I was wondering about the universalist perspective on the “trump” verses in the Book of Hebrews, which seem to say that we can, indeed, lose salvation. It seems neither Calvinism nor Arminiansim can adequately explain these troublesome verses. How do universalists see them?
First, there is Hebrews 6:4-6:
“For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.”
The verses suggest that it is impossible to renew apostates to repentance. How does this not contradict the universalist assertion that under God’s love and perfect will, *all *will come to repent?
Secondly, there is Hebrews 10:26-29:
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 ha fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace?
I’d appreciate hearing the thoughts from all of you much more experienced folks!
P.S. I’m sorry if this has been asked loads and loads of time. It’s not a very original question, I’m sure, but it’s one that as always remained in the recesses of my mind.
Good questions! I can’t tell you how horribly I was once tortured by these verses. I was left shaking with fear when I read them, having spent a few years as an ‘apostate’. Not long after I discovered the wonderful truth of Universalism, I came across one of George MacDonald’s Unspoken Sermons entitled ‘It Shall Not be Forgiven’. I was so frightened that GMac’s sermon was going to describe a particular sin that I thought I might have committed which would disqualify me from salvation irrevocably that I couldn’t bring myself to read it for weeks and weeks.
But thank God I finally plucked up the courage to read that sermon. And thank God it showed me that God will never, ever turn his back on us. I now know that it is impossible for us to do or say anything that could ever disqualify us from ever being saved. How could it? How could our loving God, who commands us to forgive an unlimited number of times, and whose mercies endure forever, reject us eternally for our finite failings?
I’m sure one of the scholars here will help you with interpreting these particular verses. I don’t know their precise meaning, but I think it’s worth remembering that these words were spoken specifically to the Jews, who had rejected Jesus as the Messiah. I guess my own interpretation would be fairly literal, but only in an earthly context: if anybody has once been convinced of the truth of the Gospel, and then, for whatever reason, decides to reject that Gospel, what more can one say in this earthly life to convince them again of the truth? I now have no problem with that. We frail humans lose our faith for all sorts of reasons, and maybe, sadly, we may never regain it in this life. But that doesn’t matter, ultimately. God will never, ever let us go. And one day we will see his glorious truth.
Thanks, Johnny. Very comforting insight, and even more so that you shared your personal experiences with your own anxiety and fear from these verses.
I think you’re right that these verses would make sense in a solely “this earth” context. That’s how I’ve always brushed off my issues with these passages’ seeming-contradiction of universalism, but curiosity regarding others’ interpretations finally got the best of me.
Love right back to you, Sally, and the grandchildren.
not Condemnation! God will judge that who was right, who was false in their lifetimes, then punishment according to the sins!
All these mean if you don’t correct yourself or refuse to repent after knowing the truth, you will not be forgiven not in this age,
not in the age to come, if you don’t please God you will not come to first resurrection and He will Correct you!
yet in a merciful lake of fire, better to repent now
if you correct yourself, then there is no need for punishment!
there is no time after death, mistranslations of eternal hell are symbols which need interpretation, it’s difficult
to understand the Spirit world! ONE DAY HELL WILL BE EMPTY, it is a place of punishment not revenge, if you look
carefully it is PUNISHMENT not revenge!
God will not allow Sauls enter the Kingdom but Pauls
it’s easy, come to light and remember Jesus’ words, the secrets of the Kingdom obviously was coming out of his mouth:
“Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.”
there will be levels in the lake of fire and hypocrites will be the last one who will enter the Kingdom!
“So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”
I read George MacDonald’s essay – thank you for the link, Cindy! What wonderful comfort! I really do need to read more from George MacDonald, as find great solace and understanding in most everything he writes.
My basic understand is that these passages in Hebrews connect to the self-imposed spiritual blindness about which Jesus warns the Pharisees in Matthew, Mark, and Luke. To connect this spiritual obstinacy further to Jesus’ warnings, as long as one remains in such a dire state, he would not be forgiven “in this age, or in the age to come,” because his hard-heart prevents him from reaching for God’s goodness. This state is “eternal” in the sense that as long as one remains in this mindset, the soul will refuse God’s perfect love.
Thank you for the responses, everyone. I always appreciate hearing from you.
