Christians and Sin
If we [Christians] say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. (1 John 1:8)
In Scripture,sin, whether in the New or Old Testament, may be understood as “a mental attitude (outlook) or physical act in violation of the Word of God.” The Hebrew word for sin is first seen in the Old Testament in Genesis 4:7; and, its Greek counterpart in the New Testament in Matthew 12:31. Although sin may take many forms, it is rooted in pride, an attitude in which a created being is dominated with a desire to rise above the sphere in which he was created — a completely self-serving trait that embodies all mankind. And pride, the basis of all sin, is the personification of evil — self-regard contrary to the Creator. It is listed first in the sins that are most hated by God.
These six things the LORD hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him:a proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood,a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil,a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren. (Proverbs 6:16-19)
It was pride that resulted in the fall of Satan as is seen in his declaration in the 14th chapter of the book of Isaiah, a revelation that pride is the essential character of sin (humans and angels) as seen in Satan’s five “I wills.”
How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations!For you have said in your heart:
I will ascend into heaven,
I will exalt my throne above the stars of God;
I will also sit on the mount of the congregationon the farthest sides of the north;
I will ascend above the heights of the clouds,
I will be like the Most High. (Isaiah 14:12-14)
Pride was the basis for the sin of man in the Garden (Genesis 3:2-6), which engulfed all mankind in spiritual death (Romans 5:17, 18) of “trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1; Colossians 2:13).
The reproach of pride is profuse throughout Scripture, a few passages follow:
Blessed is that man who makes the LORD his trust, and does not respect the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies. (Psalm 40:4)
Whoever secretly slanders his neighbor, him I will destroy; the one who has a haughty look and a proud heart, him I will not endure. (Psalm 101:5)
Though the LORD is on high, yet He regards the lowly; but the proud He knows from afar. (Psalm 138:6)
The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride and arrogance and the evil way, and the perverse mouth I hate. (Proverbs 8:13)
Everyone proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD; though they join forces, none will go unpunished. . . . Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall. (Proverbs 16:5, 18)
For all that is in the world — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life — is not of the Father but is of the world. (1 John 2:16)
Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit [pride], but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. (Philippians 2:3)
Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples, saying: “The scribes and the Pharisees . . .observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do. For theybind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. But all their works they do to be seen by men. . . . They love the best places at feasts, the best seats in the synagogues,greetings in the marketplaces, and to be called by men, ‘Rabbi, Rabbi.’ . . . But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted. (Matthew 23:1, 2a, 3b, 4-7, 11,12)
The last passage of Scripture emphasizes how pride and hypocrisy “go hand-in-hand.” But then any ardent observer of politics (local to national), religious hierarchies, corporate administrations, and other such examples of regulatory entities within the world’s societies, already knows this.
(Should the reader desire to further study what the Word has to say regarding the evil of pride, it is suggested that he/she acquire an exhaustive concordance of the Bible, look up the word “pride” and comparable words (e.g., “conceit,” etc.) and note the multitude of passages utilizing these words.)
And the sin of pride, with all (evil) that it yields, along with sin’s inevitable consequence for man, was the primary reason for the manifestation of God in the flesh — Jesus Christ— thousands of years ago. Indeed, the most important event in all of earth’s history subsequent to Creation was the appearance and work of Jesus Christ on behalf of mankind. Because deliverance from the consequence (eternal punishment) for sin could never be achieved by man, God sent His only begotten Son, God in the flesh, to bear (pay the penalty for) man’s sin, to be the propitiation (satisfaction to God) for sin, on the cross of Calvary. And Christ’s sacrifice laid the foundation for man to be saved, a salvation from which two gospel (good news) messages emerge, as briefly covered by the following remarks by Arlen L. Chitwood from his book, Redeemed for a Purpose:
Man was created for a purpose that had to do with regality; and fallen man has been redeemed with this same purpose in view. Salvation has been provided for fallen man in order that God might bring man back into the position for which he was created in the beginning.
