THERE NO LONGER REMAINS A SACRIFICE FOR SINS?
(Is it too late for me to repent)?
"For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt". Hebrews 6:4-6
"For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries". Hebrews 10:26-27
These verses have stumbled many Christians, by making them think, if they are not perfect in their everyday life and conduct, or if they fall away...there is no way back to God. Therefore, they may as well continue in their sin, because God will reject their repentance anyway. if you're like me (not perfect but striving to be), Hebrews 6 and 10 in particular, always troubled me in times past (before I understood it's proper context).
You know: you stumble, sin or do something stupid; then you read in Hebrews such verses as " If we sin deliberately after salvation...if we fall away--(even once...twice...three times!)---there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins and it's impossible to renew such a one to repentance". But then, you read in 1 John 2:1 where it says "If we sin...we have an advocate". This always stumbled me and put me into a state of double-minded gloom, confusion, cold-sweats and panic...apparently caused from the word of God.
There is either forgiveness for sins...or there isn't.
I certainly hope there is...because the desire of my heart is to serve the Lord.
So which is it?
Does the Word of God contradict itself?
It wasn't until I began studying Hebrews in depth, that I came to the realization of what the ENTIRE context of the ENTIRE book of Hebrews was dealing with. The main contextual-subject, motivation and burden of the author, was to deal with Jewish Christians who had slipped back into the Judaic rituals of the sacrifice of animals for the forgiveness of sins. This is THE major reason the author of Hebrews wrote this epistle. He wrote to correct this gross error. This is THE context that MUST be understood in order to properly understand the book as a whole; and especially in part.
"For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth..."
So with this context in mind, THE definition of " deliberately sinning or falling away"...per the Book of Hebrews...is to return to offering animal sacrifices in ADDITION to Christ's finished work on the cross. That is, if we sin—Greek present participle: if we be found sinning, that is, not isolated acts, but a "perpetual" state of sin which is defined by the context of Hebrews as "returning to the ritual of offering animal sacrifices for the forgiveness of sin"...if we do this, we will be guilty of a violation not only of the law, but of the whole economy and ENTIRETY of the New Testament and Christ's ONCE FOR ALL sacrifice for sins. (Heb 10:28, 29).
Here, lies the warning:
if there be not diligence in progressing forth in Christ's finished work on the cross...
if there is insistence upon making equal Christ's PERFECT, ONCE FOR ALL sacrifice with that of mere animals...a falling away would take place, and apostasy would ensue for these Jewish converts to Christianity.
Once again, I repeat: the apostasy, falling away or deliberate sin that is mentioned in Hebrews 10:26, by definition and within the context of the ENTIRE Book of Hebrews is defined as: "Jewish Christian's who began offering the Judaic rituals of animal sacrifices as an EQUIVALENT and EQUALIZING ADDITION to Christ's work on the cross.
This is a grand insult to Christ that tramples underfoot the Son of God (Hebrews 10:29).
For there is but ONE Sacrifice that can atone for sin. They (the recipients of the epistle to the Hebrews) after having fully known that sacrifice (the sacrifice of Christ), deliberately and WILLFULLY rejected it.
They began to feel His sacrificial blood wasn't enough to atone their sins.
They had already been enlightened, and tasted of the heavenly gift of the Holy Spirit... they had already tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come...only to make Christ's precious blood of lesser value than that of an animal. What an insult to God!
To remain in this state...is to fall away into apostasy...to remain in this state:
To remain in this state, according to the Book of Hebrews...there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins.
To return to animal sacrifices outrages and insults the Spirit of Grace, it tramples underfoot the Son of God, crucifying Him anew, drags His name through the mud while profaning His Blood by making it a common thing, and of lesser value to that of the blood of a bull or goat. Hebrews 10:29-- Namely, it says: "Yeah, Jesus, thanks for your sacrifice and all...that was a really nice thing to do...but we'll be taking it from here. Your sacrifice just simply wasn't enough...your blood isn't as righteously qualified to atone and forgive as we'd like it to be. Therefore, the Father will be more prone to accept the blood of the animals we sacrifice, over and above the blood that you sacrificed".
Can you see why this is so insulting to God?
When these Jewish Christians returned to the Judaic sacrifices, they were ADDING to the once for all sacrifice of Christ. Why? Because they obviously thought Christ's sacrifice wasn't enough...(the entire book of Galatians also dealt with this) Do you now see, why the writer of Hebrews said there "No longer remained a sacrifice for sins?" It's because they were under the impression sins were being absolved by and through the blood of animals in ADDITION to Christ's work.
There NO LONGER REMAINED a sacrifice by which God could activate (unto forgiveness), so long as someone insistently remained under the effects of the ritualistic acts of ANIMAL SACRIFICES. This was an abandoned and abolished ritual upon Christ's death and resurrection. Therefore, so long as someone insistently-remained in this condition, it is impossible to restore them unto repentance since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up in contempt.