Just as a very preliminary reflection, I have to throw this out there. Now, this is not an interpretation without its problems, but it’s one that I’ve reflected on and tried to see if it could work. It came to me from what seems to be the original context of this epistle:
Christians were being persecuted in Rome, and those who were formerly Jews were horribly tempted to revert back to Judaism and to deny that Jesus was the Messiah since it wasn’t looking like Jesus had really inaugurated anything that looked like a new kingdom to them. It seems that they may have been in the transition of doing so when the letter was written to them. This it why it goes in-depth into showing how the Old Testament demonstrates Jesus’ fulfillment of it (in ways quite different than modern apologists, I might add ), first talking about him as the second power in heaven (I can provide more on that if you want), then his priesthood, etc. He fulfilled every ritual requirement. It was sort of a proof to them (and reminder in many ways) that what they were thinking about abandoning was actually the fulfillment of all they’d ever believed.
So, the passages you’ve quoted above can make sense in this context. Basically, the writer of Hebrews is saying that the kind of sacrifice for sin that Jesus gave is NEEDED, which is why he asserts that the blood of animals never did actually wash away sin since they had to be performed every year… so, in other words, it all actually pointed to Jesus’ sacrifice as God recognized their faith in the unseen (which also ties in nicely with Heb. 11). So, since they need that sacrifice of an absolutely pure human, and nobody else is pure, the God-man had to do it… and since there is no other sacrifice for sin, they’d be putting Jesus again to shame by turning away and denying him. The point is that there’s not going to be another Messiah coming along to sacrifice and do away with their sin, and this is the real deal, it won’t get any better than this. So to revert back and sit around and wait for another Messiah was a way to harden oneself and was no path to salvation, so they would only be waiting for judgment that way.
I hope that makes sense. And even if it doesn’t solve all the conundrums of the passage, the judgment itself is no permanent thing. There are plenty of OT passages, especially in the Prophets, that allude to people being restored after judgment. But the point is that you definitely don’t want to be shamed at the judgment (their culture primarily worked off of honor/shame).
Anyway, just my two cents for now. I bet Jason Pratt will have an even more in-depth analysis, however!
This reminds me that I’ve never gotten around to posting up my full notes on Hebrews. I was asked by the singles’ minister at church a few years ago to sum up Hebrews through chapter 12 while he was out one week, and I set up a worksheet and a pdf flip chart, but those were just supplements, and even the lecture had to move fast through a lot of material. We had an interesting discussion after the lecture on what the various pieces logically added up to, and I could tell a lot of the class weren’t happy (for various reasons) where it added up: the soft ECT crowd were upset at how harsh this would be if ECT was true, the Arminians weren’t happy at how Calvish some of it seemed, the Calvinists weren’t happy at how Arminian some of it seemed, the soft Arminians weren’t happy about how hard-Arm some of it seemed, the hard Arminians weren’t happy about how soft-Arm some of it seemed, and no non-universalist was happy about how the overall picture seemed to be pointing to some kind of purgatorial Christian universalism! One of my main points was to reinforce something the teacher had tried to emphasize along the way (although I’m not sure how much he appreciated it in the end, but then again I had gotten the impression he wasn’t real keen on summarizing Hebrews himself ): the testimony in Hebrews is so diverse and complicated that there are good reasons why all kinds of Christians find support for their positions and yet also strong challenges. (And the Hebraist, I noted, thought he was having to talk down to his readers who weren’t ready for the strong meat yet!)
So in effect I was sacrificed to the class so everyone would be unhappy with someone who wasn’t the minister! But I got the impression he had asked me to sub because he had been impressed with some of my comments in earlier weeks which had pointed toward universalism.
Anyway, my point is that Hebrews is a very difficult book that can easily lead people on all sides of the Christian doctrine aisle to be panicky, so don’t feel too bad about it Kate.
Having said that, Hebrews 10 synchs back to part of the song of Moses toward the end of Deuteronomy where he prophecies that God will have to slay a large portion of rebel Israel, but He does it so He can vindicate them (because they’re still His people), bringing them back to righteous behavior, and he prophecies that God will indeed succeed in doing so, which will be a major evangelical sign for helping bring pagans into fellowship with God as well.
