Willful Sin after you are born again is not covered by the Sacrifice of Jesus!
If you have read the Letter to the Hebrews you will have come across some very hard passages. After having explained at length the removal of the need for animal sacrifices by the one great sacrifice of Jesus (Hebrews 7:26 – 10:25), the writer then goes on to say what that Sacrifice does not cover – willful sin:
“For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain terrifying expectation of judgement.” (Hebrews 10:26-27a).
And it doesn’t get any better from there.
In saying this the writer is only being consistent with what Moses wrote in Leviticus. The animal sacrifices there also do not cover willful sin. There are a litany of sins the Sacrifice does cover but the ones covered by sacrifice alone are the unintentional ones (see Leviticus 4:2, 13, 22, 27).
I think if we are honest we know this. No where in the Great News of Jesus’ death for us on Calvary as declared in the Scriptures is there any indication that it enables us to do what we want. Quite the opposite. In these days where so many worship songs and the atmosphere of the country we live in all pours out “Freedom” as the untouchable mantra, the idea of being a slave to either sin or righteousness can get quite unpopular.
If you think that only the writer to the Hebrews deals with this then you haven’t read much of the New Testament. Have a look at 1 John 5:16 for instance:
16 If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin which does not lead to death, he will ask, and He will give him life for those who commit sin not leading to death. There is sin leading to death. I do not say that he should pray about that.
If you take a simplistic view of sin and make no distinctions between willful and unintentional sins then you are bound to be confused.
I believe that a careful reading of Leviticus will clear up that confusion.
Jesus’ sacrifice does cover a lot of the sins we commit after we are born again.
Sacrifice also plays a role in some intentional sins but even then the sins have an unwitting or unintentional part to them. Examples are not testifying about some crime you have witnessed (Leviticus 5:1), touching unclean things (5:2,3) or saying you will do something and not doing it (5:4,5). However, in each of the above cases confession is also required. Jesus’ Sacrifice on its own is not enough even though without it we are lost. Confession is not enough either, you have to have both. As it says in the apostle John’s first letter:
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)
If you are not born again all this could appear to be foolishness.
I hope to continue this series by looking at what Leviticus says is and isn’t covered by the Sacrifice. That doesn’t mean that you should go around analysing everything you do to see if it fits into one category or another. If you are born again you know in your heart when you are out of sync with the Holy Spirit. A lot of the things mentioned in Leviticus such as confession, restitution, willful sin and restoration you will do without needing to know the chapter and verses that apply to them.
But if you are like me and love the way the Scriptures, Old and New Testament, consistently reveal the nature of God then you might want to follow along.