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THE EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE TO THE HEBREWS - Chapter 10 - Verse 39

Verse 39. But we are not of them, etc. We who are true Christians do not belong to such a class. In this the apostle expresses the fullest conviction that none of those to whom he wrote would apostatize. The case which he had been describing was only a supposable case, not one which he believed would occur. He had only been stating what must happen if a sincere Christian should apostatize. But he did not mean to say that this would occur in regard to them, or in any case. He made a statement of a general principle under the Divine administration, and he designed that this should be a means of keeping them in the path to life. What could be a more effectual means than the assurance that if a Christian should apostatize he must inevitably perish for ever? See the sentiment in this verse illustrated at length in the See Barnes "Heb 6:4"

and following.

{c} "draw back" Heb 10:26 {++} "perdition" "Destruction" {&} "believe" "have faith"

 

REMARKS.

(1.) It is a subject of rejoicing that we are brought under a more perfect system than the ancient people of God were. We have not merely a rude outline—a dim and shadowy sketch of religion, as they had. We are not now required to go before a bloody altar every day, and lead up a victim to be slain. We may come to the altar of God feeling that the great sacrifice has been made, and that the last drop of blood to make atonement has been shed. A pure, glorious, holy body was prepared for the Great Victim, and in that body he did the will of God, and died for our sins, Heb 10:1-10.

(2.) Like that Great Redeemer, let us do the will of God. It may lead us through sufferings, and we may be called to meet trials strongly resembling his. But the will of God is to be done alike in bearing trials, and in prayer and praise. Obedience is the great thing which he demands—which he has always sought. When his ancient people led up, in faith, a lamb to the altar, still he preferred obedience to sacrifice; and when his Son came into the world to teach us how to live, and how to die, still the great thing was obedience. He came to illustrate the nature of perfect conformity to the will of God, and he did that by a most holy life, and by the most patient submission to all the trials appointed him in his purpose to make atonement far the sins of the world. Our model, alike in holy living and holy dying, is to be the Saviour; and like him we are required to exercise simple submission to the will of God, Heb 10:1-10.

(3.) The Redeemer looks calmly forward to the time when all his foes will be brought ill submission to his feet, Heb 10:11,12. He is at the right hand of God. His great work on earth is done. He is to suffer no more. He is exalted beyond the possibility of pain and, sorrow; and he is seated now on high, looking to the period when all his foes shall be subdued, and he will be acknowledged as universal Lord.

(4.) The Christian has exalted advantages. He has access to the mercy-seat of God. He may enter by faith into the "holiest" —the very heavens where God dwells. Christ, his great High Priest, has entered there; has sprinkled over the mercy-seat with his blood, and ever lives there to plead his cause. There is no privilege granted to men like that of a near and constant access to the mercy-seat. This is the privilege not of a few; and not to be enjoyed but once in a year, or at distant intervals, but which the most humble Christian possesses, and which may be enjoyed at all times, and in all places. There is not a Christian so obscure, so poor, so ignorant, that he may not come and speak to God; and there is not a situation of poverty, want, or woe, where he may not make his wants known, with the assurance that his prayers will be heard through faith in the great Redeemer, Heb 10:19,20.

(5.) When we come before God, let our hearts be pure, Heb 10:22. The body has been washed with pure water in baptism, emblematic of the purifying influences of the Holy Spirit. Let the conscience be also pure. Let us lay aside every unholy thought. Our worship will not be acceptable; our prayers will not be heard, if it is not so. "If we regard iniquity in our hearts the Lord will not hear us." No matter though there be a great High Priest; no matter though he have offered a perfect sacrifice for sin; and no matter though the throne of God be accessible to men; yet, if there is in the heart the love of sin—if the conscience is not pure, our prayers will not be heard. Is this not one great reason why our worship is so barren and unprofitable?

(6.) It is the duty of Christians to exhort one another to mutual fidelity, Heb 10:24. We should so far regard the interests of each other as to strive to promote our mutual advance in piety. The church is one. All true Christians are brethren. Each one has an interest in the spiritual welfare of every one who loves the Lord Jesus, and should strive to increase his spiritual joy and usefulness. A Christian brother often goes astray, and needs kind admonition to reclaim him; or he becomes disheartened, and needs encouragement to cheer him on his Christian way.