That’s at least post-mortem salvation, with a strong thrust toward universal salvation; and other portions of Hebrews point in the direction of universal salvation, too. But that’s a quick answer to both Heb 10 and Heb 6: whatever 6 means, it doesn’t mean that people who turn their backs on Christ after accepting the Holy Spirit (apparently through the Lord’s Supper – which no Baptist in that class was happy about either, by the way ) are simply impossible to return to repentance. Keep in mind (as I noted in my summary) every one of the apostles, and especially Saint Peter, failed the warning criteria of Hebrews 6! – and arguably failed it worse than anyone could possibly fail it afterward! (That’s admittedly disputable, but it’s indisputable they failed it.) If the reply is that Christ covered their sins in the past on the cross but not their sins in the future, well that completely undermines any hope for salvation for anyone in the future after the crucifixion, doesn’t it?
In effect it’s saying that eventually a point comes for some people (and the Hebraist gives examples of how extreme the situation has to be to reach this point) when God has to punish them, and can’t let them off without punishment even if they repent: the chastisement may be scary but it’s necessary for them to properly learn better. If they continuously insist on disdaining the sacrifice of Christ after having partaken in the sacrifice of Christ, the only way they can come back is by learning to share in the sacrifice of Christ properly; if they continuously insist on disdaining the consuming fire after having received the consuming fire (i.e. the Holy Spirit), they’re still going to get the consuming fire because God loves them but they aren’t going to like the mode of it anymore precisely because they have opposed themselves to it.
Hi! Don’t believe I’ve talked with you before! I think Calvinists and Arminians often generally argue your interpretation, so it’s interesting to see it placed in a universalist context. ECT Christians from both Calvinist and Arminian sides tend to say that the Jews from Hebrews had already hopelessly rejected Christ. That being said, I found it interesting that you mentioned OT references of restoration after judgement. Can you think of some of such verses off the top of your head? I’m intrigued!
You should definitely put up your notes on Hebrews. Thank you for giving an analysis of these two passages, which are --from what I’ve seen – a few of the most misinterpreted verses in the Bible. I would enjoy reading more of your notes.
The explanation I read of Hebrews 6 which makes the most sense to me is that it’s actually about baptism.
The NIV translation masks some of the meaning of what is being conveyed here. A more literal translation is:
For [it is] impossible [for] those who were enlightened once for all, and who tasted of the gift, the heavenly [one], and became partakers of [the] Holy Spirit, and tasted the good word of God and [the] powers of [the] age to come, and who fell away, to renew [them] again to repentance, since they crucify anew to themselves the Son of God and make a public example of [Him].1
The Greek word here translated as enlightened - which could also have been rendered as “illumined” is φωτίζω (phōtizō). Paul uses the same word in 10:32:
But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions;
In antiquity, this term was commonly used to refer to baptism. Justin Martyr (100-165) uses the term, for example, in his explanation of Christian baptism in his First Apology:
And this washing is called illumination, because they who learn these things are illuminated in their understandings. And in the name of Jesus Christ, who was crucified under Pontius Pilate, and in the name of the Holy Ghost, who through the prophets foretold all things about Jesus, he who is illuminated is washed.2
Of this verse, Ambrose (374-397) writes:
So, then, that which he says in this Epistle to the Hebrews, that it is impossible for those who have fallen to be “renewed unto repentance, crucifying again the Son of God, and putting Him to open shame,” must be considered as having reference to baptism, wherein we crucify the Son of God in ourselves, that the world may be by Him crucified for us, who triumph, as it were, when we take to ourselves the likeness of His death, who put to open shame upon His cross principalities and powers, and triumphed over them, that in the likeness of His death we, too, might triumph over the principalities whose yoke we throw off. But Christ was crucified once, and died to sin once, and so there is but one, not several baptisms.3
What the NIV translates as brought back to repentance, however, really says renew again to repentance (ἀνακαινίζειν εἰς μετάνοιαν) - with the phrase calling to mind the state of “newness” (καινότης). This makes it somewhat clearer, I think, that the passage is not saying that no one can be “brought back” to any kind of repentance at all, but rather that they cannot be “renewed” the way that they were at baptism. John Chrysostom (349-407) explains:
What then (you say)? Is there no repentance? There is repentance, but there is no second baptism: but repentance there is, and it has great force, and is able to set free from the burden of his sins, if he will, even him that hath been baptized much in sins, and to establish in safety him who is in danger, even though he should have come unto the very depth of wickedness. And this is evident from many places. For, says one, doth not he that falleth rise again? or he that turneth away, doth not he turn back to [God]? [Jer 8:4] It is possible, if we will, that Christ should be formed in us again: for hear Paul saying, My little children of whom I travail in birth again, until Christ be formed in you. [Gal 4:19]. Only let us lay hold on repentance.4
Ambrose provides a similar interpretation:
And indeed I might also say to any one who thought that this passage spoke of repentance, that things which are impossible with men are possible with God; and God is able whensoever He wills to forgive us our sins, even those which we think cannot be forgiven. And so it is possible for God to give us that which it seems to us impossible to obtain. For it seemed impossible that water should wash away sin, and Naaman the Syrian [2/4 Kings 5:11] thought that his leprosy could not be cleansed by water. But that which was impossible God made to be possible, Who gave us so great grace. In like manner it seemed impossible that sins should be forgiven through repentance, but Christ gave this power to His apostles, which has been transmitted to the priestly office. That, then, has become possible which was impossible. But, by a true reasoning, he convinces us that the reiteration by any one of the Sacrament of Baptism is not permitted.5
I must state up front now, that my entire approach will be viewed through the eyes of a nonbeliever in the immortal soul, I reason very strongly from the scriptures that death means death, at the point of cessation from this life I believe a person is unconscious knowing nothing until brought back to existence in either one of two resurrections, therefore I don’t believe the scriptures teach a going to heaven or hell upon death.
