by Frances Swaggart
Observe carefully what your pastor is teaching or preaching. Hebrews 10:26 KJV states: “For if we sin willfully (the ‘willful sin’ is the transference of Faith from Christ and Him Crucified to other things) after that we have received the knowledge of the Truth (speaks of the Bible way of Salvation and Victory, which is ‘Jesus Christ and Him Crucified’ [1 Cor 2:2 KJV]), there remains no more Sacrifice for sins, (if the Cross of Christ is rejected, there is no other Sacrifice or way God will accept)”
The exegesis is:
1. The willful sin that is spoken of here is the transferal of Faith from Christ and Him Crucified to other things. Here, in this Scripture, Paul would have been speaking of Christian Jews putting their Faith in the Levitical sacrifices instead of Christ. However, it is definitely not limited to that.
2. One cannot move their Faith from the Truth if they have not first heard and received the Truth, which these Christian Jews had. Their sin was a departure from Truth. The Truth is “Christ and Him Crucified.”
3. When one rejects Christ as the Only Sacrifice for sin, there remains no other sacrifice. In other words, one has just closed the door to Salvation.
The phrase, “For if we sin will-fully,” refers to several things:
• He is speaking here of Believers who are on the verge of no longer believing. Believing what?
• Of no longer believing in Christ and His great Sacrifice as the only manner of Salvation.
• Such a sin is always a willful sin, because it can be no other. It has to do with the next phrase.
• The Holy Spirit here through Paul is not speaking of other types of sin. Some people have misunderstood this as to think that anyone who sins will-fully cannot be forgiven. The truth is, every single sin anyone ever commits is in some way a “willful sin.” No, Paul is speaking here of a certain type of sin, which is the type of sin that can damn one’s soul. He is speaking of turning away from Christ and His Sacrifice on the Cross, ceasing to believe in Him as the Saviour, and, thereby believing in something else. The “willful sin” is limited to this particular type of sin.
Even then, if the person at a point in time, renounces their unbelief, and desires to come back to Christ, every clue in the Bible is that the Lord will gladly accept them.
The idea is, if a Believer ceases to believe in Christ and renounces Christ and the Cross, and remains in that condition, there is no way that person can be saved. The Sacrifice of Christ being the only way, and that being renounced, the door is closed!
The phrase, “After that we have received the knowledge of the Truth,” speaks of the Bible Way of Salvation, which is “Jesus Christ and Him Crucified.”
1 Corinthians 2:2 KJV states: “For I determined not to know any thing among you (with purpose and design, Paul did not resort to the knowledge or philosophy of the world regarding the preaching of the Gospel), save Jesus Christ, and Him Crucified (that and that alone is the Message which will save the sinner, set the captive free, and give the Believer perpetual victory).”
“Knowledge” in the Greek as used here, is “epignosis.” It is not the simple word “gnosis” which is commonly used, but rather something far greater. Delitzsch defines it by saying: “When ‘epignosis’ is used, there is the assumption of an actual direction of the Spirit to a definite object and of a real grasping of the same.”
Paul, by the use of this word, gives us to understand that he means by it, not merely a shallow historical notion about the Truth, but a living believing knowledge of it, which has laid hold of a man and fused him into union with itself.
So, we are not speaking here of sinners having merely heard the Truth and then rejecting it, as many teach, but rather individuals who have heard the Truth, received the Truth, and made the Truth a part of their lives before rejecting it. As well, when we say “Truth” we’re speaking of “Jesus Christ and Him Crucified” as the only answer for sin, which Paul describes again in Verse 29 of Hebrews, Chapter 10: “Of how much sorer punishment, suppose you, shall he be thought worthy, who has trodden under foot the Son of God (proclaims the reason for the ‘sorer punishment’), and has counted the Blood of the Covenant, wherewith he was Sanctified, an unholy thing (refers to a person who has been Saved, but is now expressing unbelief toward that which originally Saved him), and has done despite unto the Spirit of Grace? (When the Cross is rejected, the Holy Spirit is insulted.)”
