Thursday, July 13, 2017

Paradise Lost?

Today’s Bible Reading:  Isaiah 15-18; Hebrews 10

Journal Entry on a passage from today’s reading:
Topic: Backsliding

SCRIPTURE:  Hebrews 10:26-31

26 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. 28 Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 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? 30 For we know him who said, "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," and again, "The Lord will judge his people."  31 It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. (Heb 10:26-31 NIV)


This is an ominous warning. Can a Christian—one who has repented and received Christ as Savior—lose their salvation by committing sin? This passage seems say yes to that question. The writer of the book of Hebrews has very lucidly explained how Jesus, as our High Priest, has fulfilled the law of sacrifice for sins. In Christ there is no longer any need for yearly sacrifices of atonement for our sins because He has offered Himself by the shedding of His own blood once for all (see yesterday’s journal entry). Therefore, it follows that if one willfully rejects Christ after having once accepted His sacrifice for their sins, there will not be any other sacrifice; “no sacrifice for sins is left” (v. 26).

The language used here is important. Notice that the implication is not directed to believers needing to fear losing their salvation if they make mistakes or stumble. It is directed to those who “deliberately keep on sinning.” The language is explicit: those who willfully, willingly, voluntarily, deliberately choose to turn their backs on all they have received, all they have been given, all the truth they have learned and acquired, are essentially repudiating Christ’s sacrifice for them.    


Does this mean that when a Christian backslides there is no longer any hope for them? I don’t think so. God’s love and grace are boundless. The danger lies not just because one backslides, but when one chooses not to repent, not to ask for forgiveness, and rejects living in and for Christ. To do so is insulting to the Spirit of Grace; it is like trampling the Son of God under foot and treating His blood as unholy (v. 29). The result for such: “…a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God” (v. 27). When does someone reach that point? That is a judgment left only for the perfectly just Judge to determine.

Eternal life with the Lord in heaven is available to everyone. Why anyone would choose to lose paradise I cannot fathom.


Thank You Lord for the gift of eternal life to come and abundant, meaningful life today. Forgive me my sins each and every day along the way as I confess them to You and strive to live my life in and for You. With all my love and devotion through Christ. Amen.  –AP

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