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Hebrews 10:26-39 by Robert Dean
Series:Hebrews (2005)
Duration:52 mins 21 secs

Hebrews Lesson 172  September 10, 2009

 

NKJ Psalm 119:11 Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You!

 

In the last couple weeks we've been looking at this difficult passage; difficult for many because it appears to suggest that a believer who is disobedient has no recourse in terms of a sacrifice for sin. That's what it seems that verse 26 is talking about.

 

NKJ Hebrews 10:26 For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,

 

The statement "there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins" is merely a reminder that all sin was paid for at the cross. That same statement we find back in the last part of verse 18, i.e. that there is no longer an offering from sin. There it's a very good thing. It is a reminder that Christ paid for all the sins of the world so nothing else can be done. There's no more offering, no more sacrifice. There's nothing that needs to be done in addition. So even if there is a willful sin which under the Mosaic Law had no sacrifice, even if there is willful sin, all sins are paid for including that willful sin. So there's no need to have an additional sacrifice. 

 

So the question may come up: if this is true (if Christ really did pay for all of my sin) and I don't have to worry about that anymore, what's to keep me from sinning with impunity? What's to keep me from going out and raising hell and doing whatever I want to all the time and just be grateful that my sins are paid and I don't have to worry about my eternal destiny?

 

There are a lot of people who think that way. This was a problem in the battle over the Reformation recovery of the doctrine of justification by faith alone. It was Martin Luther who was the great German reformer who came to a clear understanding of justification by faith. He didn't come to it in a flash of light which some people think. In fact even after he nailed the 95 theses on the door of the church at Wittenberg in Germany. That was sort of neighborhood bulletin board. If you wish to debate something, then that's where you would put it. So this was just standard procedure to nail that to the church door so that everybody could see it, because in those days everybody went to church and if you wanted to spread the word about something throughout the community you put it on the front door of the church and then everybody would read it. So that's where you put in. It was a challenge: ninety five debating points over the Doctrine of Indulgences and other aspects of salvation doctrine in the Roman Catholic Church. 

 

Now the Roman Catholic Church taught that if you sin, there are different kinds of sins. There are mortal sins, which jeopardize your salvation completely and there are venal sins. In order to make up for these you'd have to go through various penalties: say a certain number of Hail Mary's, light a certain number of candles, put a certain amount of money, give a certain amount of money to church. If you were concerned about your loved ones (your family), after they had died you could buy an indulgence. The pope needed to raise money to build St Peter's Cathedral in Rome. So he sent a man named Tetzel out to comb through all the little villages and the highways and byways to sell indulgences which meant that if you gave enough money and you bought an indulgence then for every amount of money that you spent, then a certain number of days to be taken off of the purgatory sentence for your loved ones. There was a little saying that for every penny in the coffer rings, a soul from purgatory springs. That's what they did. 

 

Luther thought that the most horrible thing in the world that people were taking what little money they had in their life savings and they were using that to buy the salvation of their loved ones. All it was ultimately doing was going down to feed the corrupt Roman Catholic Church in Rome at the time.

 

At this time in history the Roman Catholic Church was not only what we would think of as theologically corrupt, with a works salvation, but they were morally corrupt. It was not long before that they had a pope (one of the Borgia's) who had mistresses and several illegitimate children. At the lowest point of the Roman Catholic Church this was sort of standard procedure for several popes in the 10th, 11th 12 centuries. 

 

So Luther had gone through a real crisis of faith. As he had studied in Galatians and he had studied in Romans, he came to an understanding that our justification wasn't based on what we did, but on possession of Christ's righteousness. 

 

When he first nailed those 95 theses to the door of the church at Wittenberg, he was close; but he really hadn't tightened up the focus all the way on his understanding of justification by faith. He had a young man who was allied with him who later became his second in command, so to speak, in the in the Reformation by the name of Philipp Melanchthon. Melanchthon had a crisp logical mind, one of the sharpest minds in theological minds in all of history. Melanchthon really helped Luther understand that our justification was never based on anything that we did or did not do. 

 

You couldn't look at a person's life and say, "Well, that person said this or that person did that so how can they be a Christian?" because salvation or justification was based on possession of Christ's righteousness – His goodness not our goodness or lack of it in any way affected it just by faith alone.  That was the great cry of the Reformation - Sola Fide in the Latin. 