If someone is expecting forgiveness of sin in and through the ritualistic effects of the Judaic animal sacrifices...sorry...there NO LONGER REMAINS A SACRIFICE FOR SIN. Who can reach a person who thinks otherwise? It's seemingly impossible to renew such a one unto repentance...and so long as they remain in this state...there can be no repentance...therefore there is no forgiveness.
So long as they remained under this opinion and practice; there indeed was absolutely NO forgiveness of sins, so long as they sought it through the blood of animals. Do you now see, why this act outraged and insulted the Spirit of Grace? (Hebrews 10:29)
This is the same reason God is insulted by the Catholic Mass of the Eucharist as they foolishly think they are re-offering Christ's Body and Blood on the the altar...to absolve sins...because His once for all sacrifice apparently wasn't enough. This is just an ADDITION to Christ's Blood and its merely an off-shoot of the Jewish Christians Heresy found in the Book of Hebrews) .
So Catholics, BEWARE: THERE NO LONGER REMAINS A SACRIFICE FOR SIN.
"Christ was sacrificed ONCE to take away the sins of many...and after "He had made purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand God". Hebrews 1:3, 10:12--
We needn't add ANYTHING to His sacrifice. His sacrifice is more than sufficient to take away and cleanse us of sin. If we rely on our own methods...whatever that might be...there no longer remains a sacrifice for sin.
The same measure of repentance that made you capable of receiving your initial salvation...is the same measure of repentance that will make you capable of receiving forgiveness AFTER you are saved.
So, its not a matter of "if we screw up...that's it...no more salvation for you...you had your chance, now you've blown it...wallow in your pig-pen prodigal...you'll never see the Father again...there is no hope for you".
How we ALL be in trouble if that were the case!
But this is exactly how these verses have been taught. No wonder myself and others have broken out in cold sweats and panic. No wonder such confusion ensued from these verses, making it appear God's word contradicted itself. But it's not the word of God that causes the panic and confusion...it's our misunderstanding of it. Hebrews really has to be taken as a whole in order to properly understand it. For too long preachers have used proof texts and an isolated verse here and there to prove various pet doctrines. These letters we call books MUST be taken as a whole if they are to be understood in part. The context is ALWAYS the defining aspect as to what the individual verse means. Looking up the Hebrew or Greek definitions will do you NO good if you ignore the context in which they appear. Context MUST come first...then the definitions of the words that appear in the context can serve as a vehicle to deepen and elevate what God is trying to convey.
And I must ask: What kind of a person has a pet doctrine that makes it appear if you screw up, God is going to reject your repentance? It makes you wonder, if the teachers who have taught these verses as such, were under the impression they were perfect? How else could they stand before their congregation and impose such things upon their members if they weren't under the impression they have fulfilled the stipulations they are now imposing upon others? What self righteousness!
How many backsliders, who were truly saved and delivered, found themselves face deep in the pig-pen of the prodigal and desperately desired to come home to the father...only to have the echo of these mis-taught scriptures prevent them from doing so?
PASTORS AND LEADERS: It's time to study and fall on your faces in repentance.
As if YOU have NEVER had to utilize the Grace and Mercy of God? Are you too good and holy for what Paul referred to as "sufficient grace"? Why would He allow you to reach a sinless pinnacle in which the Apostle Paul himself didn't even reach? (2 Corinthians 12:7-10)
He who says he has no sin is a liar and is steeped face-deep in self deception. To make it appear you have no sin while imposing these unattainable stipulations on others, proves you are riddled through and through with sin...so much so, you're blindingly up to your eyeballs in it.
He who makes it appear someone no longer has forgiveness of sin...not even through repentance...is a spiritual terrorist. If THEY don't have forgiveness of sin...neither do YOU. Oh what a travesty and sin it is, to tell people there is NO forgiveness of sin.
This is what has caused the true meaning of these verses to become somewhat lost. And I realize that not all pastors who mis-teach or misunderstand these verses are self righteous and full of themselves (but some of them are). A lot of them really think their misunderstanding as to what these verses mean, really is what the Bible teaches. Therefore, in their own minds, they are attempting to honor God and His Word. But if this were so, the Bible would flagrantly contradict itself in many passages.
Hebrews is a very hard Book to understand if you don't have the proper historical context and frame of mind when approaching it. The author's syntax is somewhat static and broad in its approach. To accurately analyze its spiritual geography, a broad scope is needed----an aerial view that provides us a panoramic and complete picture of what is going on. Otherwise, we won't be able to see the forest through the trees. We must be diligent in rightly, accurately and precisely dividing the Word of Truth. When we fail to meet these expectations, our failure holds the potential to become a stumbling block and failure for others.
Context...context...CONTEXT. I cannot stress this enough!
noun: context; plural noun: contexts
1.the circumstances that form the setting for an event, statement, or idea, and in terms of which it can be fully understood and assessed.