Accordingly, the gospel message, the good news seen throughout Scripture, has two facets — the good news concerning the grace of God, and the good news concerning the glory of Christ:
1) The Gospel of the Grace of God is a message dealing with Christ’s past, finished work at Calvary. It is the message of the Cross; it is a message surrounding the shedding of blood; it is a message surrounding death; and it is a message that is to be proclaimed to the unsaved — to those “dead in trespasses and sins.”
The reception of this message — man believing on the Lord Jesus Christ, who died in his stead — results in eternal salvation.
2) The Gospel of the Glory of Christ is a message encompassing Christ’s present work but culminating in and dealing more specifically with His future work. It is a message surrounding present Christian living, with a view to that which lies ahead. And, encompassing Christ’s present work as High Priest, the gospel of the glory of Christ (as the gospel of the grace of God) is also a message surrounding the shedding of blood (Christ’s shed blood now on the mercy seat in the heavenly sanctuary). But now matters surround Christ’s glory and that of bringing many sons to glory with Him.
The reception of this message—redeemed man exercising faithfulness to his calling — will result in an individual being accorded the honor and privilege of ascending the throne with Christ in His kingdom when He returns in all His power and glory.
Distinctions between the preceding two messages must be clearly understood if an individual would properly understand the whole of the salvation message in Scripture.
But this document’s purpose is not to elucidate these two doctrinal issues, which comprise God’s comprehensive plan of redemption for man. For commentary on these two issues the reader may avail himself of the following, which may be wholly obtained from www.bibleone.net:
1) Salvation by Grace through Faith, by Arlen L. Chitwood
2) Salvation of the Soul, by Arlen L. Chitwood
Even though salvation by grace through faith is eternal in nature, a salvation that can never be withdrawn or annulled by man or God, once man obtains such; it does not mean that during this life he will be free of sin or the consequences of it. The consequences, although not eternal, are substantial.
Scripture clearly reveals that throughout temporal life a person will always be saddled with the “sin nature” (i.e., “natural man,” “carnal mind”) that abides in the “flesh” since birth — that inward influence to sin; and, after one becomes a Christian, an increased pressure by satanic forces to violate God’s Word.
For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. . . . But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. . . . Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. . . . But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. (Romans 7:15, 17, 18, 20, 23)
For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. . . . Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. (Romans 8:5, 7, 8)
But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
(1 Corinthians 2:14)
For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. (Galatians 5:17)
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. (1 Peter 5:8)
Satan, in partnership with the sin nature, was the overwhelming influence over the apostle Peter, as he denied Christ just prior to the Crucifixion (Luke 22:54-62); and, later exhibited hypocrisy at Antioch (Galatians 2:11ff). Within the annals of Christendom, Peter has always been the representation of a significantly dedicated Christian. The point being is that if a Christian like Peter was a sinner, so are all of God’s children.
Christians should understand that unattended sins they commit during temporal life will produce consequences at the Judgment Seat of Christ.
But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. . . . So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. (Romans 14:10, 12)
For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
(1 Corinthians 3:11-15)
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
(2 Corinthians 5:10)
It is unfortunate that regarding this issue — the coming judgment of Christians — most Christians know little of the matter. And this is due to a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the unsavory thought that even though one may possess eternal salvation there awaits punishment for one who chooses to live according to the flesh. Most Christians refuse go beyond the “milk” of God’s Word, ignoring the solid doctrinal food that will not only cultivate their spiritual maturity but will also enable them to stand (in righteousness apart from sin) against the “wiles [scheming] of the devil” (Ephesians 6:10-17).
The resulting loss that an unfaithful Christian will suffer at Christ’s Judgment Seat will not be an insignificant loss, as is briefly covered by Arlen L. Chitwood in the Foreword of his book, Judgment Seat of Christ, as follows:
The judgment seat of Christ will be operable in one realm alone — man’s actions, following the birth from above. Nothing pertaining to man’s eternal salvation (based entirely upon that which Christ has done) can come into view at this judgment, for God has already judged sin in the person of His Son at Calvary. And God is satisfied with His Son’s finished work.