 

Luther nailed those 95 theses on the door of the church at Wittenberg in 1517 on October 31, 1517. It wasn't for another decade or so that there was a young French lawyer by way of Strasburg and Geneva by the name Jean Cauvin (We anglicize that to John Calvin). When Calvin first began to write his Institutes, his famous work that he wrote in English it's two large volumes (The Institutes of the Christian Religion) it was addressed initially to the king (I think King Francis I of France) to convince him of the truth of Protestant theology. I don't remember exactly how many editions theInstitutes went through, but it's somewhere in the neighborhood of thirty or forty. So when he rewrote it initially it wasn't very long. It was forty or fifty pages, very short, and as the years went by he added to it and added to it. He built on it as his understanding of the Scriptures developed.

 

When Calvin started he had a clear Lutheran view of justification. That's clear in the early editions of Calvin's Institutes. But the Protestant reformers ran head on into this objection that was raised by the Roman Catholic theologians. 

 

"Well if salvation's free, people don't have to do anything for it and they have to believe in Jesus and they're justified instantly; then what's to keep them from sinning? How do you keep them under control? How do you keep them from living immoral, licentious lives if they're going to go to heaven because of what Jesus did and it doesn't have anything to do with their morality, with their behavior, with how good they are, with how bad they are. It just has to do with Jesus."

 

So Calvin waffled in the later editions of his Institutes as the Counter Reformation (which is the Roman Catholic reaction to the Protestant Reformation began and emphasized this particular question. 

 

We still have this battle going on today. This may seem like ancient history because it was 500 years ago; but it's not. The same questions, the same issues come up today and we can learn a tremendous amount by going back and reading how people at that time went through what their missteps were and what their problems were. So that's the same problem that is being addressed in this in this chapter. It is not that if you commit certain sins you can't recover, you can't - you lose your salvation or you weren't really saved to begin with. It is that if you treat the grace of God with contempt and you treat Christ with contempt; then there are consequences not in terms of where you end up, but in terms of the of the rewards at the Judgment Seat of Christ, responsibilities, positions that go with the New Kingdom when Christ comes into His kingdom. That is the focus of this section from 26 to 39 calling these Jewish priests, formerly Jewish priests, who are now believers but who have come under significant persecution and attack and loss of personal property and security. As they have come under this attack, they're questioning whether it's really worth it to believe that Jesus is the Messiah. Many of them have already faded out.  They have given up and they've gone back into the Second Temple Judaism. They've given up on Christianity, on the idea that Jesus Christ was the Messiah.

 

That's what's happening here. 

 

NKJ Hebrews 10:26 For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,

 

In context the willful sin is to just kiss the cross goodbye and to forget that they were Christians, just to reject Christianity completely and go back to their former state. Today it would be the same kind of thing.

 

Somebody who says, "Well, maybe I'm saved; maybe I'm not. I trusted Christ when I was a kid, but I'm not sure I believe all of this. It doesn't really matter anymore, and I'm just going to live my life however I want to."

 

There are consequences to that. Or, the believer who thinks that he's somehow covered by the grace of God and so it really doesn't matter what I do and I can live this way during the week and I can go to church on Sunday, and I can just use 1 John 1:9. That always wipes the slate clean, and I have all basically a license to sin."

 

They treat it that way. There are consequences and that's the point that is made in verse 27. There's a certain fearful expectation of judgment, not Great White Throne, Lake of Fire judgment; but the Bema Seat, the Judgment Seat of Christ: the loss of rewards, the burning up of all of your works and there's nothing left because it was all wood, hay and straw. So that's the focus of that judgment.

 

NKJ Hebrews 10:27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries.

 

…which as we saw last time is a quote from the Old Testament that focuses us. It's from Ezekiel 36:5. It focuses our attention on the fact that God was going to judge Israel for their disobedience. Even though they didn't lose their covenant standing in terms of being the chosen people of God, they would be punished as God's chosen people for their disobedience.