Without knowing the context, you will inevitably read yourself into the context, along with your preconceived ideas and false assumptions as to what you've been told the disjointed verse means. We must NEVER remove a verse from its context. When you do, you remove the meaning God has intended for us to receive and hereby apply. No matter how much you think you know what a verse means, nine times out of ten, if you don't know the context in which it was written...you don't have the proper meaning or understanding. From here on out, when reading your Bible, always ask yourself what the context is. This will illuminate the scriptures in a fresh and new way. You will be amazed at the spiritual riches you will mine from the Word of God!
When the context isn't at the forefront of our Biblical studies, we will inevitably end up reading ourselves into the scriptures. This replaces God's communicative authority with what WE WANT or MAKE the scriptures say (whether intentional or unintentional). We need the context read into us. We must keep context at the forefront of ALL of our Biblical studies. The context is the original motivation, intent and meaning God wishes to convey.
If you extract an idea, event, teaching, belief or statement from the Bible that lacks the circumstances by which they were spoken...more times than not, you will read yourself into scripture, making it say what you wish it to say. This practice comes dangerously close to idolatry...fashioning and forming the scriptures into what you want them to be (whether intentional or unintentional).
When this is done...we potentially suffer...as does others.
CONCLUSION AND SUMMARY
Christ, the ONE in whom our hope is set upon is seated on the throne. NONE of our methods or man-made rituals and ordinances are. When we place our forms of godliness and rituals on the throne in place of Christ...there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins. And we protestant's have our "things" we add to his sacrifice as well. May we be cautious!
The only way there can remain no sacrifice for the sin of the unbeliever AND the believer, is to reject Christ's sacrifice in place of another. If we hold something (anything) to a higher or equal proportion to that of Christ's Blood, it will spiritually replace His sacrifice and we will be left with the "atoning nature" of what it is we have replaced Him with. Which as you know, NOTHING atones except the blood of Christ. Therefore, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins if we keep ourselves in adherence to anything other than that of Christ's blood.
We must strive unto perfection: Having the desire to "sin less" by progressively reaching the point where you "sin no more" SHOULD BE the hope and aspiration of ALL true Saints of God.
What starts out (when you're first saved) as a mere hope to "sin less" should always lead the true convert into the ruthless, reckless ambition to become "sinless" as you mature in your Christian walk. While we may not reach the point of "sinless perfection" this side of heaven...this should be NO LESS the goal of each of us. This is the progressive sanctification of the Spirit-----this is the natural, normal growth of someone who has truly been born of God: TO BECOME JUST AS PERFECTLY SINLESS AS CHRIST IS. THIS is the whole of the Christian experience.
"Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God". Hebrews 6:1
No we may not reach ultimate perfection...but nevertheless, we must press on toward that EXACT goal...We must still seek Him fully, with a graphic devotion, that embraces our cross and recklessly tosses self to the side to utterly die.
We must seek Him with a stubborn, resolute and decisively-reckless passion. Let your recklessness be found in Christ...not in your sin. Throw caution to the wind and die...that you might live.
If you stumble, if you find yourself in the throes of wicked disobedience as you return to the sins that nailed Christ to the cross...REPENT...utterly and completely REPENT. There still remains a sacrifice for your sin through CHRIST ALONE. This condition hinges upon your repentance.
If you are the prodigal who has wandered away...do not think you have screwed up SO bad that He will now refuse your humble repentance. While it is still called TODAY...and there is breath in your lungs...you still have the capacity to return unto the God you have forsaken. But let it be known: ALL known sin MUST be forsaken. We mustn't continue in sin on account of Grace.
And just because "to sin deliberately" in the above verses hold the definition (according to the context) of "returning to the animal sacrifices of Judaism", doesn't mean we now have a free reign to sin deliberately in other areas. For even within the context, there is a spiritual principle to be learned. ALL deliberate sin is still SIN. And ALL unrepentant sin will be severely judged by God. (2 Corinthians 5:10, 1 Corinthians 3:12-15) ALL deliberate, perpetual, consistent and unrepentant sin...ties the hand's of God where our forgiveness is concerned. If we want forgiveness, we must repent. If you refuse to repent, it is impossible to restore you unto God.
A true convert uses grace as a means to perpetuate a holy life.
A false convert uses Grace as a means to perpetuate an unholy life.
You must diagnose yourself as one of the two.
"What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may abound? May it never be!" Romans 6:1-2-
It is because of the Grace, mercy and forgiveness He provides that "we should strive to be holy as He is Holy". 1 Peter 1:16
And in our striving...
"Let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, (not our own methods) who is the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-3-
We must work hard to rest in Him.
I hope the above has cured some panicky cold sweats and confusion. I also hope it has provided some conviction that will lead some unto repentance.
Let us go on in Holiness and know we can BOLDLY come to the throne of Grace with complete confidence! Hebrews 4:16-
God will NEVER reject our repentance...so long as the object of our repentance is NONE other than Christ.