on Hebrews 10 :29
Of how much sorer punishment - Such offenses were trifling in comparison of this, and in justice the punishment should be proportioned to the offense.
Trodden under foot the Son of God - Treated him with the utmost contempt and blasphemy.
The blood of the covenant - an unholy thing - The blood of the covenant means here the sacrificial death of Christ, by which the new covenant between God and man was ratified, sealed, and confirmed. And counting this unholy, or common, κοινον, intimates that they expected nothing from it in a sacrificial or atoning way. How near to those persons, and how near to their destruction, do they come in the present day who reject the atoning blood, and say, "that they expect no more benefit from the blood of Christ than they do from that of a cow or a sheep!" Is not this precisely the crime of which the apostle speaks here, and to which he tells us God would show no mercy?
Despite unto the Spirit of grace? - Hath insulted the Spirit of grace. The apostle means the Holy Spirit, whose gifts were bestowed in the first age on believers for the confirmation of the Gospel. See Hebrews 6:4-6. Wherefore, if one apostatized in the first age, after having been witness to these miraculous gifts, much more after having possessed them himself, he must, like the scribes and Pharisees, have ascribed them to evil spirits; than which a greater indignity could not be done to the Spirit of God. Macknight. This is properly the sin against the Holy Ghost, which has no forgiveness.
on Hebrews 10 :29
Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy - That is, he who renounces Christianity ought to be regarded as deserving a much severer punishment than the man who apostatized from the Jewish religion, and if he ought to be so regarded he will be - for God will treat every man as he ought to be treated. This must refer to future punishment, for the severest punishment was inflicted on the apostate from the Jewish religion which can be in this world - death; and yet the apostle here says that a severer punishment than that would be deserved by him who should apostatize from the Christian faith. The reasons why so much severer punishment would be deserved, are such as these - the Author of the Christian system was far more exalted than Moses, the founder of the Jewish system; he had revealed more important truths; he had increased and confirmed the motives to holiness; he had furnished more means for leading a holy life; he had given himself as a sacrifice to redeem the soul from death, and he had revealed with far greater clearness the truth that there is a heaven of glory and of holiness. He who should apostatize from the Christian faith, the apostle goes on to say, would also be guilty of the most aggravated crime of which man could be guilty - the crime of trampling under foot the Son of God, of showing contempt for his holy blood. and despising the Spirit of grace.
Who hath trodden under foot the Son of God - This language is taken either from the custom of ancient conquerors who were accustomed to tread on the necks of their enemies in token of their being subdued, or from the fact that people tread on what they despise and contemn. The idea is, that he who should apostatize from the Christian faith would act as if he should indignantly and contemptuously trample on God's only Son. What crime could be more aggravated than this?
And hath counted the blood of the covenant - The blood of Jesus by which the new covenant between God and man was ratified; see the notes on Hebrews 9:16-20; compare the notes on Matthew 26:28.
Wherewith he was sanctified - Made holy, or set apart to the service of God. The word "sanctify" is used in both these senses. Prof. Stuart renders it, "by which expiation is made;" and many others, in accordance with this view, have supposed that it refers to the Lord Jesus. But it seems to me that it refers to the person who is here supposed to renounce the Christian religion, or to apostatize from it. The reasons for this are such as these:
(1) it is the natural and proper meaning of the word rendered here "sanctified." This word is commonly applied to Christians in the sense that they are made holy; see Acts 20:32; Acts 26:18; 1 Corinthians 1:2; Jde 1:1; compare John 10:36; John 17:17.
(2) it is unusual to apply this word to the Saviour. It is true, indeed, that he says John 17:19, "for their sakes I sanctify myself," but there is no instance in which he says that he was sanctified by his own blood. And where is there an instance in which the word is used as meaning "to make expiations?"
(3) the supposition that it refers to one who is here spoken of as in danger of apostasy, and not of the Lord Jesus, agrees with the scope of the argument. The apostle is showing the great guilt, and the certain destruction, of one who should apostatize from the Christian religion. In doing this it was natural to speak of the dishonor which would thus be done to the means which had been used for his sanctification - the blood of the Redeemer. It would be treating it as if it were a common thing, or as if it might be disregarded like anything else which was of no value.
An unholy thing - Greek common; often used in the sense of unholy. The word is so used because what was holy was separated from a common to a sacred use. What was not thus consecrated was free to all, or was for common use, and hence, also the word is used to denote what is unholy.
And hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace - The Holy Spirit, called "the Spirit of grace," because he confers favor (grace) upon people. The meaning of the phrase "done despite unto" - ἐνυβρίσας enubrisas - is, "having reproached, or treated with malignity, or contempt." The idea is, that if they were thus to apostatize, they would by such an act treat the Spirit of God with disdain and contempt. It was by him that they had been renewed; by him that they had been brought to embrace the Saviour and to love God; by him that they had any holy feelings or pure desires; and if they now apostatized from religion, such an act would be in fact treating the Holy Spirit with the highest indignity. It would be saying that all his influences were valueless, and that they needed no help from him. From such considerations, the apostle shows that if a true Christian were to apostatize, nothing would remain for him but the terrific prospect of eternal condemnation. He would have rejected the only Saviour; he would have in fact treated him with the highest indignity; he would have considered his sacred blood, shed to sanctify people, as a common thing, and would have shown the highest disregard for the only agent who can save the soul - the Spirit of God. How could such an one afterward be saved? The apostle does not indeed say that anyone ever would thus apostatize from the true religion, nor is there any reason to believe that such a case ever has occurred, but if it should occur the doom would be inevitable. How dangerous then is every step which would lead to such a precipice! And how strange and unscriptural the opinion held by so many that sincere Christians may "fall away" and be renewed, again and again!
(See the supplementary note on Hebrews 6:6. where certain principles are laid down, for the interpretation of this and similar passages, in consistency with the doctrine of the saints' perseverance. If that doctrine be maintained, and our author's view of the passage at the same be correct, then plainly it contains an impossible case. It is descriptive of real Christians, yet they never can fall away. The utility of the warning, in this case, may indeed successfully be vindicated, on the ground that it is the means of preventing apostasy in the saints, the means by which the decree of God in reference to their stability is effected. Most, however, will incline to the view which regards this case, as something more than imaginary, as possible, as real. The warning is addressed to professors generally, without any attempt of distinguishing or separating into true or false. Doubtless there might be some even of the latter class in the churches whose members the apostles, presuming on their professed character, addressed as "saints, "elect," and "faithful," without distinction.
Of course, in consistency with the doctrine of perseverance only the "false," in whom the "root of the matter" had never existed, could apostatize; yet at the same time, when no distinction was made, when the apostle made none, but addressed all in the language of charity, when Christians themselves might find it difficult at all times to affirm decidedly on their own case, universal vigilance was secured, or at all events designed. But is not the party whose apostasy is here supposed, described by two attributes which belong to none but genuine Christians, namely, the "reception of the knowledge of the truth," and "sanctification through the blood of the covenant?" The answer which has been given to this question is generally, that neither of these things necessarily involves more than external dedication to God. The first is parallel to the "once enlightened" of Hebrews 6:4, and of course admits of the same explanation; see supplementary note there.
The second thing, namely, the sanctification of the party "is not real or internal sanctification, and all the disputes concerning the total and final apostasy from the faith of them who have been really and internally sanctified from this place, are altogether vain. As at the giving of the Law, the people being sprinkled with blood, were sanctified or dedicated to God in a special manner, so those who, by baptism and confession of faith in the church of Christ, were separated from all others were especially dedicated to God thereby." - "Owen." Yet, this eminent writer is rather disposed to adopt the opinion of those who construe, ἐν ᾡ ἡγιασθη en hō hēgiasthē with the immediate antecedent, τον Υἱον του Θεου ton Huion tou Theou, thus referring the sanctification to Christ, and not to the apostate; see John 17:19. Whichever of these views we receive, the great doctrine of perseverance is, of course, unaffected. In reference to an objection which the author has urged that "the sentiment (in the Hebrews 10:26 and Hebrews 10:27 verses) would not be correct, if it referred to any but true Christians," let it be noticed that while many may be saved, who have long resisted the Spirit, yet the assertion must appear hazardous in the extreme, that any can be saved, who do all that the apostate in this passage is alleged to do. The sin described seems to be that of a determined, insulting, final rejection of the only remedy for sin.)
on Hebrews 10 :29
10:29 Of how much sorer punishment is he worthy, who - By wilful, total apostasy. It does not appear that this passage refers to any other sin. Hath, as it were, trodden underfoot the Son of God - A lawgiver far more honourable than Moses. And counted the blood wherewith the better covenant was established, an unholy, a common, worthless thing. By which he hath been sanctified - Therefore Christ died for him also, and he was at least justified once. And done despite to the Spirit of grace - By rejecting all his motions.