Thus, all judgment relative to eternal salvation is past and can never again be brought up as an issue. “He that believes in Him [Christ] is not condemned [Greek:krino; lit., ‘is not judged,’ i.e., the one who has believed on Christ can never be brought into judgment (for judgment has already occurred)] . . . .” (John 3:18a).
And this is what bothers some Christians about thoughts surrounding the judgment seat of Christ. Scriptures such as John 3:18 clearly state that no Christian can ever be brought into judgment. Yet, passages of Scripture such as 2 Corinthians 5:10 — “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ . . . .” — also clearly state that judgment awaits all Christians.
This can become quite confusing unless one recognizes that two entirely different matters are being dealt with. One has to do with God’s judgment upon sin, based upon His Son’s finished work at Calvary, which pertains to man’s eternal salvation. The other has to do with God’s subsequent judgment upon His household servants relative to their faithfulness or unfaithfulness as servants in the Lord’s house, with the Messianic Era in view.
The former judgment has to do with unsaved man and eternal verities; the later judgment has to do with saved man and millennial verities. And the difference between the two could be compared to the distance between the east and the west. It is only because of the former that the latter can occur; and the latter can have nothing to do with the former in the sense of nullifying, adding to, taking from, etc.
The two are completely separate in this respect. Once a person has believed on the Lord Jesus Christ—has passed “from death to life” — that individual comes into an entirely new relationship with God. He is born from above, becomes part of the family of God; and he then finds himself among household servants, who are being dealt with accordingly.
Following the birth from above, God deals with an individual on an entirely different plane — as a household servant, with a view to the Messianic Era lying out ahead. The individual is never again dealt with (during present or future time; or, at a future judgment) on the basis of that which is past — Christ's finished work, effecting his eternal salvation.
And this fact alone should put to rest any thought that saved man could ever one day become unsaved, lost. How could he? Such would be impossible, for God never deals with saved man in this respect (and this is all aside from the fact that man's salvation is not based on anything which he has done to begin with, but on that which Christ alone has done).
But that which numerous Christians fail to recognize is the fact that they are directly responsible, as household servants, to the One who sent His Son to die in their stead. And, as household servants, they will one day stand before their Savior (to whom God has committed all judgment) to give an account relative to faithfulness or unfaithfulness in the Lord’s house.
The judgment seat of Christ will be operable in this realm alone, and decisions and determinations emanating from findings at the judgment seat will result in two things:
(1) reward on the one hand, or
(2) loss on the other.
And both will have to do with the Messianic Era, not with eternal life.
And within both there will be a just recompense (Hebrews 2:2; 11:26) receiving exactly what an individual deserves, receiving wages exactly commensurate with the person’s faithfulness or unfaithfulness as a servant in the Lord’s house (cf. Luke 12:42-46).
For a comprehensive understanding of the coming judgment of Christians, the reader is encouraged to read Chitwood’s entire book (named above) on the subject, which may be accessed in its entirety from www.bibleone.net.
So the question is,
What can a Christian do during this lifetime that will absolve his committed sin, freeing him from its coming adverse judgment at the Judgment Seat of Christ?
Essentially, the answer is found in 1 John 1:9:
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness
When a Christian sins, knowingly or unknowingly, and the Holy Spirit inevitably reveals the transgression to Him, he is to “confess” (i.e., judge the sin by taking personal responsibility for it, which means not making any excuse for it, blaming it on anyone or anything else) the sin before God. And the promise of God is that He will then instantaneously “forgive” the sin and “cleanse” (purify, purge) the Christian from “all unrighteousness.”
But the life of and instruction from Christ presented one requirement that is to ungird the process of forgiveness, which He clarified a portion of His “model prayer” in Matthew 6:9-13, as follows:
For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (Matthew 6:14, 15)
Such a caveat is certainly not easy to obey, but it is this attitude that most markedly separates Christianity from all other religious ideologies on earth.
And yet, there is one further consideration.
(Taken from Judgment Seat of Christ [Ch.3] by Arlen L. Chitwood)
Christ provided Himself as the Sacrifice for sin, His blood is today on the mercy seat in heaven, and He is presently occupying the office of High Priest in the heavenly sanctuary on behalf of sinning Christians. Christ is presently performing a cleansing from defilement for Christians who sin, and all a Christian needs to do in order to avail himself of this provided cleansing is to confess his sin. When he does this, cleansing will occur (1 John 1:9).
