Hebrews Chapter Ten

by Ed Urzi


One thing that should be clear from our study of the Biblical book of Hebrews is that the Old Covenant sacrificial system involved an astonishing amount of death- more than we might typically imagine. For instance, if we consider the millions of ancient Israelites who brought sacrificial offerings over dozens of generations, the total number of Old Covenant sacrifices is truly incalculable.

The immeasurable amount of blood that was shed under the Old Covenant might lead us to assume that the people of Old Testament Israel understood the solemn nature of those offerings. Unfortunately, that was not the case. That attitude eventually led to God’s message through the prophet Isaiah…

“…Listen, you leaders of Israel, you men of Sodom and Gomorrah, as I call you now. Listen to the Lord. Hear what he is telling you! I am sick of your sacrifices. Don’t bring me any more of them. I don’t want your fat rams; I don’t want to see the blood from your offerings. Who wants your sacrifices when you have no sorrow for your sins?

The incense you bring me is a stench in my nostrils. Your holy celebrations of the new moon and the Sabbath, and your special days for fasting– even your most pious meetings– all are frauds! I want nothing more to do with them. I hate them all; I can’t stand the sight of them. From now on, when you pray with your hands stretched out to heaven, I won’t look or listen. Even though you make many prayers, I will not hear, for your hands are those of murderers; they are covered with the blood of your innocent victims.

Oh, wash yourselves! Be clean! Let me no longer see you doing all these wicked things; quit your evil ways. Learn to do good, to be fair and to help the poor, the fatherless, and widows. Come, let’s talk this over! says the Lord; no matter how deep the stain of your sins, I can take it out and make you as clean as freshly fallen snow. Even if you are stained as red as crimson, I can make you white as wool!

If you will only let me help you, if you will only obey, then I will make you rich! But if you keep on turning your backs and refusing to listen to me, you will be killed by your enemies; I, the Lord, have spoken” (Isaiah 1:10-20 TLB)

That devastating rebuke serves as an appropriate backdrop for our look at the opening verses of Hebrews chapter ten.


“For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect” (Hebrews 10:1).

Many of us enjoy (or have enjoyed) the pastime of model-building. For some, the act of building a scale model aircraft, boat, or automobile represents a pleasant childhood memory. Others go on to develop their model-building skills and turn those skills into full-time occupations. But no matter what level of experience we may possess in this area, anyone who creates a model knows that it only serves as a representational image of something else.

This illustrates an important concept behind our passage from Hebrews 10:1. Much like a representative model, we can associate the Old Covenant Law with a shadow that alerts us to the presence of someone (or something) else. Just as we can understand something about the reality of a person or object by the shadow it creates, the Old Covenant foreshadowed the New Covenant that was yet to come.

This idea is not unique to the Biblical book of Hebrews…

“Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ” (Colossians 2:16-17 NIV).

Jesus also touched upon this subject in a contentious exchange with the religious leaders of His day…

“You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me” (John 5:39 NIV).

While models and shadows may offer greater or lesser detail, they cannot provide us with an opportunity to enter a relationship with the images they portray. This is one of the primary differences between the Old and New Covenants; the New Covenant offers us a relationship with God in Christ that is only foreshadowed under the Old Covenant.

This also explains how we can find value in studying the books of the Old Testament. Since the books of the Old Testament foreshadow the work of Christ, we can obtain valuable insights into Jesus’ life and work whenever we read them.

Finally, one commentator offers a useful summary of these ideas…

“Just as a man’s shadow would reveal far less information about him than a three-dimensional color photograph; just so, the shadow of the heavenly things as revealed in the law is far inferior to the knowledge of God and his divine fellowship available in the new covenant.” (1)

(1) Coffman, James Burton. “Commentary on Hebrews 10”. “Coffman’s Commentaries on the Bible”. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bcc/hebrews-10.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999. [verse 1]


“For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near” (Hebrews 10:1 ESV).

Hebrews 10:1 speaks of “the good things” that were foreshadowed under the Old Covenant. But what were those “good things”? Well, we can find a list of some of those things in the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy.

As mentioned earlier, Deuteronomy 28:1-14 provides us with a summary list of blessings that God made available to the people of Old Testament Israel. Those benefits foreshadowed the greater blessings that God graciously provides under the New Covenant…

“The Lord will establish you as a holy people to Himself, just as He has sworn to you, if you keep the commandments of the Lord your God and walk in His ways. Then all peoples of the earth shall see that you are called by the name of the Lord, and they shall be afraid of you. And the Lord will grant you plenty of goods, in the fruit of your body, in the increase of your livestock, and in the produce of your ground, in the land of which the Lord swore to your fathers to give you.

The Lord will open to you His good treasure, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season, and to bless all the work of your hand. You shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow. And the Lord will make you the head and not the tail; you shall be above only, and not be beneath, if you heed the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you today, and are careful to observe them” (Deuteronomy 28:9-13).

Nevertheless, we should note that each of these Old Covenant blessings were external (or material) in nature. The missing element was the blessing of an internal mindset that was good and acceptable before God.

The continuous nature of those Old Covenant sacrifices provided a reminder of the distance that remained between God and His people. Since the Old Testament Law failed to change the internal attitudes of those who brought these sacrificial offerings, the people lingered at a distance from God despite the external blessings He graciously provided.

The following verse will explore this aspect of the Law in greater detail. In the meantime, we can say that God now offers the additional blessing of intimate fellowship and camaraderie with Him through Jesus’ sacrificial work on our behalf.


“For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshipers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins. But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year” (Hebrews 10:2-3).

The epistle to the Hebrews was originally written to an audience of individuals who were familiar with the policies and procedures of the Mosaic Law. For contemporary readers with a different cultural background, the Biblical book of Leviticus details the procedure by which the people of Old Testament Israel obtained forgiveness for their sins…

“Now the Lord called to Moses, and spoke to him from the tabernacle of meeting, saying, ‘Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘When any one of you brings an offering to the Lord, you shall bring your offering of the livestock—of the herd and of the flock. ‘If his offering is a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish; he shall offer it of his own free will at the door of the tabernacle of meeting before the Lord. Then he shall put his hand on the head of the burnt offering, and it will be accepted on his behalf to make atonement for him” (Leviticus 1:1-4).

One commentator makes an important observation related to this passage in the context of Hebrews 10:2-3…

“The offerer’s laying or pressing his hand on the head of the sacrifice symbolized his complete identification with the animal as his substitute. [The word] atonement …may mean ‘to wipe off’; i.e., to wipe clean, or ‘to cover’; i.e., to blot out sin from God’s sight. Nothing is said about the need for faith, for this atonement did not result in eternal life (Rom. 3:20; Heb. 10:1–4) but in righting one’s relationship to the theocracy (the government ruled by God under which Israel lived” (1)

The book of Hebrews thus offers a powerful argument regarding the inadequacies of these sacrificial offerings. We can distill that argument into one essential point: “If an Old Covenant sacrifice offered complete cleansing from sin, it would have cleansed the internal conscience of the person who offered it without the need for additional sacrifices.” 

This inadequacy is critically important, for the conscious knowledge of sin disrupts our fellowship with God and explains why we must appropriate the promise of 1 John 1:9: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

(1) Ryrie, Charles Caldwell, Ryrie Study Notes [Leviticus 1:4] © 1986, 1995 by The Moody Bible Institute of Chicago. Database © 2004 WORDsearch Corp


“For otherwise would they not have ceased to be offered, since the worshipers would have been purified once for all and so have no further consciousness of sin? But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins year after year” (Hebrews 10:2-3).

As he has done throughout this epistle, the author of Hebrews now returns to emphasize a point he made earlier. Here in Hebrews 10:2-3, our author builds upon a teaching from the previous chapter regarding the Old Testament sacrificial system: “…the gifts and sacrifices being offered were not able to clear the conscience of the worshiper” (Hebrews 9:9 NIV). One commentator applies this idea for the benefit of a modern-day audience…

“It is possible to fulfill all the outward obligations of religion and still have a conscience that is not right with God… This is one of the tragic inadequacies of religion that does not involve relationship with God.” (1)

Another source adds…

“The OT sacrifices not only could not remove sin, but their constant repetition was a constant reminder of that deficiency. The promise of the New Covenant was that the sin would be removed and even God would ‘remember’ their sins ‘no more’ (8:12, quoting Jer 31:34).” (2)

Nevertheless, it’s important to refrain from extending this concept beyond its proper Biblical parameters…

“This must not be misconstrued to suggest that once one has been born again he will have no remembrance or consciousness of sin in his life. What is true is that the Christian knows peace with God (Rom 5:1) and peace from the guilt of sin. He must still deal with daily sin (1 Jn 1:6–10)… Thus, the guilt of sin is removed for all time for the New Testament saint. For the Old Testament saint that guilt had to be removed yearly.” (3)

These verses thus harken back to a passage from the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah, one that our author has previously quoted and one that he will reference again later in this chapter: “I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more” (Jeremiah 31:34).

Under the old covenant, it took many sacrifices to cover the sins of every person. But the New Covenant serves to erase those sins through Jesus’ one-time sacrificial offering. As Hebrews 9:28 will later remind us, Christ accomplished this “…once for all when He offered up Himself.” In the words of one Biblical scholar, “‘once for all’ …is used of that which is so done as to be of perpetual validity, and never needs repetition.” (4)

(1) Constable, Thomas. DD, Notes on Hebrews 2022 Edition “The heavenly sanctuary 9:1-10” [9:6-10] https://www.planobiblechapel.org/tcon/notes/html/nt/hebrews/hebrews.htm

(2) MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Heb 10:3). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

(3) Hindson, E. E., & Kroll, W. M. (Eds.). (1994). KJV Bible Commentary (p. 2563). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

(4) Kenneth S. Wuest, Word Studies in the Greek New Testament [Hebrews 6:4] Copyright © 1942-55 by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.


“For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins” (Hebrews 10:4).

While the people of Old Testament Israel received genuine forgiveness through their sacrificial offerings, there were two inherent deficiencies in the Old Covenant system. The first is mentioned in the passage quoted above: the blood of bulls, goats, and other sacrificial animals could not remove sins. The second issue is one we have mentioned previously: those sacrificial offerings did nothing to change the internal attitudes and motivations of those who brought them.

This leads us to an important theological concept: “atonement.” This word can be defined as “the act by which God restores a relationship of harmony and unity between Himself and human beings.” (1) While the Old Covenant sacrificial system was distinguished by several different types of offerings, it primarily involved the death of an animal that served to atone for the sin of the person who brought it.

These offerings were governed by several provisions. First, the person seeking atonement had to provide an acceptable animal for sacrifice. The animal chosen for sacrifice also had to be free of blemish or defect. Finally, the person offering the sacrifice had to personally identify with the sin that was about to result in that animal’s death.

The following commentators lend their insights to the limitations of this system and the need for something better in the form of the New Covenant..

“Moral defilement cannot be removed by material means… The writer to the Hebrews was not the first man to appreciate this; the truth had been grasped centuries earlier, as by the penitent psalmist who prayed: ‘Create in me a clean heart, O God; And renew a right spirit within me …. For thou delightest not in sacrifice; else would I give it: Thou hast no pleasure in burnt-offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: A broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise’ [Ps.51:10,16f].” (2)

“Not the least of the reasons why animal sacrifices could be of no avail lies in the fact that animals never belonged to man in the first place. ‘For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills, saith the Lord (Ps. 50:10). It was thus manifestly erroneous for man to think that by sacrificing some of his fellow creatures of a lower order than himself, and which like himself were the property of God, he could make any true expiation for his sins.” (3)

(1) “Atonement” Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary. General Editor Ronald F. Youngblood, Copyright © 1986, 1995 by Thomas Nelson Publishers.

