After such an exciting and encouraging “therefore,” the rest of Chapter Ten seems to take an emotional plunge. The writer returns to the theme in Chapter Six—for those who have gone a long way towards salvation, but have yet to commit to Jesus, do not stop now! And for those who are saved, persevering is evidence of that faith.

“Go On Sinning” or “Willfully Sinning”?

“For if we willfully persist in sin after having received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,  but a fearful prospect of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries.”

Hebrews 10:26 (NRSV)

Understanding this passage rests on understanding the word ἑκουσίως | hekousios. Is it willingly or willfully?

First interpretation: Some translations seem to indicate a believer who now decides—willfully—to sin, in direct rejection of God, and of what Jesus has done for us. Other translations seem to indicate someone who has heard the gospel, who has experienced something of what it means to be among the community of Christ, but still decides not to put their faith in Jesus.

Second interpretation: The emphasis is put on what kind of sin is being committed: it is the sin of unbelief, of rejection of faith.

Jesus once spoke somewhat cryptically of sinning against the Holy Spirit in a literally unforgiveable manner.

“The scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, ‘He has Beelzebul, and by the ruler of the demons he casts out demons.’ And [Jesus] called them to him, and spoke to them in parables,

“’How can Satan cast out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but his end has come. But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his property without first tying up the strong man; then indeed the house can be plundered.

“’Truly I tell you, people will be forgiven for their sins and whatever blasphemies they utter; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit can never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin’—for they had said, ‘He has an unclean spirit.’”

Jesus, Mark 3:22-30 (NRSV)
By James Tissot – Online Collection of Brooklyn Museum; Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 2007, 00.159.110_PS2.jpg, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=107279479

Matthew’s gospel adds,

Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.

“Therefore I tell you, people will be forgiven for every sin and blasphemy, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.

“Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.”

Jesus to His disciples, Matthew 12:30-32 (NRSV)

Right before this, Jesus had been explaining how he could cast out demons. It was not because he was in league with Satan, but rather it was because Jesus was stronger than Satan. He said,

“It is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, [for] the kingdom of God has come to you.

“Or, how can one enter a strong man’s house and plunder his property, without first tying up the strong man? Then indeed the house can be plundered!”

Jesus to His disciples, Matthew 12:28-29 (NRSV)
Gustave Dore, The Bible panorama, or The Holy Scriptures in picture and story (1891) \ By Internet Archive Book Images – https://www.flickr.com/photos/internetarchivebookimages/14784654082/Source book page: https://archive.org/stream/biblepanoramaorh00fost/biblepanoramaorh00fost#page/n234/mode/1up, No restrictions, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=42099412

Jesus was the only one strong enough to tie up the strong man and rob the world of the people Satan (the strong man) oppressed. Jesus alone could bring them into the kingdom of God where they would be free for all eternity. 

There is no neutral place. 

Either a person belongs to Jesus, who has come into the strong man’s house to rescue that one and free them from Satan, or that person remains a prisoner of the strong man.

The writer of Hebrews reiterated Jesus’ meaning—once hearing the Gospel, the time for decision has come. Either we are with Jesus, or we are against Jesus.

The Unforgivable Sin

But what is this terrible thing that Jesus talked about next?

Was this terrifying prophecy limited to the Pharisees of Jesus’ day, or can such an unpardonable sin be committed today?

And if so, how

The context of both the Matthew and Mark passages is the Lord’s indictment of the Pharisees for attributing the origin of His power and the validity of His claims to the devil.

The unforgivable sin is the -rejection- of the true power behind the Lord Jesus Christ’s miracles.

To assign miracles to Satan, not the Holy Spirit, is to reject the One who draws us to Christ.

To repudiate the work of the Spirit, and reject the witness of the Holy Spirit was to remain in their sin

Go back and take note of Jesus’ statement: “whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit -will- not be forgiven.”  

Such a thing will not—not can not, but will not—be forgiven. 

