Apostasy - RR198M24
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|This transcript is unedited. It was:|
|Archived by the Mt. Olive Tape Library|
|Digitized, transcribed, and published by Christ Rules|
|Posted by with permission|
Let us worship God. Thus saith the Lord: Ye shall seek me, and ye shall find me. When ye shall seek for me with all your heart. Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled. Let us pray.
Oh Lord our God we give thanks unto Thee that Thou hast revealed Thyself unto us through Jesus Christ, Thy son, our savior. We thank Thee that in Him, and in His atoning sacrifice we can see the immensity and the greatness and the grace of thy love and of Thy salvation. Make us ever thankful, take away complaining and whining from our hearts and our lips, and teach us in everything to give thanks, for this is Thy will for us. We gather together again to study Thy word and to rejoice in the things of Thy kingdom, give us grace to hear that which Thou wouldst have us to hear, to apply it, and to practice it. Our God, Thou art ever gracious unto us, teach us to be thankful unto Thee in Christ’s name, amen.
Our Scripture this morning is Hebrews 10:26-39. Our subject: Apostasy. Hebrews 10:26-39, Apostasy.
“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?
30For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.
31It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
32But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions;
33Partly, whilst ye were made a gazingstock both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly, whilst ye became companions of them that were so used.
34For ye had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance.
35Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward.
36For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.
37For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.
38Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.
39But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.” [00:05:18]
This passage is interesting in many ways, but you recall
This passage is interesting in many ways, but you recall when we began Hebrews I pointed out that very commonly the writers referred to themselves in the plural, we, the apostolic fellowship, and at times the word ‘I’ was used. In our text for example in verse 30, and again in verse 39 we have: “We.” And yet, in verse 34: “Ye had compassion of ‘me’ in my bonds.” Singular, and Paul we know was in bonds, and many Christians aided him at that time. So in one passage we have the group speaking, and Paul himself.
Now the reference in verse 26 where we began, is to do with Deuteronomy 17:2-7. The law of apostasy. Apostasy is simply another word for treason. The Apostate referred to in Deuteronomy 17:2-7 was a man of the covenant who renounced it for another allegiance, and the penalty was death. The covenant was for more than an ecclesiastical membership, it was far more than a citizenship in a nation. It was a state of grace, whereby a man had been given status in Gods kingdom to live in His grace and by His law, and to reject the covenant was to choose an allegiance to a power working against God and His reign. Therefore, verses 26 and 7 say: “If we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking for a judgement, and fiery indignation which shall devour the adversaries.”
This is an interesting passage, sometimes misinterpreted in an evil way. I recall when I was in my twenties hearing this described as a verse that was different from the rest of the Bible, because it said that if you sinned after you were converted, that was it. You’d had it. The covenant didn’t cover sins after conversion.
And that shocked me and upset me, because to be told the Bible contradicts itself is a terrible thing. But the fact is that it does not such thing. I am calling attention to this because it is an interpretation that you will sometimes hear, and it’s an evil one.
Well, truth in verse 26: “If we have sinned willfully after that we have received a knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins.” Refers to the Lords commandment, as in Isaiah 26:10. Truth and law were often used synonymously, just as truth and Christ, truth and God. There is no disunity in the person of God, He is grace, He is law, He is wrath, He is righteousness or justice, He is all these things. Modern man’s idea of truth is Hellenic, it follows the ancient Greeks. They see truth as an abstraction, and idea, whereas the Bible sets forth the fact that truth is God and His word, His Law, His justice, His uprightness, His purpose. Everything that God is. [00:10:37]
To sin against the truth is here to sin against Christ
To sin against the truth is here to sin against Christ and His atonement, if, and this is the key, If the Hebrews prefer the temple sacrifices and services to Christ’s atonement, no atonement is possible for them. Now that is the meaning. You either find your atonement in Christ, or if you seek it in the temple and its sacrifices there is no more sacrifice for you. No atonement possible. Rather they faced God’s judgement and fiery indignation for despising his son. The enemies of Jesus Christ and His atonement shall be, we are told, devoured by God’s judgment.
