Continued from Part Three
THE SPIRIT OF GRACE
In that 29th verse there is one more thing mentioned that we must see. We dare not insult the Spirit of Grace! There is a distinction made in Scripture between insulting the Father God, the Son of God, and the Spirit of God. Insulting the Spirit of God can be considered blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. Jesus, while on earth and teaching His disciples, made this statement:
Assuredly, I say to you, all sins will be forever the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they may utter; but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation—because they say, “He has an unclean spirit.” Mark 3:28-30
It is the Holy Spirit, the third member of the Godhead, that has been sent to advise, fellowship, and empower the Church immediately after Jesus ascended back to Heaven to seat Himself at the right hand of the Father. The Holy Spirit directs all worship and praise to the second member of the Holy Trinity, Jesus / Yeshua. The warning given in Hebrews 10:29 is a most dire warning! We don’t dare walk all over the Son of God and we don’t dare make light of the Blood that was spilled on our behalf, but now we are told to especially not attribute the actions of the Holy Spirit to the egotistical, narcissistic enemy of God, the self-important and boastful Devil. Tragic as it is, there are some who, having experienced the wonders and greatness of God in their lives, have allowed themselves to be fooled into believing that they were the source of all that they had achieved, or worse yet, that Lucifer was their source. They have done exactly what is being warned against in this passage…they have blasphemed the Holy Spirit of God.
There are many people that have been very fearful of having done that very thing and they are mortified. A person will not commit this most serious offense to the Holy Spirit of God without knowing exactly what they are doing. I have met many people who have wondered if they have committed this sin. Yet, they have a strong desire for their relationship with God. Both cannot be true. Whenever someone has committed this sin, they will know that they have and they will be most adamant in their decision. Many people also who have been involved with other religions wonder if they have committed this sin. Once again…no one does this without knowing exactly what they have done. An example would be the Scribes and Pharisees who were cohorts in the murder of Jesus Christ. They were so intent on protecting their own positions of authority and power over the people, they did not care who they offended in their accusations, as long as they protected their positions! How shortsighted and damning that turned out to be for them and their nation. God will not be mocked!
There is a side-note that I need to add at this point in this teaching. There is a kind of commitment that a person may make and yet still fall away. There may be an outward profession, even a form of godliness, and yet still fall away. As already said before, God will never force anyone–either to decisions toward the grace and goodness of God, nor toward evil. Messiah Jesus warned us sufficiently in Revelation 3:10-11:
Because you have kept my command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown. He who overcomes, I will make a pillar in the temple of My God…
Our Lord and Master is warning us not to allow our crown to be stolen. That means it is possible for it to be stolen! There are men who at one time esteemed the Blood of Jesus to be of highest possible value but in time have denigrated it to be of no more value than any human blood. Yet, the entire world could be ransomed by this most precious Blood! How incredibly tragic a fall this is describing!!
After describing the devastation of such a fall, the writer begins to remind the reader of the fact that they are dealing with God, not a mere man. Because God is Almighty, He will dole out vengeance as is required and necessary. He is the only One that can judge accurately and is the only One that knows all of the facts. He knows man’s ignorance and He knows a man’s arrogance and true level of knowledge of the facts that affect eternity. He claims the right to vengeance and rejects the right of anyone else to exercise his right to vengeance they ignorantly may claim for themselves. God does not deny us the right of righteous indignation and anger, but He reserves for Himself the right of vengeance. We are wise not to cross the boundary He has set for us.
In verse 31 we are reminded that we should not trifle with the anger of the Almighty. For all of our bluster and arrogance, we are the created, not the Creator. He is the Almighty! If we think we can challenge Him, we are in a world of hurt! Remember what God told the righteous man Job:
“Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Now prepare yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer Me!” Job 38:2-3
“Shall the one who contends with the Almighty correct Him”: He who rebukes God, let him answer it!” Job 40:2
Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said, “Now prepare yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer Me: Would you indeed annul My judgment? Would you condemn Me that you may be justified?” Job 40:6-8
Our God is the ALMIGHTY. There is none other and if we are to put confidence in anyone, it must be in Him. None less!