As Ray Stedman once said (And Harry Ironside before him), “God will not where you will not.” As long as a person is concerned that they might have committed the unforgivable sin, it is a sure sign they have not! Because that is the sign of a contrite and repentant heart.

Jesus warned the Pharisees their words gave evidence of the evil in their hearts. The sin against the Holy Spirit is not a matter of speech, the words spoken are only evidence of a sin-filled heart. Jesus indicated this sin that would never be forgiven was not about a single act, but rather a way of being.

So, now, the writer warned:

“How much worse punishment do you think will be deserved by those who have

“—spurned the Son of God,

“—profaned the blood of the covenant by which they were sanctified,

“—and outraged the Spirit of grace?

“For we know the one who said, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay.’ And again, ‘The Lord will judge his people.’

It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

Hebrews 10:29-31 (NRSV)

Warnings

In reading through a number of commentaries, I came across a list of warnings a theologian had compiled, found in the Book of Hebrews. It seems appropriate to list them here.

  1. Drifting – Hebrews 2:1-4
    • To neglect the significance of what Jesus has done leaves a person adrift, inevitably floating away from the chance for salvation because there is no anchor of faith.
    • Instead, pay great attention to the teaching we have in the Christian Testament.
  2. Departing – Hebrews 3:12-15
    • Unbelief leaves a person hardened to the deceitfulness of sin.
    • Instead, daily exhort each other to persevere.
  3. Disobedience – Hebrews 4:11-13
    • Disobeying God prevents us from entering God’s rest
    • Instead, diligently heed the Word of God
  4. Dullness – Hebrews 5:11-6:6
    • Dullness of hearing prevents growth and maturity.
    • Instead, embrace the ABC’s of faith, and commit to God.
  5. Despising – Hebrews 10:26-39
    • Willful rejection of the Spirit’s work leaves a person under God’s judgement.
    • Instead, endure in confident faith.
  6. Defying – Hebrews 12:25-29 (We have not read Chapter Twelve together, yet.)
    • Refusing God, who speaks through the writer of Hebrews, is to refuse salvation.
    • Instead, give thanks to God for salvation through Jesus, and offer God acceptable worship with reverence and awe.

4 thoughts on “Hebrews: The Unforgivable Sin

  1. Reblogged this on Zero Lift-Off and commented:
    Dear Sister/Professor Joanne, thank you for this incredibly beautiful presentation containing a message that is so important and helpful to me personally right now in light of recent events and some past ones too!

    This article is nothing short of divinely inspired and a true Godsend! I’ve actually been in the process over the last couple of days of organizing my most inspired meaningful thoughts as they pertain to what just happened over the Christmas celebration! The timing and correlation as I see it truly in my heart is all God’s will in making heads or tails and sense out of sadness and disruption. But, before I get into that I want to add my thoughts to the heart of this article and then proceed.


    commons.wikimedia.org

    When any person allows their own sins to produce “an attitude of defiance” and utter disregard to the Holy Spirit of God out of “prideful continued disobedience or obvious arrogance” toward “God’s Truth from the Holy Spirit” with such great lack of humility, and therefore no true sorrow for the transgression, which will not allow true repentance! Therefore God cannot or will not forgive; there will be no path to repentance; as the sinner himself cuts himself off from it, which is true separation from God. The biggest stumbling block from the beginning of all transgression against God was committed by the most beautiful of the angels Lucifer, which was his own indignant and selfish unyielding pride! Now he is the father of all lies; damned for eternity!

    There comes a time when a person should recognize the deceptive ways of another and as Scriptures say; shake the dust off your sandals and move on.

    “And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.”

