About Jesus - Steve Sweetman
The Spirit Of Grace
"How much more
severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the
Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the
covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of
grace" (Hebrews 10:29 NIV). What
does it mean to insult the Spirit of grace?
The book of Hebrews
was written to Jewish Christians who were entertaining the idea of
reverting back to an Old Testament Jewish legalism laced with humanistic
rabbinical traditions. The
intent of this letter was to encourage its readers to persevere in their
faith in Jesus despite the hardships imposed on them by a government that
recognized Judaism as a legal religion but failed to do the same with
Christianity. Reverting back
to Judaism might have freed these people from persecution but in the
process they would have rejected the grace of God that was demonstrated in
the shed blood of Jesus. It
would have been an insult to the Spirit of grace.
context of this insult goes back to verses 26 and 27.
"If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the
knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sin is left, only a fearful
expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies
of God." The phrase
"keeps on sinning" is a present active Greek participle. This
verbal phrase emphasizes a lifestyle of sin, not any one particular sin
that a believer might commit. It
speaks to those who have received the knowledge of the truth but live as
if they haven't received it. The
specific knowledge referenced here is that Jesus has replaced, or to be
more precise, fulfilled the legalities of the Law of Moses.
In verse 27 the
Greek word "lambano" is translated as "received," as
in "received the knowledge of the truth."
In context, the meaning of this Greek word implies that those who
have received the knowledge of the truth have not necessarily allowed it
to produce its desired effects, and thus the reason for their thoughts of
backsliding into legalism. If
they did backslide into legalism, they would forfeit the only sacrifice
God made for sin. The
Levitical sacrifices they were considering would be useless.
They would be eternally lost in the fire of God's judgment.
I was raised in a
Christian environment that emphasized obedience to church rules that were
considered Biblical but were in fact both legalistic and humanistic in
nature. When I set many
of these rules
aside in my early 20's I was considered a backslider by some people.
According to this passage, one who chooses to obey humanistic
legalism for the purpose of maintaining his salvation is the backslider,
This passage should
be a warning to all Christians. Any
attempt to replace God's grace with any kind of humanistic legalism,
Evangelical Christian legalism included, is insulting the Spirit of grace.
Any attempt to take advantage of God's grace and turn it into a
license to sin, insults the Spirit of grace.
God's grace as seen
in the shed blood of Jesus must not be tampered with or trampled upon, and
if it is, it is an insult to the Spirit of grace.