Bruce Collins, Evangelist

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Sinning Willfully

Meditation for the week of February 22, 2009

Hebrews 10:26
For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins.

We all have our own will.  Whether our will is a totally “free” will could be argued.  Ever since Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, we are programmed to do the wrong thing with regard to our relationship with God and not the right thing which is to trust and obey Him.  Left to ourselves our path would be away from God.   We don’t seek Him, He seeks us.  The Holy Spirit has been sent into this world to seek us by convicting us of the truth that God lives and has sent His Son to be our sacrifice (see John 16:8-13).  There is no doubt that all of us have the ability to respond positively  to the Holy Spirit and to be convinced of the truth that “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).”

Our verse seems to imply that we can be saved and then turn away from the truth and be lost forever.  Many expositors interpret it that way.  That would mean that we are saved by grace and kept safe by something that we do or do not do.   However, we are saved by the work of Christ and not by our own works or efforts.  That work never changes, and eternal life is just that, eternal.  The God who saves us is the God who has the ability to keep us safe and secure until we enter the gates of heaven.    We cannot depend on ourselves in any way to get to heaven.  We must depend wholly on the the Lord Jesus Christ and His promises.  

The book of Hebrews was written to the Jewish nation and when Paul writes “we,” He is talking about “we Jews” and not necessarily about “we believers.”   The Jewish nation was favored by having God in their very presence in the old testament.  They had Him dwelling in the tabernacle as they traveled from Egypt to the promised land.  They had Him dwelling in the temple during the days of the Kings.  They had the prophets who told them of the coming Messiah.  They as a nation had received the knowledge of the truth but in spite of that, the leaders of the Jewish nation condemned the Lord to die on an old rugged cross.  They willfully rejected the Lord and and they willfully rejected His death as being the means of our salvation.  All of their animal sacrifices and all of their keeping of the law could not save those who had rejected the Lord.  There is only one way of salvation and that is through faith in Christ. 

This verse, then, is not telling us that we can be saved and lost.  This verse is telling us that there is only one way to be saved; and, if we willfully reject that way, there is no other way of salvation.  Matthew Henry in his Concise Commentary says this about this verse: 

The sin here mentioned is a total and final falling away, when men, with a full and fixed will and resolution, despise and reject Christ, the only Saviour; despise and resist the Spirit, the only Sanctifier; and despise and renounce the gospel, the only way of salvation, and the words of eternal life.

The Jews fell away from what they could have had, not from what they did have.

People have always wondered if there is an unforgivable sin.  There is.  It is not the sin of adultery, or the sin of covetousness or the other moral evils that are so prevalent in our society.  It is the sin of turning our back on our consciences as the Holy Spirit uses the Word of God to draw us to the Savior.  If we say no to that conviction, we are saying no to the Holy Spirit and His desire to teach us the things concerning Christ.  That sin cannot be forgiven.  John 3:18 says, "He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

Yes, there is a willful sin.  Why should anyone commit it and be condemned for eternity?

Bruce Collins

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