26 For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries (Hebrews 10:26–27, NKJV).
That which is done willfully is deliberate, with intention. So, willful sin is voluntarily, intentionally violating, or omitting God’s will. Today’s passage warns Christians of deliberate sin. Instead, we should draw near to God’s throne for mercy by repenting and confessing our sin (Heb. 10:22; 4:15-16; 1 John 1:9-2:2). The remedial work for our sins is complete (v. 26). The death of Jesus occurred once “to put away sin” (Heb. 9:26). He offered up Himself to God as “one sacrifice for sins forever,” and by it saves “to the uttermost those who come to God through Him” (Heb. 10:12, 14; 7:25, 27). Christians know this truth and have been enlightened by the gospel, tasted the heavenly gift of salvation, and partaken of the Holy Spirit (Heb. 10:26; 6:4). The Christian who sins willfully abandons the confession of hope that secures our heavenly mercy (Heb. 10:23; 6:19-20). The only expectation one has while willfully sinning is the dreadful condemnation of divine wrath justly applied (v. 27; Rom. 2:1-11; 2 Cor. 5:10). The willful sinner is worthy of God’s jealous and fiery indignation because he 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” (Heb. 10:29). Gracefully, God will forgive willful sin when one repents. So may we be persuaded to faithfully endure unto eternal salvation instead of willfully falling away into sin because “it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” we are (Heb. 10:31, 36, 39).
30 For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. And again, “The Lord will judge His people.” 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. (Hebrews 10:30–31, NKJV)
The God we know is the same God who exacted punishment upon His people Israel when they turned away from God to serve themselves and the idols of the nations (Deuteronomy 32:35). Although God had richly blessed them, the nation “grew fat” and “forsook God” (Deuteronomy 32:15). This serves as a warning to Christians who convince themselves they are justified in “charting their own course” away from God – they will show God (and everyone else) who’s boss! Thus deceived, they forsake God’s word and God’s people for the pleasures of sin. Yet, in the end, God will vindicate Himself. With righteous vengeance, God will recompense those who forsake Him and spurn the spiritual blessings they previously received in Christ (Hebrews 10:26, 29). We will indeed reap what we sow, including Christians (Galatians 6:7-8). It is truly dreadful to contemplate the punishment that is justly prepared for those who sin willfully against Almighty God. Now is the time to repent of every sin, receive mercy from God, and live faithfully. When Judgment Day comes, the fearful expectation of fiery wrath will be the certain reality for all who forsake the Lord.
23 Now when He got into a boat, His disciples followed Him. 24 And suddenly a great tempest arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves. But He was asleep. 25 Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” 26 But He said to them, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. (Matthew 8:23–26, NKJV)
Some expect life to be smooth sailing once they start following Jesus. But, when we follow Jesus into the boat of life we can expect choppy seas and storms that challenge our faith. The disciples’ “little faith” was on display as they fearfully forgot that the Lord who could save them was also in the boat with them. They forgot to trust the presence and power of the Lord. As a disciple of Jesus, always remember not to fear the circumstances you face or those who bring tumult and turmoil into your life. The Lord who calmed the sea is the same Lord who will never fail you or forsake you (Heb. 13:5-6). So, set your sails and follow Jesus; Trust and obey His word. Do not be fearful; be ever faithful.
37 And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. 38 But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” 39 Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. 40 But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” (Mark 4:37–40, NKJV)
The devil tempts disciples to second guess the Lord and think He does not care when we face trials and trouble (v. 38). When we yield to this temptation of doubt, fear grows and faith declines. The Lord teaches us not to let the storms of life overwhelm us. Trust the Lord when the tempest rises and the billows roll. Take comfort in prayer and His presence. He will not fail you. Yes, He cares. He also cares that you keep your faith through the storm. Do not be fearful, but believe.