Sacrifice No Longer Remains: Hebrews 10:26-27 -- By: John H. Niemelä
JOTGES 26:51 (Autumn 2013) p. 65
Sacrifice No Longer Remains:
Professor of New Testament
Rocky Mountain Bible College and Seminary
For if we sin willfully after we have received knowledge of the truth, sacrifice for sins no longer remains, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment and fiery indignation which is about to consume the adversaries (Hebrews 10:26-27).2
Hebrews 10:26b is routinely construed as threatening punishment for willful sin.3 The theory seems to be that Christ withholds His sacrifice (as a penalty)4 from those who “sin with a high-hand”, i.e., willfully sin. This
JOTGES 26:51 (Autumn 2013) p. 66
article rejects such an interpretation. Hebrews 10:26-27 occurs within a warning passage, so bad news is clearly present. This does not preclude these two verses from containing anything positive. This article takes a different approach: Hebrews 10:27 is the penalty for willful sin, but v 26b is good news in the midst of a warning. Believers, even willfully sinning ones, should thank God that “sacrifice no longer remains” (10:26b).
II. Preliminary Issues
Before starting our analysis, some background issues need clarification. Given the widespread confusion about Hebrews as a whole, we should first define who the readers are and clarify the message of the book before expositing the target passage. To that end, Heb 13:22 defines the book as a brief exhortation to brethren: “And I exhort you, brethren, endure the word of exhortation, for I have written to you briefly.”5 Note three key terms that we must analyze: namely, the author’s definition of brethren, the implications of word of exhortation, and to determine the nuances of the word briefly.
A. Brethren Are Believers
Hebrews 2:11 says: “For both the Sanctifier [ho hagiazōn, from hagiazō] and the sanctified-ones [hoi hagiazomenoi, from hagi...
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