Israel through whom God will bless the nations.
“But you, Israel, are My servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the descendants of Abraham My friend,” said God
Israel was chosen as a nation to be a holy people to God and to be used by God as a holy servant. They were called out to be a kingdom of priests Exodus 19:6. and to serve as a role model, and light to all nations Isaiah 42:6 so that Gods blessings could extend to the ends of the earth. It was through this lineage that christ was to come, gather together his people to be a kingdom of priests, and take his rightful reign as the king of the Jews and bring in the messianic kingdom rule, to which all the ends of the earth would be blessed. But as we know all to well, God didn’t achieve his goal through his chosen people. Israel time after time abandoned their God and his ways and prostituted themselves out to heathen/false Gods.By the time of Christ’s coming, the religious system of Judah/Israel was in an apostate position, these fallen religious leaders were in no fit state, to spiritually feed their own people, let alone be a shinning beacon to the rest of the world, and to their own tragic ends they failed to receive their own messiah, and rejected him by way of crucifixion.
Christ’s death and Israel’s coming judgment/punishment.
1/. The Parable of the Wedding Feast
And Jesus answered and spoke to them again by parables and said: 2 “The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son, 3 and sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding; and they were not willing to come. 4 Again, he sent out other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “See, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and fatted cattle are killed, and all things are ready. Come to the wedding.” 5 But they made light of it and went their ways, one to his own farm, another to his business. 6 And the rest seized his servants, treated them spitefully, and killed them. 7 But when the king heard about it, he was furious. And he sent out his armies, destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.
The above parable was a warning to the Jewish generation alive at the time of Christ, that tragically came to pass in AD 70, some what 40 years after Christ’s rejection and death.This was a specific judgment for a specific people which came in Gods timing for their guilt in rejecting their promised messiah by way of death. To escape this coming judgment, a Jewish convert [ie] a messianic Jew would have had to heed the warning Christ gave in the following Chapters at Matt 24. When the given signs of this judgment became evident, those who put their faith in their messiah fled to the hills of Judea, were they would have been physically saved from the coming/ advancing onslaught from the Roman army’s. I have often read that it is near impossible to even get close to explain the suffering that befell the Jews in this era. How true it is I don’t know, but it is said that there was mass starvation, which forced the hand of cannibalism, with mothers even offering up their young. Depleting water supplies causing death by thirst, brother betraying brother, family’s killing each other. Nearing the end of the siege it is said that mass crucifixions took place to the point of running out of wood, with an estimated lose of life amounting to over a million deaths, [mainly Jewish deaths]. After the sacking of Jerusalem in which their temple was destroyed and their city burned to the ground, the jews lost their identity as a nation and were dispersed over the face of earth.
Christ’s death, Gods plan not thwarted The nations will be blessed through Israel
2/. The Parable of the Wedding Feast
[Then] he said to his servants, ‘The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. 9 Therefore go into the highways, and as many as you find, invite to the wedding.’ 10 So those servants went out into the highways and gathered together all whom they found, both bad and good. And the wedding hall was filled with guests.
