The Consequence of Rejecting Christ
These verses may, at first, seem to be a jarring and abrupt change of topic. He was just speaking of the need to meet together and encourage each other rather than neglecting the fellowship. But remember that the writer of Hebrews was encouraging mostly Jewish believers to stay in the church following Jesus and not abandon the faith to return to Judaism. He equates absence from the fellowship with rejecting Christ for something else.
In his case, that something else was Judaism. In our times, it may mean rejecting Christ for your parents‘ religion, your culture, your friends, or your immorality. Remember, John said “They went out from us, but they were of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out that it might become plain that they all are not of us.” (1 John 2:19) So, John was saying that those who leave the fellowship do so because they are not “of us”, they do not belong to the body of Christ. They are not saved. There are those people who will hear the gospel, indicate they believe it, and hang around for a while. Then they leave. They may stay on the church roll, but they quit attending. And that shows us they were not truly converted and part of the body. The writer of Hebrews is saying the same thing, and then he expresses what will happen to those.
So when, in verse 26, the writer of Hebrews writes about those who sin deliberately after receiving knowledge of the truth, he is speaking of those who heard the gospel, but rejected it. They heard the truth. They may have acted like they believed the truth for a while. But they rejected it. They “kept on sinning deliberately”. The sin is apostasy.
For those people, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins. The only effective sacrifice for sins is the death of Christ. They only way you get the benefit of his sacrifice is to believe in him and receive him as the savior. There is no other way. So, if the Jew returns to Judaism, the Jewish sacrifices do not save him. No matter what religion you embrace when you reject Christ, whether a religion with a name or belief in your own good works, it will not save you.
Instead, verse 27 tells us there is only a fearful expectation of judgment and a fury of fire. You can dabble in whatever religion or philosophy you want, but the end of that is judgment and hell.
In verses 28-29, the writer makes an illustration to prove his point by arguing from the lesser to the greater. In verse 28, he points out that one who broke the law of Moses could incur the death penalty. This might be a reference to Numbers 15, which distinguishes between intentional sin and unintentional sin. An unintentional sin could be atoned for b the sacrifice of an animal. But one who intentionally reviled the Lord incurred the penalty of death.
In this argument, the intentional sin under the old covenant is the lesser. The greater is set out in verse 29. He said how much worse punishment would one get spurned the Son of God, who profaned the blood of the covenant, (the blood of Christ shed for us), and outraged the Holy Spirit? That person certainly not only dies, but is punished by eternity in Hell.
I believe this is the same idea Jesus expressed when he said one who blasphemes the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. The context of that statement in Matthew 12 is that of the Pharisees rejecting Christ and attributing his miracles to the power of Satan. Rejecting Christ leads to eternal damnation. This is a greater punishment than physical death.
In 30-31, the writer points out that God will indeed judge humanity, he will punish those who reject him and it is his right to do so. It is most fearful to fall into his hands without the blood of Christ bringing deliverance from judgment.
This passage is a presentation of the Gospel. He has already written of the need for a sacrifice for sin. Sin separates men and women from God. It brings death. The only way to end that separation and find eternal life is through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ as our high priest and mediator. Those who follow Christ enter into the presence of God for eternity. Those who do not enter into judgment and punishment. Commit your life to Christ and live. Do not walk away and suffer eternal punishment.