Then there was an illustration given in verses 28 and 29. This illustration that's set up here is based on a form of logic called an a fortiori argument. The Latin a fortiori means from the stronger. The way this works is if something is true in one case and then you have something similar - but usually greater - if it's true in case A and case B is similar then maybe even to a greater degree; then it is true about that in a greater degree. If you're confused now, let me explain that a little better. It's the idea that if a sin under the Mosaic covenant is worthy of divine punishment (so if you break the Mosaic covenant), if that sin is worthy of divine punishment; how much more severe the punishment will be for treating the work of Christ on the cross in a contemptuous manner. If God instantly disciplined the Israelites in the wilderness – some He took immediately out under the sin unto death – for an infraction of the Mosaic covenant (which we've already studied as a lesser covenant) then when you come to this greater covenant of the New Covenant which was established (The sacrifice of Christ on the cross established it); if you treat that contemptuously; if you treat the blood of the covenant that is the death of Christ in a contemptuous disrespectful manner by just rejecting it, then there's going to be an even more severe punishment than what you have for infractions under the Mosaic Law. 

 

So when we look at the verse 29 we read:

 

NKJ Hebrews 10:29 Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?

 

And the word that's translated "trampling under foot" there means to treat something with scorn or contempt of the most extreme kind. It's not that they're simply rejecting it, but there's a hostility toward it. There's a disrespect toward it; an act of contempt toward it so they are being contemptuous toward the Son of God and counting the blood of the covenant (that is the horrible, horrible death that Jesus Christ went through on the cross when He was separated from God the Father for those three hours and God the Father poured out upon Him the sins of the entire world; so much so that never before in all that physical pain that He went through did He utter a sound) with contempt.

 

NKJ Isaiah 53:7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth.

 

So He's quiet. But the pain of the sin when it hit Him on the cross was so great that that's when He screamed out, "My God, my God. Why have you forsaken me?"

 

He screamed that out as He went through the agony of being identified with our sins on the cross. So when someone rejects Him or just treats grace lightly, it is an act of contempt toward the death of Christ on the cross. 

 

So the writer of Hebrews says:

 

NKJ Hebrews 10:29 Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?

It's an insult to God the Holy Spirit who is the one who regenerated us, the one who indwells us the one who fills us. It is to insult to Him. So the writer is pointing out that if there's a degree of punishment for breaking the Mosaic Law, it's even worse subsequent to that.

 

Then we have another verse that states the principle again from the Old Testament in verse 30, which states:

 

NKJ Hebrews 10:30 For we know Him who said, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord. And again, "The LORD will judge His people."

 

Now we know Him. We know the character of God. We know the essence of God. There is an awareness of His righteousness and His justice. His righteousness and His justice will always work in tandem with His love because it is a righteous love. It is a just love. It is a love that is always consistent with His righteousness and always works with His justice. So because we know Him, we know that He is bound by His own character, His own righteousness to bring about divine discipline, to bring about justice. There is a quotation here from the Old Testament passage, Deuteronomy 32:35-6. 

 

NKJ Deuteronomy 32:35 Vengeance is Mine, and recompense; Their foot shall slip in due time; For the day of their calamity is at hand, And the things to come hasten upon them.'

 

NKJ Deuteronomy 32:36 "For the LORD will judge His people And have compassion on His servants, When He sees that their power is gone, And there is no one remaining, bond or free.

 

Now the verb that is translated vengeance here is a word that emphasizes justice. If you look at the Greek word there I've underlined in the transliteration the root word, the root lemma is dike. That is the core word for righteousness, dikaioo, dikaiosune. These are all the words that are built off of that root – righteousness, justification, to be justified all come off of that same root. So ekdikesis means to execute justice and it refers to the execution of right, righteousness or justice. It's not caring out a personal vendetta.

 

Now the word vengeance in English has that connotation and a lot of people think that it has that notion of a personal vendetta. But it is the execution of justice and therefore the conclusion of verse 31 that it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of a living God. See God's not just some abstraction out there.

 

Unfortunately we live in culture today where too many people because of the secularization of the world in which we've grown up and we've been influenced by; we have an abstract view of God that isn't necessarily a personal and the real view of God. The same thing has been true in ages past because it's easy for us to sort of put God off in a box somewhere where He's not personal, He's not really involved, He's busy somewhere else in the world with somebody else. 

 

The writer of Hebrews reminds them of this principle that we fall into the hands, i.e. the power (hands always refer in terms of the imagery to the power of God) that He's a living God. This is the second time in Hebrews that the writer has emphasized the fact that God is a living real God.

