Updated: Jan 2, 2021
By Luke Lancaster
Hebrews 10:14 says, "For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified" (ESV).
Some Protestants will use this verse to claim that Christians are secure in their salvation, that Hell is not an option for us, because this verse says that we have been made “perfect” forever. Thus, Christians would be eternally secure based on Heb. 10. However, we need to understand what the context is. Being "perfected forever" is referring to the fact that our past sins are removed for eternity. They will never return. I think Biblical scholar, Dr. Robert Sungenis gave a very solid explanation of this in his book, “Not by Bread Alone.” He said that “eternal security” is
“not what the verse is teaching. We can see this by the way the word 'perfect is used in the book of Hebrews. According to Hebrews 10:1-2, the individual's 'perfection' refers to having his sins completely forgiven in order that the conscience may be free of guilt, something which the Old Covenant law could not provide (cf., 7:19; 9:9). Thus, the individual stands 'perfect' because his past sins have been completely forgiven, not because he has reached a perfect state which eliminates the possibility of losing his state of grace. It follows, then, that the use of 'perfect' here does not mean that the individual cannot retard the sanctification process, or that his eternal perfection is a foregone conclusion (cf., Hebrews 11:40; 12:23). The verbal form chosen for 'being sanctified' is a Greek participle of continuing action, which specifies the process of sanctification, a process by which we are continually forgiven of our sins, albeit now it is a complete or 'perfect' forgiveness for the sins we have confessed. In other words Christ did not make a blanket forgiveness of sin but has perfected the process by which sin is forgiven when it is confessed.”
Man is perfect when he has faith in God and receives baptism, for his soul is cleansed perfectly clean, but that state is not permanent. It does not mean that he cannot get off that road with a serious sin. Hebrews says later on in that chapter, “For if we sin deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful prospect of judgment, and a fury of fire which will consume the adversaries” (Heb 10:26-27).