(2) The New International Commentary On The New Testament – The Epistle To The Hebrews, F. F. Bruce, General Editor © Copyright 1964, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. Grand Rapids, Michigan [pg. 229]

(3) Coffman, James Burton. “Commentary on Hebrews 10”. “Coffman’s Commentaries on the Bible”. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bcc/hebrews-10.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.


“For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins” (Hebrews 10:4 ESV).

Human beings approach “sin” in a variety of ways. For instance, some view sin as a nonsensical concept, while others choose to ignore it. Then there are those who acknowledge their need to address sinful behaviors but never seem to do so, preferring instead to pursue other, seemingly more important priorities. But much like the irritating presence of a pebble in a shoe, we sometimes encounter an uncomfortable reminder of sin in the form of our consciences.

If we are truly honest with ourselves, we must admit that human beings are not everything they should be. For example, we know it is wrong to lie, cheat, steal, or treat other people like objects. We know these things are wrong because we acknowledge the injustice of such behaviors when others do such things to us. Unfortunately, virtually every human being has engaged in such behaviors to a greater or lesser extent.

The problem is that we inherently recognize that one who steals is a thief, and those who lie are liars. When faced with these uncomfortable behaviors in our lives, we may prefer to rationalize or justify them by saying, “I’m not as bad as other people” or “I had an excuse.” But if we’ve lied or stolen something, that makes us guilty- and people don’t like to think about what happens to the guilty.

Some try to ease that sense of guilt through a series of good works. Others seek relief through the use of recreational drugs, alcohol consumption, or various forms of amusement. Then there are those who discretely engage in self-punishing behaviors, subconsciously or otherwise. These are the individuals who sabotage their best interests through a variety of destructive behaviors. Nevertheless, the presence of guilt remains undiminished, despite any such attempts to suppress it through layers of justifications, rationalizations, or means of escape.

This is why Jesus’ sacrificial death matters. Jesus received genuine punishment for actual wrongdoing- ours, not His. Those who accept His substitutionary, atoning death are freed from the grasp of sinful behaviors and liberated to face our Creator without guilt…

“Christ himself suffered on account of sins, once for all, the righteous one on behalf of the unrighteous. He did this in order to bring you into the presence of God. Christ was put to death as a human, but made alive by the Spirit” (1 Peter 3:18 CEB).


“Therefore, when He came into the world, He said: ‘Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, But a body You have prepared for Me’” (Hebrews 10:5).

Hebrews 10:5 offers an opportunity to revisit an important, but potentially overlooked consideration from earlier within this epistle. That point involved the word “therefore.” Although some may look upon this word as little more than a bridge from one thought to another, the word “therefore” should alert us to the need to pay careful attention whenever we encounter it within the Scriptures.

You see, this word signals a transition from a teaching or idea to an associated action or behavior. It typically indicates that a Biblical author is about to summarize a teaching or concept from a preceding section and conclude with an application or action plan. Therefore, this word should prompt us to watch and listen carefully whenever it appears within the Biblical record.

In this instance, “therefore” introduces a quotation from the Old Testament book of Psalms…

“Sacrifice and offering You did not desire; My ears You have opened. Burnt offering and sin offering You did not require. Then I said, ‘Behold, I come; In the scroll of the book it is written of me. I delight to do Your will, O my God, And Your law is within my heart’” (Psalm 40:6-8).

This passage offers a clue that helps identify a critical deficiency within the Old Testament sacrificial system. Even though God mandated these sacrifices and offerings, He found them undesirable because they were lacking something important. That “something” involved an internal attitude that sought to do His will. As a result, those sacrifices tended to devolve into ritualistic observances that held little meaning when it came to living a life that truly honored God.

The following commentary summarizes God’s intent for these sacrificial offerings in the lives of the ancient Israelites…

“Animal sacrifices could not take away sins; they provided only a temporary way to deal with sin until Jesus came to deal with sin permanently. How, then, were people forgiven in Old Testament times? Because Old Testament believers were following God’s command to offer sacrifices, he graciously forgave them when, by faith, they made their sacrifices.

But that practice looked forward to Christ’s perfect sacrifice. Christ’s way was superior to the Old Testament way because the old way only pointed to what Christ would do to take away sins.” (1)

(1) Life Application Study Bible [Hebrews 10:4] Copyright © 1988, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1996, 2004 by Tyndale House Publishers Inc., all rights reserved.


“So when he came into the world, he said, ‘Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me’” (Hebrews 10:5-6).

This passage features a quotation of Psalm 40:6 from an ancient translation known as the Septuagint. This translation is sometimes abbreviated as LXX (the Roman numeral for seventy) when it is referenced within a contemporary Biblical translation. The Septuagint is a Jewish translation of the Old Testament Scriptures from Hebrew and Aramaic into Greek that predated the life of Christ by about 200 years. It gets its name from the traditional belief that seventy scholars took part in its translation.

However, some significant differences emerge when we compare this reference to the Hebrew text from the Book Of Psalms. The following sources identify those issues and help provide us with an explanation…

“Psalm 40:6 cites the Messiah as saying ‘My ears You have opened,’ but the writer of Hebrews quotes it as ‘a body You have prepared for Me’ (10:5). There is no similarity whatsoever in these quotations. The NT seems to totally distort this OT passage…

The solution may lie in the fact that Hebrews is a loose rendition, and Psalms is a more literal translation of the same idea, namely ‘You have fitted me for obedient service.’” (1)

“The Hb. text of Ps. 40:6 reads, ‘God has opened my ear’ (cf. Is. 50:5). Hebrews follows the Septuagint, which speaks of the readiness of the whole person (‘the body’) and not only a representative part (the ears). Thus, Hebrews understands the ‘ears’ of the Hb. text to be a part of the body that represents the whole body, which is a typical Hb. figure of speech called ‘synecdoche.’ The ‘body … prepared for me’ is the humanity assumed by Christ in the course of His full obedience to the Father (2:14; 5:8).” (2)

“Psalm 40:6 reads, ‘My ears you have opened.’ This does not represent a significant alteration in the meaning of the psalm, as indicated by the fact that the writer quoted the LXX version of the Heb. idiom, which was an accurate representation for Greek readers. The Greek translators regarded the Heb. words as a figure of speech, in which a part of something signified the whole, i.e., the hollowing out of ears was part of the total work of fashioning a human body.” (3)

These explanations thus allow us to focus upon the essence of this passage: God has provided a sacrifice in the form of His Son, a sacrifice that is both well-pleasing and acceptable to Him (Romans 8:32, Ephesians 5:2-2).

(1) Geisler, N. L., & Howe, T. A. (1992). When critics ask : a popular handbook on Bible difficulties (p. 521). Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books.

(2) Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2015). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (2015 Edition) (p. 2213). Orlando, FL: Reformation Trust.

(3) MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Heb 10:5). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers


“In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You had no pleasure. Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come— In the volume of the book it is written of Me— To do Your will, O God’” (Hebrews 10:6-7).

The Gospel of John records several instances where Jesus signaled His intent to fulfill God’s will in accord with this passage…

“Jesus said to them, ‘My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work’” (John 4:34).

“I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me” (John 5:30).

“For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me” (John 6:38).

However, Luke’s Gospel may contain the greatest expression of that commitment…

“So [Jesus] came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read.

And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written: ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.’

Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, ‘Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing’” (Luke 4:16-21).

In referencing this Old Testament quote from our passage from Hebrews,  one source observes, “The OT prophets had warned the Israelites that sacrifices alone would not please God. He desired obedience as well (Ps. 51:16, 17; Is. 1:13–17; Mark 12:33). This messianic psalm indicates that Jesus’ obedience to God the Father was one of the reasons His sacrifice was better than the OT sacrifices.” (1)

Another commentator adds…

“God’s will was a new covenant with all humanity established by Jesus’ death and resurrection (cf. Mark 10:45; 2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 10:9). When animals died in sacrificial offerings they had no choice. Jesus willingly laid down His own life (cf. John 10:17-18).” (2)

(1) Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 1650). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

(2) Dr. Bob Utley, Hebrews 10 [10:7] Copyright © 2014 Bible Lessons International http://www.freebiblecommentary.org/new_testament_studies/VOL10/VOL10_10.html


“Previously saying, ‘Sacrifice and offering, burnt offerings, and offerings for sin You did not desire, nor had pleasure in them’ (which are offered according to the law), then He said, ‘Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.’ He takes away the first that He may establish the second” (Hebrews 10:8-9).

Hebrews 10:8-9 provides us with a brief description of the offerings associated with the Old Covenant sacrificial system. Those sacrificial offerings from the Biblical book of Leviticus included…

Yet despite the fact that these offerings are painstakingly described over multiple chapters of God’s Word, our passage from Hebrews reminds us that, “…the Levitical system by itself was not the means willed by God to remove His people’s sin permanently; rather, it was given to point people to the only effectual sacrifice for sin—Jesus Christ.” (1)

Hebrews 10:9 couples that idea with Jesus’ willingness to accept this sacrificial responsibility: “Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.” In fact, Jesus expressed that sentiment on several occasions as He led  by example…

“For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day” (John 6:38-39)

“…He knelt down and prayed, saying, ‘Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done’” (Luke 22:41-42).

“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. This command I have received from My Father” (John 10:17-18).

“While He was still talking to the multitudes, behold, His mother and brothers stood outside, seeking to speak with Him. Then one said to Him, ‘Look, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, seeking to speak with You.’ But He answered and said to the one who told Him, ‘Who is My mother and who are My brothers?’ And He stretched out His hand toward His disciples and said, ‘Here are My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother’” (Matthew 12:46-50).

(1) Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2015). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (2015 Edition) (p. 2213). Orlando, FL: Reformation Trust.


“By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (Hebrews 10:10).

One potentially overlooked aspect of this passage involves Jesus’ will to accomplish God’s objective for His life. Perhaps the clearest expression of that commitment is recorded in a passage from the Gospel of Matthew. That portion of Scripture describes Jesus’ interaction with His disciples at the time of His arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane…

“…Don’t you realize that I could ask my Father for thousands of angels to protect us, and he would send them instantly? But if I did, how would the Scriptures be fulfilled that describe what must happen now?” (Matthew 26:53-54 NLT).

Even though Jesus possessed the ability to escape the events that were about to befall Him, He declined that option in accordance with the Scriptures and God’s desire for His life. He thus provides us with an example to follow as we seek to align ourselves with God’s will in our own lives.