The willful sin of Hebrews 10:26 results in defilement, as does any sin. But, a different situation exists with this sin. This verse states that no sacrifice exists for those who sin after the manner dealt with by the verse, which separates it from Christ’s present ministry.
How does this sin differ from any other sin that Christians can commit? Is it possible that this sin could somehow be brought under Christ’s present ministry and confessed, with forgiveness resulting from the person's confession? If so, How? If not, Why not?
1)Christ’s Present Ministry
To properly understand the willful sin, for several reasons (one reason being contextual), it should be viewed, first of all, in the light of Christ’s present high priestly ministry in the heavenly sanctuary. Note the context of Hebrews 10:26 (vv. 19-22) and also 1 John 1:6-2:2. The “blood” of Christ is presently on the mercy seat in the “holiest [Holy of Holies]” of the heavenly sanctuary; and a “new and living way” of access has been provided through the One who shed this blood, our “High Priest over the house of God.”
The blood of Christ, presently on the mercy seat of the heavenly sanctuary, “cleanses [keeps on cleansing]” Christians who have become defiled (through sin) as they “walk [keep on walking] in the light” (1 John 1:7;cf. Hebrews 10:22). It is impossible for the ones walking in the light to occupy a position other than being cleansed from sin; but, viewing the other side of the picture, it is entirely possible for Christians to not walk in the light, in which case there will be no cleansing.
To understand exactly what is meant by walking in the light, one must draw from the typology of the tabernacle. The light was provided by a seven-leafed golden candlestick inside the Holy Place where the priests carried on part of their ministry, and the only way that these priests were permitted to enter the Holy Place and walk in this light was through a previous cleansing at the brazen laver (basin) in the courtyard.
This laver lay between the brazen altar and the Holy Place and had upper and lower basins for washing the hands and feet. The entire bodies of these priests had been washed upon their entrance into the priesthood (Exodus 29:4; 40:12-15) — an act never to be repeated — but in their subsequent ministry, it was necessary to avail themselves of partial washings (washings of parts of the body) at the laver. Their hands and feet became soiled in their ministry, and these parts of the body had to be cleansed prior to entering the Holy Place (Exodus 30:18-21; 40:30-32).
Exactly the same thing holds true for Christians, New Testament priests, in the antitype today. Christians have received a complete washing (received at the point of the birth from above, upon their entrance into the priesthood) — an act never to be repeated. But, as the Old Testament priests, they must now avail themselves of partial washings in their ministry. And this is seen in the type by and through the actions of Old Testament priests washing at the laver.
This is what Jesus alluded to in John 13:8, 10:
If I do not wash [Greek:nipto, referring to a part of the body (the Septuagint uses this same word in Exodus 30:19, 21)] you, you have no part with me [note: not ‘in me,’ but ‘with me’]”; and “He who is washed [Greek: louo, (‘bathed’ in the NKJV) referring to the entire body (the Septuagint uses this same word in Exodus 29:4; 40:12)] needs only to wash [Greek: nipto] his feet . . . .
This is also what is alluded to in Hebrews 10:22 and 1 John 1:7.
Old Testament priests whose hands and feet had become soiled through activity in the courtyard could not bypass the laver and proceed on to the Holy Place. Nor can New Testament priests. New Testament priests must first, as the Old Testament priests, avail themselves of cleansing. Defilement in the Christians’ case comes through contact with sin; and cleansing, according to the context of 1 John 1:7, is accomplished through confession of sin:
If we confess our sins, He [God] is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (v. 9)
And this cleansing is accomplished solely on the basis of Christ’s shed blood on the mercy seat in the heavenly sanctuary:
My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate [Greek: parakletos, one called alongside to help in time of need] with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.
And He Himself is the propitiation [Greek: hilasmos, (God appeased, through Christ’s work on the basis of His shed blood on the mercy seat)] for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world [contextually, a reference to all of the saved in the world, not the unsaved (a cleansing for Christians alone is in view; the unsaved and eternal salvation are not in view at all in these verses)].
