Sober Fear Of God: Hebrews 10:26-31
“26) For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27) but a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries. 28) Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29) How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace? 30) For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge His people.” 31) It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” Hebrews‬ ‭10:26-31‬
These are sobering verses. They remind us that grace is not a license to sin. Verse 26 makes it clear that something is tragically wrong with the person who goes on sinning “willfully” after receiving the knowledge of the truth. This is outright defiance of God and equivalent to trampling the Gospel under foot. Verse 29 equates this to “insulting the Spirit of grace.”
I find no text of Scripture that gives assurance of salvation to those who have not been converted by the Spirit of God after after hearing the gospel. 2 Corinthians 5:17 makes it clear that “17) if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature, the old things passed away; behold new things have come.”
The author of the book of Hebrews makes it clear that throughout the Old Testament God consistently judged those who claimed to know God but defied His Law. The Bible often calls this giving mere lip service to God. True conversion changes the heart.
My favorite discussion on this subject comes from Matthew 7:13-28. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus warned people to “enter by the narrow gate.” He then went on to say that a tree is known by its fruit. He concludes this context by saying “not everyone who says to me “Lord, Lord” will enter the kingdom of heaven. Many religious people will be rejected on the day of judgement because He never knew them for they practiced lawlessness.
We are encouraged to look for the converting work of the Holy Spirit in peoples lives. Those whom God saves He changes. There is no exception to this principle in the New Testament.
There are plenty of unrepentant confessors today. Churches are filled with religious people who have no sign of “Spirit life” within them. Jesus made it clear that something is wrong with a tree that bears no fruit. We should have a sober fear of God. He will judge the lost.