 

NKJ Hebrews 3:12 Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God;

 

Now he called them brethren. Now remember what we covered the last few weeks is that brethren in Hebrews always refers to those who have that same vertical relationship with God. It's not a horizontal term for others who have the same ethnic relationship, meaning Jews. It's always in relation to those are in the family, the family of God. So he is addressing them as believers and says that it is very real possibility that some of you sitting here tonight will wake up one morning and you're going to start making decisions based your sin nature. You're going to let emotions start reining in your life and the next thing you know you're going to have an evil heart of unbelief and you're going to be moving away from the living God in the Bible to worshipping some sort of emotional idol that you've generated out of your own soul. This happens time and time again with believers. Sometimes it's a short departure and sometimes it's a long of departure. But we all have that trend and that is a very real temptation in the culture in which we live. So the emphasis is on the fact that there is a living God to whom we are accountable.

 

Now how do we go forward? What is to get us through the really tough times? We've had tough times. We've had tough times personally. I look out over the congregation. I could a look at almost every one of you and I could list five or six times, situations, circumstances in your lives where it was hard for you to get up everyday. It was hard for you to get up and face the circumstances in your life and if it weren't for the fact that you were just hanging on for dear life by your fingernails with just a few promises that you just kept claiming over and over again; you never would have made it through those tests and through those circumstances. And those are pretty tough and I know how tough some of those were for you and you know how tough some have been for me. But what these believers went through was much tougher I think in many ways than most of the things that we have gone through because they were in a very tight social ethnic community as Jewish priests and when they turned and accepted Jesus as Messiah in this latter part of the first century, they were ostracized by many people, many of their loved ones, many of their family members. It wasn't just a social rejection, but they also went through tremendous physical persecution, which is what is outlined in the next couple of verses.

Yet they survived. How did they survive? They survived the same way you survived and the same way I survived. They had promises from the Scriptures that they claimed – mostly Old Testament promises because they didn't have a written canon in the New Testament yet. But they clung to those promises; they clung to that doctrine that was in their soul. They clung to truth of the cross and the truth that Jesus Christ was their Savior. But eventually some of them just caved in. They just didn't want to go through it anymore. They didn't have the mental fortitude and the mental stamina to stand firm against the social pressure that came from the culture around them. It's very difficult to do that and in a lot of circumstances today we see that with so many Christians. 

On of the reasons we've had the rise up the so called Church Growth Movement, the rise of the prosperity gospel churches, the Word of Faith Movement – all of these huge, huge charismatic churches that are just filled with nonsense. They're filled with a lot of the pseudo-spirituality and a lot of emotion and a lot of the trappings of religion and spirituality. But there's no knowledge of the Word. There's no real Bible study. They talk about it a lot. They go through certain motions and jump through certain hoops so that it looks that way; but it's not that way. They succumb to the pressure of the mystical postmodern worldview that we have today. 

 

Then there are others that also succumb to that don't go quite as far, and we succumb to it in many ways; in many ways we're not aware of every single day because sometimes we just get tired of being different. We get tired of always trying to stand against an onslaught of pagan ideas, pagan opinions, and pagan viewpoints. We're bombarded with policy after policy that's handed down from the Board of Directors, from the CEO, from the managers at our company.  We know that if we could do it the way that Scripture says, we wouldn't do this. We all have faced this. There are policies that we have to enforce that we know really run counter to Scripture. They may not be immoral; they may not be wrong; but we know that they do not come out of a sound biblical way of looking at life. 

 

We work. You can work for oil countries. Companies run on geological studies and those geologists are not Christians. They're running many of their studies. They operate off of evolutionary presuppositions. Now they can still find the oil. But nevertheless, it is part of that culture, the mentality within these corporations, corporations who have certain views on the role of men and women. They are being pressured to recognize the legitimacy of same sex unions for the purpose of giving various benefits: health benefits and retirement benefits and other things of this nature. That's just flat wrong. We know at the bottom of our soul that all of this is working against the health of this nation because we're eating away bit-by-bit that biblical foundation of absolute truth. But we're part of that culture and it's difficult to stand against that. You know that the instant you do, you lose your job. Then what are you going to do? 

 

Well, this is the same kind of thing that they faced in the early church. So the writer of Hebrews says:

 

NKJ Hebrews 10:32 But recall

 

Remember something. This is something we find all the way through Scripture: emphasis on memory, remembering certain things. 

 

It's not a bad idea at times when you have gone through spiritually challenging times to perhaps write down some of the things that you learned. You can put in a journal. You can put it in just a file. You can put it in your notebook, whatever it is. But to remember what you thought, how hopeless and helpless and distraught things appeared so that when things get better and the Lord has delivered you; you can go back and remember how you went through that, how the Lord was faithful to His promises, what promises you claimed, what those spiritual lessons were. So this is what the writer of Hebrews says.