(1 John 2:1, 2)
Thus, the ones walking in the light in 1 John 1:7 are Christians who have availed themselves of the provision in 1 John 1:9. As they continue walking in the light (continue availing themselves of this provision, allowing continued access to the Holy Place), the blood of Christ continues cleansing them from “all sin.”
And a Christian refusing to avail himself of provided cleansing today is seen walking in darkness. He has not come to the laver and, consequently, can only remain in the darkened courtyard outside the light in the Holy Place. He has refused confession of sin; he has refused the cleansing provided by Christ. And for such an individual, in reality, “there remains no more sacrifice for sins.” That is, there is no sacrifice for those refusing the sacrifice that God has provided in the person of His Son.
Thus, contextually (Hebrews 10:19-22), one might think that the willful sin in verse twenty-six (for which there is no sacrifice) would be a Christian’s refusal to avail himself of Christ’s present high priestly ministry. In this respect, there would be no sacrifice for his unconfessed sins (for a Christian refusing to confess his sins would be refusing the provided sacrifice).
2)But . . . .
But Christians harboring sins of the flesh and refusing to confess these sins cannot possibly be that which they are warned against in Hebrews 10:26. This verse continues the thought from the immediately preceding verses (vv. 23-25), and this thought has nothing whatsoever with Christians confessing (or not confessing) their sins.
Nor can the willful sin in this verse be thought of in the broad sense of sins committed by Christians in a willful, or a deliberate, or a knowing manner. If the truth were known, it could probably easily be shown that most sins committed by Christians would fall into a singular category — things that Christians knew were sins before they committed them, knew were sins during the time in which they were committing them, and knew were sins after they had committed them.
The only possible way to properly understand the willful sin in Hebrews 10:26, for which there is no sacrifice, is to view this sin, contextually, within the book of Hebrews where it is found. If this is not done, a person will invariably go wrong at this point in Scripture.
Note first that all of the warnings in Hebrews are closely related, drawing heavily from the Old Testament types. The second warning (chapters 3&4) draws from the account of the Israelites under Moses, and the same thought is continued in the third warning (6:4ff), relating the matter to Christians.
In both the type (chapters 3& 4 [second warning]) and the antitype (chapter 6 [third warning]), the sin referenced in the fourth warning (10:26ff) is present. The Israelites under Moses committed a sin for which there was no sacrifice (second warning), and Christians today can commit exactly the same sin, with the same result following (third warning). Then the fourth warning continues with thoughts pertaining to this sin; and the matter has to do with “so great a salvation” (chapter 2 [first warning]), resulting in “blessing” associated with the “birthright” (chapter 12 [fifth warning]).
That is the broad contextual scope of the matter. The Israelites, in the type, through their actions at Kadesh-Barnea — refusing to go in and take the land to which they had been called — committed a sin for which there was no sacrifice. And, with there being no sacrifice for this sin, God didn't, He couldn't, change His mind concerning that which He had decreed pertaining to the matter.
And Christians, in the antitype, can commit exactly the same sin relative to the heavenly land to which they have been called. And, as in the type, no sacrifice exists for such a sin. As in the type, God won’t, He can’t change His mind concerning that which He has decreed pertaining to this sin, if committed by His people today.
This is plain from that which is stated in Hebrews 6:2-4, again drawing from the type in chapters three and four:
For it is impossible . . . if they shall fall away, to renew them again to repentance . . . .”
(For additional information on the preceding, refer to the author’s book, Let Us Go On, Chapters 4, 5, “Leaving the Principles” and “If They Shall Fall Away.”).
Then note that the reference to this sin is the continuation of a text having to do with a central purpose for Christians assembling together during the present dispensation — whether on Sunday at a regular meeting place, or at any other time or place during the week (vv. 23-25). The particular purpose given in the text is singular: Christians meeting together in order to exhort and encourage one another concerning the hope set before each one of them (“profession of our faith” [v. 23, KJV] should be translated, “confession of our hope”). And this hope set before every Christian is the hope that they might one day realize the very thing to which they have been called — win a crown in the present race of the faith and, as a result, occupy a regal position with Christ in that coming day of His power.