Hebrews 10:10 also references another important Biblical term: sanctification. This word conveys the idea of separation from sin and dedication to God. A person or object that is “sanctified” is something that has been set apart for God’s use. The following source offers additional clarity in defining sanctification as, “the act or process by which people or things are cleansed and dedicated to God…” (1)

Because God has brought us into union with Christ, Jesus has thus “…become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption” (NIV) according to 1 Corinthians 1:30. Therefore, we can say that our text from Hebrews 10:10 also addresses our positional sanctification in Christ…

“‘Sanctify’ means to ‘make holy,’ to be set apart from sin for God (cf. 1Th 4:3). When Christ fulfilled the will of God, He provided for the believer a continuing, permanent condition of holiness (Eph 4:24; 1Th 3:13). This is the believer’s positional sanctification as opposed to the progressive sanctification that results from daily walking by the will of God” (2)

Nevertheless, this reference to progressive sanctification in the quotation above reminds us that every man and woman of God is also involved in this process of sanctification. A portion of the New Testament epistle of 1 Thessalonians serves to illustrate this idea: “For this is the will of God— your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality, that each of you learn how to maintain control over his own ‘vessel’ in holiness and honor” (1 Thessalonians 4:3-4 Mounce).

In light of this, we can say that God’s people are responsible to learn, grow, and participate in this practice of sanctification as well.

(1) New Dictionary of Theology, (Leicester/ Downers Grove: Inter-Varsity, 1988) pg. 613

(2) MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Heb 10:10). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.


“And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool” (Hebrews 10:11-13).

Much like a teacher who seeks to reinforce a lesson in the minds of his or her students, the author of Hebrews returned to supplement an earlier teaching in the passage quoted above. Consider this excerpt from Hebrews 10:12: “…after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God.” Unlike an Old Testament priest who stood to conduct the various sacrificial offerings, Jesus finished His sacrificial work as evidenced by His seated position at the right hand of God.

We find this same imagery in several other portions of this epistle…

“…when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Hebrews 1:3 KJV).

“But to which of the angels has He ever said: ‘Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool’?” (Hebrews 1:13).

“Now this is the main point of the things we are saying: We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens” (Hebrews 8:1).

These passages convey the idea of Jesus’ completed work, as well as His exalted position. In fact, this word-picture is so important that our author will return to it once again in Hebrews 12:2. The following commentary prompts us to consider the significance of this imagery and helps explain why our author has returned to it so often…

“Christ’s work is contrasted with the work of the Jewish priests. The priests’ work was never finished, so they had to stand day after day and offer sacrifices; Christ’s sacrifice (dying in our place) is finished, so he is seated. The priests repeated the sacrifices often; Christ sacrificed once for all. The sacrifice system couldn’t completely remove sin; Christ’s sacrifice effectively cleansed us.” (1)

Another source adds a practical application in reminding us that we can do nothing to secure God’s favor apart from what Christ has done on our behalf: “If you feel like you’re in a rut, doing the same things every day to try to impress God, you’re under the old system. And like the priests of old, your work is never done.” (2)

(1) Life Application Study Bible NKJV [Hebrews 10:11-12] Copyright © 1988, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1996, 2004 by Tyndale House Publishers Inc., all rights reserved.

(2) Courson, J. (2003). Jon Courson’s Application Commentary (p. 1489). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.


“But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet” (Hebrews 10:12-13 ESV).

This reference to the “right hand of God” in Hebrews 1:12 represents another image that periodically reappears over the course of this epistle. This passage finds our author quoting once again from one of his favorite Old Testament resources, Psalm 110:1: “The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.’” We saw this same imagery earlier in Hebrews 1:3, Hebrews 1:13, and Hebrews 8:1. This word-picture will also make one final appearance later in Hebrews 12:2.

As mentioned previously, the symbolism associated with the “right hand of God” is important, for it finds its origin in an ancient, cross-cultural symbol of authority and power. Since the right hand serves as the dominant hand for most people, the right hand (or right arm) eventually came to be associated with the greatest degree of skill and strength in the ancient world.

This eventually led to a further identification with the concepts of favor, importance, righteousness, blessing, and sovereignty. In fact, we continue to acknowledge this ancient imagery today whenever we refer to a person who serves as the “right hand” of someone in authority. Other New Testament authors employ this imagery as well, further attesting to the powerful nature of this metaphor..

In a similar manner, this reference to a footstool conveys an image of complete subjugation of one’s enemies. Today, we might use the analogy of a combatant who places his foot on the neck of a vanquished opponent to communicate a similar idea. However, there are some other aspects to this idea that we would do well to contemplate…

“Isaiah 66:1 records the Lord as saying, ‘Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool.’ God used this metaphor to help us comprehend how great He is and how insignificant we are by comparison. If our entire planet is nothing but a footstool to our Creator, how small are we in the grand scheme of things?

…A footstool in the Bible is a symbol of lowliness, humility, and unimportance. It signifies that the one using the footstool is far superior to the footstool itself. It’s amazing that, while God calls the earth His footstool, He still humbled Himself and took on human flesh to become One who lived on that footstool. And He requires that kind of meekness and humility in each of His followers (Philippians 2:5–11).” (1)

(1) GotQuestions.org, “What is the significance of a footstool in the Bible?” Retrieved 18 October, 2022 from https://www.gotquestions.org/footstool-in-the-Bible.html


“For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified” (Hebrews 10:14).

It may be easy to associate the word “perfected” with the quality of flawlessness. However, we should be careful to note that this passage does not communicate the idea of sinless perfection. The Biblical book of 1 John prohibits that interpretation when it tells us, “If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us” (1 John 1:10).

Instead, Hebrews 10:14 uses this word to convey a sense of full development or maturation. In other words, those who accept Christ obtain a position of perfect standing with God. Since Jesus has perfectly atoned for our sins through His sacrificial death, we receive forgiveness and liberation from the shame of a guilty conscience before God.

One Biblical scholar provides us with a detailed explanation of this important idea…

“The word ‘perfected’ is the translation of teleioo which means ‘to bring to a state of completion.’ Here, the completeness of the state of salvation of the believer is in view. Everything essential to the salvation of the individual is included in the gift of salvation which the sinner receives by faith in Messiah’s sacrifice. The words ‘for ever’ here are to be construed with ‘perfected.’ It is a permanent state of completeness in salvation to which reference is made.” (1)

Thus, we can say along with Paul the Apostle in his Biblical letter to the Philippian church…

“I don’t mean to say I am perfect. I haven’t learned all I should even yet, but I keep working toward that day when I will finally be all that Christ saved me for and wants me to be. No, dear brothers, I am still not all I should be, but I am bringing all my energies to bear on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God is calling us up to heaven because of what Christ Jesus did for us” (Philippians 3:12-14 TLB).

Finally, this passage also serves to refute the idea of purgatory, or a place of temporary punishment where one is cleansed (or purged) from sin before entering heaven. Since Hebrews 10:14 tells us, “…by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified” (ESV), no further purging is necessary. Instead, Jesus completed the work of redemption on our behalf in saying, “It is finished” (John 19:30) from the cross.

(1) Kenneth S. Wuest, Word Studies in the Greek New Testament (Hebrews 10:13-14) Copyright © 1942-55 by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.


“But the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; for after He had said before, ‘This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord…’” (Hebrews 10:15-16).

While Jeremiah the prophet served as the human author of the quotation in the passage above, we should not overlook this attribution to the Holy Spirit here in Hebrews 10:16. This is not the only portion of Scripture to feature this type of acknowledgement…

“Notice a number of places in the New Testament where portions of the Old Testament that were written by various men are assigned to the Holy Spirit as the author. The only way to account for this phenomenon is to recognize a dual authorship (see Mark 12:36, where the Spirit is said to be the author of what David wrote in Ps. 110; Acts 1:16 and 4:24–25, where Ps. 41 and Ps. 2 are ascribed to the Holy Spirit; and Heb. 3:7; 10:15–16).” (1)

The following passage from the Biblical epistle of 1 Peter helps us understand how this “dual authorship” took place…

“Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:20-21 NIV).

The Apostle Peter described this process with a nautical term that means “to move or be conveyed” in the original language of these verses. (2) We can illustrate the that means of conveyance with the image of a sailboat on a lake. Just as a sailboat is moved by the wind that fills its sails, the Holy Spirit carried these Old and New Testament authors along, so they went exactly where the Spirit wanted them to go in their Biblical works.

These human authors were active in writing the words of the Scriptures as God’s Spirit carried them along, just as sailors are active on a ship that is moved by the wind. Thus, an important observation made earlier in our study of the book of Hebrews is one that bears repeating…

“This is attributing the inspiration of the OT to the Holy Spirit (cf. Acts 28:25; Heb. 10:15). In context this is very significant because Scripture is attributed to the Father in Heb. 1:5,13; 2:6,11; 4:3,4; 10:9; 13:5. Therefore, this is a strong passage on the deity and personality of the Spirit (cf. Heb. 9:8; 10:15). (3)

(1) Charles Caldwell Ryrie, Ryrie Study Bible: New American Standard Bible, 1995 Update, Expanded ed. (Chicago: Moody Press, 1995), 2080.

(2) See G5342 phero Thayer’s Greek Lexicon https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/g5342/kjv/tr/0-1/

(3) Dr. Bob Utley. Free Bible Commentary, [Hebrews 3:7] Copyright © 2014 Bible Lessons International http://www.freebiblecommentary.org/new_testament_studies/VOL10/VOL10_03.html


“The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says: ‘This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds…’” (Hebrews 10:15-16 NIV).

This reference to the Biblical testimony of the Holy Spirit in Hebrews 10:15 offers an opportunity to examine a related passage from the New Testament epistle of 2 Timothy…

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16).

This process of inspiration finds its origin in the word theopneustos (or, “God- breathed”) in the original language of 2 Timothy 3:16. Much like the act of human exhalation, this portion of Scripture tells us that God “breathed-out” His Word through each Biblical author. It is this unique two-part authorship that makes the Bible different from any other book.

First, we can say that God is fully responsible for the content of the Scriptures. This explains why the Bible claims to be authoritative (Exodus 4:30, 1 Thessalonians 2:13), eternal (Psalm 119:89, Matthew 24:35), and true (Psalm 119:142, John 17:17). However, the doctrine of Biblical inspiration does not mean that these Biblical authors functioned as human word processors, copy machines, or stenographers.

Instead, God used the personality, cultural background, vocabulary, and writing style of each human writer to communicate the Scriptures in a precise and errorless manner. For example, the Scriptures display the humanity of each human author through such things as human research (Luke 1:1-4), human emotion (Nehemiah 13:25), and even human memories that were fragmentary and incomplete (1 Corinthians 1:15-16).

Therefore, as one commentator observes…

“With these two acts of God—breathing out His Word and carrying the writers along by the Spirit—we can come to a definition of inspiration: The Holy Spirit moved men to write. He allowed them to use their own styles, cultures, gifts, and character. He allowed them to use the results of their own study and research, write of their own experiences, and express what was in their minds.

At the same time, the Holy Spirit did not allow error to influence their writings. He overruled in the expression of thought and in the choice of words. Thus, they recorded accurately all God wanted them to say and exactly how He wanted them to say it in their own character, styles, and languages.” (1)

(1) Brian H. Edwards, Why Should We Believe in the Inerrancy of Scripture? Answers in Genesis https://answersingenesis.org/is-the-bible-true/why-should-we-believe-in-the-inerrancy-of-scripture/ Retrieved 28 October 2022


“‘…I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,’ then He adds, ‘Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more’” (Hebrews 10:16-17).

Earlier in chapter eight, the author of Hebrews began an extended discussion of the New Covenant based on a portion of Scripture from the book of Jeremiah. Now. our author will close that discussion with a reference to that same passage from Jeremiah 31:31-34.

