Book Look · Church · Eschatology · Hell · Kingdom of God

Book Look – Heaven’s Doors – No Repentance

In oversimplified terms, universal reconciliation speaks of the eventual redemption of every soul ever created through the work of the Messiah and His sacrifice on the cross. This teaching does not remove the existence of hell, or the suffering associated with it, but it does challenge it’s never ending duration, and the purpose of the flames.

This series of posts, on the book “Heaven’s Doors” will be my last on the topic of universal reconciliation (not universalism). I am thankful to my Calvinist friend for directing me to this “heresy”. The teaching of universal reconciliation has more Scriptural support than I imagined and is worth considering if you are of an open mind and willing to consider alternate views to expand your understanding of the Word.

Of course if you are convinced you are completely right, without error, and doctrinally pure, this topic would be a waste of your time. Please move on!

This post will address No Repentance

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. – Hebrews 6:4-6

This is a tuff one. No matter where you stand in your theology, this passage gives you some heartache. And I am thankful for a passage that ruffles a systematic theology, that upsets a logical progression of thought that we could trust, (instead of God Himself).

I understand that no matter what is presented in this post (little lone every one of my posts), there will be minor (or major) disagreement.

I struggled with this concept for years, until I realized Jesus chose a tax collector and a zealot to follow him. Enemies with completely different world views, that came out of a life that pitted them against each other. Surely some of this difference impacted their impressions and understanding of the gospel.

Another example is James and Paul. Both godly men, with tremendous influence, and seemingly varied viewpoints on fleshing out the gospel for the saints they watched over.

Whoever wrote Hebrews, had a different viewpoint on the gospel that, say, Paul. Same gospel, same Jesus, same core message, yet the presentation was different.

Understanding this, let us consider Hebrews 6. Prior to the writer speaking of the impossibility of repentance in this passage, he writes the following passage.

About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.
For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food,
for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child.
But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil. – Hebrews 5:11-14

The audience is a bunch of immature, believers that are unskilled in the word of righteousness. He has been addressing this condition throughout the book, but just before he gets to our passage under consideration, he speaks of his limitations of sharing truth based on the audiences maturity level.

They can’t handle the truth! It is impossible for them to handle the truth, to understand and accept the message he wants to present them.

Ok, now that we have set the stage, lets turn the page and consider the authors message in Hebrews 6.

Many may try to say that the one who is being described in chapter 6:4-6 is one who is not yet a believer. So close to trusting, but had turned away and become hardened against the gospel. I personally can not see that for a number of reasons but the primary one is that the author speaks of the one “tasting the heavenly gift”.

Just a few short chapters earlier, the author speaks of Christ “tasting death”. This “tasting” is not a simply a “touch to the tongue”, but a complete experience of the object spoken of. Jesus completely tasted death. This one in Hebrews 6 completely tasted the heavenly gift.

No – me thinks this one in Hebrews is a true disciple.

But the author says it is impossible…. to restore them. Mr. Sarris make note on two points

Impossible

In Matthew 19:25 – 26, we read

When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?”
But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

The disciples were stumped on the truth they were hearing. Who can be saved? This is beyond our understanding, it is unbelievable, over our heads!

Jesus redirected their focus onto God, and claimed it was impossible for men, but not with God. The same Greek word is used here as in Hebrews, and is addressing the same general thought of impossibility to perform a work of salvation.

Note Strong’s definition for impossible

ἀδύνατος adýnatos, ad-oo’-nat-os; from G1 (as a negative particle) and G1415; unable, i.e. weak (literally or figuratively); passively, impossible:—could not do, impossible, impotent, not possible, weak.

The term is relative to the subject. By that I mean, if a challenge is provided to a weak man, the challenge may be “impossible” for the weak man, but the same challenge is of no difficulty for a strong man.

Thought of another way, if my dear brother Blair takes me to a gym, and presents a set of dumb bells with 80 lbs. on it, it is impossible for me to lift it – I am a weak man! But Blair he can lift it be simply thinking about it – He is super massive strong!

Who is doing the restoring?

We may need to consider this same truth for this passage in Hebrews, where those spoken to are described as weak, immature believers. Any repentance granted must surely come from God, and it is impossible for these children in the faith to even join in with the work of restoration.

Might the author be simply putting the believers in their place. A wee bit of shame to challenge them on to maturity?

What think you?

  • Is the passage defining a completely static situation, in which there is no hope of repentance no matter who is involved or when it may occur?
  • Is it an impossible situation, or just something these believers have no skill in joining in with God on the work?

As Jesus mentioned in Matthew 19, the impossibility may not effect God’s ability, simply man’s ability.

After all, He is kinda strong!


For other books on this same topic, I would refer you to Jesus Undefeated – a 10 part series, and The Inescapable Love of God. One additional book that I have not posted on is by David Artman, Grace Saves All.


Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

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Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

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