Tuesday, May 1, 2018

IS IT POSSIBLE FOR SOMEONE TO REJECT GOD SO THOROUGHLY THAT THERE NO LONGER REMAINS A POSSIBILITY FOR HIS SALVATION?




I must admit that I don’t like the Bible’s answer to this question. It is more comfortable for me to teach that there is always hope for all individuals. It would seem that there is. It would seem that this hope remains for all it light of the fact that the worst sinners have come to repentance (1 Timothy 1:15-17). However, there are other verses that claim that such a hope, regarding all people, is not Biblical. Here are a few verses that should give us pause. According to Jesus, it seems that some have gone too far:

·       “Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.” (Matthew 12:31-32)

Even if it is true, as some argue, that it is no longer possible to blaspheme the Holy Spirit, because His miracles are no longer so pervasive, it still suggests that the fate of certain people had already been sealed. However, it seems that this is even a possibility today:

·       For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt. For land that has drunk the rain that often falls on it, and produces a crop useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God. But if it bears thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near to being cursed, and its end is to be burned. (Hebrews 6:4-8; 2:3; 10:25; 1 John 5:16)

I would rather present a more user-friendly and marketable Christianity – one that is appealing and not threatening. However, honoring God by honoring His Word must come first.

·       For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. (Hebrews 10:26-27)

Christ is the only sacrifice for sin. If we continually reject the Lord’s pleadings, He allows us to go our own way to make our own choices (Romans 1:23-28), eliminating any chance of salvation (John 6:44):

·       For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. (2 Peter 2:20-21)

According to Peter, “to turn back” from God is a worse fate than never having known Him.

All of these verses pertain to people who had once been knowledgeable about God and had even experienced His goodness. In contrast, Paul claimed that he had received mercy because he had persecuted the Church in relative ignorance and unbelief (1 Timothy 1:13).

These verses also argue against a belief that has now become popular – “Christian” Universalism, the belief that all will be saved even if they have to undergo some form of after-death purgatory or payment for their sins in order to bring them to repentance. Frankly, I find this belief appealing, since it removes some of the distaste for Jesus. However, there is one monumental problem. It is not faithful to His Word, which must not be altered in any way (Deuteronomy 4:1-2; 12:30; Joshua 1:7; Proverbs 30:6; Revelation 22:18-19) lest we incur our Lord’s great displeasure.

Nevertheless, we must comfort those who fear that God will not receive them. If they have such a fear, it means that our Lord is still drawing them. Consequently, this verse applies fully to them:

·       If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9; Psalm 32; 51; Romans 10:12-13; John 6:37)

Consequently, there is always hope for those who want the hope.
 

ADDENDUM:

I feel the need to balance out what I have written. The warnings about Christians falling away to the point where they cannot be restored seems to be only hypothetical – it won’t happen. Here are two examples of this:

·       Hebrews 6:4-6, 9: For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt…Though we speak in this way, yet in your case, beloved, we feel sure of better things—things that belong to salvation.

·       Hebrews 10:26-27, 39:  For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries…But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.


1 comment:

  1. ADDENDUM:

    I feel the need to balance out what I have written. The warnings about Christians falling away to the point where they cannot be restored seems to be only hypothetical – it won’t happen. Here are two examples of this:

    • Hebrews 6:4-6, 9: For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt…Though we speak in this way, yet in your case, beloved, we feel sure of better things—things that belong to salvation.

    • Hebrews 10:26-27, 39: For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries…But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.

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