by David Brandt Berg
Since we believe that the Bible clearly states that once we become the Lord’s child, we will always remain His child. “I give unto them Eternal Life and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand.” “Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.” “If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved” (John 10:28; 6:37; 1Corinthians 3:15)–I have taken this scripture in Hebrews 6:4-10 to mean that if they were truly saved and knew the truth and yet went back, fell away–and the Lord says in the Last Days there shall come a great falling away (2Thessalonians 2:3; 1Timothy 4:1-3)–they’re still saved, but “shall suffer loss.” They were really Christians, but misled, deceived or offended. Something caused them to fall away and they turned back.
Even if they were actually saved, they have just fallen away and that fulfills that scripture there in the 6th chapter of Hebrews. They’ve known and they’ve seen and they’ve even tasted of the Spirit.
What does repentance mean?–Change of mind. Metanoia is the word, literally. They’ve gone so far that they can’t change their minds, they can’t change their way, they can’t return to their former state of faith, dedication or helpfulness to the Lord and others.
And God’s Word says “some shall be raised to shame and everlasting contempt!” (Daniel 12:2). Think of it! That is perdition and punishment enough for a formerly dedicated Christian–or one who once had faith–to find that he has forever transgressed to where it is hard to make him change his mind and renew him to repentance, so that God has to let him go on his way.
God says they can be saved, but they can’t be renewed, they can’t be changed, they’ll never be brought back to the former state. They will have lost their reward; they will have lost all claim on many of the promises, etc. (Ezekiel 3:20; Revelation 3:11), and they will live in a constant state of shame and contempt. (See also Isaiah 66:5; 1John 2:28.) Imagine! Heaven would be terrible to those people, to have to live with God and God’s people! It would almost be torment! That’s punishment enough to realize what they missed, what they did, and how they are now the lowest of the low in Heaven.
God’s Word doesn’t say the backsliders are lost. In fact, He even says, “I am married to the backslider” (Jeremiah 3:14). It’s like a wife who has deserted her husband. They have deserted the Lord! They’ve known Him and believed in Him, but they have deserted Him and His work and His people. But the Lord says, “I’m married to the backslider. She’s a bad woman, she’s sinned against Me. But because she at one time received Me, I’m married to her and I’ll have to save her and not send her to Hell.” But she’s going to have some pretty unhappy times in Heaven, considering the shame and the reproach and the contempt she will have to suffer.
I don’t know what the state of those people is. Only God knows! But it certainly seemed as though they knew the Lord and had received Jesus, so maybe one of these days they’ll wake up in everlasting shame and contempt and realize how wrong they were.–And then when they have to live in Heaven, they’d almost rather be in Hell! Heaven will be Hell for some people to have to be that close to God.
So we don’t know now, but one of these days we’ll know, “even as also we are known” (1Corinthians 13:12). Praise the Lord!
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The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways.
And many of them that sleep in the dust of the Earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.
For the Son of man shall come in the glory of His Father with His angels; and then He shall reward every man according to his works.
For whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
And all the churches shall know that I am He which searcheth the reigns and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.
And, behold, I come quickly; and My reward is with Me, to give every man according as his work shall be.
And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.
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