 

the former days

 

You have the same emphasis on memory in the Old Testament when the Israelites go into the land and they first cross the Jordan and that magnificent ceremony and pageantry where the priests go forward to the river Jordan and it's flowing quickly passed them. It's in the spring. They just had Passover. You've got the water is running high because of the snow-melt off from Mt. Hermon. The water's not going to stop. God's not going to split the Jordan like He did the Red Sea and then have them walk across. They have to demonstrate that faith and start to step into the moving water. As their foot goes down, the water does just below it. That's a tremendous act of a faith, trusting in God. Their feet never touched the water. It hit dry ground. God stopped the Jordan River, and they walked across on dry ground. All twelve tribes when they got across to the other side God told them to build a rock cairn out of 12 stones (one for each of the twelve tribes) so that in future generations when they would walk passed this, their children would say, "Daddy, what's that pile of rocks doing over there?"

 

Now those of you who've been over there, you're thinking: how do you distinguish that pile of rocks from all the other piles of rocks? I know what you're thinking. But they did it in a special way so that it would signify something and stand out. When the children asked that would give the parents an opportunity to rehearse for them all the work of God in delivering them through the wilderness, bringing them into the Land and the conquest to pass on from one generation to the next a memory, a national memory of the grace of God and the deliverance of God. There's a great lesson that you can learn if you're a parent or a grandparent in building those kinds of benchmarks in your own family in order to perpetuate an understanding with your children and grandchildren of the way God has provided for the family in taking care of the family through difficult times. 

 

So he says:

 

in which, after you were illuminated, you endured a great struggle with sufferings:

 

Now this phrase "after you were all illuminated" is a key phrase that means that they were saved. It indicates that they were saved. Unbelievers are not illuminated. You have the same kind of phrase in Hebrew 6 indicating that these are believers. 

 

NKJ Hebrews 10:32 But recall the former days in which, after you were illuminated, you endured a great struggle with sufferings:

 

…with adversity. For them it was all of the adversity that came from rejection by their peers, rejection by their family, rejection by their nation because they had identified with Jesus as their Messiah. 

 

This is explained more in the next verse (verse 33):

 

NKJ Hebrews 10:33 partly while you were made a spectacle both by reproaches and tribulations, and

 

Now that word spectacle is an interesting Greek word, theatrizo. Guess what English word we get from there. So it's the public display of something. That's the root meaning. The idea originally was to put something to shame, to expose it publicly for embarrassment, for reproach and for affliction. They were made a spectacle. They were to be publicly humiliated for their identification with Jesus as the Messiah. They were made a spectacle both by reproaches and tribulation. It involved physical suffering.

 

partly while you became companions of those who were so treated;

 

They identified with others as they were being persecuted and that brought them into public attention. Then they were ridiculed, and they lost property.  They lost position. They lost money. This was taken from them. 

 

We all recognize that a very important part of freedom is property ownership. At the very core of freedom is that we have the right to own property and to dispose of property. Property is the basis for all wealth. 

 

Originally when the Declaration of Independence was written, it wasn't life, liberty, and happiness. It was life, liberty, and property. You read through the writings of the Founding Fathers. They understood that that property was the basis for growth, for developing personal wealth and stability to build for future generations. Without that freedom to buy and sell, to own property, to develop property, to have access to the natural resources that were on the property and to develop that for the development of wealth and all of the things that money could buy; there was no real freedom. 

 

This is one of the problems with property taxes. There is no such thing as a property tax in the Mosaic Code. Property tax treats the property as if you don't really own it. You're just sort of leasing it from the government. It is not a tax that supports the accumulation of wealth from generation to generation. So their property was taken from them; property they had a legal right to, that they had owned and that they had a legal right to.

 

In verse 34 the writer says:

 

NKJ Hebrews 10:34 for you had compassion on me in my chains,

 

So he went through this as well.

 

and joyfully accepted the plundering of your goods, knowing that you have a better and an enduring possession for yourselves in heaven.

