Kyle asks, “After becoming a Christian, are there any sins that will put me beyond the ‘point of no return’ so that I cannot regain salvation? What sin or sins will put me in such jeopardy, so that, after becoming a Christian, I would be doomed to hell without any recourse? Please be specific and give me clear Bible references.”
The apostle Paul referred to himself as the chief of sinners (1 Timothy 1:15; cf. 1 Corinthians 15:9; Ephesians 3:8). He never forgot how, in his ignorance, he had been a persecutor of Christ (Acts 9:4, 5).
Regarding his former persecution of the church he says that his salvation was to serve as a pattern for the grace of God (1 Timothy 1:16). Not only does that mean that Paul serves as an example of how people obtain salvation but he also serves as an example of the magnitude of God’s grace. If Paul, who had persecuted Christians, could be forgiven then anyone can be forgiven of their sins and be saved.
How was Paul saved? He did the same thing they did in Acts 2. When he realized his error (Acts 2:37; 9:4, 5), he repented (Acts 2:38; 9:6, 9) and was baptized (Acts 2:41; 9:17, 18; 22:16). Paul understood that he was saved by the grace of God (1 Corinthians 15:10). And, by his example, we see the pattern and magnitude of that great grace!
The “question” asks if there are any sins that will put a person beyond the “point of no return,” which I understand to mean incapable of being forgiven, and the answer is that there is no such thing as sins that put a person beyond God’s ability to forgive them. However, the Bible does say that we can put ourselves into a condition where we will not seek God’s forgiveness.
The Bible refers to this condition as “the sin unto death,” the “seared conscience,” the “willful sin” and “blaspheming the Holy Spirit.” None of these situations refer to specific sins but to a condition of sin. That is, any sin can be the sin “unto death” or the “willful sin.” We’ll look at each of these to show how.
The Sin Unto Death
The apostle John refers to this in 1 John 5:16, 17.
“16 If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin which does not lead to death, he will ask, and He will give him life for those who commit sin not leading to death. There is sin leading to death. I do not say that he should pray about that. 17 All unrighteousness is sin, and there is sin not leading to death.”
The context makes it very clear what the “sin unto death” is. In the instance of the “sin not unto death,” it is something that is seen by the brethren. We know that when we see our brethren sin we are supposed to exhort them to repent (Galatians 6:1; James 5:19, 20).
When confession and repentance has been forthcoming we are supposed to pray for that one’s forgiveness (1 John 1:9; 5:16; James 5:16). So, the “sin not unto death” is the sin that the brother will repent of when it is brought to his attention. He will confess it and ask forgiveness for it.
However, the “sin unto death” is in contrast to this. The sin unto death is not even to be prayed about! So, by contrast, it is clear that the “sin unto death” is the sin that the brother will not repent of, therefore, he cannot be forgiven for it. Forgiveness should not even be asked because the brother refuses to repent.
In relation to the “question,” this is not a specific sin, rather it is a condition of sin. The sin unto death could be anything from adultery to forsaking the assembly.
The brother guilty of either one will be just as lost as the other if they refuse to repent of it. On the other hand, repentance, confession and prayer could restore either. In that case it would be a “sin not unto death.”
We’ll continue discussing this question next week, Lord willing, with The Seared Conscience.
I would like to thank the readers for their good response to these weekly columns in the LaGrange Daily News. I have received some very good feedback and questions. Please feel free to contact me with your Bible questions, feedback and comments. I enjoy hearing from you.