May 21, 2023 | Greg Johnson

Out of Options

Last week, the writer of Hebrews summarized his thoughts from chapters 8 through first half of  Hebrews 10  verses 19-21 – Since we have the confidence to access God through the body and blood of Jesus, and because Jesus presides as the Great High Priest, he gave us three “LET US” application points in Verses 22-25.  Let us draw near to God with sincere hearts and confident faith, meaning that because of Jesus, I have the confidence to bring God my best AND worst .  Let us hold to the hope we profess, meaning I draw near to God and I HOLD ON TIGHT.  My walk matches my talk, my character matches my calling.  Let us consider how to encourage one another, it’s not just being an encourager, but CONSIDERING, or constantly looking for opportunities to encourage, always seeking to build up, not tear down. It's clearly giving the path to LIFE and FREEDOM.


The question then becomes, What rules your life? How do you make daily decisions? Look at this chart:



The idea here is that when you are living in the top two quadrants, gravity takes over and they will begin to inform the lower quadrants – the challenge is that human nature dictates that the graph be inverted (second chart), where Humanity is now informing the Divine – you are your own god, you are the final authority – this is actually a pretty good snapshot of the church today, redefining truth based on culture and whatever you feel to be right at any given moment.


Moving into the last part of chapter 10, the author will basically say, “If you can’t get on board and stay on board with Jesus, if you choose to walk away from this new and living way, we are out of options.Hebrews 10:26-39


V26 – “Deliberate sin” – Following Jesus doesn’t mean you no longer sin, but that you no longer DESIRE to sin. He is speaking here of a lifestyle of sin. What is the TRUTH that he is writing about here? In the first part of chapter 10, he has been clear that the sacrificial system has been made OBSOLETE because of the sacrifice of Jesus, and if that is not enough to change you, then there is not another option coming.


Contextually, back to the Let Us statements: When you are daily drawing near, and daily holding onto hope, he is changing your affections, your heart and mind, and you will naturally move in a different direction. There can often be a disconnect with saying yes to Jesus for salvation, and letting him have FULL ACCESS to your life, meaning you allow him to change your heart and mind, and the output of your life changes. The massive misunderstanding of the Gospel is that the church in the US has too often taught that because you didn’t earn salvation, then you can’t lose it. While this is completely true, deliberate sin is not a regular flow of the life if a believer. If you say you know Jesus, but keep deliberately living in a lifestyle of sin, then there is something foundationally wrong in your understanding of what it means to follow Jesus. Remember, the goal is not to get to Heaven, but to get HEAVEN IN YOU. You are now the tabernacle, the place where God dwells.


What the author is saying here is that the law and sacrificial system was a constant reminder of sin, and insufficient to bring about regeneration of the heart. However, Jesus offered the best, complete, and FINAL sacrifice for sin. So, if you reject it, NO OTHER SACRIFICE IS COMING. And, what waits for you?


Verses 27:  “Fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.” YIKES! So , here we get to the hard truth – let me start with the last part of this verse: Either you are FOR God or AGAINST God. If you continue to deliberately hold onto sin, then you are God’s enemy. Some of you need to hear this today, you are unwilling to call out sin in your own life, to walk away from a destructive lifestyle, but also want to believe that you’re all good. James 4:4, friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God. There is no middle ground here,  you are either following the way of Jesus or the way of the world, which is the way of the enemy. We’ll get more into this in a minute. And, he says this person should EXPECT judgment and RAGING FIRE. He is likely thinking of Isaiah 26:10-11, in these two verses, Isaiah is saying the same thing, Grace is extended, but righteousness is not the result and rebellion continues, so the rebellious are labeled as enemies and consumed with fire.

There is a future tense to this as well. Revelation 21:8, the enemies of God are consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur, or LAKE OF FIRE. Jude 1:23, “save others by snatching them from the fire.”  Even Jesus talked about hell. Matthew 5:22 is one such place, unrepentant anger leaves you in danger of the FIRE OF HELL.


The author clearly says here that you should “fear” this reality.  I think the point is this: HELL is real, but this is not a fear tactic, but the truth, in fact, the invitation from God is that he has provided a way of escape, a LOVING rescue operation that involved sacrificing his only son. He provided the way to LIFE, but if you reject his RESCUE, no other RESCUE is coming.  Then he makes an argument, comparing judgment of Old Testament to New Covenant judgment.


Verses 28-29  Under the Old Covenant, if you chose to willfully rebel against God, Deuteronomy 13:8-10, “show no mercy, stone them to death.” This is repeated in Deuteronomy 17:2-7: the choice to rebel and worship other gods got you dragged outside city gates and stoned to death.  TRANSLATION: God meant business, “I love you. I rescued you. Worship me. But if you choose not to, SIN HAS CONSEQUENCES.


So, the author says that if the penalty in the Old Testament for rebellion was death, HOW MUCH MORE SEVERELY do you think God will deal with those who reject the BETTER SACRIFICE? Here is where it gets real. The word PROPITIATION is a theological term that means appeasement. In ancient religions, people would sacrifice animals, or sometimes humans to appease their gods, this would be a common practice. There are some streams of Christian faith that would say that through the BLOOD SACRIFICE of JESUS, Jesus is holding back the wrath of God, he has been appeased by Jesus. There is the problem with that thought: man didn’t sacrifice Jesus, GOD DID. God appeased HIMSELF through the sacrifice of Jesus . John 3:16


What the author is saying here is that rejecting the self-sacrifice of God is “trampling on the Son of God, and INSULTED the Spirit of GRACE” – This is God’s FINAL act of GRACE – and the author is telling these young believers that if the penalty for rebellion under the old covenant was death, you shouldn’t expect anything less from a better, complete covenant


Verses 30-31:  Quotes Deuteronomy 32:35 – There is a penalty for sin, but it is God who repays – and it is a DREADFUL thing to fall into the hands of the living God – Here is where Revelation is helpful – While there is much symbolism and Revelation shouldn’t be used as a cheat code to the end times, it does paint a picture that you don’t want to be on the wrong side of the argument, because God WILL JUDGE and REPAY those who turn from him – Revelation 6:15-17 – what a horrifying picture of how God deals with rebellion


Verses 32-34:  tone shifts pretty dramatically here: “REMEMBER” – he is reminding these young followers of Jesus of their transformation. “You endured suffering, you were insulted and persecuted, you stood tough in the face of conflict, you joyfully accepted having your property confiscated because you understood that your reward was eternal”


Verses 35-36: Don’t quit, stand firm! You will receive your promised reward from God, Galatians 6:9.


This whole section reminds me of Revelation 2:5, “REMEMBER where you were at first, when Jesus was your FIRST LOVE – Let’s get back there.” The author has laid out truth of what rejection of God looks like, and then ENCOURAGES them to RETURN to the place where Jesus is the most important thing.


Verses 37-39 – Author references Habakkuk 2:3-4. He is coming back, and he is looking for those who live by faith and don’t shrink back. DON’T LOSE FAITH – STAND FIRM!


As we close, back to the chart: Who is the final authority in your life? If God is ultimate authority, YOU WILL STAND FIRM, YOU WILL NOT GIVE UP, YOU WILL ENDURE.



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