Friday, November 14, 2014

Deliberate Sin

I remember as a young Christian, reading one particular scripture that flat out scared me.  Concern or worry might best describe my feelings, but as I read it (taken out of context of course) it alluded to what I thought would be ... my running out of, or using up ... the sacrifice Jesus made for my sin.

So today, I want to take another look at this very same scripture that must be somewhat confusing to more people than just me.  We don't even know who wrote it, because it's author did not sign his name, although many people attribute the writing style of this book to the Apostle Paul.  But for whatever reason the author of the book of Hebrews remains anonymous.
About 50 years ago I read these sobering words in Hebrews 10:26 ... "For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins ..."   (KJV)    

As a young Christian that got my attention.  I didn't like what I was reading one bit.  You see, I was just learning how to keep myself from continuing to walk "willfully" in my old sinful ways.  Becoming that new creature in Christ is a slow process ... at least it was for me.

Oh, many things dropped off right away.  I didn't have too many of the outward sins like smoking, drinking, chasing girls or raising hell all the time and causing trouble.  But I still sinned ... and yes, sometimes even willfully.

What was I to do after finding this scripture?  I had sinned willfully after becoming a Christian.  Did that mean Jesus' sacrifice no longer remained for me?  Do you understand the concern I had as a young believer?    

Is there anyone reading this today who can say they haven't sinned willfully after excepting Jesus and starting the process of making Him Lord?  Haven't we all done that?  Deliberate sin.  Knowing it's wrong and going ahead and doing it ... even after we became Christians.  If so, then we all need to look at this scripture in Hebrews 10:26 a little closer.

This verse in the New King James Version reads slightly different from the (KJV) I have already given you ... "For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins ..."

Does this mean that our deliberate sin cancels out Jesus' death on the cross?  Absolutely not.  This same chapter of Hebrews declares in verses 10 thru 14 ...

"We are sanctified (declared holy) through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all ... but this man, (Jesus) after He had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God ... for by one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified."

Jesus died one time, and one time only.  Jesus was God's only sacrifice for sin and it will not be repeated.  Once was enough ... nothing else can or should be done ... which leads us to the meaning of Hebrews 10:26.

In trying to explain verse 26, I find my words are simply inadequate.  But I did find some other Bible versions that might help us gain a more complete understanding of the intended meaning.  The following phrases from verse 26 are transposed as written ...

"... if we deliberately continue sinning ..."  (NLT)

"If we deliberately keep on sinning ..."  (NIV)
"... if we willfully persist in sin ..."
  (The Voice)

And then I found this in "The Message Bible" and it seems to be the closest to the meaning of Hebrews 10:26 ...

"If we give up and turn our backs on all we've learned, all we've been given, all the truth we now know, we repudiate Christ's sacrifice and are left on our own to face Judgment."

The phrase ... "we repudiate Christ's sacrifice" ... explains why there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins.  The word repudiate means ... "refuse to accept or be associated with."   It's our choice.  Left on our own ... now that's a scary thought.
It's not that Jesus' sacrifice is canceled out.  Sin can be forgiven.  (See 1st John 1:8-10)  It's only when we turn our backs on Jesus and persist willfully and deliberately to continue and pursue a life of sin once again.  This scripture is not speaking about just committing one sin ... it's speaking about going back to a sinful lifestyle.  

It's all up to you.  If you choose to go back into sin and you reject or refuse to accept Jesus' sacrifice, then it's true ... "there no longer remains a sacrifice for sin."

Whether you are sinner or saint ... there is no other sacrifice for sin other than Jesus.

For me today, this scripture means ... if in your heart and mind you can't or won't accept what Jesus has done, the price He paid on the cross ... then it becomes true.  I say again ... for you ... there no longer remains a sacrifice for your sin

And that sacrifice was and always will be Jesus.

It's Jesus or nothing.

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