The willful sin in this passage, as stated, is the definitive rejection of His Atoning Sacrifice.
I want the reader to fully understand here the meaning of the word “Truth.” Of course, we know that Truth is the Word of God. The Word of God is the only revealed Truth in the world and, in fact, ever has been. However, when we say, “The Word of God” we are at the same time saying, “The Sacrifice of Christ,” for that’s what the Bible exclusively teaches. That is why we keep talking about the Cross, because the Cross is the Truth, even as Truth is the Cross, which is here so clearly borne out. And we must always remember it is the Holy Spirit Who referred to the Sacrifice of Christ as “Truth.” (John 1:14 KJV; John 8:32 KJV; John 14:6 KJV; John 16:13 KJV).
(When we use the word “Cross,” we are referring to the “Finished Work of the Lord Jesus Christ,” His Death, Burial, and Resurrection.)
The point is this: there is no other Truth! All Biblical knowledge springs from the Truth of the Cross (Jimmy Swaggart, Hebrews Bible Commentary).
Beginning in the 1970’s, the Pentecostal and Charismatic sections of the Church began to drift toward humanistic psychology. Unfortunately, this drift is now a wholesale acceptance. Whether denominational leaders understand it or not, this is an explicit vote of “no confidence” as it regards the Cross of Christ. Faith in the Cross automatically negates faith in the efforts of man.
Either Jesus addressed every single problem of man at the Cross or He did not; I believe He did. You must choose which you believe. If your true faith lies in man’s efforts, that’s what you will find yourself doing. If your faith lies in the Cross, you will not enter those labours. When it comes to the sins, perversions, and aberrations of man, we look to Christ or we look to human wisdom. Human wisdom is that which the Holy Spirit through James called, “earthly, sensual, and devilish.”
James 3:15 KJV states: “This wisdom descends not from above (any wisdom that claims Salvation or Victory in any way or manner other than the Cross is not wisdom from above), but is earthly, sensual, devilish. (Whatever its appeal, if it’s not the Cross, it is of Satan. This covers humanistic psychology, plus anything else devised by men, i.e., ‘demons.’)” James 3:17 KJV says: “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure (it is found in all its fullness in Christ, and in Christ alone), then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. (These things present the Work of the Holy Spirit, with the Cross as the means and Christ as the Source.)” To turn from what Christ has already done to redeem humanity, and we speak of the Cross, and place trust in humanistic psychology or any other man-made teaching is the “willful sin” addressed here. It includes an individual who blatantly rejects, chooses to ignore, or tries to add to the Cross as the answer to man’s dilemma. In any of these cases, he has abandoned, to his own detriment, the one and only way of Salvation.
Untold millions in this world presently think of Christ as a Good Man, a Prophet, a Miracle Worker, a great Teacher, a great Leader, etc., but sadly, very few refer to Him as the Saviour of this world. In other words, they place no value in His Atoning Sacrifice – irrespective of their admiration for His personal Goodness or Deeds. But, if they do not accept His Sacrifice for sin they cannot be Saved. There is no neutrality as it regards the Cross. We either accept it fully or we have rejected it. If we claim to accept the Cross and yet turn to other things when the chips are down, we, in effect, reject the Cross as the solution to our problem. Again, let me state, one cannot have it both ways. It is either Christ or humanistic psychology.
Man’s problem is sin, and the whole reason Jesus went to the Cross was to atone for it. There is no other cure, no other panacea, no other remedy. Even under the old covenant, the Lord did not teach the Jews any “works” method by which to overcome sin; He taught them Faith and the Sacrificial system. And remember, the sacrifices were only a temporary covering, a Type of their Messiah, Jesus, the Lamb of God, Who would be sacrificed for the ultimate defeat of sin.
