“Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?” (Hebrews 10:29, KJV 1900)
Back in the days of Hi-fidelity music, my dad was into listening to jazz albums on the record player. He treated his records like they were living things. He took meticulous care of them.
One day he purchased a brand-new album. Oh, I forgot to mention that this was before records came made on vinyl. Before that they were very brittle. Well, my dad set his new album on the sofa. I did not know this and walked into the room, promptly parking my backside on the sofa. With a loud crack, the record would play no more! Immediately I had that sinking feeling and my dad started to become unglued. However, my mom stopped him, “Budd, you shouldn’t have left the album on the sofa.”
Well, he backed off and gave me a lecture about looking where I was going to sit. I am telling you; it would have been much worse if I knew the record was there and just did not care, sitting on it anyway.
This story should highlight a point. The judgment will be worse for those who knowingly disobey the gospel. This is the point that the author of Hebrews shows his readers in these verses. To highlight this, he contrasts the punishment for those who violate the Mosaic law to the greater punishment coming upon the one who understands but rejects the gospel. As mentioned in the previous post, the person of whom he writes is a person who has received a precise and correct understanding of the gospel. He has likely given indications in his Christ based community to this extent. Yet, this same person has deliberately turned away from this truth, repudiating it in favor of his former belief, in this case Judaism.
Though both the ignorant person who has never understood the gospel and this one who has walked away are both under the judgment of God, this person who understood and walked away is destined for a much worse judgment. The reason is that he knew and chose to walk away. This is the apostate. According to the author, he has “trodden under foot the Son of God.” He has treated God, God’s plan of salvation, and Jesus as worthless and meaningless. He has looked at them as lower than a penny lying on the ground and not worth stooping over to pick up. He has made an opinion that says Jesus’ shed blood accounted for nothing and the New Covenant had not been initiated. He once acknowledged Christ as the holy one of God, but now has undermined this profession. Moreover, he has grieved the Holy Spirit.
Some think that this man has somehow lost his salvation. However, this is not the case. One cannot lose that which he never had. All he ever had was a precise and correct knowledge of the gospel that was never accompanied by true faith. John wrote of these types of people saying,
“They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.” (1 John 2:19, KJV 1900)
There are people in churches today, who will leave the church having made a profession of faith, never to be seen again. We may be very confused about them. Outwardly they looked so good. The problem was on the inside, where faith manifests. They just never made it from understanding to true faith. For this reason, we must pray for everyone to have Christ dwell in their hearts by faith (Eph 3:17) and continuously reinforce the gospel message in our church communities.