 

Now look at that: joyfully accepted the plundering of their goods. When the Roman soldiers or the Jewish Temple guards came and threw them out of their houses (Remember they were priests) and confiscated their personal possessions, they joyfully accepted that. They weren't standing at the door with their Roman machaira and their spear to protect their house and their hearth and home from the government troops coming in to take possession. They recognized that they were living in the devils' world and that if they were going to take the stand for the Lord Jesus Christ, then they had to take that stand. They were going to lose earthly possessions and earthly goods and so they joyfully accepted the plundering of their goods. They lost everything they had. They lost their homes. They lost their possessions. They lost what money they had. Everything was gone because they had a focus on something even greater. That was that you can live through the most horrendous circumstances and the loss of everything because your focus is on the fact that your mission as a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ (as an ambassador for Christ) supersedes any other mission that you can think of in life, any other purpose. So that's the focus. 

 

They joyfully accepted the plundering of their goods because they knew something. They knew that this earth was not their home. We are transient. This property is here today, gone tomorrow. We may work hard for it, but ultimately we can't take it with us. It isn't our own. But there is an eternal possession in the heavens reserved for us, which is based on our spiritual life and our walk with the Lord Jesus Christ. 

 

So they had their focus on that eternal possession. Now we're going to see some great illustrations of that in the next chapter as the writer of Hebrews focuses on how these Old Testament saints had that same eternal perspective. They weren't focused on what they had here. Abraham owned only one small piece of land. Of all the land God promised him, he only owned the cave at Machpelah where he was buried. All he owned was his gravesite. 

 

Go down to Forest Lawn or to Earthman's and buy yourself a couple of plots at the local cemetery and you're ready to go. That's all that all that Abraham had was a couple of cemetery plots. 

 

The writer of Hebrews then says as a result of understanding this and thinking back over where you've been in your spiritual life, why you gave all that up and how you endured all of that. And that was much worse than what they're going through now. But when it goes on and on and on and on and we don't get back to a point of stability; it's easy to think, "Well, maybe it's not true. I'll just give up and go back." That's exactly what they have done.

 

So in verse 35 he says:

 

NKJ Hebrews 10:35 Therefore do not cast away

 

The idea there in the verse is, just don't throw away the garbage. 

 

your confidence,

 

Literally, the word there is their endurance. 

 

which has great reward.

 

Don't give up. Don't ever let the circumstances so overwhelm you that you're willing to give up your eternal rewards and your eternal destiny and sacrifice that just as Esau gave a up his inheritance for a bowl of lentil stew. That illustration is going to come up as well in the next chapter.

 

NKJ Hebrews 10:36 For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise:

 

So don't cast away your endurance, which has great reward for you have need of endurance so that after you have done the will of God you may receive the promise.

In Hebrews the promise is always future. The promise has to do with that reward.  It has to do with what is distributed at the Judgment Seat of Christ. The promise isn't the promise of justification. That's passed. That's secured. It is the future fulfillment of what God has promised for those who are obedient to Him. 

 

Then we come to verses 37 and 38. In these verses, we have a quote from the Old Testament. Again it's a quote dealing with believers and how believers can give up by failing to endure, failing to trust in the Lord can give up and come under divine discipline. This quote in verses 37 and 38 comes out of Habakkuk 2:3-4. 

 

NKJ Hebrews 10:37 "For yet a little while, And He who is coming will come and will not tarry.

 

...will come and will not tarry. This comes from a combination of quotes from Isaiah as well as from Habakkuk. The Isaiah quote is just the first section, "for yet a little while", which is just sort of a paraphrase as the writer combines a couple of things as we've seen him do before. Then the rest comes out of Habakkuk 2:3-4. 

 

NKJ Habakkuk 2:3 For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie.

 

"It hastens toward the goal and will not fail." In other words we're moving towards the direction, an irrevocable direction in God's plan though it tarries. It may seem like it takes forever. It may not be our generation, maybe the next generation or maybe a hundred generations from now.

 

Though it tarries, wait for it; Because it will surely come, It will not tarry.

 

The writer changes a couple of pronouns in here because he's focusing not on the destiny of Israel, but on the one who provides that destiny, the Lord Jesus Christ. He changes it from an impersonal to a personal: He who is coming, will come and He will not tarry. You can count on it.

 

NKJ Habakkuk 2:4 " Behold the proud, His soul is not upright in him; But the just shall live by his faith.

 

So verse 38 the writer of Hebrews says:

 

NKJ Hebrews 10:38 Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.

