When Scripture reminds Christians that they have been released from the law and serve in the new way of the Spirit, the concern voiced by some is that without the Ten Commandments there would be no recognition of sin.
However, as we finished the Wineskins subchapter on what Hebrews has to say about the differences between the current states of the Old and New Covenants, we spent some time reflecting upon the significantly higher legal standard presented by the gospel of grace. Under what the Bible calls the Law of Christ, here are three measurements of sin confronting Christians (Heb 10:28-29):
- Downplaying the Son of God
- Treating the Cross as irrelevant
- Insulting the Holy Spirit
Those who violated commands under the Old Covenant died without mercy on the testimony of two witnesses, but here we are warned regarding “how much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished” who commits any of the above three?
The former resulted in physical death, the latter results in unpardonable sin, also described as Hell.
This biblical truth might not fit comfortably within popular theologies which only reference the gracious mercy of God, but which disregard the fullness of the gospel. This is part of the gospel message for which Paul said he was not ashamed (Rom 1:16-32). It is a necessary part of the warning cited by Hebrews that pleads for a more careful focus upon the details of what we have heard, so as to ward off the very real threat of drifting away from salvation (Heb 2:1-3).
The point of the letter of Hebrews is that Jesus is the center focus, he is our greatest advocate, our only hope, our perfect Priest, not anything offered through the Old Covenant law. This very real and powerful grace is never deserved, but it can be discarded…
“…because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again” (6:6).
It is necessary to occasionally highlight such hard-to-receive truths of the gospel of Christ. It is important in order to mature according to divine revelation graciously offered through the blood of Christ in the New Covenant. However, “Even though we speak like this, dear friends, we are confident of better things in your case–things that accompany salvation” (6:9).
Do you find yourself dismissing the commands of Christ as unnecessary legalism?
In what way do Christians find greater freedom as well as higher expectations under the New Covenant?