You see, one primary aspect of Hebrews 8:8 to 10:17 involves a focus upon God’s internal work within us under the New Covenant. However, we can also find many examples of the Holy Spirit’s work in the lives of other individuals throughout the Old Testament period as well. Some of those Biblical personalities included…

So how do we reconcile God’s Old Covenant work in the lives of these individuals in light of the New Covenant? We find the answer in something that they all held in common. In each of these examples, we’re told that the Spirit of God “came upon” those men to equip them for a specific work or ministry. Unlike the internal work of the Holy Spirit under the New Covenant, the Spirit came upon them in a manner that empowered them to complete a specific task  (or tasks).

This represents an important difference between the Old and New Covenants. The difference is that we are not simply empowered to perform a work for God under the New Covenant. Instead, those who accept Christ by faith are recipients of a new internal nature according to the promise given to us in Jeremiah 31:31-34. That new, God-honoring internal nature serves to influence and empower our internal decisions and external actions each day.

The following passage from the New Testament epistle of Galatians underscores this idea…

“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).


“then he adds, ‘I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more’” (Hebrews 10:17 ESV).

While the Biblical definition of “sin” encompasses the inappropriate behaviors we generally associate with that word, it primarily means “to miss the mark.” In other words, sin involves our failure to live up to the perfect standard that God established when He created the first human beings. Although this definition may seem relatively mild, we should note that sin is coupled with a reference to “lawless deeds” in the passage quoted above.

“Lawless deeds” can be defined as, “contempt and violation of law, iniquity, [and] wickedness.” (1) The fact that these ideas are joined together in Hebrews 10:17 is significant. Much as we saw earlier in our look at Hebrews 8:12, this conveys more than just a failure to live up to God’s standards; it involves a willful neglect of God’s intent or purpose.

For instance, consider Jesus’ teaching on this subject from the Gospel of Matthew…

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” (Matthew 7:21-23).

While these individuals were seemingly engaged in practices that honored God, their lawless deeds were clearly evident to Jesus. In fact, Paul the Apostle acknowledged that the “mystery of lawlessness” was already at work in his day according to 2 Thessalonians 2:7. Sadly, such acts of lawlessness run like a thread through the course of human history extending as far back as our first human ancestors.

1 John 3:4-6 serves to further our understanding of this idea in a more positive manner by speaking of Christ and His work in our lives…

“Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him” (NIV).

Thus, we can be encouraged by the fact that God works within us…to will and to do His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13). We can also be thankful that He no longer remembers our “sins and lawless deeds” through Christ’s sacrificial work on our behalf.

(1) G458 anomia https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?t=kjv&strongs=g458


“then he says, ‘Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no longer’” (Hebrews 10:17 NET).

A person who prayerfully applies this passage from Hebrews 10:17 is someone who can find refuge from the nagging sense of regret that often accompanies the inappropriate behaviors of the past. One commentary on this passage offers an encouraging perspective in respect to this passage..

“The statement that God ‘will remember … sins … no more’ (v. 17) means that He will no longer call them back to memory, with a view to condemning the sinner (cf. Rom. 8:1). Since God is omniscient, He remembers everything, but He does not hold the forgiven sinner’s sins against him or her. Hebrews 10:17 has been a great help to many sinners who have found it hard to believe that God really has forgiven them (cf. 1 John 2:2).” (1)

Philippians 3:13-14 also provides us with some helpful counsel in this regard: “…I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us” (NLT).

This does not mean that we should deny, excuse, or ignore the mistakes of the past. Nor does it mean that we will automatically evade the negative consequences associated with our choices and decisions. However, it does mean that God has provided a way to permanently eradicate our past failures through Jesus’ sacrificial death. As we’re reminded in the Biblical book of Romans, “We know that the person we used to be was crucified with him to put an end to sin in our bodies. Because of this we are no longer slaves to sin. The person who has died has been freed from sin” (Romans 6:6-7 GW).

1 John 1:9 adds the following exhortation: “For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things.” Thus, Hebrews 10:17 provides us with an encouraging reminder: we need not allow the mistakes, poor decisions, or shameful things from the past to prevent us from enjoying God’s best in the present.

Finally, one source makes use of this passage in preparing for our eventual entry into the next chapter of Hebrews: “There is a remarkable illustration of this divine ‘loss of memory’ in the next chapter, Hebrews 11. This chapter recounts the great works of faith of Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, Samson, and many others, but never mentions any of their sins.” (2)

(1) Dr. Thomas L. Constable, Notes on Hebrews 2022 Edition [10:15-18] https://www.planobiblechapel.org/tcon/notes/html/nt/hebrews/hebrews.htm

(2) Institute for Creation Research, New Defender’s Study Bible Notes Hebrews 10:17 https://www.icr.org/bible/Hebrews/10/17/


“Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin” (Hebrews 10:18).

Hebrews 10:18 marks the conclusion of the doctrinal portion of this letter that began earlier in chapter seven. The author of Hebrews has built towards this conclusion with several key observations over the past few chapters. For instance…

  • The priests who served under the Old Testament Law were subject to the death process, just like any other human being. Thus, their ministries were limited and temporary (Hebrews 7:23-25).
  • The Levitical priests were fallible human beings who had to atone for their own sins before they were permitted to minister to others (Hebrews 7:26-27).
  • The Old Covenant Law featured several inadequacies that established the need for a superior covenant (Hebrews 8:6-7).
  • Thus, the priesthood held by Aaron and his successors under the Old Testament Law was deficient (Hebrews 9:6-10, 10:1-4).
  • The Old Testament Scriptures anticipated the advent of a New Covenant and Jesus’ superior priestly ministry (Hebrews 10:5-9).

These foundational observations lead us to the final passage of this section: “When sins are forgiven, there is no more need to offer sacrifices” (CEV). That fundamental truth explains why Christianity has no further need of sacrificial offerings of any kind. This refers not only to the animal sacrifices of long ago; it also includes any work we might seek to do in order to get right with God today. When the issue of sin has been addressed permanently (as it has through Jesus’ once-for-all atoning sacrifice), no such offerings are necessary.

Thus, Hebrews 10:18 reminds us that Christianity is not based on what we can do for God, but on what God has done for us through Christ. As we’re told in Acts 4:12, “There is salvation in no one else. Under all heaven there is no other name for men to call upon to save them” (TLB).

The following commentator brings closure to this lengthy portion of Scripture…

“Priestly ministry was such an important part of old Israelite worship that the writer gave it lengthy attention here. The writer showed that Jesus is a superior priest compared with the Levitical priests, and that His priesthood supersedes (has replaced) the Levitical priesthood. He also pointed out that Jesus serves under the New Covenant that is superior to the Old Covenant.

Furthermore, His sacrifice is superior to the animal sacrifices of the Old Covenant. Finally, Jesus’ priesthood brings the believer into full acceptance with God, something the former priesthood could not do. Therefore the readers would be foolish to abandon Christianity to return to Judaism. Contemporary believers are also foolish to turn away from Christ and the gospel.” (1)

(1) Dr. Thomas L. Constable, Notes on Hebrews 2022 Edition [10:15-18] Retrieved 01 November, 2022 from https://www.planobiblechapel.org/tcon/notes/html/nt/hebrews/hebrews.htm


“Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh” (Hebrews 10:19-20).

Having built a case for Jesus’ New Covenant ministry over the previous chapters of this epistle, these verses transition us from the doctrinal portion of Hebrews to a series of applications and illustrations.

Earlier in our study of Hebrews, we saw that human beings were generally prohibited from entering the Old Testament-era Tabernacle (and later, the Temple). The only individuals who could enter these structures were the priests. However, the priests were also restricted from entering the innermost portion of the Tabernacle known as the Most Holy Place. The only exception was the High Priest, and even then, he could only enter that area once a year under a complex set of rules (see Leviticus chapter 16).

This was a serious matter, for Leviticus 16:2 tells us that the High Priest was not permitted “…to enter into the Holy Place behind the veil, where the Ark and the place of mercy are, just whenever he chooses. The penalty for intrusion is death” (TLB). Therefore, a person who approached God in this manner had to ensure that he did so as if his life depended on it, for it literally did.

This offers a stark contrast to the access to God we now enjoy under the New Covenant…

  • There is no longer any reason to fear God when we approach Him through Christ.
  • We can now approach God with confidence whenever we desire and not just once a year on a particular day.
  • When we approach God through Christ, we can expect to find love and acceptance as a result of His sacrifice on our behalf.

Thus, we can experience freedom without fear in our relationship with God, for every barrier to fellowship with our Creator has been eliminated through Jesus’ atoning sacrifice. Since Christ has now opened the way to fellowship with God, Hebrews 10:19 encourages us to take advantage of that access with boldness.

The New Testament book of Ephesians also speaks of this confidence when it tells us, “In union with Christ and through our faith in him we have the boldness to go into God’s presence with all confidence” (GNT). Nevertheless, we should not equate confidence and assurance with carelessness, nonchalance, or a casual demeanor. Instead. the privilege of access to God should be accompanied by an attitude of humility, respect, and appreciation for His willingness to receive us whenever we come to Him through Christ.


“Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh” (Hebrews 10:19-20 ESV).

The contributions made by the following sources provide us with some valuable insight into the passage quoted above. As we conclude our brief look at Hebrews 10:19-20, we will dedicate this portion of our study to the observations made by a few select authors who help advance our understanding of these important verses…

“The first exhortation urges the Christian to take full advantage of the privilege of worship -of drawing near… Here ‘confidence’ (Gk. parrhesia, lit. ‘outspokenness’, ‘openness’) conveys the idea of an exulting boldness, a vivid sense of freedom from all fear when it comes to entering the sacred area of God’s presence.” (1)

“On this earth, most of us do not have immediate access to a president or monarch. But through Christ’s blood, we have perpetual access to God Himself.” (2)

“Jesus is the High Priest over God’s house in the heavens. As we have seen so often, the function of the priest was to build a bridge between man and God. This means that Jesus not only shows us the way to God but also when we get there introduces us to his very presence. A man might be able to direct an enquirer to Buckingham Palace and yet be very far from having the right to take him into the presence of the Queen; but Jesus can take us the whole way.” (3)

“God has no special place where only a special caste of men may approach Him. Instead, all believers may come into His presence by faith at any time and from any place on earth.” (4)

“We do not just come into God’s presence as strangers, visitors, or laypersons but as priests- as people who belong in the temple and have a right and even a duty to be in the most sacred places in the temple. Using imagery from the ceremony for ordination of priests (see Ex. 29:4, 21), the author of Hebrews pictures all believers as having been ordained as priests to God and thus able to enter into his presence, for he says that we draw near ‘with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water’” (Heb. 10:22 ; cf. 1 Peter 2:9). (5)

(1) New International Bible Commentary general editor G. C. D. Howley, consulting editors F. F. Bruce, H. L. Ellison. Copyright© 1979 by Pickering & Inglis Ltd [pg. 1525].

(2) Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 1651). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

(3) Barclay, William. William Barclay’s Daily Study Bible, “The Meaning Of Christ For Us (Heb_10:19-25).”

(4) William Macdonald, Believer’s Bible Commentary Edited by Arthur Farstad, Thomas Nelson Publishers (Hebrews 10:19-39).

(5) Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine, Second Edition. (Grand Rapids, Ml: Zondervan Academic, 2020) [pg 870].


“let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water” (Hebrews 10:22).

A careful reading of Hebrews 10:22 reveals several essential attributes for drawing near to God in Christ. As we examine these attributes in greater detail, we are sure to find that they are more important than they may initially seem to appear.

