29 Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?
Verse 29 completes the lesser to the greater argument begun in verse 28.
29 Of how much worse punishment [vengeance],
There is a “worse punishment” during the New Testament period for those who reject Christ, because they have the greater revelation of Christ’s sacrifice. If someone defied the Mosaic law and faced severe punishment by death of the body, how much worse it is to spurn Christ’s exclusive sacrifice for sin.
do you suppose,
This is an appeal to the reader’s conscience, to his view of what is appropriate. The author gives readers the decision based on what is right.
will he be thought worthy
The “thought worthy” here is how God will deem the issue.
who has trampled the Son of God underfoot,
This and the next two parallel clauses stress the serious effect of distorting the finished work of Christ on the cross. The rebels under the Old Covenant lost their lives (Deut 17:2–7; 13:8), but those under the New Covenant will lose their eternal reward and receive discipline in this life.
Now the apostle gave three descriptions of the sin of those who were about to revert to the Mosaic law; they:
—trampled the Son of God underfoot,
—counted the blood of the covenant something common, and
—insulted the Spirit of grace.
God gave His ultimate revelation in His “Son” (He 1:1–4). He could give nothing greater; the Son is “greater than” anything or anyone else. He has the ultimate place of honor in God’s economy; He sits at the Father’s right hand. It is dreadful to treat Him as something common. Who He is and what He did cannot be compared to the sacrifices of the Old Testament.
The concept of trampling something is an act of disdain or contempt. The reversionist who harks back to Old Testament sacrifices commits a blatant act. The image of trampling “the Son of God underfoot” is extremely stark; the idea is disdain. It is a palpable violation of the Sovereign Son of God and contempt for His work on the cross as sacrifice.
counted the blood of the covenant
“Counted” is human judgment. These Jewish believers were not using divine revelation in their attempt to go back to Old Testament sacrifices. His blood sacrifice was an “eternal covenant” with the Father (He 9:20; 13:20).
The phrase “blood of the covenant” comes from Exodus 24:8 (LXX), cited previously in Hebrews 9:20.
by which he was sanctified [set apart] a common thing,
“Sanctified” (set apart) here is positional sanctification or justification. The Greek indicates that the believer arrived at a specific point (aorist) when he was justified, and that it was God who sanctified him (passive voice), and that it was an actual event in time (indicative mood). It was a finished event, not something yet to be done. Thus, the phrase “he was sanctified” refers to the conversion of a genuine believer (He 2:11; 10:10, 14) and not to the progression of sanctification.
In no way can Christ’s blood be calculated to be a “common thing.” The shed blood of Christ is of far greater value than the blood of a common man. To treat Christ’s blood as “common” is to treat it no differently than any other sacrifice, especially animal sacrifice.
and insulted the Spirit of grace?
To defy revelation given by “the Spirit of grace” and the New Covenant, which is the Antitype, is infinitely greater than spurning the type under the Mosaic law. The issue is much greater in the case of what Christ provides.
The Holy Spirit is one who confers grace. To treat Him with insolence is an act of arrogance. Arrogance disregards what Christ did on the cross.
There is a severe warning against believers who commit the “willful sin” of minimizing the work of Christ on the cross.
“Sanctified” in this verse is not a reference to Christ, or a person who simply claims to be sanctified, as some state. Hebrews does not carry this thought. The point is the seriousness of trampling what Christ did on the cross by disdaining His sacrifice for another sacrifice. That is to renounce the efficacy of His sacrifice. This is a heinous sin that is subject to God’s judgment—not hell but discipline of the believer.
If a Christian reverts to a sacrifice other than Christ, he cannot presume that God will neglect to address the issue. Both situations in Numbers 15 and Hebrews 10 are parallel. The person who treats the New Covenant with contempt casts aspersion on Christ’s sacrificial death for our sins.
There are only two passages in the New Testament that refer to misuse of the blood of the covenant (1 Co 11:25–30 and Hebrews 10:27–29). The Corinthians passage warns against partaking of the Lord’s Supper in an unworthy manner; that is, by feasting at a large meal while poor believers do not (1 Co 11:27). The result of this is divine discipline (1 Co 11:30); that discipline includes sickness and even death.
Hi Grant, can you give example of how a Christian reverts back to a sacrifice other than Christ today?
C, the two studies on Galatians 2:21 is a good example: https://versebyversecommentary.com/2000/01/24/galatians-221/
Hi. I understand works do not save us, but does sinning wilfully as a Christian condemn us? Specifically, when a Christian, for whatever reason, walks away from God and knowingly commits fornication or adultery. What happens to them? Are they allowed to repent?
Thanks for your question Julie. Since we were not saved by works, bad works cannot unsave us. If a Christian sins “wilfully” and consistently, then God will discipline the believer as a Christian. The book of Hebrews deals with this a couple of chapters later. See my studies beginning here: https://versebyversecommentary.com/2019/11/06/hebrews-126/ Make sure you continue to advance in the studies there by clicking on the verse in the upper right of the page. David was allowed to repent after adultery and murder. In fact, he wrote some of the Psalms after his sin and repentance.