For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. (Hebrews 10:26-31, ESV)
Doesn’t everyone sin deliberately? I don’t steal something from a neighbor and later say, “Oops, I didn’t mean to steal that.” But that is not what our author means in this passage. He has already talked about how sacrifice was for “unintentional” sin (Hebrews 9:7). This is contrasted with “high-handed” sins in the Old Testament for which there is no sacrifice provided. The sense is sins that are committed with a deliberate defiance of God and His laws. This depicts a hardened heart like our author describes in chapter 6.
Chapter 6 shows the person who tastes of the heavenly gift, shares in the Holy Spirit’s affect upon the congregation, sees the miracles of the age to come and defiantly declares that Jesus is not the Savior, that his sacrifice did not avail for us, and in this particular case for this congregation, that Jesus is not sufficient reason to keep to Christianity. It is impossible, our author says, to renew such a person to repentance. This is the unpardonable sin Jesus talked about with the Pharisees, where they saw his miracles and could not deny them but attributed them to Satan.
If the author’s readers are going to reject Jesus’ better way into the heavenly tabernacle as a better priest of a better covenant, they are defiantly rejecting God’s new covenant and there is no sacrifice for defiant sin. If there is no sacrifice, there is only fiery judgment for trampling underfoot the Son of God and treating his sacrifice as unholy. God will not spare that person. The true believer will never go here.
You and I sin, and we should not, and we know we should not and that it is a way of dishonoring God. But that is not “deliberate” or “high-handed” sinning, the kind that says I will not have God or anyone telling me what to do. The high-handed sinner raises his fist to God and refuses to acknowledge God’s sovereignty over him. If you, like possibly some of the Hebrews, are willing to say that Jesus’ sacrifice means nothing and that your old way of life was perfectly fine, you are in danger of falling into God’s hands for payment. Not good! This passage stands as your warning from God.