When interpreting Hebrews10:26, integration with the context of the chapter is essential. It is also important to comprehend the overall theme of the book of Hebrews: the superiority of Christ and His sacrificial death for sin over the Levitical sacrifices, and the supremacy of faith in the finished work of Christ over the dead works of Judaism. The primary aspect of this theme is Christ’s sufficient sacrifice for sin once for all.
This is the focus of chapter 10, making the doctrine in this chapter an important aspect in the establishment of the argument for the book. Christ’s once-and-for-all sacrifice on the cross makes the Levitical sacrifices of the Law no longer necessary.
The author is addressing born-again Jewish believers who are attempting to find a way to combine their newfound salvation in Christ and with the works of Judaism.
After introducing the topic of the New Covenant in chapters 8 and 9, chapter 10 begins with the word for, which could be translated because. This word links these three chapters as the author begins to explain the weaknesses in the Old Covenant, which was introduced in chapter 8. Hebrews 10, contrasts the old with the new—sacrifice under the Mosaic Law as contrasted with grace through faith in Christ’s finished work.
The key word in chapter 10 is sacrifice, occurring 6 times. It is inferred three other times; its synonym offering[s] occurs 8 times. The author again confirms that the Levitical sacrifices were replaced with the once-and-for-all sacrifice of Jesus.
The author points out the inadequacy of the transitory Levitical sacrifices:
- The Law was only a shadow of good things to come (v. 1).
- Sacrifices are unable to perfect those who offer them (v. 1).
- Sacrifices needed to be offered continually (v. 1).
- Sacrifices did not remove the guilt of sin (2).
- The people were reminded of their sins year by year (v. 3).
- It was impossible for the blood of animals to take away sin (vv. 4, 8).
- God no longer desires sacrifices and offerings (vv. 5-8).
- God took away the Old [Covenant] to establish the New [Covenant) (v. 9).
- There is no longer any offering for sin (v. 18).
- Sacrifices for sin are now obsolete (v. 26).
The author then explains why the sacrificial system under the Mosaic Law is no longer necessary:
- Believers are sanctified through the sacrifice of Christ once for all (v. 10).
- By one offering, God has perfected [made complete] all believers (v. 14).
- Believers are forgiven (no need for a sacrifice for sin) (v. 18).
There are several key words used by the author in chapter 10 to unify the teaching in this chapter.
- The word therefore in verses 5, 19, and 35 is used by the author as a link to show several concluding statements in this chapter. It could be translated consequently or accordingly. In verse 19, therefore begins a section (vv. 19-25) focusing on the practical application of the doctrine of forgiveness based on the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
- In verses 19-25, the three uses of the phrase, let us in verses 22, 23, and 24 are used to challenge the readers to continue in their faith.
- The word for is used as a link to an explanation. It could be translated because. It is the first word used in verses 1, 4, 14, 26, 30, 34, 36, and 37.
In verse 14, the writer summarizes the sacrifice of Jesus for sin once for all, stating, For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are [being] sanctified. Then, because of their sins and lawless deeds are forgiven and no longer remembered, the author declares the end of offerings for sin (10:18).
Then a warning is given in 10:26:
For if we deliberately keep on sinning after receiving the knowledge of the truth, no further sacrifice for sins is left for us (NET Bible).
This has often been interpreted as loss of salvation, due to willful sin, or as the sin unto death for a believer who deliberately sins. But neither of these views is correct. Salvation cannot be lost (John 10:27, 28); any sin is forgivable if confessed (1 John 1:9).
The use of the present participle in this verse, translated, we go on sinning, implies continuous sin or “more specifically, a continuation of the state existing before the readers came to “the knowledge of the truth”; certainly more than the permanent possibility or risk of falling back into sin.’ The use of the genitive absolute with the present active participle makes the lack of a sacrifice for sin conditional upon the willful act of continual sin.
The term sinning willfully “reflects the OT distinction between sins of Ignorance or inadvertence and sins of intent, those done with ‘a high hand’ (Nu. 15:27–31). The latter passage is followed immediately by a narrative which illustrates the kind of sin for which no forgiveness was possible but rather death was prescribed … This type of judgment by God is articulated in Hebrews10:27-21.
In other words, if these Jewish believers willfully choose to continue in their sin of rejecting the sufficiency of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, they have “renounced the one and only sacrifice for sin that does or can remove sin (10:1–18).” By reverting to the Levitical sacrificial system after receiving the knowledge of the truth, they have refused God’s forgiveness and have placed themselves back under the Mosaic Law—a law that required death for their willful sin. The author is telling his readers that Jesus Christ has died, once for all. Sacrifices have ceased. They are no longer necessary.
Chapter 10 ends with a challenge to confidently move on in their faith. Then in chapter 11, often referred to as the “Hall of Faith,” faith is defined (v. 1) and required in order to please God (v. 6).
In summary, there are similarities in the warning passages in Hebrews. In each case, the author challenges the Hebrew believers to mature in Christ. However, this requires the forsaking of Judaism and the Levitical sacrificial system.
In Hebrews 6:6, the adherence to Judaism was keeping them from being renewed to repentance; in 10:26, it would not provide forgiveness for willful sin. In both instances, their salvation was secure, but their future rewards would be lost by their failure to leave Judaism in order to mature in Christ.
 Ellingworth, P. (1993). The Epistle to the Hebrews: A Commentary on the Greek text. New International Greek Testament Commentary (532). Grand Rapids, MI; Carlisle: W.B. Eerdmans; Paternoster Press.
 Harrison, E. F. (1979–1988). Deliberate Sin. In G. W. Bromiley (Ed.), . Vol. 1: The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Revised (G. W. Bromiley, Ed.) (914). Wm. B. Eerdmans.
 Robertson, A. (1933). Word Pictures in the New Testament (Heb 10:26). Nashville, TN: Broadman Press.