Hebrews 10:28-29. — He that despised Moses law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?
What is sin?
Sin is any lack of conformity to the will of God. Sin is lawlessness. God reveals to us in His holy scriptures what His will is so that we may know it and obey Him. All sin is against a perfect and holy God whose standard is perfect holiness from His creatures. The wages of sin are death. Because we are each born in the flesh, fallen, with a sinful and corrupt nature we must turn to Christ for the forgiveness of our sins so that we may be cleansed. When we are joined to Christ and clothed in His righteousness we will receive the free gift of eternal life and not come under condemnation and the wrath of God.
How does sin trample on the Son of God?
We have been speaking the past few weeks of the certain coming destructions apostates from the gospel. All throughout the book of Hebrews we have studied the comparison of the two states of the church, under the Law, and under the gospel. This week makes the point that if those who despised or rejected the law of Moses died without mercy – how much stronger punishment do we suppose will be given to those who – having heard and received – reject the gospel? To the one that despised Moses law they were guilty of rendering the law useless. They sinned in a way that made them a law unto themselves. They were lawless. They had contempt for the law, for the threatening situation contained and the promises it offered.
When we share Christ is it necessary for us to share the law, the gospel, or both?
The law points sinners to the need for Christ, it shows that we have transgressed against God, and that we stand in need of forgiveness. It shows us that we are guilty and in need of a Savior. For those that rejected the law under the mosaic covenant died without mercy. Threatenings of future eternal judgments to gospel despisers belong to the preaching and declaration of the gospel. In certain cases God had expressly forbidden mercy or that compassion be shown, and transgressors were put to death. This shows us that it is a very serious crime to despise or reject the law of God. Because of the severe penalty of death, a crime deserving of death was to only be carried out if there were two or more witnesses to the crime. This prevented one false witness from coming forward in a lie and having someone executed.
How does this relate to apostates and how church discipline it is carried out?
In Christ’s sacerdotal office His blood is offered. This is the covenant with which believers are sanctified. Those who claim the name of Christ profess to be sanctified by this blood of the covenant. To claim this blood, and then to deny Christ, and willfully sin is to effectively call the blood of Christ an unholy thing. It is to despise the Spirit of grace. The person, office and glory of God are comprised of all the blessed effects of divine wisdom, goodness, and grace of God, in their most glorious manifestation. Christ is the Savior and the Redeemer of the church. To have contempt, scorn or malice for Him is vile sin. This sin is the denial of the holiness, righteousness, truth, and faithfulness of God. This sin calls God a liar and provokes the heat of divine indignation. It is worthy of eternal punishment.
How are apostates from the gospel an injury to Christ?
Christ is the “Son of God” and author of the gospel; His authority is the object of our faith in the gospel; as his office with all the fruits of it is the subject, sum, and substance of the gospel: so that we do not receive or reject the gospel apart from receiving or rejecting Jesus Christ. This is the life, the soul, and foundation of all gospel truth; without which it is of no power or efficacy to the souls of men. Anyone that rejects, refuses, forsakes the gospel, rejects and forsakes the person of Christ. So that anyone who professes faith in Christ, and performs the duties of the gospel – if the foundation is not laid in Christ Himself – the profession and duties are in vain. This is an injury to Christ of His authority, goodness, and love. This is to trample on the Son of God, to tread Him under our feet. To tread Him under foot is to attack Him with malice, to despise Him and insult Him – both His person, and His authority. It is to make Christ just a man that died. When we profess Him as our Savior we are telling the entire world that we have been bought with His blood. We are to have faith that esteems Him as holy, exalting Him and adoring Him in our souls.
Is it more grievous of a sin to be an unbeliever or an apostate?
Apostates may flatter themselves with thinking themselves free from punishment, but in due time punishment will overtake them. How shall they escape who neglect so great salvation? Much less shall they not be free from judgement when it is God in all the causes of it. For transgressors of the law punishment was death without mercy. Far greater will the punishment be for apostates. The most frightening part of today’s verse is they are counted worthy of such punishment. They will receive exactly what is due them. The judge in this case is God himself, as the apostle declares in the next verse. He alone knows, He alone can justly determine, what such apostates are worthy of. In general this shall unspeakably exceed the punishment annexed to the transgression of the law.
If all sin earns death, is punishment the same or equal to all sinners?
The inevitable certainty of the eternal punishment of gospel-despisers depends on the essential holiness and righteousness of God, as the ruler and judge of all. It is nothing but what he in his just judgment, which is “according to truth,” accounts them worthy of. It is a righteous thing with God to deal with men in this way. Where all hopes of mercy, or the least relaxation of punishment to all eternity, are vain and false hopes to apostates: “they shall have judgment without mercy.” God has allotted different degrees of punishment to the different degrees and aggravations of sin. “The wages,” indeed, of every “sin is death;” but there is to such persons as these “a savor of death unto death,” and there shall be different degrees of eternal punishment. The apostasy from the gospel, here described, being the absolute height of all sin and impiety that the nature of man is capable of, renders them to eternity obnoxious to all punishment that the same nature is capable of. The greatest sin must have the greatest judgment. It is our duty diligently to inquire into the nature of sin, unless we too be overtaken in the great offense. The apostates give little thought as to what it was that they should be charged with, namely, for their apostasy; and how dreadful is it when it comes upon them at their conviction!