STUDY Hebrews 10:26-31 (click here for notes)

If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," and again, "The Lord will judge his people." It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. (NIV)


Warning Against Apostasy

Again the author issues a warning against rebellion and persistent sin. "Apostasy" comes from a Greek word referring to political revolt or rebellion. In the Septuagint the word "apostasy" always refers to rebellion against God. It may be understood to be the earthly counterpart to Lucifer's rebellion in heaven. (The New Bible Dictionary, IVP) The Greek word "gar", meaning "for", at the beginning of this passage makes it clear that it is directed toward people who are deserting the church. It does seem to be addressing deliberate, willful sin.

1. What distinction is made in Scripture between willful and "ignorant" sin? (see Numbers 15:27-31; Exodus 21:12-14; Hebrews 5:2; 6:4-8; 2 Peter 2:20)


2. What is "the truth"? (see John 14:6; 1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Timothy 2:25; Titus 1:1)


3. How can apostasy occur deceptively, without deliberate willfulness on the part of the one slipping into it? (see Matthew 24:10-11; Galatians 2:4; 1:6-8; 1 Timothy 4:1-4; 2 Timothy 4:3-4; 2 Peter 2:1,2; Jude 3-4)


4. What characterizes willful apostasy? (see Numbers 16; Matthew 24:9-10; Luke 8:13; Hebrews 3:12; 16-19)


5. What will those who apostatize have to face? (see Isaiah 26:11; 2 Thessalonians 1:7; Hebrews 9:26; 12:29)


6. Why is there "no sacrifice for sins left" if "we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth?


Sin in Israel vs. Sin in the Church

7. How were law-breakers dealt with in ancient Israel? (see Deut. 17:2-7)


8. How are those who sin against us dealt with differently in the New Covenant? (see Matthew 18:15-17; 1 Corinthians 6:1-6; 5:1-5)


9. Why were sinners handled differently in Israel than in the church?


10. What is the point of discipline in the church? (see 1 Cor. 5:5)


Insulting the Spirit

11. What does it mean to trample "the Son of God under foot"? (see Hebrews 6:6; 2 Peter 2:20-21)


12. What is "the blood of the covenant"? (see Exodus 24:8; Matthew 26:28; Mark 14:24; Hebrews 9:20; 13:20)


13. What does it mean to be sanctified by the blood of the covenant? (see 1 Corinthians 1:2; 6:11)


14. In the context of this passage and of the above references, what does it mean to treat "as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant"?


15. How does one insult "the Spirit of grace"? (see Mark 3:28-30; Luke 12:8-10; Ephesians 4:29-31; Hebrews 6:4; 2:2-3; 12:25)


16. Why will people be punished "more severely" for deliberately keeping on sinning after receiving "the knowledge of the truth" (v. 26) than people were punished in Israel for breaking the law?


17. How are those who receive this punishment different from those who receive church discipline as outlined in 1 Corinthians 5:1-5?


Divine Destruction

18. "For we know him who said, 'It is mine to avenge; I will repay,' and again, 'The Lord will judge his people.' " (v.30) Why are we not to exercise corporal punishment on persistent sinners within the church as Israel did? (see Genesis 50:19; Deut. 32:35-36; Psalm 135:14; Romans 12:17, 19)


19. Who or what will be responsible for the destruction of intractable sinners? (see Isaiah 19:16-17; 2 Corinthians 5:11; Hebrews 12:25-28; 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10)



20. Does the Biblical teaching of the destruction of the wicked differ from your former understanding? If so, how?


21. Do you experience depression or persistent anxiety, indicating that you have unresolved emotional and spiritual trauma?


22. Have you experienced the love of Jesus and the blood of his covenant sanctifying you, or do you fear releasing complete control to Him?


23. In what way(s) do you tend to disregard the sanctifying power of Jesus' sacrifice in your life?



24. What is in your life or in your memory of which the Holy Spirit persistently convicts you?


25. How do you rationalize the Holy Spirit's convictions in your heart, reasoning that you are not responsible or culpable for those things?


26. In what way(s) do you repeatedly sin or rationalize your behavior?


27. Ask Jesus to show you the truth he wants you to know about yourself, to teach you how he wants you to submit and surrender to him, and to fill you with his Spirit's power so you can experience freedom and healing from the deep shame, habits, and confusion that keep you at arm's length from him.


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