The first attribute given to us here within this verse is a “true heart.” When we say that something is “true,” we’re saying that it corresponds (or “goes along”) with reality. In other words, “truth” means that we are talking about things the way they really are. One source clarifies this definition for us: “{true is] opposite to what is fictitious, counterfeit, imaginary, simulated or pretended.” (1)

That brings us to the word “heart.” As mentioned in a previous study, the word “heart” is represented by the word kardia in the original language of this passage. It also forms the basis for our modern-day word “cardiac.” Kardia refers to our innermost being in a physical, spiritual, or emotional sense. So when taken together, these definitions encourage us to draw near to God in Christ with an internal attitude of sincerity, honesty, and authenticity.

Ordinarily, the idea of drawing near to God with a true heart would be impossible for any fallible human being. To quote the prophet Jeremiah (one of the author of Hebrews’ favorite Old Testament sources), “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?” (Jeremiah 17:9 NLT).

Jesus also made a similar observation regarding the heart…

“…the words that come out of your mouth come from your heart. And they are what make you unfit to worship God. Out of your heart come evil thoughts, murder, unfaithfulness in marriage, vulgar deeds, stealing, telling lies, and insulting others. These are what make you unclean…” (Matthew 15:18-20 CEV).

Therefore, it is helpful to remember a key that was given to us earlier in this chapter: “And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus” (Hebrews 10:19 NLT). This illustrates why we need an internally heart-changing relationship with Christ, for we can only enter God’s presence with true hearts through what He has done for us. As Jesus also reminded us in His Sermon On The Mount…

“Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8).

(1) G228 alethinos Thayer’s Greek Definitions https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/g228/nlt/mgnt/0-1/


“let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed in pure water” (Hebrews 10:22 HCSB).

As we consider the characteristic qualities of Hebrews 10:22, we next come to an attribute that will soon become a focus of greater attention: “full assurance of faith.” One Biblical scholar offers a foundation for understanding this concept with a look at the original language of this passage…

“Plerophoria, ‘full assurance,’ is an expression which occurs more than once in the writings of the Apostle Paul. He speaks of plerophoria suneseos, ‘the full assurance of understanding’ (Col. 2:2); plerophoria tes elpidos, ‘the full assurance of hope’ (Heb. 6:11); and plerophoria pisteos, ‘the full assurance of faith’ (Heb. 10:22). According to its etymology, this word denotes ‘a carrying with full sail’; the metaphor being taken, probably, from ships when their sails are filled with favourable gales. Thus it may here signify the vehement inclination of the mind, impelled by the Holy Spirit, towards an assent to the truth perceived.” (1)

Thus, this reference to a “full assurance of faith” previews the famous “Faith Hall Of Fame” that is to come in the following chapter.

A more obscure reference then follows this phrase: “having our hearts sprinkled and purified from a guilty (evil) conscience” (AMPC). This terminology becomes easier to understand if we stop to consider the negative effects of a guilty conscience.

You see, virtually everyone knows what it is like to live with a guilty conscience. It was the prolific 17th century commentator Matthew Henry who once observed that “A guilty conscience needs no accuser or tormentor but itself.” (2) Whenever we treat others inappropriately, we must live with the guilt of such behavior. This often leads to emotional distance and loss of intimacy with others. The same may be said of our relationship with God as well.

This is why a passage from earlier in Hebrews chapter ten is so important for those who place their faith in Christ: ‘Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no longer’” (Hebrews 10:17 NET). The knowledge that God no longer remembers our sinful thoughts and behaviors frees us from the shackles of a guilty conscience before Him.

Therefore, as we are told in the New Testament epistle of 1 John, “Dear friends, if our conscience does not condemn us, we have confidence in the presence of God” (1 John 3:21 NET).

(1) Herman Witsius, Sacred Dissertations on What Is Commonly Called the Apostles’ Creed, trans. Donald Fraser, 2 vols. (1823; reprint, Phillipsburg, N.J.: P & R, 1993), 1:42–43. Quoted in R.C. Sproul, Faith Alone: The Evangelical Doctrine of Justification, electronic ed. (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2000), 80.

(2) Matthew Henry, Exposition of the Old and New Testament, Volume 3


“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful” (Hebrews 10:23).

A careful reading of Hebrews 10:23 reveals two distinct portions of this passage. If we refer to the original language of this verse, we might render the first portion of Hebrews 10:23 in the following manner: “Let us keep firm possession of what we profess, as we remain firm and unmoved, in the joyful and confident expectation of eternal salvation…”

While this exhortation was originally directed toward an audience of those who were unsettled in their faith, it is just as relevant for contemporary audiences as well. In fact, this exhortation was (and is) so important that our author affirmed this idea in several earlier portions of this this letter…

“But Christ, as the Son, is in charge of God’s entire house. And we are God’s house, if we keep our courage and remain confident in our hope in Christ” (Hebrews 3:6 NLT).

“And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end” (Hebrews 6:11 ESV).

“So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us” (Hebrews 6:18 NLT).

The second half of Hebrews 10:23 draws our attention to an important attribute of Christ: faithfulness. When others prove unworthy of our trust, Jesus remains faithful. In fact, Jesus’ faithfulness is an intrinsic part of His character, for as we are told in 2 Timothy 2:13, “…he always remains faithful. He cannot deny his own nature” (2 Timothy 2:13 Phillips).

Unlike those who are less than trustworthy, we can always rely upon Christ to demonstrate His faithfulness towards us. As one source observes, “This is a wonderful affirmation of assurance that although we are called to endure and be faithful, salvation does not rest ultimately on our faithfulness, but upon the perfect faithfulness of Christ.” (1)

Thus, Jesus is faithful to keep His promises to us. The Gospel of John records one of the most significant of those promises…

“There are many rooms in my Father’s house, and I am going to prepare a place for you. I would not tell you this if it were not so. And after I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to myself, so that you will be where I am” (John 14:2-3 GNT).

(1) Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2015). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (2015 Edition) (p. 2172). Orlando, FL: Reformation Trust.


“And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works” (Hebrews 10:24).

One of the more challenging aspects of our relationship with other members of the Christian community often involves our responsibility to implement the directive given to us in the passage quoted above.

For instance, notice the word “consider” here in Hebrews 10:24. This word conveys an image of thoughtful reflection as we contemplate the things that will cultivate another person’s highest good from a Biblical perspective. It should also reflect a prayerful commitment to act in the best interests of others, even when their actions warrant a different response. Much like a baker who stirs up the ingredients of a cake or pastry, this requires effort on our part.

Next comes a reference to love. In the original language of this passage, “love” incorporates the idea of affection, good will, and benevolence. (1) It also encompasses the qualities of generosity, kindly concern, and devotedness. (2) Thus, we can say that a portion of our “job description” includes an effort to help others become all that God created them to be in Christ.

In part, this involves encouraging others to use their God-given talents, skills, opportunities, and abilities to honor God. For example, some may be unaware of such gifts, even when they are clearly visible to others. Then there are some who could benefit from the encouragement to step out in faith in regard to a ministry opportunity. We can exert a positive influence upon such individuals if we take a careful inventory of their strengths, weaknesses, and evidence of God’s call upon their lives.

This does not mean that we should pressure or leverage others into service simply because a need exists. Instead, this passage speaks of the forethought that is necessary to help “…motivate one another to acts of love and good works” (NLT). As one commentator wisely observes, “It is easy to stir up hate and godless deeds; it takes much more to stir up another to love and good works.” (3)

We can also stir up love and good works if we seek to lead by example. In other words, we should seek to offer a positive example for others to follow in our speech, appearance, and ministry efforts. As Paul the Apostle encouraged the church in the town of Corinth, “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1).

The following verse offers an excellent path that can guide us in putting this exhortation into practice. We’ll consider that path in greater detail next.

(1) G26 agape Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?t=kjv&strongs=g26

(2) G26 agape Mounce Concise Greek-English Dictionary of the New Testament https://www.billmounce.com/greek-dictionary/agape

(3) Hindson, E. E., & Kroll, W. M. (Eds.). (1994). KJV Bible Commentary (p. 2566). Nashville: Thomas Nelson


“not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25).

“As much as He done for us, is it so hard for us to wake up for church?
Don’t forsake the gathering. We can learn together, we can pray together.”

While the multitude of stars in the sky may exceed the grains of sand on Earth, the number of reasons that people devise to avoid going to church may be more numerous than both.

For example, some may find church boring. Others believe that going to church isn’t really necessary. Some choose to prioritize other events or activities over church attendance. Then there are those who avoid going to church because there are “too many hypocrites” there. Whatever the reason, one thing is certain: people have developed a seemingly endless array of reasons to avoid going to church.

So why is church important and why should Christians attend church regularly? We can answer those questions with a look at this passage from Hebrews 10:25. We can begin by noting that the word “church” is derived from a word that refers to a public assembly, especially one of a religious nature. While “the church” is sometimes used to identify the global Christian community, it is most often used to describe a local congregation that meets in a specific location.

In the New Testament era, this generally involved a group of Christians who met together for worship and teaching in a local home. That residence served as the host building for the “church” in that neighborhood. We can find evidence for this arrangement in the Biblical book of 1 Corinthians: “The churches in the province of Asia send you greetings. Aquila and Priscilla greet you warmly in the Lord, and so does the church that meets at their house” (1 Corinthians 16:19 NIV).

We should also recognize that the concept of “church” was established by Jesus Himself. For example, Jesus used the term “my church” in the Gospel of Matthew. (Matthew 16:18). The New Testament book of Colossians also refers to Jesus as the head of the church (Colossians 1:18). Finally, the book of 1 Timothy refers to the church as “God’s church” in 1 Timothy 3:5 and even as “God’s household” in 1 Timothy 3:15.

With these things in mind, we can say that the church is an institution that has been established by God and is ultimately led by Christ. Therefore, we should not be surprised to read the exhortation given to us here in Hebrews 10:25.

(1) Cam, Raindrop (feat. Kadence), “The Platform” 2008 Doulos Records https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GhcpzL6VQys


“not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:25 ESV).

Hebrews 10:25 is important to remember when considering the justifications offered by those who wish to abstain from church attendance. For example, some claim there are too many hypocrites in church.” But there is a flaw within that objection when we stop to consider it.

For instance, we can find hypocrisy in every avenue of human life. Do we avoid going to school, taking part in athletic activities, or going to work simply because hypocrisy exists within those institutions? Of course, this does not justify hypocritical behavior (especially among those who claim to be Christians), but it does illustrate the double-standard that exists behind that objection.

Another excuse for avoiding church is this: “I don’t want to get up early for church- I’d rather sleep late.” This objection is highly appealing, especially when we consider the fact that many would prefer to sleep in on a weekend morning . Nevertheless, there is a reason why most churches hold their primary services on Sunday mornings.

A Sunday morning church service demonstrates respect for God by setting aside the first part of the first day of the week to worship Him and learn from His Word. God’s people have followed this arrangement for centuries, and it finds Biblical support in passages such as Acts 20:7 and 1 Corinthians 16:2. So rather than viewing church attendance as an inconvenience, we should see it as a means of honoring God by putting Him first on the first day of the week.

While today’s age of online access may also encourage us to watch church services remotely from home, we should note that this passage references “…the assembling of ourselves together” (KJV). This refers to a physical assembly in the original context of this passage. Since one cannot physically assemble with others in an online environment, this means that we should make an effort to attend church in person when possible.