Yes, humanistic psychology does a great job of describing behavior, but even if you pinpoint every detail of every environmental and genealogical factor which led to a person’s abnormalities and/or problems, the method used to change that person can never amount to anything more than witchcraft. God’s Design causes His Power to come by way of the Cross alone, so any other “Power,” no matter how slight, is a usurpation of His. Beware you don’t rob the Glory of the Son; it will not please the Father.
THE MODERN CHURCH
This is why we fear the modern church is in such great danger! A large part of the Charismatic world openly refutes the message of the Cross. Some blatantly state their rejection, referring to it as “past miseries.” Others even refer to the Cross as “the greatest defeat in human history.” Their theology has done a startling 180 degree turn from the Truth of Scripture!
The Truth is that the Cross was the greatest Victory in human history; it was the Victory over our sins! Still others place the Cross in a subsidiary position and, thereby, make other aspects premier. For example, some make the Resurrection premier, while others, the Baptism with the Holy Spirit. There are a few who count the Cross as almost insignificant regarding even the entire Plan of Salvation. These few are attributing Salvation to a false conception of Christ and His Cross, such as the “Jesus died Spiritually” doctrine.
The “seeker sensitive” church takes the approach of placing more emphasis on the needs, wants, and desires of the sinner rather than the Word of the Lord. The felt needs of the sinner are simply placed above the preaching of the Cross. Sin is never mentioned, the goal being to make the sinner comfortable. The sinner’s music is to be played, for example, and nothing is to be said that might offend him. So, to tell an individual he is a sinner, needs a Saviour, and will die in his sin to spend an eternity in hell if he does not accept Jesus Christ as his Saviour is offensive information and, therefore, not allowed.
In fact, anything suggesting that the whole human race is lost and depraved is taboo in a “seeker-sensitive” church. Instead, this church focuses on keeping the sinner feeling good about himself and giving him a positive outlook toward life. Their favorite plan for this is to put the sinner in social service to the community (“works”).
This way he will feel good about himself for helping mankind and feel that he is gaining salvation. How can we never tell the poor individual he is lost? It is comical that most churches like this, who will not mention sin, will at the same time claim to preach the Cross of Christ. Why bother to preach the solution to a problem they do not even admit exists? This is a telltale sign that the Cross is not really being preached. In fact, this entire line of thinking is “willful sin,” a rejection of God’s Way for man’s way.
A perfect example of this can be found in 2 Peter 2:15-16 KJV which states: “Which have forsaken the right way (means they once knew the right way, but now they have forsaken it; the ‘right way’ is the ‘Cross’), and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor (that ‘way’ is money), who loved the wages of unrighteousness (this false prophet was willing to prostitute himself to secure gold); But was rebuked for his iniquity (Balaam was sinning): the dumb ass speaking with man’s voice forbad the madness of the Prophet. (A dumb animal rebuked the Prophet. Modern popular theology denies this, and so accuses the Holy Spirit of falsehood.)” You see, the only logical reason a preacher would leave the Message of the Cross is to serve his own fleshly lusts, the fact being that more people will support a man preaching a works-oriented Gospel.
Why will a works-oriented message always win the popular vote? Because more people have a works-oriented faith. More people will trust their own religious works before they will trust Christ’s Finished Work at Calvary. Human nature always looks for a way to justify itself. But, God’s Word does not lie. It tells us exactly what will happen to those who have heard, accepted, and followed the “Truth,” then turn their backs on it for any reason.
2 Peter 2:20 KJV states: “For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ (they were saved by trusting Christ and the Cross), they are again entangled therein, and overcome (proclaims the fact that if the Believer ceases to place his Faith and trust in what Jesus did at the Cross, that entanglement in the pollutions of the world will once again become a fact; it cannot be otherwise), the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. (If Believers reject the Message of the Cross after it is plainly given, there is nothing left but destruction.)”
(This article was originally printed in October, 2009.)