The Scariest Part of the Bible
For 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…It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Hebrews 10:26,27,31
I have to admit, I have known this passage was coming and I have been dragging my feet in getting to it. I do not like it. I wrote a few days ago about the most comforting words in scripture. Today’s passage is the antithesis of those soothing words. This passage is the terror in the night.
I met, in treatment, a young man who, on his seventh or eighth treatment, asked, Am I a Christian? How can I do the same thing over and over if I am a Christian? Christians don’t act like this… I wanted to comfort him, but he knew what I knew and his question was my question. The words of Hebrews echoed in our minds. If we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth…
We have all been there I think. We know what is right but we do the opposite. We follow self and we do what we want. Sure, we feel bad and we say we are sorry, but then we do it again, and again… Then, if you are like me, you come across Hebrews 10 and read of fear, fire, and judgment in the hands of an angry God. We read and we are terrified.
I believe that is the point of the passage. When we profane the name of God and trample underfoot the mercy of Christ by flaunting our right to do whatever we want, we should be terrified. If I feel no guilt or concern about the consequences of following self, then I have a calloused conscience and am in serious trouble.
If I know of God and say that I believe in God but I never actually change, do I have any authentic faith in God? Am I a Christian or an impostor? True faith should have an impact on how I live and if it has not, I am fooling myself.
The terror of those questions was just what I needed. I was abusing God’s grace and I needed a painful, terrifying wake up call. It was that dread that drove me to answer those tough questions. I desperately needed to stop following self and to follow God. I still do. I do of course still fail, but I find God infinitely graceful when I follow him.
When we make a genuine effort to follow God instead of self, his grace comforts us even in our failures. It is in turning our back on God and pursuing self, that we feel that terror.