Leadership experts say you should always begin a criticism with a positive. At this point in Hebrews, I hope you have been encouraged by the sheer grace of God in Jesus Christ! But maybe you’re struggling with sin and wondering if any of what we’ve read applies to you? Perhaps instead of being encouraged, you’re feeling a little hopeless and questioning whether you’re even saved.
Today’s passage is challenging for sure. But we cannot ignore it. Rather we must wrestle with it and allow God to speak to us through it. To face these scriptural challenges will help us to change and grow toward maturity.
Today’s challenge really gets to the heart of the believer’s confidence. A true Christian not only lives a life of obedience to God but also endures and is faithful in the midst of persecution.
First let us understand the context. This sobering warning is found at the end of the incredible assurance that Christians have! Understand rightly, that if your faith is in Christ Jesus, you are saved. End of!
What then of continued sin in the Christians life?
Sometimes life can beat us down, really hard. We can feel tired and burdened and if we’re not careful, sin can overtake us and make us feel like failures! When this happens, it can be easy for us to try and hide, or perhaps feel like church is no longer for us and take a break. But remember, not only the encouragement to keep meeting with others in yesterday’s reading (to prevent this sort of thing) but also of who we have in Christ, the great High Priest who sympathizes with our weaknesses (Hebrews 4:15). The gospel is not about your strength, but about coming to believe in His strength. It is weak people coming to repentance in the one who can save their souls.
The word “deliberately” (vs. 26) in regard to sin is used, well, deliberately. This speaks of deliberate sin and refusal to repent. An active turning away of the grace that Jesus has shown to you.
So ask yourself the following questions.
When you sin, do you understand it as such? Do you feel the effects weighing on you? Is your conscience troubled? Do you wish to be holy like your Saviour? Do you desire the Lord’s return (vs. 25) when all sin will finally be defeated and your life fully freed to worship your God as you know you ought? Friends, these are the signs of a regenerate heart. You and I will still sin, and at times it may even be because we knowingly chose to, but the true Christian is the one who keeps running back to Jesus every single time.
But do take this warning seriously. Do not cheapen God’s grace. Hell is full of people who had a clear understanding of the gospel, but ultimately rejected Christ as King and Saviour. Those who reject the Son have every reason to fear the Father. Sin is serious and deadly. That is why Jesus died.
Instead take this warning like an alarm bell that rings when you sin. Set the alarm to ring ‘Repent! Repent! Repent!’ and run back to Jesus in repentance and faith. The worst thing we can do is to stop repenting. It is good to feel bad about sin, but don’t leave it there. Find forgiveness and freedom in Christ each time.
- Have you ever felt hopeless about your sin? Has it caused you to question your faith?
- What is the warning that is given in verses 26-28?
- What is the encouragement in verses 32-39?
Father God, thank you that my faith is not dependent on my works, but on the work of Jesus. I want to be holy and righteous like Him. Please forgive me for when I do wrong, for when I do not live as I ought, and lead me into life everlasting. Help me to live in full obedience to you and to remember your promises of salvation and forgiveness when I mess up. Let me never run from or reject you. Amen.