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Thread: Can apostasy in Christianity be forgiven?

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    Default Can apostasy in Christianity be forgiven?

    I am asking this question because when I was 16 I committed apostasy from the Christian religion. At the time, I was influenced by Jewish counter-missionaries who convinced me that Jesus was not the Messiah. I have since returned to the Christian Faith, but I’m afraid that I cannot be forgiven. Hebrews 6:4-6 states that it is impossible for those who “fall away” (commit apostasy) to repent. Some Arminian scholars have argued that apostasy is the unpardonable sin based on these verses from Hebrews. What do y’all think? Is apostasy the unpardonable sin?


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    If you're worried about it, you aren't a true apostate. Someone who is a true apostate doesn't care.
    Edit: but yes, true apostasy is unforgivable. But, remember how Jesus talked about finding that one errant sheep.
    Please don't PM classifications. ^_^'

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    Brother, I feel your pain! If you are asking this very question, you’ve already demonstrated a repentant attitude. Only God can change a person’s heart so as to bring anyone back to faith in Christ (and, for that matter, we see in John 6:44 that no one can even come to Jesus in the first place unless the Father COMPELS that person to do this – this is the actual meaning if the Greek verb that is translated “to draw”). As a former apostate myself, I am aware of the anxiety that this verse can cause. But I’m confident enough that it does not mean what you fear it means.

    The most immediate and concise answer I can think of is that James 5:19-20 plainly teaches that is possible (and necessary) for a believer who has erred from the truth to be brought back. This is a problem verse for an Arminian who holds to once saved, always saved. I have heard it argued that “death” in this context refers not to salvation, but to physical death (a la Ananias and Sapphira), but this interpretation doesn’t seem to hold water because the object of death spoken of in this verse is the "soul." We see that death of the soul refers to damnation - see Matthew 10:28.

    There are numerous other problems with the interpretation that you fear. God's covenant with Israel in the Old Testament foreshadows the covenant of grace that is extended to individuals. Yet Israel is constantly falling away, worshipping false gods, persecuting the prophets, and even crucifying the Son of God. Yet God's covenant with Israel is irrevocable. Indeed, there's a growing understanding that replacement theology is utterly wrong, especially as we see prophecies concerning Israel being fulfilled right in front of our eyes. So we see that "all Israel will be saved" (Romans 11:26) - not all ethnic Jews, but at the very least we see this applies to Israel as a nation.

    As ChildofMud pointed out, Jesus is indeed the Good Shepherd who will not lose even a single one of His sheep (John 10:27-30). The parable of the lost sheep, the prodigal son, the denials of Peter, the doubting of Thomas... there are so many examples. In 1 Corinthians 5:5, the Apostle Paul even speaks to the desirability of handing over a sinner to Satan so that the sinner's soul may ultimately be saved.

    Finally, and perhaps most significantly, the context of the passage in question does not favor the interpretation that you fear. The Book of Hebrews is addressed to Jewish Christians. Unlike the Gentiles, these were Christians who, if they fell away, would return to the OT sacrificial system. The overall theme of Hebrews is the one-time, all-sufficient sacrifice of Christ. With this in mind, I think we can understand the reason given for this warning, in Hebrews 6:6: "they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame." If one thinks he still needs to make sacrifices to atone for sin, then he is saying Christ's one time sacrifice was not enough. Is that not blasphemy? Is the blood of the Son of God not worth so much more than the blood of animals?! So it is apostasy, but not just any kind. It's a warning against apostasy to Jewish Christians that they cannot be saved by going back to the Old Covenant system if they have once "tasted the heavenly gift" of the New Covenant. It's a warning that Catholics should actually take a good, hard look at when they purport to re-sacrifice Christ as eat His literal flesh, and drink His literal blood, in their mass! Jesus Himself is our high Priest (Hebrews 4:14-16), who makes intercession for us (Hebrews 7:25), so there's no need for other priests!

    Your observation that this interpretation is an Arminian viewpoint is an astute one. While I recognize that many Christian brothers hold to Arminianism, and I would probably not seek to push the issue too much, if I may offer some advice: there is only ONE Biblical truth. Thus their interpretation is not equally valid. All the five points of Calvinism are Biblical. People resist the predestinarian interpretation of Scripture because it denies human will and agency. But this is pure humanism! It’s not Biblical.