Finally, some may find church services to be dull and uninteresting. While some churches may not feature the most gifted ministers, it is the message and not the messenger that is most important. As Paul the Apostle wrote to the members of the Corinthian church…

“…my preaching was very plain, not with a lot of oratory and human wisdom, but the Holy Spirit’s power was in my words, proving to those who heard them that the message was from God. I did this because I wanted your faith to stand firmly upon God, not on man’s great ideas” (1 Corinthians 2:4-5 TLB).


“not abandoning our own meetings, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging each other, and even more so because you see the day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:25 NET).

A minister who teaches through God’s Word offers another benefit to those who attend church regularly. You see, there will always be something valuable in the message of a leader who teaches through the Biblical Scriptures in an expository manner. As God Himself said through the prophet Isaiah…

“As the rain and snow come down from heaven and stay upon the ground to water the earth, and cause the grain to grow and to produce seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry, so also is my Word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It shall accomplish all I want it to and prosper everywhere I send it” (Isaiah 55:10-11 TLB).

We should also consider the positive human relationships that often develop through regular church attendance. In a sense, every church member is like a member of our personal family, since every Christian is related to every other Christian through Christ (see Romans 12:4-5). Because of this, we can say that a local church fellowship should be a place where we can join with other members of the body of Christ for mutual edification. It also provides an environment where we can learn, grow, and use our God-given abilities to serve and help others.

However, there are other aspects of church attendance that are important to consider as well. For instance, the New Testament epistle of 1 Corinthians tells us, “Now you are the body of Christ, and individual members of it” (CSB, see 1 Corinthians 12:12-27). This reference to “corporate individuality” reminds us that conformity to the image of Christ does not necessarily imply uniformity among the members of God’s family.

For example, there are wide varieties of personal, cultural, and emotional differences among Jesus’ followers. These members of God’s family may not think, act, or communicate in ways that are similar to our own. They may process information in an unfamiliar manner. Others may be more or less mature, and some may hold attitudes or opinions that differ from ours.

So, while church is a place where we should expect to find love and affirmation, we must also recognize that there may be instances where we struggle to get along with one another (see Acts 15:36-41 for an example). This may explain why the New Testament book of Romans reminds us to, “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves” (Romans 12:10 NIV). We’ll examine those facets of church attendance next.


“And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of His return is drawing near” (Hebrews 10:25 NLT).

Hebrews 10:25 provides us with an opportunity to make a practical comparison. That comparison involves the similarities that often exist between one’s church family and one’s biological family.

You see, many of the dynamics that exist within our genetic or adoptive families may also be present within our church family as well. To illustrate those similarities, let’s consider the following examples…

  • Some biological family members encourage us, support us, and love us. The same should be true of our church family too.
  • There may be some family members who do not get along together. The same may occur within our church family as well.
  • Generous family members are often willing to assist other family members in times of need. This should be a characteristic of our church family too.
  • On the other hand, some family members may prove to be undependable. Sadly, the same may be true of some within our church family.
  • Finally, it is not unusual for family members to have disagreements. The same is true of our church family as well.

While we should not excuse these negative characteristics, it is important to recognize how they may contribute to our spiritual development. For example, when members of our church family act insensitively, we must decide if we will put the teaching from Colossians 3:13 into practice: “Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others” (NLT).

This may require us to prayerfully overlook these negative qualities for Jesus’ sake. As Proverbs 17:9 reminds us, “Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends” (ESV). In some instances, we might quietly “cover an offense” by reflecting upon the example set by Joseph, the husband of Mary. Consider Joseph’s initial response when he learned of Mary’s pregnancy…

“…[Jesus’] mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. Joseph, to whom she was engaged, was a righteous man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly” (Matthew 1:18-19 NLT).

If Joseph had not received further instruction from God’s angelic messenger, his God-honoring attitude would have led him to separate quietly from Mary to protect her. Thus, we might carefully consider his example in deciding how to interact with those who hurt or offend us.


“We should not stop gathering together with other believers, as some of you are doing. Instead, we must continue to encourage each other even more as we see the day of the Lord coming” (Hebrews 10:25 GW).

As we close our look at this important portion of Scripture, we will pause briefly to consider the distinguishing marks of a good church. For example, the Biblical book of 1 Timothy identifies an important cornerstone that helps identify a healthy church fellowship: “Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching” (1 Timothy 4:13 ESV).

This passage identifies three elements that should exist whenever God’s people assemble to worship Him: reading, exhortation, and teaching. These elements involve…

  • Communicating God’s Word in a public setting.
  • Encouragement to act upon it.
  • Accurate instruction in sound Biblical doctrine.

Therefore, we can say that a good church fellowship is one that helps its members understand, remember, and apply God’s Word. With these things in mind, we would be wise to seek out a church with leaders who are committed to helping others to understand and apply the Biblical Scriptures. One source adds the following insight…

“There is no doubt that it is wise to be selective in which church body we choose to attend. This may require attending different churches for a while so that we can best decide which church home God may be calling us to. The goal is to find a church that teaches that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God and affirms all of the essentials of the Christian faith. This may take some time and might technically be called church-hopping. However, after having found a solid church, we must commit to remaining there.” (1)

Another author adds…

“God’s Word admonishes us not to forsake ‘the assembling of ourselves together…’ (Hebrews 10:25). Several logs bum brightly together, but put one aside on the cold hearth and the fire goes out. So it is with your relationship with other Christians. If you do not belong to a church, do not wait to be invited. Take the initiative; call the pastor of a nearby church where Christ is honored and His Word is preached. Start this week, and make plans to attend regularly.” (2)

Finally, and most importantly, those who fail to attend church regularly lose an opportunity to spend quality time with Christ. As Jesus taught in the New Testament Gospel of Matthew, “For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them” (Matthew 18:20 NLT).

(1) GotQuestions.org, What does the Bible say about church-hopping? Retrieved 14 November, 2022 from https://www.gotquestions.org/church-hopping.html

(2) Josh McDowell and Bill Wilson, He Walked Among Us : Evidence For The Historical Jesus. Here’s Life Publishers, Inc. © 1988, Josh McDowell and Bill Wilson [pg. 339]


“For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries” (Hebrews 10:26-27).

In commenting on these verses, one source offers an understatement of monumental proportions: “This passage was destined to have repercussions in Christian history beyond what our author could have foreseen.” (1) This is an undeniably truthful statement, as many teachers, ministers, and Biblical counselors will undoubtedly attest.

Much like a similar warning given to us earlier in Hebrews chapter six, this passage serves as a cautionary reminder that draws our attention to the fact that choices have consequences. Nevertheless, it is important to consider the context of these verses so we can apply that reminder in an appropriate manner.

For instance, it is possible to isolate this verse and assume that a Christian who engages in a willful or deliberate sin is immediately subject to “…divine judgment and the fury of burning wrath and indignation…” (AMPC). While it is important to avoid minimizing or dismissing the potential consequences associated with intentional sin, we would do well to consider the framework of this passage before we reach that conclusion.

When approaching this passage, we should consider the fact that the Epistle to the Hebrews is very much what its name implies. In other words, the Biblical book of Hebrews is a letter that was originally written to a group of Jewish Christians. Some members of that original audience were tempted to return to the sacrificial offerings of the Old Covenant. For those who were contemplating such a retreat, this passage serves as a reminder: Jesus’ sacrificial death provides the only real atonement for sins. No other sacrifice is sufficient.

Contemporary readers should also consider Jesus’ statement from John 14:6: “…’I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me’” (NIV). Those who reject Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross thus reject the only path that leads to God, for “…There is one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5 NLT).

Finally, one source ties these ideas together for the benefit of everyone: “Since God has set aside the Levitical system of animal sacrifices (v. 9), those who abandon their confession of trust in Christ have nowhere to turn for forgiveness.” (2)

(1) The New International Commentary On The New Testament – The Epistle To The Hebrews, F. F. Bruce, General Editor © Copyright 1964, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. Grand Rapids, Michigan [pg. 258]

(2) Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2015). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (2015 Edition) (p. 2214). Orlando, FL: Reformation Trust


“For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries” (Hebrews 10:26-27 ESV).

This reference to willful or deliberate sin represents another aspect of this passage that is worthy of exploration. In one sense, we can say that all sinful behaviors are willful, for “All have turned away from God; they have all gone wrong; no one does what is right, not even one” (Romans 3:12 GW). In a similar manner, the New Testament epistle of 1 John tells us, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8 NIV).

Nevertheless, this passage has undoubtedly created a great deal of anxiety among those who have willfully engaged in sinful behaviors during moments of temptation or weakness. For those who fall into this category, the observations made by the following commentators may prove helpful…

“The tense of the word indicates immediately that this is not a single act of folly or weakness. This is not something one can stumble into suddenly. It is not the normal falterings of a Christian who is still learning how to walk in the Spirit. None of these is in view at all. The continuous present tense of this word, ‘sin deliberately,’ marks a long-continued attitude of resistance.” (1)

“The willful sin here referred to does not consist in isolated acts, but in a determined course of action, persisted in until the very desire for a better life wanes and dies out of the soul.” (2)

“Sinning willfully carries with it the idea of sinning continually and deliberately. Such a person does not sin because of ignorance, nor is he carried away by momentary temptations he is too weak to resist. The willful sinner sins because of an established way of thinking and acting which he has no desire to give up.” (3)

“This passage is not teaching that true Christians can lose their salvation; rather, it is a warning for believers to persevere and for those who profess faith without possessing it to trust in Christ alone (cf. Heb. 6:4–12 and notes; 10:32).” (4)

We will find some identifying features of deliberate sin later in Hebrews 10:29. But before we get to that portion of Scripture, we will next take a look at someone who served as a living embodiment of this warning concerning those who “…go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth.”

(1) Excerpted with permission from Triumph or Tragedy © 1965 by Ray Stedman Ministries. All rights reserved. Visit www.RayStedman.org for the complete library of Ray Stedman material. Please direct any questions to webmaster@RayStedman.org

(2) Meyer, Frederick Brotherton. “Commentary on Hebrews 10”. “F. B. Meyer’s ‘Through the Bible’ Commentary”. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/fbm/hebrews-10.html. 1914.

(3) GotQuestions.org, What significance is there to sinning willfully (Hebrews 10:26)? Retrieved 14 November, 2022 from https://www.gotquestions.org/sinning-willfully.html

(4) Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2015). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (2015 Edition) (p. 2214). Orlando, FL: Reformation Trust.


“Dear friends, if we deliberately continue sinning after we have received knowledge of the truth, there is no longer any sacrifice that will cover these sins. There is only the terrible expectation of God’s judgment and the raging fire that will consume His enemies” (Hebrews 10:26-27 NLT).

The Biblical account of Judas Iscariot serves to illustrate the warning given to us here in Hebrews 10:26-27. Judas, of course, is well-known as the disciple who betrayed Jesus as recorded in Mark 14:10-11: “Then Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Him to them. And when they heard it, they were glad, and promised to give him money. So he sought how he might conveniently betray Him.”

What may be less well-known is the fact that Judas was not an ethical individual. A look at an incident from the Gospel of John offers a clue that may shed light on his decision to betray Jesus…

“Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil. But one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, who would betray Him, said, ‘Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?’ This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it” (John 12:3-6).