(7.) Christians should not neglect to assemble together for the worship of God, Heb 10:25. It is a duty which they owe to God to acknowledge him publicly, and their own growth in piety is essentially connected with public worship. It is impossible for a man to secure the advancement of religion in his soul who habitually neglects public worship; and religion will not flourish in any community where this duty is not performed. There are great benefits growing out of the worship of God, which can be secured in no other way, God has made us social beings and he intends that the social principle shall be called into exercise in religion, as well as in other things. We have common wants, and it is proper to present them together before the mercy-seat. We have received common blessings in our creation, in the Providence of God, and in redemption; and it is proper that we should assemble together, and render united praise to our Maker for his goodness. Besides, in any community, the public worship of God does more to promote intelligence, order, peace, harmony, friendship, neatness of apparel, and purity and propriety of intercourse between neighbours, than anything else can, and for which nothing else can be a compensation. Every Christian, and every other man, therefore, is bound to lend his influence in thus keeping up the worship of God, and should always be in his place in the sanctuary. The particular thing in the exhortation of the apostle is, that this should be done even in the face of persecution. The early Christians felt so much the importance of this, that we are told they were accustomed to assemble at night, forbidden to meet in public houses of worship, they met in caves, and even when threatened with death they continued to maintain the worship of God. It may be added, that so important is this, that it should be preserved even when the preaching of the gospel is not enjoyed. Let Christians assemble together. Let them pray, and offer praise. Let them read the word of God, and an appropriate sermon. Even this will exert an influence of them and on the community of incalculable importance, and will serve to keep the flame of piety burning on the altar of their own hearts, and in the community around them.

(8.) We may see the danger of indulging in any sin, Heb 10:26,27. None can tell to what it may lead. No matter how small and unimportant it may appear at the time, yet if indulged in it will prove that there is no true religion, and will lead on to those greater offences which make shipwreck of the Christian name, and ruin the soul. He that "wilfully" and deliberately sins "after he professes to have received the knowledge of the truth," shows that his religion is but a name, and that he has never known anything of its power.

(9.) We should guard with sacred vigilance against everything which might lead to apostasy, Heb 10:26-29. If a sincere Christian should apostatize from God, he could never be renewed and saved. There would remain no more sacrifice for sins; there is no other Saviour to be provided; there is no other Holy Spirit to be sent down to recover the apostate. Since, therefore, so fearful a punishment would follow apostasy from the true religion, we may see the guilt of everything which has a tendency to it. That guilt is to be measured by the fearful consequences which would ensue if it were followed out; and the Christian should, therefore, tremble when he is on the verge of committing any sin whose legitimate tendency would be such a result.

(10.) We may learn, from the views presented in this chapter, (Heb 10:26-29,) the error of those who suppose that a true Christian may fall away and be renewed again and saved. If there is any principle clearly settled in the New Testament, it is, that if a sincere Christian should apostatize, he must perish. There would be no possibility of renewing him, He would have tried the only religion which saves men, and it would in his case have failed; he would have applied to the only blood which purifies the soul, and it would have been found inefficacious; he would have been brought under the only influence which renews the soul, and that would not have been sufficient to save him. What hope could there be? What would then save him if these would not To what would he apply—to what Saviour, to what blood of atonement, to what renewing and sanctifying agent, if the gospel, and the Redeemer, and the Holy Spirit had all been tried in vain? There are few errors in the community more directly at variance with the express teachings of the Bible than the belief that a Christian may fall away and be again renewed.

(11.) Christians, in their conflicts, their trials, and their temptations, should be strengthened by what is past, Heb 10:32-35. They should remember the days when they were afflicted, and God sustained them; when they were persecuted, and he brought them relief. It is proper also to remember, for their own encouragement now, the spirit of patience and submission which they were enabled to manifest in those times of trial, and the sacrifices which they were enabled to make. They may find in such things evidence that they are the children of God; and they should find, in their past experience, proof that he who has borne them through past trials is able to keep them unto his everlasting kingdom.

(12.) We need patience—but it is only for a little time, Heb 10:36-39. Soon all our conflicts will be over. "He that shall come will come, and will not tarry." He will come to deliver his suffering people from all their trials. He will come to rescue the persecuted from the persecutor; the oppressed from the oppressor; the down-trodden from the tyrant; and the sorrowful and sad from their woes. The coming of the Saviour to each one of the afflicted is the signal of release from sorrow; and his advent at the end of the world will be proof that all the trials of the bleeding and persecuted church are at an end. The time, too, is short before he will appear. In each individual case it is to be but a brief period before he will come to relieve the sufferer from his woes; and, in the case of the church at large, the time is not far remote when the Great Deliverer shall appear to receive "the bride," the church redeemed, to the "mansions" which he has gone to prepare.

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