    To be sure, there is much about God that is yet to be revealed to us. But we should not shy away about what has been revealed, especially when concerns such as yours arise. To that end, I would aver that the Bible teaches both double predestination AND equal ultimacy. The latter is a very controversial point indeed (but EASILY demonstrable: https://inthelasthour.com/equal-ultimacy/). But I bring it up to make the point that nothing can occur apart from God's sovereignty. If anyone falls away from the Christian faith, it is because God predestined it. Likewise, if any who had previously fallen away sincerely return, it is also because He predestined it! Nothing you do can surprise God or alter His eternal purposes. The fact that these truths are Scripturally discernible is precisely because God intended it this way. It's not as if we've happened upon a truth that He does not want us to know. It should bring us comfort that our salvation is in God's hands, not our own. Nothing we do or are even capable of doing can alter God's eternal purposes! Accordingly, it is impossible for a child of God to ever "give back" salvation, as it were.

    As John Calvin notes, Augustine had some interesting comments on this. We see that the perseverance of the saints is most manifestly a final perseverance.

    http://www.the-highway.com/Calvin_sectionI.html

    And as Augustine, tracing the beginning or origin of election to the free and gratuitous will of God, places reprobation in His mere will likewise, so he teaches that the security of our salvation stands in that will also, and in nothing else. For, writing to Paulinus, he affirms that those who do not persevere unto the end, belong not to the calling of God, which is always effectual and without any repentance in Him. And, in another work, he maintains more fully that perseverance is freely bestowed on the elect, from which they can never fall away. "Thus," says he "when Christ prayed for Peter, that his faith might not fail, what else did He ask of God, but that there might be with, or in, Peter's faith a fully free, fully courageous, fully victorious, fully persevering will, or determination? And He had just before said, 'The foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are His.' The faith of such, which worketh by love, either faileth not at all, or, if there be any in whom it does partially fail, it is renewed and restored before this life is ended. That iniquity which had interrupted it is done away, and the faith still perseveres unto the end. But those who are not designed of God to persevere if they fall from the Christian faith, and the end of life finds them in that state thus fallen such, doubtless, could not have been of this number of God's elect, even while they were, to all appearance, living well and righteously. For such were never separated from the general mass of perdition by the foreknowledge and predestination of God, and therefore were never 'called according to His purpose.'" And, that no one might be disturbed in mind because those sometimes fall away who had been considered the sons of God, he meets such perplexed ones thus: "Let no one think that those ever fall away who are the subjects of predestination, who are the called according to God's purpose, and who are truly the children of promise. Those who live godly in appearance are, indeed, called by men the children of God; but, because they are destined sometime or other to live ungodly, and to die in that ungodliness, God does not call them His children in His foreknowledge. They who are ordained unto life are understood, by the Scripture, to be given unto Christ. These are predestinated and called, according to God's purpose. Not one of these ever perishes. And on this account no such one, though changed from good to bad for a time, ever ends his life so, because he is for that end ordained of God, and for that end given unto Christ, that he might not perish, but have eternal life."


    Hope this helps.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wanderer View Post
    Brother, I feel your pain! If you are asking this very question, you’ve already demonstrated a repentant attitude. Only God can change a person’s heart so as to bring anyone back to faith in Christ (and, for that matter, we see in John 6:44 that no one can even come to Jesus in the first place unless the Father COMPELS that person to do this – this is the actual meaning if the Greek verb that is translated “to draw”). As a former apostate myself, I am aware of the anxiety that this verse can cause. But I’m confident enough that it does not mean what you fear it means.

    The most immediate and concise answer I can think of is that James 5:19-20 plainly teaches that is possible (and necessary) for a believer who has erred from the truth to be brought back. This is a problem verse for an Arminian who holds to once saved, always saved. I have heard it argued that “death” in this context refers not to salvation, but to physical death (a la Ananias and Sapphira), but this interpretation doesn’t seem to hold water because the object of death spoken of in this verse is the "soul." We see that death of the soul refers to damnation - see Matthew 10:28.