God knew his people would miss the mark. So with in Gods greater plan and by a master stroke, Christ also came to be the suffering servant Isaiah 53. It was at the point of Christ’s rejection, death resurrection and ascension Gods plan of choosing a spiritual Israel took on a deeper meaning Romans 9:6. The o/c was done away with and the n/c was brought in through Christs sacrifice.The
Kingdom and it’s message was given to the gentiles Matt 21:43. This process begun at Pentecost were the ecclesia of God was given birth. God through Christ is now searching out a people made up of both Jew and gentile from the highways and by ways, to become a kingdom of priests unto God 1 pet 2:9 + Rev 1:5-7. Such ones will appear in the first resurrection or be caught up to meet Christ, when he comes again to bring in the messianic kingdom here on earth Matt 6:10 + 1 Thess 4: 15-16. Those gathered together with him will reign with him and will be a light and an example to the surrounding nations Rev 19:11 -15 + Rev 20: 4 The kingdom will have small beginnings, but it will grow and eventually fill the whole earth Dan 2:35 + Matt 13.31-32. The coming kingdom will be a process which will eventually fill the whole earth.
Learning from Israel’s mistakes:- a warning :- The chosen to make themselves ready for the coming kingdom.
3/.Parable of the wedding feast
11 “But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment. 12 So he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. 13 Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’14 “For many are called, but few are chosen.”
The epistles challenge and urge all those who believe in the true Gospel message,to put of the old man in the flesh and be renewed in the spirit of your mind Eph 4:22-24 + Romans 8:13. For any one who practises sin they will not inherit the kingdom of heaven. 1 cor 6:9-10. Those who are found wanting at Christ’s return, will be cast out side of the kingdom of heaven on this earth, into a place of outer darkness Were bitter regret and anguish will be felt. Note the man in the above parable, must have thought he had a right of way into the the kingdom. This serves as a warning, not to those who are unbelievers, but to those who believe but fail to be ready in this n/c age, much like the religious regime Christ faced at his first coming. Many professing believers will find themselves in the second resurrection and will be found outside the new but small beginnings of the kingdom [ie] The N/J Rev 21: 1-9 + 22:14-15. Such ones will join the sons of the kingdom. Matt 8:11-12. It’s interesting to note peters words at 2 peter 2:17. peter talks about the *blackest darkness is reserved, for such confessing believers with destructive doctrines, peter goes on and in verse 20 describes how their end is worse than their beginning. How could this be ? Well an unbeliever who has never known the way, will enter into the kingdom before those who knew it and abandoned it [ie] Matt 21:31 + Matt 20:16.
“Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said to Him, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that tax collectors and harlots enter the kingdom of God before you.
“So the last will be first, and the first will be last. For many are called, but few chosen.”
Christ said of the Pharisees that when they make a convert, they make him twice the son of Gehenna. [ie] the coming destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 = Gehenna fire and also being cast outside the coming kingdom = Gehenna fire Matt 23:15. [this statement makes sense if Christ was talking to Pharisees advanced in age at this point]
These such ones will join the unbeliever, judged to be outside the kingdoms early beginnings here on earth. But they will be in longer anguish and have a longer wait, whilst the repenting unbelievers go in before them. Matt 18:34.
Reading/understanding Gods word through the bigger picture.
The biblical message presented to mankind, is far above denominational theology. Unfortunately when a person Comes to a point in their lives were they want to open up and let God in, they are greatly influenced by the preconceived ideas that have influenced or encouraged them along the way or the influences the church they attend leans towards from past history. That’s why we have so much division amongst Christianity. Trying to understand the True God and his message for man, is like looking for a needle in a hay stack. It would be far to much for this post to even begin to try and explain all the diversity’s with in so called Christianity, with their splits and division’s.The unfortunate fact is they all hold to differing interpretations of Gods word, which sadly clouds it’s true message. These differing groups are often so engrossed trying to out smart their opposing party they narrow the bible down to what they want it to say with in their school of thought, it’s a worrying fact that we might just be - becoming a nation of disobedient Pharisees, more interested in biblical debates all the while the true message for mankind is being starved. When this happens the bigger picture is lost, the bible gets read with narrow specs, with many refusing change. The point being the bible concerning salvation,needs to be interpreted via the basic but often over looked scriptures coming up. It doesn’t need a scholarship to understand what they are telling us and, also let no one with a scholarship take them away from you either, with their fancy words and bammbooziling facts.
JHON 1:29 +1 JHON2:2. The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the [world ] = cosmos not age.
JHON 4:42 + 1 JHON 4:14. Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the [world.”] = cosmos.
