(God’s mercy / God’s judgment)
God has shown great mercy and compassion to us by bearing our sins and the punishment for them upon himself. Those who trust in Christ’s sacrifice are saved from his wrath but God’s wrath will fall upon those who reject his sacrifice.
26. For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,
27. But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.
Mankind has only one hope for forgiveness of sin. To understand God’s offer of salvation and reject it is to have no more options. This should make people afraid.
28. He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:
29. Of 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?
Some have the mistaken impression that God’s anger against sin and punishment for it was greater under Moses’ law than it is in our day.
30. For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.
31. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
The phrase “God fearing” was fairly common in our society years ago but I almost never hear this phrase used today. Very few people in our country believe that the day is coming when God will judge all sin, but that day is coming.
32. But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions;
33. Partly, whilst ye were made a gazingstock both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly, whilst ye became companions of them that were so used.
In II Timothy 3:12 we read: “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” According to God’s word, those who claim to be Christians and who have never suffered some form of persecution because of their faith are not living a godly life.
34. For 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.
35. Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward.
Part of living a godly Christian life is standing with those who suffer for Christ and his word. When we do so, there may be negative earthly consequences. This is a cause for rejoicing because the eternal rewards are so much greater.
36. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.
37. For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.
Jesus is coming again. Are you ready?
38. Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.
The Greek word for “draw back” is translated “withdrew” in Galatians 2:12 where Peter shamefully separated himself from his Gentile brethren out of fear of what the Jews would think.
39. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.
It is one thing to “draw back” in the way that Peter did - it is another to draw back unto perdition (damnation or total destruction). In John 17:12, Judas is called “the son of perdition”. God’s people may draw back and they may suffer loss because of this, but not to utter destruction.