    There are numerous other problems with the interpretation that you fear. God's covenant with Israel in the Old Testament foreshadows the covenant of grace that is extended to individuals. Yet Israel is constantly falling away, worshipping false gods, persecuting the prophets, and even crucifying the Son of God. Yet God's covenant with Israel is irrevocable. Indeed, there's a growing understanding that replacement theology is utterly wrong, especially as we see prophecies concerning Israel being fulfilled right in front of our eyes. So we see that "all Israel will be saved" (Romans 11:26) - not all ethnic Jews, but at the very least we see this applies to Israel as a nation.

    As ChildofMud pointed out, Jesus is indeed the Good Shepherd who will not lose even a single one of His sheep (John 10:27-30). The parable of the lost sheep, the prodigal son, the denials of Peter, the doubting of Thomas... there are so many examples. In 1 Corinthians 5:5, the Apostle Paul even speaks to the desirability of handing over a sinner to Satan so that the sinner's soul may ultimately be saved.

    Finally, and perhaps most significantly, the context of the passage in question does not favor the interpretation that you fear. The Book of Hebrews is addressed to Jewish Christians. Unlike the Gentiles, these were Christians who, if they fell away, would return to the OT sacrificial system. The overall theme of Hebrews is the one-time, all-sufficient sacrifice of Christ. With this in mind, I think we can understand the reason given for this warning, in Hebrews 6:6: "they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame." If one thinks he still needs to make sacrifices to atone for sin, then he is saying Christ's one time sacrifice was not enough. Is that not blasphemy? Is the blood of the Son of God not worth so much more than the blood of animals?! So it is apostasy, but not just any kind. It's a warning against apostasy to Jewish Christians that they cannot be saved by going back to the Old Covenant system if they have once "tasted the heavenly gift" of the New Covenant. It's a warning that Catholics should actually take a good, hard look at when they purport to re-sacrifice Christ as eat His literal flesh, and drink His literal blood, in their mass! Jesus Himself is our high Priest (Hebrews 4:14-16), who makes intercession for us (Hebrews 7:25), so there's no need for other priests!

    Your observation that this interpretation is an Arminian viewpoint is an astute one. While I recognize that many Christian brothers hold to Arminianism, and I would probably not seek to push the issue too much, if I may offer some advice: there is only ONE Biblical truth. Thus their interpretation is not equally valid. All the five points of Calvinism are Biblical. People resist the predestinarian interpretation of Scripture because it denies human will and agency. But this is pure humanism! It’s not Biblical.

    To be sure, there is much about God that is yet to be revealed to us. But we should not shy away about what has been revealed, especially when concerns such as yours arise. To that end, I would aver that the Bible teaches both double predestination AND equal ultimacy. The latter is a very controversial point indeed (but EASILY demonstrable: https://inthelasthour.com/equal-ultimacy/). But I bring it up to make the point that nothing can occur apart from God's sovereignty. If anyone falls away from the Christian faith, it is because God predestined it. Likewise, if any who had previously fallen away sincerely return, it is also because He predestined it! Nothing you do can surprise God or alter His eternal purposes. The fact that these truths are Scripturally discernible is precisely because God intended it this way. It's not as if we've happened upon a truth that He does not want us to know. It should bring us comfort that our salvation is in God's hands, not our own. Nothing we do or are even capable of doing can alter God's eternal purposes! Accordingly, it is impossible for a child of God to ever "give back" salvation, as it were.

    As John Calvin notes, Augustine had some interesting comments on this. We see that the perseverance of the saints is most manifestly a final perseverance.

