Baptists/No second chance at salvation?
QUESTION: Yesterday I tore my bible apart and threw it in the trash, I was extremely angry with God because of the following.
I grew up as a christian, though I did not even understand the very basics of it, I tasted the joy, had fellowship with the Holy Spirit etc. I was so to speak spirit-filled. At highschool I was doing exceptionally well, got very high grades. Then got a girlfriend and things started to go downhill. I switched to another school and got the lowest possible grades, became extremely depressed, started drinking lots of alcohol, started smoking weed, started having sexual relations, became suicidal and desperately tried to find a way out. At my new school I was taught evolution and when I grew up there were barely no sources whatsoever telling me about creation science. So desperately I tried to look for God but He didn't seem to be there. However back in those days there were online sources telling me about New Age, and it seemed such a wonderfull religion to me. I could become enlightened and become my own God and so get out of the mess I got myself into. During that time I have experienced elevated levels of consciousness, many times I had sleep-paralysis, I could know exactly what people were thinking and in short I became like a puppet, a controlled shell who could achieve many things (popularity, success etc.) but not through my own power. I became a slave. And during one of my moments of sleep-paralysis I felt this presence and I thought it would take my soul and kill me, so I called upon Jesus (even though I wasn't really convinced anymore He was real) and then I awoke and things became peaceful again. I repented of my old life and switched schools again and my grades were higher again after that. During the latter years I have studied a lot about christianity and was deceived for a while by the SDA cult. Actually I was deceived for like 5 years before I found out it was a deception. Even made a video about it and uploaded it on youtube, called "the seventh day adventist cult: lightbearers of the false gospel". Now just recently I wanted to write a book about all that I have learned, but somehow I came to Hebrews 6 and the sin against the Holy Spirit and everything just went desperate. I regard the scriptures as my sole authority however these passages together are very troubling to me:
"23 So Jesus called them over to him and began to speak to them in parables: “How can Satan drive out Satan? 24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. 26 And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come. 27 In fact, no one can enter a strong man’s house without first tying him up. Then he can plunder the strong man’s house. 28 Truly I tell you, people can be forgiven all their sins and every slander they utter, 29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; they are guilty of an eternal sin.”" (Marc 3)
"4 It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age 6 and who have fallen[c] away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace. 7 Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. 8 But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned."(Hebrews 6)
I have tried to appease my soul by telling myself this talks about deliberately choosing to reject Christ continually. However because scripture is my sole authority it doesn't really satisfy my spiritual unrest. I have red every possible source about these verses on the internet and they all seem to differ about its interpretation. My honest interpretation is as follows:
When Christ has been revealed to you, and somehow you choose to ignore him and you fall away, there is no second chance at repentance (salvation), because that would be a sin against the Holy Spirit that is too grievous to be forgiven. Because then Christ would be spiritually crucified a second time and that would be so abominable to The Holy Spirit that salvation is not possible anymore. It's like, once Christ has been presented to you, and you fall away, there is no second chance anymore.
I got so angry when I heard this because I basically sacrificed my entire life to follow Christ about 13 years ago. I went through hell, ever since my deception-experience things were never the same again (which also confirms my believe that after my deception-experience I could not truly be saved/loved by God anymore). I basically sacrificed everything in my life for nothing...I wish God would have told me about this 13 years ago. Many people will say, God is not like that blahblahblah, but I need scripture, and not scripture like the lost son, because that doesn't talk about apostasy from the faith, it talks about sinning to a large extent, even when the son was out there sinning, he was still a son, while I was doing New Age stuff I wasn't a son of God anymore. I spent the last two days trying to figure out if there was still a chance for me at salvation, but it seems like I am surrounded by darkness. There seems to be no hope, what do you think?
Thanks for taking the time to read all this and taking the time to respond. Kind regards,
ANSWER: Hello Roger,
Thank you for your question. I understand depth of your troubles in this matter and I do not wish to diminish the seriousness of turning our backs on the Lord's grace. However, I do not accept your interpretation of the passage concerned nor do I accept your dismissal of the relevance of the prodigal. I would contend that you were still a son even in your rebellion (as he was). The passage which gives you the problem speaks of the impossibility of being brought back to repentance yet that is exactly where you have come to. Whatever the passage is speaking of it is clear that those to whom it is referring cannot be brought back to repentance. It seems to me that manifestly does not apply to you.
To follow your logic we would have to ask how far in sin we have to go before we cannot return? It cannot be that every time we sin we lose our salvation. That flies in the face of the New Testament teaching on what Christians should do when they sin. The church in the middle ages got caught up in this, many monarchs refusing to be baptised until as near as possible their final breath lest they should sin afterwards. Your rebellion was marked and manifest but what about the Christian who struggles on but keeps being tripped up by a refusal to forgive and a spirit of resentment. Is your sin worse than that of other Christians, if so how much worse and where does the line come before we step over it?
In 1 Corinthians 5 Paul refers to the immoral brother. He tells the church to hand him over to satan but only that 'the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord.'
Speaking to Christians in 2 Corinthians 7:8-13 Paul speaks about their sorrow bringing repentance. The passage seems to apply to the guy mentioned in 1 Corinthians but even if not the principle still applies - the fallen can be restored.
At the risk of adding to your anger (my intention is the reverse) I need to ask the question what is it about your sin that makes it beyond the reach of the grace of God in Jesus Christ?
I could try to argue from the expereince of many other Christians but I understand you would dismiss that and want biblical authority. I hope I have provided it to a measure.
That it is serious and dangerous to trifle with the grace of God I have no doubt but it is important we let the whole of scipture speak and not use parts of it to punish ourselves. What Jesus did on the cross was enough and for that I will be eternally grateful.
Forgive me if I have 'come on a bit strong' but I believe rightly or wrongly that you would rather that thatn comforting platitudes.
May God bless you and lead you in His way.
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Dear Stuart,
I understand that my question is very difficult for you to answer, Hebrews 6 is a very complicated passage. Anyways thanks for your kindness.
According to some christian teachers you can only get saved once, so if you apostasize, then there is no hope left of salvation otherwise Jesus had to be cruficied again. So basically because I am an apostate, I have committed the unpardonable sin and there is no hope left.
I am not worried about any kind of sin being able to prevent me from salvation, except the unpardonable sin, and according to some christian teachers I have committed that sin and so there is no hope left.
I might as well turn away from christianity and focus my attention on gaining wealth in this world.
Thanks for coming back to me. I seldom say things as clearly as this but those who teach that someone who has turned their back on their faith cannot be restored are just plain wrong and have not understood the heart of God. The scripture is not clear about what the unpardonable sin is except that it is against the Holy Spirit. I suspect it is when we see evil as good and good as evil and so the capacity to repent is not there. As I said before, the fact of your repentance means that does not apply to you as is made clear by the passage that first gave you the concerns.
However, even your fears were true (and they are not), why would you give your life to that which is empty rather than serve God anyway as that is where reality lies? In the end life is for Him and primarily about His glory not about our feeling of well being. Fulfillment comes in serving the one who gives His all for us.
May God give you wisdom and the joy of His grace.