Our selected passage will be from Hebrews 10:26-27, which reads: "For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries." To understand these verses completely, we must identify the sacrifice for sins and clarify who is the willful sinner.
The Sacrifice for Sins
The Willful Sinner
Those who sin willfully know they are sinning and are out of God's will. In Hebrews 6:1-6, we see these people were enlightened in the word of God. After initially accepting the gospel, they were filled by the Spirit and obeyed God's commandments, but some fell away (vs. 8). They may have fallen due to their own failure to increase in knowledge of righteousness (5:12, 6:1). As the writer points out, they had become "dull of hearing" (He. 5:11). Failure to grow in knowledge results in blindness to the paths of God and complacency - diminishing one's fear of God. This, along with the pull of the world, temptations by the Devil, or just an iniquitous heart, have caused many to fall away from righteous living. Those who fall to willful sinning go back to their former way of sin and living for self. The life-changing sacrifice of Jesus is no longer a concern or a desire for them. Self-will is more desirable and takes priority over becoming a new creature in Christ. They eventually lose the conviction of the Holy Spirit. Some may even realize their fallen state but after a time they quit worrying about it, finding refuge among those like themselves. Sometimes they may feel sorry for what they do; however, this is usually worldly sorrow.
Worldly sorrow is sorrow before man. For instance, when someone is caught in sin or a bad deed the sorrow expressed is usually from embarrassment of the circumstances or fear of the consequences. Worldly sorrow has no sorrow toward God. It does not produce a spiritual change in a person's heart. Someone exhibiting worldly sorrow is likely to repeat the sin at another time. He may feel bad about his sin but will not feel convicted before God. Therefore, due to the callousness of the backslider's heart the blood of Jesus will not cover his continual sin or his worldly sorrow. Comparatively, one who seeks to walk in the light but happens to stumble will be covered by the blood of Christ (1 John1:6,7). They will feel conviction and will seek to overcome the sin while asking for forgiveness with Godly sorrow.
What judgment awaits the willful sinner? Hebrews 6:4-6 tells us renewing them to repentance is impossible. This is because they already know about faith toward God and repentance from dead works (6:1). They knowingly fell into sin, departing from God's will. It must be their own heart-moving choice to come back. According to Hebrews 10:27, they have become an adversary to God and face His fiery indignation. Verse 29 tells us they have made the death of Jesus into a meaningless event. Also, they insult the Spirit of grace by not heeding the prompting of His voice. Their end is "to be burned" (He. 6:8). In fact, worse punishment awaits those who fall away (He. 10:29). The book of Peter corroborates this too: "It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness than to have known and turn away" (2 Pe. 2:20-21). If they do not seek to recover and abide in God's grace they will face the destruction of their souls (He. 10:39).
How does the willful sinner recover God's grace? To receive God's
forgiveness, his heart must be sincere. The condition for forgiveness is
confession (1 Jn. 1:9) and Godly sorrow (2
Any sin is forgivable through Godly sorrow. However, we must overcome the sin. This is done through love and fear of God. Through love because God is our creator and He loves us. We should respect and honor Him, cherishing the life, love, and salvation He has offered us. Overcoming sin is our reasonable service ". . . present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service" (Ro. 12:1). We resist sin through fear, because God sees our sin and is the judge of our soul. We must fear His judgment to come at the end of the age. God's word says to "work out your salvation with fear and trembling; be diligent to make your call and election sure; pursue peace and holiness without which none will see the Lord; fear Him who is able to destroy both the body and the soul in Gehenna" (Php. 2:12; 2Pe. 1:10; He. 12:14; Mt. 10:28). Therefore, we must fear the consequences of not being in God's will; we must change our lives to ensure we will be taken with Jesus at the call of the Last Trumpet; we must live by the Spirit and pursue righteousness or we will not see the Lord; and we should fear Gehenna (The Lake of Fire), an actual place of pain and torment reserved for the lost. In short, we must fear God's judgment and diligently work at being in His will. This takes a mental and spiritual effort. Both are keys to steadfastness.
Keys to Steadfastness
Another key practice to establish in your life is prayer. Pray often, with prayers of praise and thanks to God and for His son, Jesus. Thank Him for all blessings in your life. Pray for your concerns and ask for guidance, strength, and understanding. If you are constantly talking with God, along with consistently reading His word, you will always have Him near your mind and heart. This will help you stay in His will. Do not let the pursuit of worldly things and the daily cares of life overcome quality time with God or daily thoughts of Him. Meditate on God, His will, and the holiness He demands. If you sin and are convicted in your heart, then with true sorrow toward God, ask Him for forgiveness. You will receive it. This is why Jesus gave His life for us. He is the sacrifice for sins.