No More Sacrifice Part 2 of 2 -- By: John Niemelä
CTSJ 5:1 (January 1999) p. 22
No More Sacrifice
Part 2 of 2
[*Editor's note: John Niemelä earned his B.A. at the University of Minnesota, Th.M. in New Testament Literature and Exegesis at Dallas Theological Seminary, and is a Ph.D. candidate in New Testament Literature and Exegesis at Dallas Theological Seminary. John is professor of Hebrew and Greek at Chafer Theological Seminary. His email address is [email protected]]
Hebrews 10:26–27 arrests the reader’s attention:
For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries1 (Hebrews 10:26–27).
What does this passage mean? The first installment of this article critiqued the two views that this author held between 1968 and 1983: the No-Security and the Never-Saved views.2 In 1974 this author abandoned the former view in favor of the latter, because eternal life is a gift, not merely a good deal (John 4:10; Ephesians 2:8). Further research in 1983 led to rejection of the Never-Saved view and acceptance of the Fellowship-Sacrifice view. Hebrews 2:11 defines Christ’s brethren as those having the same Heavenly Father (through positional sanctification). Since Hebrews never countermands this definition, brethren are believers. How does the Fellowship-Sacrifice view proceed?
In keeping with Hebrews’ self-characterization as a word of exhortation to the brethren (Hebrews 13:22), positive exhortations and warnings occur throughout the book (even in sections that many relegate to pure doctrine). Since passages
CTSJ 5:1 (January 1999) p. 23
that supposedly contain only doctrine warn and admonish the beloved, many have imposed their own outline upon Hebrews and ignored the repeated alternations between doctrine and exhortation. To the contrary, through this alternating pattern, the writer of Hebrews addresses his doctrine-based word of exhortation (and warning) to Christ’s sanctified (and eternally secure) brethren.
For ten years, the author of this paper held the Fellowship-Sacrifice view, until in 1993 the Change of Covenants view presented i...
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