The Road of No Return
Robert Wurtz II
Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul. (Hebrews 10:38, 39)
Our passage is a sobering conclusion that leads up to Hebrews 11 where the writer gives multiple examples of people who died in faith. The faithful of Hebrews 11 pleased God. They are contrasted with those in chapter 10 who hear the Gospel and yet go on as if they never heard. God said, “My soul will have no pleasure in them.” They are unfaithful and are compared to those who died without mercy after they heard and then despised Moses’ Law. The word preached did not profit them because it was not mixed with faith in them that heard it. Some hear and then “draw back” unto perdition (total destruction). We are left to contemplate their fate by considering a great question: Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy of punishment, the one who has trampled the Son of God, and who has counted the blood of the covenant with which he was sanctified an unholy thing, and has insulted the Spirit of grace? (Hebrews 10:29 MKJV)
They Died Without Mercy
There are many examples of people who died or were sorely punished for profaning the holy things of God. Nadab and Abihu were burned up for offering strange fire. They died for their innovation. So serious was their crime that their father, Aaron, was not allowed to mourn their death. Uzzah was another innovator. In the time of David he and his assistants placed the Ark of the Covenant on a “new” cart- as if his new idea somehow trumped God’s ancient laws. When his new idea started to fail he made the mistake of reaching up to steady the Ark. As we know, he was smitten dead for his error. Many years later King Uzziah became another innovator. Though withstood by some eighty valiant men he went into the House of God to offer incense and was smitten with leprosy. He died that way. In time Belshazzar the Babylonian ruler was another innovator. He decided to liven up his party by bringing in and drinking from the sacred cups of the Levitical priesthood that were captured when Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the Temple in Jerusalem. A hand appeared on the wall with a message that in effect he had been weighed in the balance and found wanting. He was killed that night.
The time would fail to mention others such as Achan who decided to flagrantly disobey God by stealing the spoils that were to be set apart to God. He and his whole family perished for their sin and their bodies burned. These are the type of stories that ought to come to mind when we read the words, Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy of punishment, the one who has trampled the Son of God, and who has counted the blood of the covenant with which he was sanctified an unholy thing, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?
To “profane” something means to trample it down as was the ground outside the door of the Tabernacle. The ground outside the door was like any other ground on earth; but when you passed the thresh hold into the House of God, you were in another world. In a figure- you just passed into the heavenlies. This was God’s domain. It was utterly sacred. To err here is to risk ones life. And yet all of these things were merely figures of the truth. Men died for treating this place as “common” and “unholy.” To tread here as if you were any place else was to be met with judgment. God was teaching us the difference between the holy and the profane.
How more worse punishment do you suppose one deserves who is trampling the Son of God? They are profaning the blood of Christ as if His death were no different than any other man’s death. Some may reverence the work of the cross with their mouth, but their rebellious and sinful actions are trodding Christ under foot. Interestingly, the same Greek word is used here for men who trod under foot salt that has lost its savor. Nobody in their right mind would think of trampling under foot the Ark of the Covenant, the blood of the sacrifices, the holy anointing oil or the other sacred objects of Temple service; nevertheless, Jesus Christ is trampled under foot on a regular basis by multitudes of people who have heard the Gospel and have not repented and turned to Him in faith. They think they are waiting to “get saved” when they are ready; but they are really trampling Christ and His shed blood under their feet. People under the Old Covenant died without mercy under two or three witnesses. What punishment do these people deserve? This is what the writer to the Hebrews is asking us to consider.
People all over the world will wake up today having heard the Gospel at some point in their life and will go on sinning as if it’s no big deal. Some are so proud and rebellious that they have heard bits and pieces and scorn the message- refusing to take time to hear the whole thing. They are their own worst enemy. Most are crazy enough to believe that what they are doing is normal and that people live in sin all the time and repent when they get ready. I have wondered all my Christian life where this notion of “I’ll get saved when I’m ready” comes from. Many ministers almost console people that reject Christ as if they are afraid they are offending them. As if what they are doing is no big deal. Truly, to reject Christ is the worst of all sins because it is a road covered with Christ and His shed blood. It is a road of no return. It is the pathway to total perdition. In the New Testament when a person rejected the Gospel Jesus said to wipe the dust off your feet as a testimony against them for the day of judgment (Mark 6:7-13). Wiping the dust off was a way of totally disassociating yourself from the person’s actions. It suggested that you are now free from the blood of that person. Your conscience is clear- even as Paul told the Ephesians when he left them for the last time.
In modern times multitudes of people are taking a cavalier and neglectful attitude towards repentance and faith. This is the very thing that the writer to the Hebrews repeatedly warned about. He tells us four times that “today if we hear His voice we are not to harden our heart.” To continue on is to presume to trod underfoot the Son of God, His blood and the covenant that God is offering. To complete the description of the sin one is said to do “despite unto the Spirit of grace.” This is the Holy Spirit. Men resist the Holy Spirit, grieve, and vex the Holy Spirit- but here they are said to insult the Spirit. This is the meaning of Greek word. The root word huper carries the idea of acting superior to. “You are not my boss!” type of attitude. Even if a person does not say it, Hebrews says that is what they are doing when they reject repentance and faith.
How many people believe that when they have finally sown all their wild oats they will settle down and “get saved.” That is the most dangerous thing they could possibly do. To go on refusing to repent after God has already ceased overlooking sin and ignorance is to invite judgment worse than dying without mercy. Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy of punishment, the one who has trampled the Son of God, and who has counted the blood of the covenant with which he was sanctified an unholy thing, and has insulted the Spirit of grace? (Hebrews 10:29 MKJV) If you are doing such things you are no sowing wild oats- you are trampling down the blood of Christ. You are not having a little fun before you get old and gray- you are insulting the Holy Spirit. The only remedy is to stop it- right here and right now- turn from all your sin and turn to Christ. It is your only chance. While it is said, “Today if you will hear His voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.” (Hebrews 3:15)