CLAIM: The author of Hebrews writes, “For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins” (Heb. 10:26). Does this threaten the notion of eternal security?
RESPONSE: Let’s consider the entire flow of thought for this passage, verse by verse:
(Heb. 10:19-25) Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; 24 and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, 25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.
The context of this passage is having a clean conscience, holding our confession of faith, and pursuing Christian fellowship.
(Heb. 10:26) For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,
What does it mean to “go on sinning willfully”? The context means that we reject Jesus’ blood and sacrifice for sins (v.29). These people were probably reverting back to OT ritualism. But the author had already reminded them that “It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins” (Heb. 10:4).
(Heb. 10:27) but a terrifying expectation of judgment and THE FURY OF A FIRE WHICH WILL CONSUME THE ADVERSARIES.
Some commentators argue that this is simply the “expectation of judgment,” rather than actual judgment. This is the plight of the believer that falls under law. They expect God to judge them.
(Heb. 10:28-29) Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?
Some commentators argue that these must be believers based on the word “sanctified.” However, the author could be using it in the Hebraic general sense of being “set apart” (c.f. 1 Cor. 7:14; Heb. 13:12). Regarding the expression “common,” Morris writes, “The apostate regards that blood as ‘a common thing’ (koinon). That is to say he treats the death of Jesus as just like the death of any other man.”
(Heb. 10:30-32) For we know Him who said, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY.” And again, “THE LORD WILL JUDGE HIS PEOPLE.” 31 It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
The “we know” could refer to Jewish believers, who know their Old Testament Scripture—not necessarily Christian believers.
Regarding the author’s OT citation, Morris observes, “In both Deuteronomy 32:36 and Psalm 135:14, it is deliverance that is in mind; and both times RSV, for example, translates it as ‘vindicate.’”
(Deut. 32:35) Vengeance is Mine, and retribution, in due time their foot will slip; for the day of their calamity is near, and the impending things are hastening upon them.’
(Deut. 32:36) For the Lord will vindicate His people, and will have compassion on His servants, when He sees that their strength is gone, and there is none remaining, bond or free.
(Ps. 135:14) For the Lord will judge His people and will have compassion on His servants.
After taking a close look at each verse, let’s consider three different views on this.
VIEW #1: Christians losing their salvation
Advocates of this view point out that they were “sanctified” (v.29), and they had “received the knowledge of the truth” (v.26). Thus they argue that these Christians do not lose their salvation because of sin (e.g. drunkenness, fornication, etc.). Instead, they lose their salvation because they go back under the ritualism of the Old Covenant, rather than embracing the New Covenant (v.29).
VIEW #2: Non-Christians who never had salvation
The book of Hebrews has some of the strongest affirmations of eternal security in the entire Bible (c.f. Heb. 7:25; 10:10-14, 19-25). Therefore, the advocates of this view point out that this passage uses guarded language about these apparent believers. The use of the pronoun “we” could simply refer to Jews, rather than believers—given the audience. Also, when the author uses the term “sanctified” (v.29), this might refer to the general sense of being set apart (Greek hagiazo), which can even refer to non-Christians (c.f. 1 Cor. 7:14).
VIEW #3: Christians who go under law and expect judgment
Advocates of this view argue that it never says that these believers are judged—only that they have the “expectation of judgment” (v.27). This is the plight of falling back under law; there is no security and we wonder if God will judge us.
 Morris, L. (1981). Hebrews. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Volume 12: Hebrews through Revelation (F. E. Gaebelein, Ed.) (107). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.
 Morris, L. (1981). Hebrews. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Volume 12: Hebrews through Revelation (F. E. Gaebelein, Ed.) (108). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.