MAINTAINING OUR CONFIDENCE
As we continue with our study of Hebrews 10, we find that there is a bit of a change in the focus. We have been looking at the apostasy that can be fallen into. Now, the emphasis begins to turn in the direction of maintaining our confidence in our unique relationship with the God of the universe who also has chosen to be our Abba Father. This is the main emphasis we find in the tenth chapter of Hebrews…keeping our confidence in our God—at all odds.
Verses 32-34 tell us this:
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.
Perseverance is taught throughout the Scriptures. It takes perseverance to live an effective Christian life. Nothing less. The definition of perseverance is: steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.
As believers, if we are invested in this incredible walk, will remember how we’ve experienced difficulties earlier in our walk–often a great many afflictions. Some, like believers in nations of the world where Christianity is persecuted, the difficulties may be to the point of death, often even torture before death. In western nations, where intellectual thought ridicules any belief in God as the Creator and ultimate power over all things, it is a different fight. Add to this the fight against materialism, entertainment, and distractions of every sort imaginable. Christians in the West may not yet endure the horrors of persecutions as many nations in the East, but Christians in the persecuted nations do not endure the onslaught of an artillery of a different sort aimed at Christians in the West! This may be the reason why many believers in the persecuted East pray so diligently for Christians in the West. It is because of the temptations and struggles against forces which are not as obvious as the open persecution of Christians in many nations today. It is an attack of a totally different kind, and it is much more devious, but all are from the same demonic source.
What we all, as followers of Jesus / Yeshua of Nazareth should understand—whether we are from the East or the West, is that the enemy of our souls hates us with a hatred that is supernatural, a hatred so vile that we cannot even comprehend its depth. This enemy will oppose us with whatever weapons are the most effective. This is why the Apostle Paul, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit instructed us in the letter to the Ephesians to put on our spiritual armour and deal with the enemy—not as a physical enemy but a spiritual one. These are the words that the Holy Spirit had the apostle write to us:
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armour of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Ephesians 6:10-13
Here’s a thought: The devil won’t bother those whom he does not consider to be a threat to his plans–those that don’t pose any challenge to him and his evil kingdom. However, if you are a true servant of the Kingdom of God, you will be harassed and attacked—but, we are not without recourse! We live in a dark world but we carry God’s Light wherever we go. Isaiah 60 speaks to this very principle:
Arise, shine; for your light has come! And the glory of the LORD is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth. And deep darkness the people; but the LORD will arise over you. And His glory will be seen upon you. The Gentiles shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. Isaiah 60:1-3
True followers of Christ, throughout the last 2,000 years have suffered in every way imaginable. It was either by violent persecution, property confiscation, belittlement, imprisonment, public ridicule or any number of ways. The real Body of Christ has always stuck together and supported each other. Because of this, Christians have often found trouble knocking on their door because they have supported those who were being persecuted. This is what is referred to in verse 33 of Hebrews 10. In verse 34, Paul makes mention of the fact that he himself had been the recipient of the saint’s compassion. Because of this, those that were openly compassionate to the apostle, also had possessions confiscated. But, they did it joyfully, knowing that their heavenly rewards will more than make up for the losses of this short life. We find a passage in the Book of James that confirms what Paul had written here.
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. James 1:2-4
As we continue with verse 35, Paul encourages once again to Hold Fast. The last five verses of the chapter include words to encourage us.
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: “For yet a little while, 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.” But, we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul. Hebrews 10:35-39
It is easy to become discouraged and despondent when the attacks continue day after long day. There is an old hymn with the title, “It will be worth it all”. These are some of the words:
Sometimes the day seems long, our trials hard to bear. We’re tempted to complain, to murmur and despair. But Christ will soon appear to catch his bride away! All tears forever over in God’s eternal day!
