This, officially I think, makes this the longest running series I’ve ever done, longer than Catholics or Messianics, or Jehovah’s witnesses! If I had to do a series of 50+ articles, I’m glad it was on exposition of the Bible!
“Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And having an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:19–25, KJV)
Not a lot to go over here! There’s an exhortation to remain true to the faith. At the time, Rome had burned in 64 AD. There was a revolt in Galilee and in Egypt, and an attempt by the Zealots to take over Jerusalem. Reprisals were heavy, as Nero slaughtered thousands of Jews in 66 AD. The Jewish believers had been thinking of leaving Christianity and going back to Judaism, as they were caught in persecutions on all sides, from the Romans, the Zealots, the Pharisees and the Saducees. Felix had so mismanaged Israel as governor that he had been recalled, and Pontius Pilate was eventually recalled to Rome, where he would be forced to commit suicide for taking a contentious territory… and pushing it into much further unrest, incloding at least two revolts.
Now the ground is set for Hebrews 11.
first, there’s a call for the believers to remain in the faith, be strong, continue to attend church, where they can provoke each other to good deeds.
“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. 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. He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot 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? For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions; Partly, whilst ye were made a gazingstock both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly, whilst ye became companions of them that were so used. For ye had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance. Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul. Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 10:25–11:1, KJV)
This has one of our last hypothetical questions in Hebrews. “If we sin after having received the truth, there remains no more sacrifices for sin.”
This has two meanings. You can’t go back to the Temple for sin offering,s they’re no good. And Paul knows that Jesus has prophesied that the Temple would be destroyed utterly for its corruption… and it’s about to happen in just 4 years. But Paul will not see it on this earth.
There’s also a logical question there… “If you reject the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, what’s going to atone for your sins? All that will be left is judgment and Hell.”
Can we lose our salvation? We’ve already answered that with no. Remember, one of the premises we’ve examined is that all of the hypothecial questions asked in Hebrews have their answer in “No”. This is a hallmark of Paul’s writings, another proof it is indeed Paul who is writing Hebrews.
He who broke Moses’s law died under the testimony of at least two witnesses. Paul now gives three witnesses that will testify against every man who rejects Jesus Christ:
- The son of God
- The blood of the covenant
- The Spirit of Grace
God will judge His enemies. Paul here gives the immortal verse: “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God.”
It is indeed.
But the fact remains, we’ve already established that you cannot lose your salvation. Again, the wording suggests that anyone who has heard the Gospel, followed it and left, not having been saved, is not likely to return to it. Paul is warning that if they leave, sin offerings no longer cover. They will go to their deaths, with no means to atone for sins… and face then judgment.
“But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions; Partly, whilst ye were made a gazingstock both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly, whilst ye became companions of them that were so used.” (Hebrews 10:32–33, KJV)
Paul reminds them they were “illuminated”. φωτίζω phōtizō, “enlightened, given light to”. Told the Gospel.
“After you heard the gospel, you faced persecution and ridicule already.” is what Paul is saying.
“Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward.” (Hebrews 10:35, KJV)
The persecutions of Christians has great rewards, according to Paul. “Stay in the faith, prove you are saved, and God will greatly reward you at the believer’s judgment.”
“For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.” (Hebrews 10:36–39, KJV)
“For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.” (Romans 1:17, KJV)
“But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.” (Galatians 3:11, KJV)
“Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: But the just shall live by his faith.” (Habakkuk 2:4, KJV)
So the Greek admits: though it might also be translated, as ALFORD approves, “if he (the just man) draw back.” Even so, it would not disprove the final perseverance of saints. For “the just man” in this latter clause would mean one seemingly, and in part really, though not savingly, “just” or justified: as in Ez 18:24, 26. In the Hebrew, this latter half of the verse stands first, and is, “Behold, his soul which is lifted up, is not upright in him.” Habakkuk states the cause of drawing back: a soul lifted up, and in self-inflated unbelief setting itself up against God. Paul, by the Spirit, states the effect, it draws back. Also, what in Habakkuk is, “His soul is not upright in him,” is in Paul, “My soul shall have no pleasure in him.” Habakkuk states the cause, Paul the effect: He who is not right in his own soul, does not stand right with God; God has no pleasure in him.
Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset, and David Brown, Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible, vol. 2 (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997), 470.
You cannot lose your salvation. If you left… it was because you’re never saved. This is something that plagues Messianic Judaism… many leave it for Rabbinic Judaism. Then, some, years later, realize they’ve made a mistake. And feel trapped, because Messianic Judaism derives its doctrines mostly from Pentecostalism, which in turn mostly comes from Methodism. Arminianism is strong in Pentecostal and Messianic theologies. The only real errors of Arminianism is the way it distorts Hebrews into saying, “if you leave, you’re damned forever, without any chance of coming back.”
But it’s not true. You can’t lose your salvation. All you need to do is repent… and get saved.
Don’t put it off.