2 CORINTHIANS 5:19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world = [cosmos] to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
ROMANS 5:10. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.
JHON 19:30 So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.
Christ upon his death said “it is finished”
he not only took away the sin of the [whole] world, he also became saviour of the whole world. Saving us whilst we were yet still sinners. The payment has been made, Christ is the Propitiation not only for believers but for the whole world 1 Jhon 2:2. These verses need to be believed just as much as all those horrible/frightening verses. I know it’s easy to focus on the negative, but the negative needs to be interpreted through the positive, through what the bible says Christ’s death has achieved. With out truly believing these scriptures, the bible message really becomes a hopeless Case, it becomes a message for the selected few, all the while the rest of us perish without a hope. Is that school of thought really the good news ???
What are we saved from ??? and what can we save ourselves from ???
First it helps to understand exactly what Christ has saved us from. Firstly the bible says Christ’s sacrifice has redeemed [all] mankind from the jaws of death Romans 5:18 + 6:23 and this free gift has been given to [all] mankind, as in Adam [all] die so in Christ [all] will be made alive 1 Corinthians 15:22 you me, and every person who’s ever lived will be brought back to life at either one of the two resurrections. The good news is we have no choice in the matter for this gift has been given to all. It will be at this time We will [all] appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one will receive the things they done in this life weather good or bad. 2 Corinthians 5:10, this more than indicates, that what we do in this life we will be accountable for in the next. The Only way one will escape the harsher judgment of condemnation, is by trusting and believing in Christ Jhon 3:18. there is a kinder judgment and a harsher judgment Matt 21:44. So it would seem we do have a choice as to what kind of judgment we will face, either by believing [with in its correct context] or by not believing Acts 2:40. For a repentant believer their judgment is not unto condemnation, but a judgment of their efforts and works, even the least, most struggling believer will be spared corrective punishment 1 Corinthians 3:15.
For all those who don’t believe they will be condemned to corrective punishment.
Rotherham’s): Mat 25:46 And, these, shall go away, into, age-abiding, correction, but, the righteous, into, age-abiding, life.:————Why corrective punishment ? Well Gods word tells us that no one who practices sin will inherit the kingdom of God 1 Corinthians 6:9. Note the word inherit [ie] [to be given] the kingdom. This is not so for the unbeliever they will face corrective punishment,out side of the kingdom Rev 21:8 until such time is granted for them to do so. Rev 22:14-17. God through Christ has still saved them from eternal death by giving them the gift of life, Christ has still paid the price for all their sin, but such ones haven’t been spared corrective punishment,because they never believed, for some that choice was in their own hands.Those who die in their sins Jhon 8:24 will surely be resurrected in their sins.
The second death / lake of fire aka Gehenna :—-Not literal death.
Such ones will have to die a second time to the flesh just like the believer in this life Colossians 3:5 -6 + Romans 6. But for the sons of disobedience, a harsher judgment will be given but to achieve the same result. Hence the term second death. Their will come a point when they will confess and have a change of heart to the glory of God Philippians 2:10-11. The second death cannot mean to be put to death again, for the wages of sin is death, which clearly means you have paid the dept for your sin at your death, so bringing a person back from the dead who may of suffered agonisingly before passing, only to judge them and kill them again is unjust and against Gods word. As we have already seen, God has paid the price through his Son and saved us from the jaws of eternal death, a gift given to [all] :——- Also another reason the second death cannot mean to be put to death a second time is as follows :—————
1 Corinthians 15:25-26. 5 For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet.26 The [last enemy]that will be destroyed is [death]
The order of this is found in:——- Rev 20:14-15.
4 “Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire”.
We clearly see that those not found in the book of life, get cast into the lake of fire after the last enemy to be destroyed which is death. So death is no longer an option. Therefore according to
1 Corinthians 15:25-26 those remaining enemies will be alive until they are brought under Christ’s feet Isaiah 45:23 + Phillip 2:10. And Christ will reign for as long is needed to achieve the restitution of [All] things, including [All] People. Romans 5:18-19.
Wilful sinners and backsliders can repent and come back.
Being backslidden is never a good place to be. But is is never a place were one is outside the love of God, and his calling, you back to repentance. Nothing teaches us this fact more than Gods dealings with his chosen nation Israel. Time and time again, God through the O/T through the prophets, almost pleaded with Israel at times to turn away from its spiritual Harlotry and return to their God as his covenant people Jer:3.