Although Judas spent a considerable amount of time with Jesus, it doesn’t appear that he listened to Jesus’ teachings concerning the proper use of money (see Luke 12:15, 33-34, and 16:13-15). As a result, it seems that Judas might have allowed his financial ambition to become more important than following Christ. In fact, Judas leveraged his position as Jesus’ disciple in negotiating the price of His betrayal…

“Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, ‘What are you willing to give me if I deliver Him to you?’ And they counted out to him thirty pieces of silver. So from that time he sought opportunity to betray Him” (Matthew 26:14-16).

So it appears that this incident with the fragrant oil ultimately led to Judas’ decision to sell Jesus out. This was not a momentary indiscretion on his part. Instead, it was an intentional, willful, and premeditated act of sin. Thus, he serves as an object example that illustrates the warning given to us here in Hebrews 10:26-27.


“Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 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?” (Hebrews 10:28-29).

Hebrews 10:28-29 alludes to those legislative portions of the Old Testament Law that mandated a death sentence in the case of certain transgressions. Those violations included…

However, the Law also protected those who might fall victim to a malicious or unfounded attempt to enforce those penalties…

“One witness is not enough to convict someone of a crime; at least two witnesses are necessary to prove that someone is guilty. If any of you try to harm another by false accusations, both of you are to go to the one place of worship and be judged by the priests and judges who are then in office.

The judges will investigate the case thoroughly; and if you have made a false accusation, you are to receive the punishment the accused would have received. In this way your nation will get rid of this evil” (Deuteronomy 19:15-19 GNT).

The author of Hebrews used these edicts to make an important spiritual point…

“Under the Old Covenant, if an Israelite spurned the Mosaic Law and at least two or three witnesses verified his actions, he was put to death. This being true, the author then argued from the lesser to the greater. If defiance of an inferior covenant could bring such retribution, what about defiance of the New Covenant which, as he had made clear, is far superior? The answer can only be that the punishment would be substantially greater in such a case.” (1)

Remember that our author has already established that “… the Law has only a shadow [just a pale representation] of the good things to come—not the very image of those things…” (AMP) in Hebrews 10:1. If the Old Covenant Law prescribed the death penalty in these instances, how much worse will the retribution be for those who transgress against the One who annulled “…the first covenant in order to put the second into effect” (Hebrews 10:9 NLT)?

(1) John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck, Bible Knowledge Commentary. David C Cook, 1983 [p. 805]


“How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace?” (Hebrews 10:29).

This passage draws our attention to the emotionally charged language that our author uses to identify those who defiantly reject the Son of God. For example, the word-picture behind the phrase “trampled underfoot” involves the act of rejecting with disdain. (1) It also evokes a sense of insulting neglect in respect to Jesus’ sacrificial death. (2)

However, one does not need to be not openly disdainful of Christ to fall within this category. Much as an undiscerning person might unknowingly cause substantial damage without realizing it, an irreligious person who cares little for the things of God may just as easily be someone who carelessly “…walks all over God’s Son” (CEB).

For instance, we can find one such example in the attitude of someone who uses Jesus’ name as an exclamation or an expletive. Then there are those who refer to Jesus in a trivial, frivolous, or dismissive manner. At a minimum, these expressions flow from an attitude of indifference or disrespect for Christ. At worst, they reveal a sense of contempt for Him whether or not the speaker realizes it.

Another example involves someone who has “…counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing” (NKJV). One Biblical scholar shares an important nuance behind this passage: “The word ‘counted’ in the Greek text refers to a conscious judgment resting on deliberate weighing of the facts. Here it implies a deliberate, contemptuous rejection of the Messianic sacrifice of the Son of God.” (3)

In light of these things, we can say that such individuals profane “the blood of the covenant” in assuming that Jesus’ death is no more important than the passing of anyone else. Thus, those who engage in such practices have “…insulted and disdained the Holy Spirit who brings God’s mercy to us” (NLT). In other words, they demonstrate a lack of respect and reverence for the God who secured our salvation at the cost of His Son’s life.

Although we may not intentionally seek to insult the Holy Spirit in such a manner, we effectively do so when we reject Christ, for “Salvation is to be found through him alone; in all the world there is no one else whom God has given who can save us” (Acts 4:12 GNT).

(1) G2662 katapateo, Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/g2662/kjv/tr/0-1/

(2) Ibid, Thayer’s Greek Lexicon

(3) Kenneth S. Wuest, Word Studies in the Greek New Testament (Hebrews 10:29) Copyright © 1942-55 by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.


“For we know Him who said, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord. And again, ‘The Lord will judge His people’” (Hebrews 10:30).

Earlier in Hebrews 10:26, the author of Hebrews wrote, “…if we deliberately persist in sin after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there is no longer any sacrifice for sins” (Mounce). To support that premise, our author sets an example that we would do well to follow: he appealed to the Biblical Scriptures to validate his message.

The first supporting passage is taken from Deuteronomy 32:35: “Vengeance belongs to Me; I will repay…” (HCSB). The second quote is adapted from the following verse in Deuteronomy 32:36 as well as Psalm 135:14.

For some, this reference to “vengeance” conveys the image of a vigilante who takes the law into his or her own hands to right an alleged wrong. However, these verses do not express a sense of vindictive retribution. Instead, they communicate God’s intent to lawfully administer justice in response to an injustice that has taken place.

The second portion of Hebrews 10:30 serves to remind us that God’s people are subject to judgment as well. In fact, this reference communicates the idea of someone who is “…summoned to trial that one’s case may be examined and judgment passed upon it.” (1) In view of this, it is important to remember that those who receive God’s Word are responsible for acting upon what they have received.

The New Testament book of Galatians expresses this idea in a positive and negative sense…

“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.

And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:7-10).

Thus, we are reminded of an important passage from the Biblical book of 1 Peter quoted earlier

“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen” (1 Peter 4:10-11 NIV).

(1) G2919 krino, Thayer’s Greek Lexicon https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/g2919/kjv/tr/0-1/


“It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31).

Our modern-day use of the word “fear” usually invokes a sense of apprehension, or the state of being afraid. However, the word “fear” may also convey the qualities of reverence, honor, and respect. Consider how Jesus made use of this word in the Gospel of Luke…

And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him!” (Luke 12:4-5).

When we read about our responsibility to “fear God” in this context, it means that we should honor and respect Him above all else. Perhaps this is why Proverbs 9:10 tells us, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” A person who acknowledges the God of the Biblical Scriptures with an attitude of honor and respect is someone who begins with the right foundation for good decision-making. Furthermore, there can be no greater wisdom than that which is offered by “…Jesus [who] has become our wisdom sent from God” (1 Corinthians 1:30 GW).

Yet even though the word “fear” communicates an attitude of honor and respect in this context, it is important to avoid the mistake of thinking that we have nothing to be afraid of in relation to God. If we consider the experiences of those who encountered God within the pages of the Scriptures, we often find responses that are best characterized by a sense of dread, terror, or distress (see Isaiah 6:1-5, Matthew 17:4-6, and Exodus 3:1-6 for some examples).

While God is loving, slow to become angry, kind, gracious, and compassionate. He is also to be respected and honored. He is not to be treated lightly, for “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” The late Biblical scholar Norman Geisler clarifies these ideas for us…

“The Hebrews passage speaks of those who, far from being repentant, had sinned ‘willfully’ after having ‘received the knowledge of the truth’ (v. 26).In brief, whether it is fearful or not will depend on the condition of the person who falls into God’s hands.

The sinner. The righteous.
The unrepentant. The repentant.
The unfaithful. The faithful. (1)

(1) Geisler, N. L., & Howe, T. A. (1992). When critics ask : a popular handbook on Bible difficulties (p. 159). Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books.


“But recall the former days in which, after you were illuminated, you endured a great struggle with sufferings: partly while you were made a spectacle both by reproaches and tribulations, and partly while you became companions of those who were so treated; for you had compassion on me in my chains, and joyfully accepted the plundering of your goods, knowing that you have a better and an enduring possession for yourselves in heaven” (Hebrews 10:32-34).

Many of us have enjoyed the experience of reliving the memory of a great victory, a successful endeavor, or an extraordinary life event. We often remember where were were, who accompanied us, and our emotional response to those occasions with great fondness.

However, there are other life events that may not evoke the same kind of positive response. When faced with such memories, we can find a practical (and beneficial) application in the message of Hebrews 10:32-34. You see, this passage tells us that we can recall the negative experiences of our past and learn from them in a way that benefits us today. For instance, we might prayerfully ask the following questions when faced with the memory of a negative incident…

  • What did my response to that event tell me about myself? Did I respond appropriately or inappropriately?
  • If I had to go back and relive that experience, what would I have done differently?
  • Did I replicate the negative behavior pattern of a youthful authority figure during that incident?
  • Will I press on and learn from that experience or allow it to negatively impact my future?

Even if some our past experiences have nothing positive to teach, we can always learn what not to do in the future. In a sense, these “debriefing questions” are similar to what the author of Hebrews presented to the members of his audience in the passage quoted above. While our challenges may not involve similar adversities, they offer a corresponding opportunity to grow in Christ.

For example, God may allow difficulties to enter our lives to strengthen us (2 Corinthians 12:10) or increase our trust in Him (Psalm 50:14-15). He might use such experiences to help us develop patience (Romans 5:3-5) and endurance (as we’ll see in the following verses of Hebrews chapter ten). Finally, God may allow trials to enter our lives to help others who will experience similar things (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).

Thus, as we are reminded in the New Testament epistle of James…

“Dear brothers and sisters, whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything” (James 1:2-4 NLT).


“At times you were publicly exposed to abuse and afflictions, and at other times you came to share with others who were treated in that way. For in fact you shared the sufferings of those in prison, and you accepted the confiscation of your belongings with joy, because you knew that you certainly had a better and lasting possession” (Hebrews 10:33-34 ESV).

The author of Hebrews built the foundation for this passage in the previous verse when he spoke of the “…great conflict of sufferings” (AMP) his readers previously endured. Much like a prizefighter who absorbs the punishment inflicted by a powerful opponent, these Hebrew Christians suffered for their decision to follow Christ.

At a minimum, it’s likely that many of these Christians had been ostracized for their commitment to Christ. In the tightly knit Jewish communities of that era, that decision could have also resulted in economic hardship. So, in addition to the persecution mentioned in the passage quoted above, these members of the Jewish Christian community undoubtedly faced family banishment and social marginalization.

This brings to mind some other well-known Biblical personalities who endured periods of great suffering as they fulfilled God’s will for their lives. For instance…

  • Job: Job suffered financial devastation along with the loss of his children, his personal possessions, and his physical health for no discernable reason.
  • John the Baptist: John was beheaded for telling a political leader that it was wrong for him to engage in a sexual relationship with his sister-in-law (see Mark 6:17-29).
  • The Apostle Peter: Peter is said to have been crucified upside down during the persecution of Christians under the Roman emperor Nero.
  • Stephen the Martyr: This man was stoned to death for preaching about Christ (Acts 7:55-58).
  • Paul the Apostle: Paul was shipwrecked, whipped, and thrown into prison on multiple occasions. Church tradition tells us that Paul was beheaded around A.D. 68.

