It Is a Fearful Thing
We have such a wonderful high priest who has passed into heaven, who sits at the right hand making intercession on our behalf, having washed us clean with his own blood, the blood of the only-begotten Son of God, and freed us from an old covenant imperfect and inadequate at least compared to the covenant it was instituted to foreshadow. So here we are—the people upon whom the end of ages has dawned (1 Corinthians 10:11).
And so now the Preacher issues an awful warning—a warning to make the ears tingle: “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.” In other words, how can we go one living in sin after receiving so great a salvation? We remember this question stated in other ways by Old Testament saints, some of which passed the test while others failed. I think of Joseph who when tempted by Potiphar’s wife answered, “How can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?” (Genesis 39:9). But then there is David, who at a time of life when he had everything a man could ever want and then some, upon adultery and murder, had to hear those terrifying words from the Prophet Nathan, “Why have you despised the word of the Lord to do what is evil in His sight?…Now therefore the sword shall never depart from your house because you have despised me…” (2 Samuel 12:9-10). And the rest of David’s life was heartache upon heartache.
And if this isn’t horrifying enough, hear how the Preacher describes sinning “after receiving the knowledge of the truth” (and yes, that means after being saved): Spurning the Son of God, profaning the blood of the covenant by which one was sanctified, outraging the Spirit of grace. The Preacher is clear that the punishment for such a one far surpasses what happened under the Mosaic Law which we think so harsh. God will take vengeance, and there is nothing so fearful in all the world as that.
Scared? You should be. The Preacher means for you to be. This is why we are told that the FEAR of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 1:7). Don’t sugarcoat this and say that it only applies to apostates who willfully and knowingly renounce the Lord; the Preacher is talking about the sin which so easily besets you. O Christian! Don’t bet you can sin just enough before it’s too late. Don’t think that God will always be there to take you back. That’s not faith but presumption—and it will lead you straight to hell.