5 Minute Lessons on the Kingdom of God
What Is Presumptuous Sin?
Read time: 6 minutes
Audio Lesson
"26For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, 27But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. 28He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: 29Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?" (Hebrews 10:26‑29)

Presumptuous Sin Defined
Numbers 15:30 (New King James Version)
"'But the person who does anything presumptuously, whether he is native-born or a stranger, that one brings reproach on the Lord, and he shall be cut off from among his people.'" (Numbers 15:30 New King James Version)

Numbers 15:30 (New International Version)
"'But anyone who sins defiantly, whether native-born or alien, blasphemes the Lord, and that person must be cut off from his people.'" (Numbers 15:30 New International Version)

As the context shows (Hebrews 10:23), the author of Hebrews was concerned here, as throughout his letter, with the danger of defection from the faith. Most sin is "deliberate," but the writer was influenced here by the Old Testament's teaching about sins of presumption (Numbers 15:29‑31). This kind of sin lays outside the sacrificial provisions of the Law. There is no sacrifice for this kind of offense towards God.

Apostasy from the faith is such a "willful" act, that those who commit it have renounced the sacrifice of Jesus that was provided for them. This leaves them with no sacrifice to hold back the wrath of God from them (Hebrews 10:31), no sacrifice for sins is left. If the sacrifice of Christ should be renounced, there remained no other available sacrifice which could shield an apostate from God's judgment by raging fire (Hebrews 10:27).

A Christian who abandons "the confidence or faith [he] had at first" (Hebrews 3:14), puts himself on the side of God's enemies, as the writer of Hebrews has said (Hebrews 10:27). The apostate (one who gives up or abandon's his faith) in effect is "crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting Him to public disgrace" (Hebrews 6:6).
"...those who leave Christ are nailing him to the cross again, shaming him before everyone." (Hebrews 6:6b Easy‑to‑Read Version)

Such reprehensible conduct can scarcely be worthy of anything but God's flaming indignation and retribution (Hebrews 10:27).
"28If the penalty for breaking the law of Moses is physical death, 29what do you think will happen if you turn on God's Son, spit on the sacrifice that made you whole, and insult this most gracious Spirit? 30This is no light matter..." (Hebrews 10:28‑29 The Message Bible)

Under the Old Covenant, if an Israelite spurned the Mosaic Law and at least two or three witnesses verified his actions, he was put to death. If defiance of an inferior covenant could bring such retribution, what about defiance of the New Covenant which, is far superior? The answer can only be that the punishment would be substantially greater in such a case. And what could be greater than physical death? Spiritual death.
"29Just think how much worse the punishment will be for those who have trampled on the Son of God, and have treated the blood of the covenant, which made us holy, as if it were common and unholy, and have insulted and disdained the Holy Spirit who brings God's mercy to us." (Hebrews 10:29 New Living Translation)

In Hebrews 10:29 (NIV) the words "sanctified him" refer to true Christians. Already the writer to the Hebrews has described them as "made holy (Gr. 'sanctified') through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all" (Hebrews 10:10 NIV) and as "made perfect forever" through this sanctifying work (Hebrews 10:14 NIV). Some seek to evade this conclusion by suggesting that Christ is the One referred to here as "sanctified" or that the person only claims to be sanctified. But these efforts are foreign to the writer's thought and are so forced that they carry their own refutation. The author's whole point lies in the seriousness of the act. To treat "the blood of the covenant" (which actually sanctifies believers) as though it were an "unholy" (koinon, "common") thing and to renounce its efficacy, is to commit a sin so heinous as to dwarf the fatal infractions of the Old Covenant. To this, an apostate adds the offense of insulting the Spirit of grace who originally wooed him to faith in Christ. This kind of spiritual rebellion clearly calls for a much worse punishment than the capital penalty that was inflicted under the Mosaic Law. (The Bible Knowledge Commentary pages 805-806)

If we deliberately, willfully, and defiantly go back to a life of sin this could happen: Your heart could be hardened, causing unbelief and departure from the Living God (Hebrews 3:12).

Why is sin so dangerous? It is linked to the atonement, the sacrifice of Jesus. To turn back willfully to sin, is to disregard the work of God's grace, provided for you by Jesus on the cross. If you renounce the sacrifice of Jesus and His Person, there is no provision of salvation for you.

The Apostle Paul told Timothy,
"The Spirit says clearly that in later times some believers will desert the Christian faith. They will follow spirits that deceive, and they will believe the teachings of demons." (1 Timothy 4:1 God's Word Translation)

Beware, be on watch that this does not happen to you!

And don't let modern education (called philosophy, Colossians 2:8) deceive you, and take you from the Living God (Romans 1:22, 25).
"Be sure that no one leads you away with false and empty teaching that is only human, which comes from the ruling spirits of this world, and not from Christ." (Colossians 2:8 New Century Version)
  1. Read Numbers 15:30.
    "But the soul that doeth ought presumptuously, whether he be born in the land, or a stranger, the same reproacheth the Lord; and that soul shall be cut off from among his people." ‑ Numbers 15:30
    The writer of Hebrews was influenced by the Old Testament's teaching about sins of presumption (Numbers 15:29‑31).
    True or False
  2. Read Hebrews 10:26‑27 (The Message Bible).
    "26If we give up and turn our backs on all we've learned, all we've been given, all the truth we now know, we repudiate Christ's sacrifice 27and are left on our own to face the Judgment — and a mighty fierce judgment it will be!" ‑ Hebrews 10:26‑27 (The Message Bible)
    If we turn our backs on God, Jesus, and His sacrifice, we are left alone to face God's Judgment.
    True or False
  3. Read Revelation 2:21 (Amplified Bible).
    "I gave her time to repent, but she has no desire to repent of her immorality [symbolic of idolatry] and refuses to do so." ‑ Revelation 2:21 (Amplified Bible)
    Turn to God now. This is no light matter. Call on God for repentance while He is giving you the opportunity to do so (Jude 1:23 NLT).
    "Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. Show mercy to still others, but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives." ‑ Jude 1:23 (NLT)
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