It will be worth it all when we see Jesus! Life’s trials will seem so small when we see Christ. One glimpse of His dear face, all sorrow will erase. So, bravely run the race till we see Christ.
Paul the apostle endured many things as he fulfilled the call of God on his life. It was sometimes physical attacks on his body. Other times, it was attacks on his integrity as an apostle. Unfortunately, like today, the attacks came from other believers. The devil does not have any new tricks up his sleeve. The same evil tactics he used nearly 2,000 years ago, he still uses today. Undoubtedly, some who now read these words have been belittled, scorned, misrepresented, even excommunicated for unjust reasons. It has happened multiplied times before and will continue happening until the King of Justice comes…but, HE IS COMING…and SOON! Praise God!
The Apostle Paul referred to some of the attacks in 1 Corinthians 4. Listen to his words:
For I think that God has displayed us, the apostles, last, as men condemned to death; for we have been made a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men. We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are distinguished, but we are dishonored! To the present hour we both hunger and thirst, and we are poorly clothed, and beaten, and homeless. And we labor, working with our own hands. Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we endure; being defamed, we entreat. We have been made as the filth of the world, the offscouring of all things until now. 1 Corinthians 4:9-13
Paul’s discouragement was on display in this passage. Becoming discouraged is not a sin. But, we can’t allow ourselves to remain discouragement. Even though the enemy of our soul throws many things at us which will bring discouragement at times, we need to discipline ourselves to hang onto our confidence because our confidence as believers is not in ourselves, but rather in Jesus Christ, our Lord. We can go on; we must go on. Today we are one day closer to the return of our Lord than we were yesterday. The afflictions will come, but they will also go. We find a great passage in Colossians for our encouragement:
…strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. Colossians 1:11-14
Verse 37 reminds us of the fact that the Lord is returning. It may not happen exactly when we expect it, but it will come and the timing will be perfect. God promises it. We have to walk the walk of faith just as described in verse 38. We are told, “The just shall live by faith.” Quite often this means keeping our faith from faltering even when we see no answers on the horizon. The prophet Habakkuk experienced a bit of this and wrote a hymn of faith in the last three verses of his Old Testament prophetic book. The words read:
Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines; though the labor of the olive may fail, and the fields yield no food; though the flock may be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls—Yet I will rejoice in the LORD. I will joy in the God of my salvation. The LORD God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer’s feet, and He will make me walk on my high hills. Habakkuk 3:17-19
When we read the rest of the Habakkuk, we find that the prophet was pretty discouraged. Everything seemed to be going in the wrong direction. It seemed his prayers were hitting a brass ceiling, but he reached deep within his soul; he continued his pursuit of his God, and God answered. The result of his encounter was those words of confidence in God and determination to trust Him.
There are many examples in Scripture of God’s people becoming discouraged. But, they all, as they continued in their walk of faith, found that God had not left them. He was not on vacation, and He was not too busy with running the universe to hear their lone cry to Him. That is still true today. God’s soul is not pleased with our going back on our commitment to walk by faith, just as the 38th verse says, but He does not condemn a person for becoming discouraged. The problem only comes when we refuse to stop wallowing in our own pity.
The writer of the Book of Hebrews reminds us in the last verse of the chapter that we, you and I, are not of those who draw back. If we did, it would eventually lead to our own destruction. We are of those who believe to the saving of the soul. We were not meant to be quitters, no matter what comes our way. The 11th chapter of Hebrews presents us a long list of those who persisted in their faith and are now on God’s famous “faith list”. I am sure that the list now much longer after 2,000. And, I suspect that the Book of Acts, in the heavenly library, is a much extended version of the one we have in our Bibles!
One last verse of Scripture to cap off this teaching from Hebrews 10. It is found in 2 Timothy 1:7:
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound (disciplined) mind.
The godly, disciplined mind applies God’s Word to every situation in life, or even in death…
God is good, always!!!