Sinning Fear

Hebrews 10:26–11:1, 1 Corinthians 10:1–14 (read online ⧉)

When we read verse 26 many people will become consumed by fear. There are a lot of people who were taught (and are being taught) that if you confess your sins (usually at church) then commit one immediately after, and then die, it’s as if the confession never existed. That is an incredibly hard place to live. There have been many Christians who have been worn down by this belief and it is heartbreaking, for it is not what the author of Hebrews intended.

The concept of deliberately sinning is something that needs careful unpacking, and it is (in many respects) far beyond today’s devotional to dig into it. When we look at it with John Wesley’s understanding of sin (Sin is a willful transgression of a revealed and known law of God.) it not only helps, it ties in much better. The reality is that we will sin. However, it’s whether it is a lifestyle, or not. We can always try to convince ourselves that we are not making it a lifestyle. That is likely a tell that we are indeed living a lifestyle of sin. What helps us to not continue walking down the slippery slope (for it is one), is the expectation of judgment and fury.

This is where a real balancing act has to occur. We don’t want to live in a life of fear, nor should we. Yet, we need to be aware that without Jesus Christ we are in that danger of judgment and fury. In other words, we ought to seek to not sin not because we fear, but out of thankfulness and gratitude that we do not have to fear.

On the other hand, self-justification is what the author of Hebrews wants us to avoid. The Christian understands (or should) that Jesus Christ died on the cross, and any temptations we have ought to be tempered by the thought of crucifying Jesus. While this sounds severe and even brutal, this is what keeps us from losing our way. When we stop being horrified at crucifying Jesus Christ, then are we a Christian any longer? As the writer continues, he recalls to his readers/hearers that they have already suffered and persevered through abuse and persecutions. The author is telling them that by continuing in sinful behavior they are spitting on their own sacrifices. As the writer reminds us, it is faith that leads us through temptations and even our sins. We are ever reliant upon the grace and mercy of God!

Of course, what constitutes sin is always asked in these situations. That’s pretty human. Paul reminds us that the Israelites all ate the same food and drank the same water as Moses. A portion died as a result of their behavior. Special food or drink didn’t save them (Communion as a means of grace is something different). They were drawn and tempted into old patterns, just as we are today.

1) What is your initial response to 1 Corinthians 10:13? How do you think it applies to our passage in Hebrews?

2) Are you fearful of the consequence of your sin? Why or why not? If so, how do you move beyond the fear?

3) Do you really trust that a way out is provided (1 Corinthians 10:13)?

Action: Write out a prayer to God using 1 Corinthians 10:13 as a starting point; perhaps a prayer of thanksgiving.