    “11And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, enquire who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go thence. 12And when ye come into an house, salute it. 13And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you. 14And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. 15Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment, than for that city. 16Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. 17But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues;” Matthew10:11-17

    I tell you I found out the hard way how anyone who isn’t weary of men is either a fool or one of the rabble-rouse minions and this toxic internet is loaded with them. I had to learn this the hard way about men in the Ways of The World, being attacked by such men who have no mercy or love in their hearts but instead are smitten by the toxic venom of that ancient serpent; Satan. The internet is controlled by such men and many persons that frequent this cyber world are wolves in sheep’s clothing or dangerous minions in one way or another! We must not be foolish enough to think that this reality can be trusted or that very sinister exploitation’s aren’t running rampant within it disguised as one thing or another; it’s an artificial world so a person would be a fool to trust it as I see it. Interact with it yes, but with great caution in order not be possessed by it like so many are. That is when the Devil will use that person to deploy evil and deceptions to inflict suffering and delusions! Don’t forget that adversary of old is working feverishly to scatter and devour all he can, which is happening every day on this internet; a fake world owned and controlled by the most evil people on earth who are in league with Satan! Scatter the flock to devour; divided we fall becoming lost and are eaten! You think I’m over the top and this can’t be; then I pity you! Something happened just this past Christmas week the morning after Christmas day which was a great reminder of the evil at work in our midst and “this cyber world” is the “Devil’s Playground.” Especially now that the human race and its concocted world is coming apart at the seams; with many agents of the diabolical doing harm.

    A few years ago on Christmas Day I was attacked by such an agent who attacked my blog posting and the following was the response I was required to make as a devout Christian and disciple of Jesus Christ, as I try to follow Him and always cognizant of my own need to improve.

    This phony and deceptive guy who was commenting on a post about the two Scandinavian young ladies that had been beheaded kept twisting truth like the Devil, to make Jesus nothing more than some guy like Muhammad. His denouncing Jesus and Christianity therefore on Christmas set me off onto my mission, as he would not stop it no matter how many important things I tried to explain to him. He was a clever deceiver. He did however stop after this piece I wrote to him on the post!

    Aツaz Your own words; “live the way you want and not dictate as you are just a human and not a messenger of GOD, like Jesus and Muhammad were.” Muslim hoax” I am wondering how you equate a “hoax” with facts of an Islamic Empire”

    Wonder NO MORE, Pay attention and learn of your blaspheming error! You have a huge inaccuracy that needs to be corrected! Saying that Jesus is another prophet like Muhammad is blasphemous. First Jesus was not a mere prophet but was God Himself and therefore the Redeemer and Savior of Mankind as he said. Muhammad was only a supposed prophet and there is irrefutable evidence in the historical text of the time he lived that points to his being an outright liar and heretic as well as a criminal and child molester along with his being a polygamist! The following statements are highly accurate and actually proven. “In 632, only months before he died, Muhammad apparently met for the first time with a Christian community as such. An official delegation of Christians, probably led by a bishop, came to Mecca from Najran in Yemen. After engaging the Christians in discussion, the Prophet is said to have realized that Christian teachings are indeed incompatible with Islam, after which the revelation followed that only Islam is acceptable to God as a religion. The Quran also says very specifically that those who refer to Jesus as God are blasphemers, and that Christians saying that Christ is the son of God is an imitation of Jews, who earlier had said that Ezra is the son of God. According to the Quran Jesus was only a servant; Jesus the son of Mary was no more than an apostle of God. Quranic verses dealing with Jesus’ death have been interpreted differently by commentators, but generally they have been taken to mean that Jesus did not die by crucifixion. For Christians the Quran has thus served as a denial of Jesus’ incarnation and death on the cross and of the reality of the Trinity.” (Oxford University Press)

    These two points alone put Islam and the Muslims completely at odds with Jesus Christ and all Christians and are the enemies of such! Muhammad himself began this conflict and was the spoiler and Heretic directly attacking God’s plan as foretold by all the previous prophets going all the way back to Abraham. Things have been in conflict because of Muhammad ever since and are getting worse, this will not resolve until Islam is Chastised or obliterated as a fake religion started by a false prophet and therefore heretic! In Summary Muslims are in complete denial of what Jesus Christ said and who He was which makes them Anti-Christ and supportive of the Devil and all that is unholy. Basically Muhammad started this Blasphemy back in 632 AD and outright declared War on Christendom! Islam you yourself stated is an EMPIRE which puts it in the category of being a Nation not a Religion! It is not a religion that is backed up with solid historical evidence and prophecy over time by many prophets other than what Muhammad said, he made it all up, the heretic! Islam seeks to conquer and must be stopped! And it will be! God’s avenging angels are going to obliterate Islam and any of its followers, they are minions of Satan! I had one additional comment to this person shortly before this one which is the following.

