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Sun, Mar 29, 2015

Part 02

Duration:48 mins 51 secs

When you become a Christian…

You are so aware of your sin and what Christ had to suffer so that you could be forgiven that sin… sin seems terrible and you try hard to run away from it… although sometimes you still fall.

However for some Christians as time goes by…

  • We slowly but surely start being remolded by the world again
  • We start finding happiness and excitement in the things of the world again
  • We start desiring sin again
  • We start getting slack on Christian disciplines

We are then faced with a dilemma.

Whereas before our theology of sin and forgiveness was quite simple… sin was terrible, we asked for forgiveness and then fought it flat out…

Now we begin to search for alternatives theologies… well we have to, to still try and feel happy, right?

v  So we develop the clean slate theology. I live life as I want to. If that happens to include sin, well I am a Christian, I ask for forgiveness, He forgives and I carry on doing what I want until I need the slate clean again. He just loves me that much.

v  Or I just don’t think about sin too much. I can do what I want, He loves me, I believe in what Jesus did on the cross, I will get to heaven anyway.

v  Or I begin to minimize or redefine sin in a way that will suite my lifestyle. For that I must hide my Bible away somewhere and not attend too much church. Or I must go to a church that is more about motivational talks and not much about sin… so I can maintain the lifestyle I want. It is also helpful to not hang around Christians that think too much about the Bible… better to hang out with Christians who think like me.

v  Another strategy is to be very loud or noisy about other Christian issues… that will hopefully keep people away from talking about sin or it will confuse them about my sin and sincerity as they see how passionate I am about some of the big issues that Christians like to debate about.

But then we turn to a passage like Hebrews 10: 26 – 27.

[Pray]

That is a hard saying!

And we actually all struggle with deliberate sin in one way or another. Not that we deliberately set out to sin but when tempted to sin we sometimes do it anyway. And if we are honest many of us put ourselves in temptation’s way and then… oh dear!

So what is this passage on about?

v  Is it making a distinction (as the OT does) between deliberate and accidental sins?

v  It is saying there is forgiveness for accidental sins but not deliberate sins?

v  Does that then mean that if we sin deliberately after we become a Christian that we will lose our salvation?

The Old Testament does distinguish between unintentional and intentional sins. Numbers 15: 22 – 31.

And just in case you think they were just warning people with harsh words and would never do such a thing look at the passage straight afterwards in Numbers 15: 32 – 36. God was making the point that deliberate sin was not to be taken lightly. The wages of sin is death.

But is that what is going on in Hebrews 10?

No. Our Hebrews 10 passage is not about the distinction between deliberate and accidental sin. The context will show us that.

In Hebrews 10: 1 – 18 the writer shows that Christ’s sacrifice is completely adequate for the forgiveness of sins. His sacrifice is far superior to the sacrifices that Israel used to make… they were a shadow of His sacrifice (Hebrews written to Christians wanting to go back to Judaism).

The writer then in 10: 19 – 25 urges his readers to draw near to God through Christ with confidence.

v  They must hold on to the hope they have in Christ

v  They must openly encourage each other to live out the faith not least of all as they gather together as the church.

The opposite of that would be to withdraw from church gatherings, to stop openly encouraging each other and give up their commitment to Christ and hope in him.

That is what is called apostasy (literally to defect from your religion).

That is what is meant by 10: 26 – 27. It’s those who willfully and deliberately turn their back on Christ and are now against Him. Which is why the writer writes 10: 29 (unpack – the unforgiveable sin that Jesus Himself spoke about in the gospel).

And it’s not like these people in Hebrews were just ignorant, the writer says these people knew the truth, went with the truth but then later chose to reject it.

They seemed (to all intents and purposes) to be Christians, they themselves even thought they were… but then for whatever reasons rejected it all and became like those against it (see also Hebrews 6: 4 – 8). These people had not listened to the warning of Hebrews 3: 12 – 14. BTW That’s why church! That’s why home group!

For such people there is no sacrifice for sin remaining because they have rejected the only one that exists. What remains is the judgment of God.

v  So our passage is not talking about a real Christian who struggles with sin

v  It’s not a discussion about deliberate and accidental sins

v  But it still has bearing on the Christian that plays loose and fast with sin as I described in the beginning

The early church never took sin lightly, deliberate or accidental.

Jesus Himself said, in Matthew 18, that sin needed to be dealt with in the lives of people. And if not repented of church discipline was to be instituted. Paul said the same thing in 1 Corinthians 5. Both said that if sin is not repented of the person involved must be seen as someone who is not a Christian.

James (in James 5: 15) points out that sinning can lead to sickness (not necessarily but it can). And Paul says the same (1 Corinthians 11: 30) and adds that sin can lead to physical death too.

And perhaps more frighteningly, if you choose to adopt…

v  The clean slate theology

v  The don’t think about it philosophy

v  The minimize of redefine it strategy

v  Or the make a noise about other Christian stuff to distract people from your sin tactic

You are deliberately hardening your conscience and disobeying God.

And that could be the start of the downward slide to an outright rejection of Christ and the faith. In which case it will show that such a person was never really saved because for Jesus is not Lord of their lives… 1 Corinthians 6: 9 – 10 and Galatians 5: 19 – 21.

And yet with all of this if you will but cry out for forgiveness, repent and trust in Christ… God will forgive and restore.

But for the people the writer of Hebrews is talking about it is no longer possible. They knew the truth, embraced it but then deliberately renounced it. They have hardened and been hardened to the point of no return. They no longer even care… until they face Him on judgment day and then they will regret their foolishness for all eternity.

We can only shudder at the thought and pray and make every effort to stay away from the slippery slope that leads to that pit of despair.

The writer of Hebrews tells us how to avoid this slippery slope… Hebrew 3: 12 – 15 / 4: 12 – 13 / 4: 14 – 16 / 10: 23 – 25 / 12: 1 – 3.

[Pray]

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