The Evangelical Universalist Forum

The Book of Hebrews and hopeless punishment

I read the Book of Hebrews tonight, twice. Not only does it seem to teach that only some people will be saved, but that once a person has become a Christian he has to be perfect for the rest of his life.

Perhaps you can explain some of these teachings, and from the Calvinist perspective?

@davo I just finished it a second time. I think I was mistaken to see a case for Calvinism in Hebrews, but the same cannot be said for it teaching hopeless punishment. A motif of the book is that salvation is conditional.

I once read that Luther wanted to take Hebrews out of the canon for teaching that someone who sins after baptism can’t be saved.

Can you please cite the text(s) which lead you to this conclusion?

Hebrews 10:12-13

“But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool.”


It is through the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ on the cross that all of Christ’s enemies will submit themselves in willing worship and praise to God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 10:14-17

"For by one offering He has perfected forever those (His enemies) who are being sanctified. But the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; for after He had said before, This is the covenant that I will make with them (with His enemies) after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their (His enemies) hearts, and in their (His enemies) minds I will write them,”

Then He adds, “Their (His enemies) sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”

Life is the energy by which the kingdom of God extends itself.

Though God has made Jesus both Lord and Christ over all regardless of their spiritual state, He does, nevertheless, hide His gracious sovereignty from us until the time of His choosing, upon which time, He reveals to the immediately chosen one that Jesus is their Lord and Savior. In spite of how evangelical invitations are worded, that’s what really happens. It’s not that the time has arrived for us to make Christ Lord (as we customarily hear); it’s that Christ has stepped in to exercise His Lordship, and reclaim us as His own—which we always have been. (“The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world, and they that dwell therein.”) He does this simply by the infusion of His life, and in the sense described above, God’s kingdom, in the hands of His Son, extends itself. Remember, you were redeemed (bought back) from pretensions to ownership to your real Owner by the shedding of His precious blood, that is, by His life given sacrificially. -John Gavazzoni-

@pilgrim well obviously there’s chapters 6 and 10 which say backsliders are screwed. I can’t recall the other texts but will post them when I get home later.

Dear qaz: there is no such thing as “hopeless punishment”! Our Father chastens with one purpose only: change and transformation. Anything less is mindless and completely out of character with the Father of all fathers!

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@pilgrim see also the post below this one.

Hebrews 2
Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. 2 For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, 3 how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?

Hebrews 3
who were those who heard and yet rebelled? Was it not all those who left Egypt led by Moses? 17 And with whom was he provoked for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? 18 And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient? 19 So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.

Hebrews 4
Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. 2For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. 3For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said,

As I have sworn in my wrath,

If they shall enter into my rest:

although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. 4For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works. 5And in this placeagain,

If they shall enter into my rest.

6Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief: 7again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said,

To day if ye will hear his voice,

Harden not your hearts.

8For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. 9There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. 10For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God didfrom his. 11Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.

Dear qaz: There are powerful words for loss in the Scriptures. One can gain the whole world and yet lose his soul. This particular word is zēmióō and means to injure.


To injure.

To experience detriment/ receive damage/lose/suffer loss.

To be cast away.

The fact is our God kills and He makes alive. In the end, however, the end is the beginning. God loses NOTHING, He is the ta panta, the Source, the Guide, and the Goal of the all.

That does nothing to explain the texts I’ve quoted, which (in addition to Chapters 6 and 10), seem to unambiguously teach the possibility of a person not being saved.

Dear qaz: another powerful word in Scripture is katartizó

katartizó =

To complete/ prepare.
Prepare, perfect, for his (its) full destination or use.

Bring into its proper condition (whether for the first time, or after a lapse).

From kata

Kata= from ártios=

Properly adjusted.

Exactly fit to be in good working order.

Adjusted exactly to fully function.

Dear qaz: your premise from the beginning is dead wrong. There is simply no such thing as “hopeless punishment” in Father’s Realm!

GREEK WORD STUDIES ἀπόλλυμι, ‘apollumi’ for ‘Perish, Destroy’

Destruction= apollumi

GREEK WORD STUDIES ἀπόλλυμι, ‘apollumi’ for ‘Perish, Destroy’

“For God so loved the world He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not apollumi but have everlasting life.”

"What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he apollumi one of them, does not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is apollumi, until he find it?

“Gather up the fragments that remain that nothing be apollumi.”

“For as many as have sinned without law shall also apollumi without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law…”

“Do not labor for the meat which apollumi, but for that meat which endures to everlasting life…”

"But if your brother is grieved with your meat, now do you not walk charitably. Do not apollumi him with your meat, for whom Christ died.

“He who loves his life shall apollumi it; and he who hates his life in this world shall keep it to life eternal.”

I’m confused, I thought qaz you were of a preterist persuasion?

@maintenanceman I am. What have I written that contradicts preterism?

Well, I guess one of the first positions of the preterist view is that all is past, or done. You seem to be continually conjuring up stuff that would at least allude to the fact that you don’t believe what Jesus did for mankind was sufficient. That somehow your fate or salvation continues to this day as to what you do or don’t do. :roll_eyes:

@maintenanceman most preterists do not believe in universal salvation.

So obviously, you don’t believe in universal salvation. Correct?

@maintenanceman I do believe in universalism. However, being a universalist entails glossing over this entire book of the Bible. So I am guilty of cherrypicking texts to support my preferred soteriology.