In verse 28 the reference is again to Deuteronomy 17:2-7, the law of apostasy. He that despised Moses law died without mercy under two or three witnesses. Of how much sorer punishment suppose ye shall he be thought worthy who has trodden underfoot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant wherewith he was sanctified and unholy thing, and have done despite to the Spirit of grace. [00:12:25]
To turn back to the temple was a fearful thing
To turn back to the temple was a fearful thing. Well, theirs is a treason of sin with knowledge, a sin of treason with knowledge, and therefore, no mercy possible. The reason for their sin is not a lack of knowledge, but an insistence on being judge over God and one’s own God. The deliberateness of apostasy makes it all the more fearful a sin, as verse 29 tells us. Apostasy is a sin of staggering demensions and consequences; it is an act of contemptuous rejection of the blood of Jesus Christ. It rests on a deliberate judgement about the blood of the covenant, about Jesus Christ, and joined with it is really whether hidden or not a basic hostility towards God the Father.
Hebrews is graphic in describing the apostates contempt. They have in effect trodden underfoot Christ’s atoning blood. They have counted the blood of the covenant an unholy thing. The word counted in the Greek means that a deliberate decision and judgment are involved. Moreover we are told, they have insulted the spirit of grace. As you see, they spare no words in describing God’s hatred of apostates. Christ’s blood is the blood of Gods covenant, it is therefore the holiest of all things holy, and to show disrespect for it by preferring the blood of bulls and goats is an act of fearful arrogance and sin. We dare not forget that in Deuteronomy 32-35, God declares vengeance is His prerogative, and in Psalm 50:4 we are told that God will judge His people.
God does not forget judgement with the coming of Jesus Christ. Rather, there is now a sharper premise of judgment. We now know Jesus Christ, and to turn back from Him is a very great sin. So there is a sharper premise of judgment; it is therefore a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. [00:15:55]
The authors of Hebrews led By Paul now turn to pleading with their readers. They remind them of their past faithfulness. “Up until now you have faithfully served you Lord Jesus Christ, why now by rejecting Him as your High Priest, and rejecting Him as your atonement are you going to go back to the blood of bulls and of goats?”
First they are reminded, after joining themselves to Christ’s flock, ye endured a great fight of afflictions. Now this is an interesting term, it can refer to the actual presence of some in arena events, and that somehow they survived. Second, many of them either suffered for their faith or were companions of them that were so used, to be made a gazing stock meant to be exhibited in the arena, a grim fact. So they were part of a company where some died for their faith in the arena. Then third, and here Paul speaks out very, very clearly, reminding them how they joyfully sacrificed their goods in compassion, and apparently to rescue Paul. They did this, knowing in themselves that ‘Ye have in heaven a better and enduring substance.” One would think that with such a record these Hebrews would stand fast. Whether they did or not we are never told, but sadly in 2 Timothy 4:10 we read that Demas, long a faithful co-worker with Paul, forsook Paul, having loved this present world.
It is not always easy to know what is in men, and men very often do not know themselves. Paul in his personal note, adds verses 35-39. “Their holy boldness,” He says, “Should not now be replaced with doubt, fear, and panic. Patience in the will of God will lead to great returns in Gods time, they must do the will of God to receive the promise.
Isaiah 26:20 and Habakkuk 2:3 are now cited together in verses 36-37 to encourage the readers and the listeners to faith and to patience. They are then reminded that the just or the justified live by faith, not by sight. God has no pleasure in those who turn back, who apostatize. Then the writers, ‘We’, declare that for themselves, they are not drawing back unto perdition, for such is the consequence of going back to the temple, its priesthood, and its sacrifices. “We,” say the writers, “Are them that believed to the saving of the soul.” This very blunt statement obviously denies that two ways to God exist. Jesus Christ and the temple. The Hebrews are plainly told that salvation is by Christ alone.
Very early Peter had declared ”Neither is our salvation in any other, for there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.” To deny the exclusiveness of Christ is apostasy. The sad fact is that today it is not only the modernists who are denying the exclusiveness of Christ, strange ideas are slowly making their way in evangelical circles. [00:21:05]
Thus Hebrews not only irrevocably ties Christ’s kingship
Thus Hebrews not only irrevocably ties Christ’s kingship to His high priestly office, but it requires of us service to manifest our obedience to the king. It also declares Him alone to be man’s savior.
