07 June, 2019

Hebrews 10:26-27—“… received the knowledge of the truth …”


For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries (Heb. 10:26-27).


COMMON GRACE ARGUMENT:
The appeal to this text, made by proponents of common grace, is based upon the fact that the text speaks of those who perish as those who “received the knowledge of the truth.” The argument then is: That the reprobate receive the knowledge of the truth is indicative of God’s favor upon them.

John Murray, in referencing this passage, comments: “[There] are benefits accruing from the death of Christ for those who finally perish. And in view of this we may say that in respect of these benefits Christ may be said to have died for those who are the beneficiaries. In any case it is incontrovertible that even those who perish are the partakers of numberless benefits that are the fruits of Christ’s death and that, therefore, Christ’s death sustains to them this beneficial reference, a beneficial reference, however, that does not extend beyond this life.” (Collected Writings, vol. I, pp. 63-64).


(I)

Prof. Herman C. Hanko

[Source: Another Look at Common Grace (2019 edition), p. 96]

It ought to be quite obvious that such a line of argumentation is invalid.
    
In the first place, no one denies that all men receive a certain knowledge of the truth, whether that be the heathen who never hear the gospel and who receive this knowledge through creation, or whether that be those who are born and raised within the church and who know the truth through the preaching of the gospel.
    
It is important to God that all men receive such knowledge of the truth. God Himself sees to it. But the good gift of the knowledge of the truth is not indicative of God’s favor. It is not God’s purpose to show them His love and grace. Paul tells us exactly what that purpose is: It is the revelation of the wrath of God from heaven and it is given “so that they are without excuse” (Rom. 1:18, 20). It is important that the wicked reveal themselves as wicked so that when God punishes them in hell, their punishment is the just and perfect manifestation of God’s wrath against all that sinned. They will never be able to say that they did not serve God “because they did not know Him.” God shows Himself to them. They are without excuse.


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(II)

More to come! (DV)



ARMINIAN ARGUMENT:
This passage is interpreted as though it teaches that it is possible for sacrifice to be made once for a person’s sins and then for that person, through unbelief, to lose salvation and come under the judgment of God.


(I)

Ronald Hanko & Ronald Cammenga

[Source: Saved By Grace: A Study of the Five Points of Calvinism (RFPA, 2002), pp. 164-165]

This is not what the text says … We should note that the passage very carefully speaks of “those who have received the knowledge of the truth” and does not say that sacrifice for sin was made for them. In fact, the word “more” in the King James version leaves an entirely wrong impression. The idea is not that there is no additional sacrifice for sin (over and above what they have already received) but that there is no longer any possibility of sacrifice for sin for them. In other words, the passage is talking about those who commit what is sometimes known as the “unforgivable sin,” that is, those who, with full knowledge of the truth, wilfully reject it, and by that show themselves beyond any hope of salvation.


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(II)

Prof. Herman C. Hanko

[Source: Covenant Reformed News, vol. 4, no. 20]

The Hebrew Christians, under some persecution—though not unto blood (12:4)—were in danger of returning to Judaistic beliefs in salvation by the works of the law rather than in the blood of Jesus Christ. The epistle is a warning of the serious consequences of doing that.

Both [Hebrews 6:4-6 and 10:26-29] speak of being a member of a church and of what is implied in such membership.  Chapter 6 speaks of them as enlightened, tasting of the heavenly gift, partakers of the Holy Ghost, tasting the good word of God and the powers of the world to come; Chapter 10 speaks of treading under foot the Son of God, counting the blood of the covenant an unholy thing, and doing despite to the Spirit.  But, quite clearly, both refer to the same thing.

And both texts speak of the terrible punishment upon those who do this in terms of the impossibility of their ever being saved: Chapter 6 speaks of the impossibility of their being renewed unto repentance; Chapter 10 speaks of the fact that there is for them no more sacrifice for sins. Thus both texts deal with what is sometimes called the unpardonable sin.

Both texts have been appealed to in support of the Arminian doctrine of the falling away of saints. Do they actually teach that?

This conclusion is drawn from the strong and sharp statements which the text uses to describe the condition of those who were once in the church, but who wilfully reject what once they professed to believe. It would seem that they were once saved people of God, but have, through their great sin, fallen forever from grace.

Hebrews 10 speaks of them as sanctified by the blood of the covenant. Hebrews 6 speaks of them as being enlightened and having tasted heavenly things.

Our readers will recall that in our last article we spoke of the false teachers, mentioned in II Peter 2:1, as those who at one time, while they were members of the church, confessed that they were bought with the blood of Christ.

The same idea is here in Hebrews 10. They were not in fact sanctified by the blood of the covenant, but the text looks at it from the viewpoint of their confession which now they deny. They confessed the truth that the blood of Christ alone can sanctify; they confessed that they were, as a part of the church, sanctified by that blood. Now they deny both. That sin of denial is dreadful. They do not deny out of a measure of ignorance; they deny out of hatred of Christ as His precious blood spilled on Calvary. They trod on the Son of God and speak of His blood as an unholy thing.

Hebrews 6 looks at these same people, not from the viewpoint of their confession so much, as from the viewpoint of their own life in the church. They were so completely a part of the church and so committed to it in their outward confession that certain benefits of God’s people were their possession. This happens repeatedly in the church.

It is all outward, of course. But it is very real, for all that. They are enlightened in that they understand clearly the truth. There is no doubt about it at all that they know as well as anyone that salvation comes only through the blood of Christ crucified.

They tasted the heavenly gift, were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and tasted the good word of God and the powers of the world to come. That is, they could see and understand how good the Word of God is and what blessed truths it brings to us. They could know all about the salvation which the Holy Spirit works and they even became partakers of the Holy Spirit in the sense that they had an idea of the blessedness of salvation. They even knew all about the joys of heaven and the spectacular blessedness which comes to those who are forever with Christ.

They are like those of whom Jesus speaks in the parable of the four kinds of soil in Matthew 13. They even receive the Word with joy and are very excited about it. But they turn their backs on it all, not only, they even deny it. They deny Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross. And they deny that salvation comes through the blood of atonement.

This is a terrible sin and for it there is no pardon. These crucify the Son of God afresh and put Him to open shame. But they never were saved. It was a matter of outward profession. “Let him that thinketh he standeth beware lest he fall.”


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(III)

More to come! (DV)










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