    Aツaz, again you try to spin things into riddles and it is all so simple that a child understands! You complicate the plan that God set in motion with your own conniving rhetoric and that is what the unholy one does, Satan! You are following evil precepts and I asked you to take care you are on shaky ground, yet you insist on resisting God and his plan thinking you can be superior to God the Creator of all things with your twisting and manipulation of facts into half-truths; I see through your deception as you try to get others to think all roads lead to the same destination of Eternal Life, or that a blending of many human man-made concoctions just like Muhammad did will bring the desired result of Everlasting Life in Paradise and not Hell! That will not happen using your thinking and behavior, only “accepting” Jesus Christ as Lord, Savior and Redeemer, Period! It comes down to “FREE WILL” God is perfect and He wants us to be perfect with Him as a family but if he “waved a wand” or we were “preprogrammed” to behave perfect then we would be robots and not individual perfect beings that LOVE HIM because we Choose To; because love must be a two way street where each loves the other by choice or it is not LOVE! Some will choose the Devil and some like me choose GOD and I will die for Jesus and nothing you can say will change that! You’re wasting your time and I’m tired of your games and lies! You need to find a new hobby or go to some Island and talk gibberish to yourself! Goodbye!

    Only Jesus can claim to be the True Everlasting God Almighty. I add some additional information to further address why that encounter on Christmas Day a few years ago was so provocative and wrong!

    “I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd. Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again…” (John 10:14-18)

    Just a few months ago I had this to say to a woman who was discussing this topic with me reflecting on these past events in my own life and some similar difficulties in hers. What follows was what I said to her that I had already stated a few years ago after that Christmas attack.

    After this experience on Christmas day which I never in my entire life had any such blatant Anti-Christ in my face attack, and of all things on Christmas Day activity, tells me that we are in the end times as Satan is working through all means available (internet) at a fever pitch to Attack Christianity and it’s “faithful” because “the time is drawing near for God to return!” Of course I could be off by many years but this is my hunch as there are so many signs and I was attacked by evil several years ago to stop me from being the witness and faithful one that I am for Jesus. A woman of a Christian order told me back then that there was a reason I was suffering for Jesus and it would become apparent at some point in the future why I was being prepared! Now I see in retrospect that God did want me to do something for Him and it could be just to be as I am doing or maybe something more, like a priest told me recently, “wait and see!” Trust in the Lord and He will reveal all things in good time.

    Now I brought this up today because of my being inspired by this incredibly important posting and the absolute imperative importance in understanding what can easily happen to any one of us if we should slip into the trap of committing the unpardonable sin against the Holy Spirit of God!

    And it so happens that this Christmas turned out to be an attacked one again, but, this time by with a bloggers posting statements by some woman who wrote about the Blessed Mother the Virgin Mary of the Immaculate Conception, the Holy Mother of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior; that by her conceding to the Will of God Almighty was advocating rape! I was beside myself because this was even worse than what the wild man that attacked Christianity and Jesus of course did a few years ago! I had never heard of this crazy evil concept or some woman stating it to the world! It made me physically ill being so distraught on Christmas and this brought on by a professed Christian that I had interacted with here on Word Press for a few months. Then it got exponentially worse when a woman, another professed Christian, jumped into this problem that I had with this man and had asked him to respond with some kind of major explanation as to how he could even do this on Christmas! But when this woman inserted herself into this obviously diabolically inspired disruption she immediately started to attack and reprimand me for questioning that man’s audacity and foolishness; especially when it was a serious enough concern that could only be addressed by the man who had just posted these writings and I gave the only response to it, directly giving him the opportunity to explain this affront of posting such an abomination. Another Godsend message came to me shortly after this disruption that I’ve been meditating, praying and working on to put forward my best insights possible regarding how all of these things point to the same factor at work in this very distorted and plagued with the diabolical; evil Ways of The World beast system; that is coming to a head!