Should have been put to death twice over under the o/c Torah for his adultery and planed murder. Yet God forgave him.
Christ had already taught by his word that who ever Denies him before men, so he would deny him before his father in heaven Matt 10:33. Simon Peter forsook Christ, and called down curses whilst he denied his connection with Christ, yet Christ forgave Simon.
1 Corinthians 5:5 The wilful sinning member.
Apostle Paul when dealing with a sinning member with in the congregation, tells them to deliver such a person to Satan, expelling that one from the congregation, removing them to [outside of the congregation],so that their flesh may be destroyed and that their spirit be saved in the day of the lord. Paul says nothing about this person being unable to repent band be forgiven:—-Note how such a one is removed outside of Gods congregation,
So his flesh is destroyed so that his spirit might be saved at Christ’s return. Dose this sound familiar ? [ie] being cast out side the kingdom, for the destruction of the flesh [ie] refinement in the lake of fire.The second death. It’s a kinder judgment this side of life than the next Matt 21:44, Were a spiritual stoning will take place out side the city’s, gates/walls.
*The prodigal son Luke 15:11-32.
I’m sure this parable needs introduction.
1 Jhon 1.7 “ the blood of Christ cleanses from All sin”
Jhon 6:37 “ All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.
The above instances, which are not exhaustive by any means, are clear examples of redemption from falling away to wilful sin. Yet all found forgiveness with a repentant heart. Also there are many great testimony’s outside of the bible, we’re peoples have found peace and forgiveness for backsliding into sin or even denying their past Christian status etc…
Hebrews 6 & 10 and universalism
With the brief outline above in place, I believe it will certainly make Hebrews 6 and 10 a little more easier to get our heads around. Another point is, that not one part of these scriptures are ever teaching about a punishment after death, They are warning about the consequences of the punishment in this life.
Nobody really knows who the author of the Hebrew epistle was, but it was said to have been written about AD 65, five years before the coming judgment of AD 70.This is very interesting considering it is commonly excepted, that author was writing to Jewish Christians who lived in Jerusalem. One of the main themes of this letter was to exhort Jewish Christians to hold fast to the faith in the plight of persecution. Many Jews were considering turning back to Judaism and its sacrificial system for atonement for sin to escape persecution for excepting Christ as their saviour and following the new system of grace, forsaking the o/c for the n/c in Christ.
Animal Sacrifices Insufficient 4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins.
Christ’s Death Fulfills God’s Will 10 By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
*christs Death Perfects the Sanctified 18 Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin.
The above verses are telling us that Christ has died once and for all, he has taken away [all] the sin of the world. Once a person comes under Christ’s Sacrificial offering, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sin, [ie] by way of the blood of bulls and goats, this old method of atonement is finished it will never remove your sin and guilt, only Christ’s sacrifice and blood can. So this brings us nicely up to the part i believe is greatly misunderstood.
The Just Live by Faith 26 For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,
If read carefully, chapter 10 is dealing with a [specific] sin. With an understanding of the back ground to the penning of Hebrews, this [specific] sin becomes clearer. In a nut shell, Hebrews is contrasting the fullness of Christ’s sacrifice and his shedding of blood In creating the new covenant over the incompleteness and temporary values of the old covenants way of obtaining forgiveness, through the sacrifice and blood shedding of animals. Jewish Christians are encouraged not to fall away from there faith in Christ, by returning to the old law/covenant as a way of obtaining Gods forgiveness. These early Christians, after the unadulterated truth was delivered to them were in two minds wether to return to the letter of the Torah [ie] circumcision of the flesh, and shedding the blood of ordained animals for the covering of there sin. This wilful sin wasn’t the sins of the flesh as such, it was [a] sin of [rejecting] the [way] of salvation, after knowing it in there heart, which was obtained through the [blood] of Christ and not that of animals. The key point here which I feel is often over looked, is going back to animal blood for atonement is futile, Is not saying that their is no longer forgiveness through the sacrifice of Christ. it s saying there no longer remains a sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins, through using the blood of animals :—-it won’t save you any longer.
“*but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. 28 Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 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?
