I am reflecting here in a series of posts on how “I changed my mind” about Calvinism and adopted a more Ariminian view of whether or not the Christian can throw away redemption.
This journey took through the book of Hebrews, where I suggested we can find four elements to each Warning Passage. Today I want to look briefly at the fourth element, the consequences. Very few will disagree with this (I hope).
The first comment is in Heb 2:2: “How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?” The implied answer is “There is no way of escape.”
Here are some more to consider:
3:11: They will not enter my rest.
6:4-6: It is impossible to renew them unto repentance (cf. 12:16-17).
10:26: no sacrifice for sins remains.
10:27: but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.
10:28: died without mercy.
10:30-31: And again, â€œThe Lord will judge his people.â€ 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
If we accept the proposal that the Warning Passages are dealing with the same subjects, etc., then we can synthesize this evidence into this conclusion: the author of Hebrews warns a specific group of people about some sin and tells them that if they commit that sin they will find themselves outside the company of God. They will be diminished.
Not let us say what the text says: here is an extreme warning about dire consequences in eternity.
Plenty of room here for theological debate: what Hebrews says is consistent with both the traditional/orthodox view of eternal separation from God as well as the more recent views of some British Evangelicals on annihilationism. For that matter, I’m sure my Roman Catholic theological friends would tell me this is also consistent with purgatory. We’ll drop that for now (someday, though). The warning of Hebrews is extreme. This isn’t about a breakdown of fellowship but about the great divorce.
Tomorrow, a blog on the exhortation the author gives to his audience.