 

Or, the righteous will live by faith. He will continue to endure and persevere even in the midst of a hardship, even in the midst of opposition. No matter how much he wants to give up, he's going to develop the mental-spiritual toughness in order to stick it out and go forward. That's what's needed today; we have too many believers who have this pabulum, cotton candy Christianity thrown at them. 

 

We're coming on very difficult times in this nation and it's going to get much worse before it gets a lot better. There are many things that are on the horizon that are very negative. By the grace of God we may not see them, but we have to be realistic that these are very likely coming our way. The tide of anti-Christianity is increasing. People are bolder now. I think we have reached a point of no return. We've reached a point of critical mass where people are now coming out of the woodwork and saying things that they never would have said 10 or 15 years ago. 

 

Some of you know that a couple of years ago when we went to Israel there was a documentary film crew that went along with us and filmed us and interviews with many of us on that particular trip. They have produced that documentary and it has been shown to have a few film festivals; but it makes us look like we're anti-Semitic that we just want all the Jews to get back in the Land so that Jesus will come back. When Jesus comes back, in Armageddon, He'll kill all the Jews. Now that's really what happens in Moslem doctrine, but that is the way that we're portrayed. 

 

I'd never been aware of this before; but I have become aware of it since. Then this last spring when I went to the AIPAC conference in Washington DC, I became aware that this has been a tactic on the political left in the US for about ten years now in order to separate the alliance of evangelical pro-Israel Christian Zionists from the Jews by creating an attitude of hostility, suspicion in the minds of Jews.

 

"The only reason they wan to give this money to help us is to proselytize us to get us back in the Land so their Jesus can come back."

 

And it goes much beyond that. In reading some of the blogs and reviews and there aren't too many of those online. There some pretty strange things said about us. But one of the things that stuck out in my mind was that one writer who was very hostile to us said, "There are many of you who have this crazy idea that if we just got rid of the Christians we would have universal health care and everybody would have a livable wage and we would not have any problems any more. " 

 

That really hit me that there are beaucoup people in this country who think that the only reason we don't have universal health care and the only reason that we don't have a successful communist state is because of evangelical Christians. We are being blamed more and more for everything and people are saying this in the public square in ways that they never would have said it before. And this is just the beginning. 

 

So we have to be prepared not to be distracted by these issues. It's important to be involved in politics. It's part of our responsibility as citizens of this country. The Scripture says we are to do all things to the glory of God and that's part of the all things. But that's not our primary mission. Our primary mission is that we are to be proclaiming the gospel and that we are to be functioning as salt and light in the nation. That also involves the political dimension.

 

 But we are to live by faith. If we don't do it the right way, in a way that honors God, and we fail— we bug out, we bail out, we don't stick with it—then the Scripture says, quoting the Old Testament:

 

NKJ Hebrews 10:38 Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.

 

 There is divine discipline. God is not going to be pleased with us if we are disobedient to Him or if we don't hang in there. 

 

But the writer of Hebrews doesn't end on a negative note. He ends on a positive note. He says:

 

NKJ Hebrews 10:39 But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.

 

We're not of those who bail out and can't stick with it. We are of those who believe to the saving of the soul. Now this isn't justification salvation, this is spiritual life growth salvation. This is the deliverance of our soul over and in the midst of these hostile circumstances of oppression and persecution and the loss of property. 

 

I always thought this was a great verse to summarize the problem solving devices: that we have what it takes in those problem solving devices to face the challenges of life and that is what saves the soul; not in the sense of justification salvation, but in this sense of deliverance from the power of the sin nature so that we can experience the joy, the happiness that God has for us. No matter what happens in the world around us, our mental attitude, our stability, our security is not threatened because we know that God is still on the throne even if we go to a martyr's death as many of the writers of Scripture did, as many of the disciples did. They still have that joy like many of the martyrs in the Reformation who were tied to stake especially during the reign of Mary Tutor.  There were over three hundred Protestants who were burned at the stake in England. Many of them as the flames begin to lick and burn their legs; they would sing hymns to the glory of God keeping the focus on the Lord Jesus Christ and on trust in God and on His provision. 

 

I wonder how many of us if we were taken out today and tied to a stake and burned could sing through a single hymn. They often were; they didn't know how to build good fires then and often they were in pain for several hours before they died. They would sing hymn after hymn. It kept their mind focused on the Lord Jesus Christ and they could recite the Scripture. That is what gets us through even something like that.

 

Let's bow our heads in closing prayer.

 

Illustrations