Hebrews 10: 26 – 31
For if we wilfully persist in sin after having received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful prospect of judgement, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has violated the law of Moses dies without mercy ‘on the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ How much worse punishment do you think will be deserved by those who have spurned the Son of God, profaned the blood of the covenant by which they were sanctified, and outraged the Spirit of grace? For we know the one who said, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay.’ And again, ‘The Lord will judge his people.’ It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
Did you ever stay out after curfew, or eat sweets before your dinner? Did you then receive the punishment due for breaking the rules? As we grow up, our parents teach us right from wrong, and teach us the rules we are to follow in life – whether laws of the land, or household instructions. And we follow them – mostly – and, usually as teenagers – see how many of them we can at least bend! But we know when we have bent or broken the rules, we will feel the disappointment or even wrath of our parents for our disobedience.
What we are warned in our reading is slightly more serious than whether we put our dirty clothes in the washing basket. When we accept Christ into our lives, it is not just a commitment to an hour a week on a Sunday. It is a complete change of life. It is a way of life that inspires us to do the right thing all the time, to put away our own desires and plans and to live for Christ. If we choose to stray from that path we are doomed to judgement. Of course, we are going to get it wrong sometimes, but this is more than that. It’s a deliberate choice to turn our back on everything we believe and act as though we had never accepted Christ, making his sacrifice for nothing. Then we will feel the full force of God’s judgement.
We spend so much time focussing on the security and love and hope we have in Christ, that we often forget that there are consequences to our actions if we deliberately choose to reject him. Be warned.
Lord God, we don’t want to be scared about following you, but sometimes we rely too much on your forgiving love that we take advantage and stray too far. Remind us of your judgement that we might realise the consequences of our actions and so focus more on our commitment. May we use the love you have shown to us to motivate all our actions that we may follow your true path. Amen.