At face value this letter was written not to us. It was written to converted Hebrew jews. Through Christ’s words of warning,the writer of Hebrews would have understood that a time for Gods judgment/ punishment to fall upon Israel for their wilful rejection of him as their messiah. Although nobody knew exactly when the judgment would come they knew it was looming. And that judgment fell in AD 70. When Jerusalem got sacked by Titus and Rome’s is armies. At this time it would only be those believing Jews who would of fled to the hills of Judea that would have been saved. All those who failed to heed Christ’s warning and believe in him were set for a terrifying judgment, along with those Jews, *who had the truth yet rejected it, they would fall back under the same judgment of consuming fire as non believing Jews, as the way of escaped would have been ignored. Reading a little on this punishment that befell Jerusalem I’m sure many would have rather been stoned to death under the O/c law Instead of starving to death in famine pestilence, amongst the ravaging fires burning through the city. Their own city became a burning Furnace of Gehenna fire for them. Those who trampled Christ underfoot, would now be trampled underfoot. As awful as it was the punishment was only physical just as the o/c law of stoning. This punishment in the letter of Hebrews, was for Christ rejecters who should have know better. The destruction of Jerusalem was far sorer than that of being stoned under the o/c Law. Rejecting the shed blood of Christ for the unclean blood of animals all the while thinking it will save them, is to insult the spirit of Grace, and this I believe is how it becomes impossible to to renew such one again to repentance [in this age] it’s the Holy Spirit that convicts of sin Jhon 16:8. With no conviction one will not be led to the point Were they desire to make their mind over, therefore will never repent [in this age] their end is near to being burnt [ie] AD70. This has nothing to do with being cast outside of the coming kingdom after the resurrection to life. These are warnings of physical earthly judgments that was looming over Jerusalem. Such ones will also receive the harsher judgments to come at their resurrection, outside of the coming kingdom. But not forever.
Hi Hermano.:— I’m assuming by reading your post, you feel Hebrews 6 &10, are referring to persons who were never actually saved ? If I haven’t misunderstood, then what is it you believe a person is saved from, when they place their trust/faith in Christ ?
Yes, although I was once an Arminianist, I no longer believe a genuine Christian can lose his salvation.
I think when we place our trust in Christ, in this life we are saved from living as POWs of the devil (2 Tim. 2:26 and 1 Jn. 5:19), not enjoying God’s fatherhood; and postmortem, we are saved from continuing as POWs in the abominable Gehenna/Hades/hell—as well as from the subsequent agonizing, but remedial, divine lake of fire.
*to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who aresanctified by faith in Me.
“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”?
If one is sanctified / made holy / set apart by faith in Christ, then surely those persons who are referred to as, [been/was] sanctified at Hebrews 10:29, were of genuine faith in Christ [ie] a true believer ? Who had turned from the power of Satan to God and received forgiveness of sins.
Bowsixtysix, the author of Hebrews also warns believers—
26 For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,
27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment [krisis], and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries.
—Whereas in John 5:24, Jesus reassures believers that,
“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me HAS everlasting life, and shall NOT come into judgment [krisis], but has passed from death into life.
To repeat: there are those who consider themselves Christians, and fellowship with and identify with Christians, who are themselves not actually Christians:
“Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’
Paul exhorts those calling themselves Christians,
2 Cor. 13:5 (NASB)
Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you fail the test?
I have suggested that these counterfeit Christians, well-intentioned though they are, have believed a false gospel of works, and in reality continue to “do their own thing,” their own way:
“But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?”
I make holy, treat as holy, set apart as holy, sanctify, hallow, purify.
to make holy, i.e. (ceremonially) purify or consecrate; (mentally) to venerate
Hebrews 10: 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 = ἁγιάζ ] a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?
So your saying God through Christ makes holy and sets apart counterfeit Christians, through believing in a false gospel ?
Regarding this dire warning in Hebrews, I disagree that the use of ἁγιάζω / hagiázō (to consecrate, to sanctify) is exclusive to a genuine Christian:
1 Cor. 7:14 “…the unbelieving husband is sanctified [hagiázō] by the wife…”
I would argue that Scriptures are not all coequal in value, and that regarding the debate about whether or not someone who has been born again can lose his salvation and end up in Hades, I choose to camp out here:
“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me HAS everlasting life, and shall NOT come into judgment [krisis], but has passed from death into life.
–instead of here:
26 For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,
27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment [krisis], and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries.
Further, as an evangelical universalist, I believe we are all in a great and terrible temporal classroom; and that everyone is predestined by God for salvation, even if their repentance comes post-judgment, in the divine lake of remedial, “age-during” fire. Jesus will not abandon to a never-ending death even one lost sheep.