Dear friends, many quote that Hebrews 12 talks about sin that entangles us and as such the Father disciplines us. I am sorry it is wrong, it says “the sin” and it is not sin. This sin that easily entangles us is the same sin in Hebrews 10:26. It is the sin of thinking Jesus’ blood is not enough to satisfy God of your sins past, present & future. It is called the sin of unbelief. That is why he asks us to continue to look at Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.
This what John MacArthur (who is not a Radical Grace believer) said:
“Most conservative commentaries would be in general agreement with John MacArthur’s interpretation of the sin
Obviously all sin is a hindrance to Christian living, and the reference here may be to sin in general. But use of the definite article (the sin) seems to indicate a particular sin. And if there is one particular sin that hinders the race of faith it is unbelief, doubting God. Doubting and living in faith contradict each other. Unbelief entangles the Christian’s feet so that he cannot run. It wraps itself around us so that we trip and stumble every time we try to move for the Lord, if we try at all. It easily entangles us. When we allow sin in our lives, especially unbelief, it is quite easy for Satan to keep us from running. (MacArthur, John: Hebrews. Moody Press or Logos) (Bolding added)”
I chose MacArthur (despite I have disagreed with his writings before, amongst many other commentators) because I do not want to be accused of being bias (partly also because he is loved by many who argue otherwise.)
As such the context in which God disciplines us is not due to our misbehavior but when we fall back on our works or that we go back to sinning in Hebrews 10:26. The sin there talks about treating Jesus’ blood as common. More importantly, I will give reasons why I believe the sin refers to unbelief.
Many believers interpret that as being sinning in conduct.
That is not correct. If so, then there is no more forgiveness for you. Secondly, everyone sins willfully. As such sinning willfully must be interpreted as something you return to “after you have received knowledge of the truth”. What then is the knowledge of the truth. This knowledge is what is stated in Hebrews 9 and 10. The blood of bulls and goats cannot take away sins. That is why it has to be offered again and again. Thus it can never take away sin although the law demands it. It could never take away the guilt of the believer. That is why the priest do it STANDING year after year and day after day. This ministry became a ministry that reminded you of your sins. As such it could never take away guilt.
On the other hand, when Jesus offered his blood, he did it once and for all and SAT down. Your sins are not only cleansed, they are taken away once and for all. Once and FOR ALL time. Hence this is how our guilt is taken away. Because we know our sins have been totally taken away and we have forgiveness of sins forever! This is a ministry that “remember your sins no more”.
Hence, the blood of Jesus is not common like that of the blood of bulls and goats. As such, when we say that his blood is not sufficient we commit this sin mentioned in Hebrews 10:26, thinking that while Jesus is the author of our faith but we have to perfect our salvation. That is how this sin easily entangles us. Thus, in Hebrews 12:1 the sin causes us to lose sight that HE IS the author and perfecter of our faith. NOT US.
As such God disciplines us not by holding back his presence when we sin but rather disciplines us by helping us to focus on the finished work of Christ. The unpleasantness there does not talk about sufferings and sicknesses. The unpleasantness talks about crucifying the former way you live your life in self righteousness.
As such there is no such thing as “parental forgiveness” as some has suggested, when you say that the minute you sin you tarnish the relationship with your God and that you need to confess your sins again and again, you are actually doing what the Jews do; offering the same sacrifice again and again. To do so is to “sin willfully”. This is the sin that so easily entangles us. It is the believe that we need to do something to restore a relationship that can never be broken. It is the sin of unbelief and it is self righteousness in a very subtle and deceptive form.