In short, Christians are exhorted to assemble together for a particular purpose, and then they are warned concerning the danger of failing to assemble together on a regular basis for this purpose. They can either find mutual strength in the race of the faith through assembling together, or they can fail to assemble for this mutual strength and find themselves in danger of falling away and becoming involved in that which Scripture refers to as willful sin.
The willful sin, simply put, has to do with apostasy, after one has come into a mature knowledge of the things surrounding the hope set before Christians — something seen in the type in the second warning and in the antitype in the third warning. And sinning after this fashion will result in a Christian failing to come into possession of so great salvation (first warning), synonymous with failing to realize the rights of the firstborn (fifth warning).
Numbers 15:30, 31, immediately following the account of the Israelites refusal to enter into the land at Kadesh-Barnea (chapters 13& 14), deals with God’s statement concerning a sin for which there was no sacrifice. And an example of such a sin — a man violating the Sabbath — immediately follows God’s instructions concerning the matter.
God’s statement concerning a sin for which there was no sacrifice in this passage had to do with a person acting in open rebellion, followed by his being cut off from the people of Israel (which was exactly what occurred at and following the events at Kadesh-Barnea). And the contextual example not only had to do with the experiences of the Israelites, beginning at Kadesh-Barnea (chapters 13 &14), but it also had to do with a man violating the Sabbath (Numbers 15:32-36).
As with the Israelites at Kadesh-Barnea, so with the man violating the Sabbath. There was no sacrifice for the sin committed by either. Rather, in both instances, the Lord commanded that a sentence of death was to be carried out. And, resulting, an entire accountable generation died on the one hand, and a man was taken outside the camp and stoned on the other.
The land set before Christians is associated with a rest, a Sabbath rest, drawing from Genesis 2:1-3 (Hebrews 4:4-9). And a Christian turning his back on this land (after coming into a mature knowledge of the things surrounding the land) would be doing exactly the same thing that the Israelites under Moses did at Kadesh-Barnea (after hearing the report concerning the land by the twelve spies). Then, in another respect, such a Christian would be doing violence to that which God had to say about the Sabbath rest set before the people of God, in a similar respect to the man violating the Sabbath in Numbers 15:32-36.
The Sabbath was a sign pointing to a day of rest following God’s present six days of work (Exodus 31:13-17). As God rested on the seventh day after working six days to restore a past ruined creation (the material creation) — establishing an unchangeable, foundational pattern — He is going to rest on a seventh day (a 1,000-year day) after working six days (six 6,000-year days) to restore two present ruined creations (both man and the material creation once again).
Thus, drawing from both Numbers 13-15 and Hebrews 3, 4, 6, it can easily be shown how Christians, in Hebrews 10:26ff, can sin willfully today. They can do so by and through only one means: coming into a mature knowledge of the truth surrounding their calling, and then apostatizing (turning away from this truth).
Any Christian committing such an act, according to Hebrews 10:29, will have done three things:
1) Trodden “under foot the Son of God.”
2) Considered the blood of Christ “an unholy [a common] thing.”
3) Insulted “the Spirit of grace.”
God places the willful sin in a category of this nature simply because of the high place in which He holds that which He has stated concerning the coming reign of His Son. And, according to Scripture, any Christian coming into a mature knowledge of that which God has stated in this realm, and then turning away — apostatizing — has only one thing awaiting him:
a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. (v. 27)
Then note how verses thirty and thirty-one of Hebrews chapter ten parallel 2 Corinthians 5:10, 11:
For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. And again, “The Lord shall judge His people.”
It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
Events of the judgment seat will be one of the most terrible times many Christians will ever experience, for Christians who have refused to follow the Spirit’s leadership during the present day and time will, at the judgment seat, “fall into the hands of the living God.” Such Christians will find it to be a “fearful,” “terrible” experience, for there the “terror of the Lord” will be manifested, and a completely just reward (recompense) will be meted out.