Now, having established these premises, Hebrews then goes on in chapter 11 to define and illustrate faith. Faith with works with action, Faith as a God ordained and God governed pilgrimage. Because of its great importance, and because of its composite authorship, Hebrews has a deliberate air to it. Paul and the other men, knowing the importance of this appeal, to the Jewish community that was wavering and thinking of going back to the temple, because they wanted the priesthood and the sacrifices, chose every word carefully. So like a symphonic composition, it moves to great climaxes and then builds to another. Hebrews is a magnificent work, and hopefully its time has come. Let us pray. [00:22:53]
Our Father we thank Thee for this Thy word, we thank
Our Father we thank Thee for this Thy word, we thank Thee that it sets forth the exclusiveness of salvation by our Lord and savior Jesus Christ, the power of His atoning blood, and the duty laid upon us to go forth and to conquer in His name. To bring all things into captivity to Jesus Christ, as Lord and savior, as king over all kings. Make us joyful in Thy word, confident in the victory of our lord, and ever faithful in His service, in Christ’s name, amen.
Are there any questions now about our lesson? Yes?
[Audience Member] It would seem that verse 28 and 29 put to lie the idea that the Jehovah of the Old Testament is somehow an austere God, but under the new Testament Jesus is very lenient and willing to overlook things, unlike Jehovah.
[Rushdoony] Yes, that is a very, very ugly perversion of scripture. It was set forth as I mentioned before but it bears repeating, in the Middle Ages by the Abbot (Wakim?) of Flora. It really was a form of ancient pagan Gnosticism. It reached it philosophical formulation in Hegel, and we have it in third age, third world thinking whereby as the Abbot Wakim formulated, the old testament was the age of justice and law and wrath, the new testament the age of grace and peace and salvation, and the third age, the age of the Father, the Son and then the Holy Spirit, would be beyond grace and beyond the blood, it would be the age of love, universal love. And we have all kinds of efforts to usher in that third age, both in the church and outside the church. The world parliament of religions has been one such effort, the two counsels convened by the present pope at a CC of various religions, the modernist efforts to work towards a gospel for all nations, a combination of various religions, the idea of rebuilding the temple at Jerusalem and offering memorial sacrifices, and much much more, all work against the sufficiency of the once and for all sacrifice and the exclusive salvation that is ours through Jesus Christ, and Him alone. [00:26:59]
The text I mentioned that is sometimes perverted is
The text I mentioned that is sometimes perverted is one of a number of texts like that throughout the Bible. They are often used by people to confuse the young or those who are not too well read, and this is commonplace, in our time I think, in our century, more than ever before. You do in older works read at times of attempts to abuse texts, but never as in our day. It is a systematic process, and we even have now an attempt to confuse the canon of scripture in that a book was produced by a group of professors of New Testament, which ruled out a good deal of the gospels as not historical, and added a fifth, a gnostic work, the so-called gospel of Thomas. What they did really was to work to create a gnostic Christianity, which is no Christianity at all. And one of the evidences of that was that everything pertaining to Christ’s deity was eliminated, in fact they had four words in the gospel of John that were held to be authentic. And yet this was a much promoted work.
This is the kind of thing we see today, and this si why I think Hebrews will come into its own in the generations ahead of us, because it stands so strongly against all of this, for the exclusiveness of Christ and His atonement.
If there are no further questions, let us conclude with prayer.
Our Father we thank Thee for Thy mercy and grace unto us. We thank Thee for our fellowship in Thee. We pray for those of our number who are absent and away. Watch over them and keep them, in the safety of Thy governance. We come as always, mindful that all things come from Thee. Teach us in all things to be thankful; give us grace to walk day by day amidst all the adversities of this world, without eyes ever fixed upon Thee, where our true joys are ever to be found. How great Thou art oh Lord, and we praise Thee.
And now go in peace, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, bless you and keep you guide and protect you, this day and always, Amen. [00:31:18]