We will meet many more faithful individuals in the following chapter of Hebrews. Nevertheless, we should be aware of the spiritual danger facing those who are not subject to these kinds of persecution. One source identifies those dangers for us…

“Having endured under persecution, they must not now let down in the hum-drum of every day activities. The normal routine of life, uninterrupted by persecution, is often the real test of genuineness of one’s Christian experience, for the very absence of trials and difficulties tends to promote spiritual drifting (2: 1), moral sluggishness and lethargy (5: 11), the slow imperceptible hardening of attitude (3: 13).” (1)

(1) New International Bible Commentary general editor G. C. D. Howley, consulting editors F. F. Bruce, H. L. Ellison. Copyright© 1979 by Pickering & Inglis Ltd [pg. 1526]


“You suffered along with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions” (Hebrews 10:34 NIV).

The penitentiaries of the New Testament era were not like the prisons that exist in many modern-day societies. A prison of that time did not typically serve as a place of incarceration as we understand it today. Instead, a first-century prison was generally used to confine an accused criminal before he was executed or put on trial.

These penal institutions were usually cold, damp, and dirty. In addition, there were no beds, toilets, showers, or meals offered in such prisons. This meant that prisoners who had no external means of support often faced starvation unless someone provided for their needs. The observations made by the following commentary provide us with some additional insight into these conditions as well as this passage from Hebrews 10:34…

“Prisoners who had no means of their own were liable to starve unless their friends brought them food and whatever other form of help they required; throughout the whole age of imperial persecution of the Church the visiting of their friends who were in prison was a regular, though dangerous, duty of Christian charity.” (1)

It was hazardous to be recognized as a known associate of a prisoner during that time. Therefore, these Hebrew Christians took a substantial risk in visiting those who had been incarcerated. According to Hebrews 10:34, some (or all) of those individuals paid for that decision with the confiscation of their possessions. As another commentary adds, “In the first-century AD Roman Empire, authorities sometimes seized the property of accused criminals, and people sometimes looted homes after homeowners were imprisoned (according to first-century AD writer Philo, Against Flaccus 10, 56).” (2)

In response to this expression of faith, our author encouraged these Hebrew Christians to maintain that attitude in light of their current situation. This offers a valuable lesson for today. Much like some members of this first-century audience, we may not require additional instruction in the things of God. Instead, we may simply need to be reminded to act on what we already know.

Thus, we can say that these individuals took Jesus’ teaching from the Sermon On The Mount seriously…

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21).

(1) The New International Commentary On The New Testament – The Epistle To The Hebrews, F. F. Bruce, General Editor © Copyright 1964, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. Grand Rapids, Michigan [pg. 270]

(2) Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Heb 10:34). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.


“Therefore do not cast away your confidence, 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” (Hebrews 10:35-36).

When faced with a trial or affliction, it often helps to understand the reason behind that hardship. Since many adversities appear to be devoid of meaning or purpose, we are often challenged to make sense of painful events that seem to make little sense. Although it is impossible to identify the cause of suffering in every instance, we can say that valid reasons for suffering always exist, even if we don’t fully comprehend them.

The author of Hebrews provided one such reason in the passage quoted above: “You need endurance so that after you have done what God wants you to do, you can receive what he has promised” (GW). Some members of the first-century audience for this letter had been tempted to withdraw from their relationship with Christ and return to the Old Testament sacrificial system in response to persecution. Therefore, their steadfast response in the face of such mistreatment would serve to build their spiritual endurance and demonstrate the reality of their faith.

Paul the Apostle offered another potential explanation behind the challenges and difficulties we experience in a letter to the first-century church at Corinth…

“…But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many” (2 Corinthians 1:9b-11 NIV).

In light of this, we can say that these challenges offer an opportunity to demonstrate the kind of faith that pleases God. That faith is not in ourselves or our ability to control (or escape) the circumstances we encounter. Instead, our confidence is in the God who is able to make “…all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).

As Jesus reminded us in Matthew 6:33-34, “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (NIV).


“So don’t throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you need endurance, so that after you have done God’s will, you may receive what was promised” (Hebrews 10:35-36).

In the realm of popular music, there are many artists who have released one immensely popular song and then faded into obscurity. We commonly refer to those artists as “One-Hit Wonders” in recognition of their success with one popular song. But unlike a musical artist who rockets to stardom on the strength of a best-selling song and subsequently disappears, our passage from Hebrews 10:35-36 references a far more tenacious (and important) quality: endurance.

“Endurance” (or perseverance) is hardly a popular subject in today’s age of instant gratification. In the wry observation of one commentator, “Perseverance is one of the great unromantic virtues.” (1) However, this quality is one of the key substantiators of a healthy spiritual life. While endurance in the midst of a trial does not secure our salvation, it often serves as evidence of our faithful commitment to Christ.

One source offers food for thought in this regard: “…the victory of faith is not achieved by one brilliant campaign but a lifetime of patient and faithful service. It is not so much the glory of a promising start that the Lord desires as it is the glory of a faithful finish.” (2) Perhaps this is why the Biblical book of Ecclesiastes tells us, “Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof…” (Ecclesiastes 7:8 KJV).

For instance, the act of completing a task often requires important skills like dedication, hard work, discipline, and the ability to plan ahead. It also may require another important quality: perseverance, or the ability to endure through the difficult stages of a project or assignment. Whether that characteristic is expressed in the face of active persecution or the wearisome routines of daily life, we should not seek to escape such things by denying Christ as some members of the original audience for this epistle apparently sought to do.

This passage thus reveals important spiritual truth: patient endurance in seeking to fulfill God’s will in this life serves to prepare us to “…receive all that he has promised” (NLT). Therefore, we can find encouragement in the following passage from the New Testament epistle of James…

“Blessed are those who endure when they are tested. When they pass the test, they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him” (James 1:12 GW).

Image Attribution: “One Hit Wonders Night” by Princeton Public Library, NJ is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0. Image cropped.

(1) Barclay, William. William Barclay’s Daily Study Bible, “The Danger Of Drift (Heb 10:32-39)”

(2) Coffman, James Burton. “Commentary on Hebrews 10”. “Coffman’s Commentaries on the Bible”. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bcc/hebrews-10.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.


“For yet a little while, And He who is coming will come and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him” (Hebrews 10:37-38).

Hebrews 10:38 marks the final New Testament reference to a famous quotation from the Old Testament prophet Habakkuk: “…the just shall live by his faith” (Habakkuk 2:4). The following excerpt introduces us to Habakkuk and the environment that served as the backdrop to this important Biblical concept…

“Habakkuk was a prophet with a troubled spirit. He ministered to the Jewish people during one of their darkest hours, when God was using pagan nations to punish his own people. That greatly upset the prophet.

Chapter 1 of Habakkuk is one of the most graphic, grueling, and certain records of what would soon come to pass upon Israel. He struggled with it, and he went before God, saying ‘God, how can you let these things happen? You are too holy even to behold iniquity, and yet it seems you have turned your back on your people and have let wickedness prevail in our midst. How can these things be?’

Have you ever struggled with that question yourself? Have you ever come before God in the midst of a difficult or horrible situation and said, ‘Lord, how can these things be?’ It was in that context when doubt had pushed the prophet to the brink of despair, that the Word of God proclaimed: ‘The just shall live by faith.’

It is as though, in the midst of the situation, God did not have the time to give a lengthy explanation of the intricacies of what he was doing through his sovereignty in world history, and so he simply said to his prophet: ‘Trust me.’ Trusting God is the opposite of trusting yourself—being ‘puffed up’ as the verse says. There comes a time in every Christian’s life when it seems the only answer from heaven is, ‘Trust me.’ But it is enough.” (1)

Much like the prophet Habakkuk, we may find it difficult to discern God’s purpose behind the events that occur in our lives. When we are challenged by things we cannot easily explain, we would do well to remember that “the just shall live by faith.” As we’re told in a beloved and well-known portion of the Biblical book of Proverbs…

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV).

(1) Sproul, R. C. (1992). Before the face of God: Book 1: A daily guide for living from the book of Romans (electronic ed.). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House; Ligonier Ministries. Page 69


“But My righteous one will live by faith; and if he draws back, I have no pleasure in him” (Hebrews 10:38 HCSB).

The penultimate verse of Hebrews chapter ten contains an inspirational truth that has been adapted and repurposed in many different forms. That dynamic truth involves the honorable characteristic of perseverance in the midst of a difficult situation.

One of the better-known adaptations of this idea appeared in a portion of a speech given by Theodore Roosevelt, the 25th President of the United States…

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.

The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” (1)

Politicians, military figures, athletes, and others have similarly adopted the noble character of this ideal for various purposes throughout the course of human history. Nevertheless, a discerning individual might ask, “Why? Why should I exhibit the qualities of perseverance, endurance, or diligence in the midst of a difficult situation when it is often safer or easier to simply give up or give in?”

God Himself provides us with the answer to that question here in Hebrews 10:38: “…I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back” (NIV). While there may be many reasons to persevere when we find ourselves in a challenging situation, we do so primarily because faithful endurance is a characteristic that pleases God. Since is impossible to please God without faith (as we’ll discover in the following chapter of Hebrews), the alternative involves “shrinking back,” an act that brings God no pleasure.

Much like a sailor who confidently turns a seafaring vessel towards an oncoming wave, we can exhibit the kind of faith that is pleasing to God when we place our trust in Him to navigate the challenges and difficulties of life.

(1) Roosevelt, Theodore, “Man In The Arena” from “Citizenship in a Republic” the Sorbonne, Paris, France. 23 April, 1910. See https://www.theodorerooseveltcenter.org/Learn-About-TR/TR-Encyclopedia/Culture-and-Society/Man-in-the-Arena.aspx


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

Hebrews chapter ten ends on a positive note, as the author of this letter expressed his belief that his original readers were not among those who might shrink back from trusting God. In doing so, our author uses a word that rarely appears in modern-day usage: perdition.

“Perdition” conveys the general idea of waste, ruin, or the loss of well-being. (1) One source defines this word as “the destruction which consists of eternal misery in hell.(2) Thus we have a fitting incentive to take this counsel seriously. We  also see this idea personified in the life of someone who is described in the Biblical book of 2 Thessalonians…

“Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God” (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4).

This future individual will serve as the ultimate personification of the mindset described for us in the New Testament epistle of 1 John: “Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son” (1 John 2:22). Those who are familiar with the gospel accounts of Jesus’ life may also recognize the word “perdition” from Jesus’ characterization of Judas Iscariot…

“While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled” (John 17:12).

Earlier in Hebrews chapter ten, our author encouraged us to place our trust in God by saying, “Let us hold on firmly to the hope we profess, because we can trust God to keep his promise” (Hebrews 10:23 GNT). But if that encouragement proves to be insufficient, perhaps we might find greater motivation in seeking to avoid being numbered among “those who draw back to perdition.”

Thus, we end our look at Hebrews chapter ten and enter Hebrews chapter eleven with the words of the following commentator…

“With this mention of faith (‘believe’ and ‘faith’ are the same root word in Greek), the groundwork is laid for a fuller discussion of the life that pleases God. The illustrious eleventh chapter follows quite naturally at this point.” (3)

(1) See G684 apoleia Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries and Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words © 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers, https://biblehub.com/greek/684.htm

(2) G684 apoleia Thayer’s Greek Definitions https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?t=kjv&strongs=g684

(3) William Macdonald, Believer’s Bible Commentary Edited by Arthur Farstad Thomas Nelson Publishers (2 Corinthians 5:10) p.2274