    God willing I can complete that essay and present it for viewing soon. Amen.
    Shalom.

    Brother in Christ Jesus,
    Lawrence Morra III

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    1. After I read through your post, brother in Christ Lawrence, I had to sit for a while and pray for God’s comfort and peace for you. You have had a turbulent Christmas, and not the first one. Reading through your replies to these various people, I can hear your passion for Jesus. Your story reminds me of a passage in Luke (also in Mark)

      “[Jesus] sternly ordered and commanded them not to tell anyone, saying, “The Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.”

      “Then he said to them all, ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it. What does it profit them if they gain the whole world, but lose or forfeit themselves? Those who are ashamed of me and of my words, of them the Son of Man will be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. ‘”
      Luke 9:21-26 (NRSV)

      You have proven yourself time and again, through your story, as one who will stand for Jesus, even when feeling sorely attacked. God strengthen you with the Lord’s grace and mercy, “new every morning”

      Grace and peace, Joanne

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Sister in Christ Joanne! Shalom to you and God’s Graces and Mercy be always with you.

        I had just thought moments before getting this message if I had gone too far with a lengthy message which I can tend to do. Actually when I posted this as a reblog initially it wouldn’t go through being rejected as being too long so I edited a couple of paragraphs out and it was fine.

        I know this was no coincidence for this article to coincide so I was inspired to express what I was truly feeling I should explain and try my best to tie-into the narrative of this very important article for all the faithful to keep in mind these days!

        And I had severe damage and pain both physically and emotionally done to me by what is attacking the world in a rampage now over the last 15 years. I see too many people with a cavalier and almost cocky attitude or what I’ve been told when asking people in person to see what they think and what they want to do about this or that, and their response is too often worry about nothing, and its over my pay grade! I went the opposite of that attitude, me only another sinner, and made some big matters in my locale my problem because nobody would, not the MSM or anyone, even in the Churches The Corruption is too deep and infesting entire communities beyond any Arthur Miller’s the Crucible; so I tried to be a David using my articulating ability to reach through to people and got walloped hard, but keep fighting back remotely, and the attacks though not as severe are still there, and I know they will remain; because as I’ve said the world is under this global attack now to seal the deal and pull as many souls into hell as possible.

        That is why I tell people I know what I’m talking about I have actually seen and dealt with the difference of how things once were and how they are now; and its completely diabolical what’s going on as we can plainly see in all stations of life today; just horrible. I told my sister last night the great news is I know in my heart that things’ having gotten this bad means Jesus is absolutely on the way in fairly short order I do believe.

        The stress and pressure has been enormous and that alone should have killed me, but, that and the actual physical damage have not won out! The only reason for that is Jesus Christ is my Savior and hasn’t given up on me; so I want to keep pushing as far as I can; all for Jesus.
        I get tears thinking about so much sadness and waste, but, this whole world is a “flash in the pan;” as Einstein even pointed out with his great mind that God gifted him with, in his theoretical physics; so compared to eternity which is waiting for all of us this suffering is nothing! Not a bad thing at all if that cost will ensure eternal peace and joy beyond imagination! Amen.

        Thank you for the insight and blessings you bring with you to God’s service here.
        Bless you.

        Brother in Christ Jesus,
        Lawrence
        Shalom

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you so much Sister in Christ Joanne! For your prayers, they actually did so much already just how as I was wondering about the long response and even thought I should try to contact you again to make sure it was good or can I adjust anything! Then I get online and there is your message! Thank God and thank you Dear Sister in Jesus! Amen.
        Shalom.
        Brother in Christ Jesus,
        Lawrence

        Liked by 3 people

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