How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? – Hebrews 10:29
If we’re honest, we all can recall times when we’ve failed, faltered, or temporarily lost interest in the things of Christ. These experiences can unsettle the faith of even the most seasoned believer. What, then, are we to make of our stumblings?
The Bible is clear that once we are in Jesus’ hand, we are not coming out. Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me … No one will snatch them out of my hand” (John 10:27-28). Indeed, our failures serve as a daily reminder to cling to God’s promises all the more and not to our own merit. For those hidden in Christ, “all the promises of God find their Yes in him” (2 Corinthians 1:20). When God promises that nothing will separate us from the love of Christ (Romans 8:38-39), that includes our stumbling and sinning.
When we have been redeemed by Christ, when we have been brought into His orbit of grace, He promises to complete the good work He began in us (Philippians 1:6). We must conclude, then, that a genuine believer cannot be lost. It is not possible! According to God’s mercy, we are brought into His family and guarded by His power until the day of salvation (1 Peter 1:5).
The Bible is equally clear, however, that there are those who for a time are marked by some dedication to God but who then turn in opposition to Jesus and His word, never to return to Him again. Their repudiation of what they once professed reveals that they never genuinely belonged to Jesus at all. Such individuals, notes the author of Hebrews, receive the knowledge of truth and perhaps even suggest to others around them that their faith is sincere, but in reality, they are trampling the Son of God underfoot. They engage in the reverse of what Paul describes in Philippians 3:8: “I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” Paul counted everything in life as rubbish compared to knowing Jesus. But these men and women taste the goodness of the Lord yet count Him as rubbish when offered earthly pleasures.
The aim of the writer to the Hebrews is to warn against complacency, which leads to dangerous drifting (Hebrews 2:1). He is urging his readers to run to the cross in their weakness and failures, for the wonder of the cross is that there is no sinful believer that cannot be forgiven, and the glory of the Spirit is that there is no weak believer He cannot preserve. When you stumble, then, stumble toward the cross. And when you awake each day, ask the one who died in your place for a fresh outpouring of His grace in order that you may persevere in your faith.