with Him from the beginning. Jesus said they were clean through the Word He had spoken to them, and this cleansing is the unique privilege of all who receive Christ. Then He continues to warn them what would happen to them if they decided to stop abiding in Him. Every branch in Christ is purified by it's connection in Christ. Jesus then taught that even these disciples had to remain in Him or suffer the consequences of being taken away by the Father and be broken off. Any other application of this parable would mean Christ's words were meaningless. Why would Jesus tell them to abide if it were not possible to stop abiding. Joh 15:6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. Joh 15:7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. That word if means it is an ever present Choice not a foregone conclusion. If it was a foregone conclusion this teaching is meaningless. If I asked you to stay in my home because if you didn't you would be shot. You have the freedom to go but you will suffer the consequences if you do. If I imprisoned you by shackling your hands and feet and said to you, "You have a choice stay here or you might get shot. If I was to speak to a person that I had deprived of their liberty it has no meaning because they have no liberty! That is not the context of the parable and even Peter after his shaky experience denying the Lord, left us all a warning to make our calling and election sure. Judas had a Holy Calling and election but "Judas by transgression fell" from that calling. So here in the parable Jesus declares that they would need to abide to the end to be certain. John also understood what this abiding meant as we read in 1Jn 2:24 Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father. The key word as we read in the parable of the True Vine is "abide" or to dwell continually in. They had to allow the Word to dwell in them and so if they did they would continue in the Father and the Son.
Yes indeed, someone can lose their salvation! Salvation is like a treasure or a pearl (Mathew 13:44-46). How and what is somebody supposed to do when they have a treasure or a pearl? Before you are even told someone has a treasure or a pearl, if you are observant enough, you will notice a change in their behavior. The excitement will be all over them. This is how some people (sometimes thieves) are able to identify someone must be having something special. A treasure or a pearl is something never easy to acquire and when acquired, it is to be kept carefully because everybody would love to have it in their possession. If you are lucky enough and have acquired that treasure or pearl, you have to be extremely careful how you keep it because if you don’t, so many others would “gladly” take it away from you whether for good or bad reasons. That means if you are not careful enough with it, you stand a possibility to lose it. We all know how the devil works all round the clock using all the means available to him just to have us give up on this much cherished treasure of salvation. I have witnessed brethren who have willingly and unwillingly given up this precious treasure of salvation. The cares of this world, challenges…. (Mathew 13:1-8) have led many to choose the leeway. All because the devil is at play. He (the devil) uses both forceful and seductive (Daniel 11:32) ways to lead many away from salvation. His mission is to lead as many as he can to hell with him. Without salvation of faith in Jesus the CHRIST, there is no way one can be led to heaven. The devil only works to snatch it away from us because he knows this is our passport and ticket to heaven without which the alternative is hell. This gift of salvation is a treasure beyond description. It is a treasure that can’t be defined in human language. It is special only to the person who has received it. Others may not exactly understand what exactly it is to you, neither should you expect anybody else to equally understand or treasure it the way you do. It is only special to the individual. The devil knows it is that important, he will do all he can in his power to make you lose it. Salvation is to be kept with all forms of weaponry (Philippians 2:12-16), Jesus could only die for it. Your salvation is so precious, do not dare to treat it anyhow, you could lose it, it is possible to lose it. The enemies of your salvation could be both; those you know, and those you don’t, friends both close and distant, enemies both known and unknown, whoever can lead you into losing the much precious gift of salvation, the devil can use anybody. It is possible to lose it, in whichever way! Without salvation of faith in Jesus the CHRIST, the alternative of heaven is hell!
One of the most important foundational truths is the security we have in our salvation, which can never be lost. Three general aspects encompass our security: 1) Jesus Christ will never push us away based on anything that we will do (John 6:37); therefore, there is nothing we are going to do that will cause Jesus to reject us. 2) Jesus Christ will keep us strong to the end (I Corinthians 1:8), so cannot become weak and fall away since our strength is not based on ourselves, but on Him 3) Satan or any other demonic being cannot take us out of our salvation (John 10:27-30); therefore, nothing can pull us away from our Lord and our salvation Based on the above, there is no way we can lose our salvation: Jesus will not push us away, we cannot get weak and fall away, and Satan cannot pull us away. Would recommend checking out the website FoundationsForOurFaith.net for a more thorough study on the security of our salvation. God Bless
The statement in the bible refers to "willfully sinning" - which translates to mean that, such fellow has become addicted to sin and has no regard again for thinking twice about sin and its eternal consequence; this portion of bible refers to such circumstance, that such sins are not covered under the sacrifice for sin i.e.salvation that was once received by such sinning fellow. Summarily, the period of ignorance, God overlooks - Acts 17:30-31; It means any sin before salvation is forgiven and forgotten by God, but wilful sin is forgivable if the fellow ask God for forgiveness but punishable on earth - John 5:14; Luke 12:43-48.
Hebrews 10:26. I am rewriting my answer as I believe I was WRONG. It would not be the first time and it probably will not be the last. That is why it is so pertinent to study your bible. Anthony made me rethink my answer, and I believe He and JD are right. These were Jewish Converts that needed to go on to maturity. I wrote a short piece below after Anthony's comment. Thank you Anthony. Once a person has accepted Christ blood sacrifice for all our sin, we are saved forever. The perseverance of the saints is for those saved during the tribulation that will have to persevere and not take the mark of the beast to be saved. Not the church. We are saved the minute we trust Jesus as the only way to be saved. Ephesians 1:13 Once we have received the Holy Spirit we can never be lost because God would have to send His own Spirit to hell. That can not happen. Only those that have accepted His free offer of salvation by grace are saved and have eternal life. Romans 11:6 It is all grace, (what Jesus did for us) not works, what we do or do not do, if it was by works, then it is no longer grace. It can not be both. If salvation was a process, then it would be by works, but no man can attain salvation any other way than through the blood of Christ. John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; and He that beleiveth not the Son, shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on Him. We are under grace, no longer under the law, so we have nothing to boast in. Jesus paid it all and we paid 0. It cost Jesus everything, and it cost us nothing because we did nothing for it. It is free. John 10:28 And I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. Not even us. John 1:12 But as many as received Him, the free gift of salvation by grace, to them gave He power to become the children of God, even to them that believe on His name. We are a child of God forever, whether we are an obedient child or disobedient child. We can get our of fellowship with our heavenly father through sin, but never our relationship to Him. But we all sin. First John 1:8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. Those that say they have no sin are only self righteous. When we trust Jesus as our savior He gives us His righteousness and we can never be lost. Jesus is our righteousness. He is our all in all.
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