    http://www.the-highway.com/Calvin_sectionI.html

    And as Augustine, tracing the beginning or origin of election to the free and gratuitous will of God, places reprobation in His mere will likewise, so he teaches that the security of our salvation stands in that will also, and in nothing else. For, writing to Paulinus, he affirms that those who do not persevere unto the end, belong not to the calling of God, which is always effectual and without any repentance in Him. And, in another work, he maintains more fully that perseverance is freely bestowed on the elect, from which they can never fall away. "Thus," says he "when Christ prayed for Peter, that his faith might not fail, what else did He ask of God, but that there might be with, or in, Peter's faith a fully free, fully courageous, fully victorious, fully persevering will, or determination? And He had just before said, 'The foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are His.' The faith of such, which worketh by love, either faileth not at all, or, if there be any in whom it does partially fail, it is renewed and restored before this life is ended. That iniquity which had interrupted it is done away, and the faith still perseveres unto the end. But those who are not designed of God to persevere if they fall from the Christian faith, and the end of life finds them in that state thus fallen such, doubtless, could not have been of this number of God's elect, even while they were, to all appearance, living well and righteously. For such were never separated from the general mass of perdition by the foreknowledge and predestination of God, and therefore were never 'called according to His purpose.'" And, that no one might be disturbed in mind because those sometimes fall away who had been considered the sons of God, he meets such perplexed ones thus: "Let no one think that those ever fall away who are the subjects of predestination, who are the called according to God's purpose, and who are truly the children of promise. Those who live godly in appearance are, indeed, called by men the children of God; but, because they are destined sometime or other to live ungodly, and to die in that ungodliness, God does not call them His children in His foreknowledge. They who are ordained unto life are understood, by the Scripture, to be given unto Christ. These are predestinated and called, according to God's purpose. Not one of these ever perishes. And on this account no such one, though changed from good to bad for a time, ever ends his life so, because he is for that end ordained of God, and for that end given unto Christ, that he might not perish, but have eternal life."


    Hope this helps.
    Thanks for the thorough reply. So, correct me if I’m wrong, but was John Calvin saying that a Christian can fall away for a time, but as long as the faith is restored before that person dies, his faith perseveres to the end and he is apart of God’s elect?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Garrett View Post
    Thanks for the thorough reply. So, correct me if I’m wrong, but was John Calvin saying that a Christian can fall away for a time, but as long as the faith is restored before that person dies, his faith perseveres to the end and he is apart of God’s elect?

    Yes, that is Calvin quoting Augustine. It is God that sovereignly creates faith. There is also no possibility of somehow dying in a state of unbelief if God has chosen you to be a believer, because God is sovereign over all causes of death, and has already appointed a time that we are to die (or be raptured).

    There’s a book I read by Brennan Manning (“The Furious Longing of God”) where this is illustrated quite well. Manning recounts the time he spent in a leper colony in Louisiana, and he gives an account of a Mexican-American lady who had been consigned to the colony. Due to the leprosy, her husband had divorced her and forbade their children from seeing her. She was dying, and Manning was with her at the time. Suddenly she’s full of joy and says to Manning, “the Abba of Jesus just told me that He would take me home today.” Manning asks what God said, and she replies by repeating what is written in Song of Songs 2:10-14…those beautiful words of being called home. Manning later finds out she was illiterate and had never read the Bible…

    There’s no chance God would let one of His own fall through the cracks in any way. Jesus makes this clear in John 10:27-30 that none can be snatched from His hand. That includes us; we cannot separate ourselves from Him even if we so desired. As Jesus said, "You didn't choose Me, but I chose you [...]" (John 15:16).


    Getting back to the subject at hand, and notwithstanding what I previously wrote, I want to propound a new exegesis of the passage in question. I’ve been scrutinizing this passage since yesterday using the interlinear Bible (see: https://biblehub.com/interlinear/hebrews/6.htm). There is another issue to consider here, which is the precise theological meaning of the Greek parapesontas, which is translated as “having fallen away.” This is the only instance this verb appears in the entire New Testament. More precisely, it is the aorist participle of the Greek verb parapipto: para- (think paraphrase or parallel = from beside, by the side of, by, beside), and –pipto (fall or fall down).

    I see Thayer’s Greek Lexicon alleges that, even though this verb does not appear elsewhere in the New Testament, it is analogous to the use of the Hebrew term in the Old Testament for “falling away” as signifying apostasy. It points to Ezekiel 14:13 and Ezekiel 15:8—however, BOTH of these verses specifically condemn PERSISTENT unfaithfulness (look at these verses in the interlinear Bible). As it pertains to belief, it’s the persistence and finality of the act here that are at issue.

    Apostasy is a Greek word and appears elsewhere in the New Testament. If that had been the writer’s intended meaning, why not use that word, or otherwise use some more specific phraseology? Why should we assume this other verb that means “to slip aside” or “to deviate from the right path” or even simply “to err” refers specifically to unbelief/apostasy, and not to other forms of failure... that being sin? Etymologically, the two words are similar—but apostasy has a theological meaning. Parapipto has no theological significance other than the single use that is before us, so it is only if we assume the word is being used figuratively that it could refer to apostasy. What warrants such an assumption?

    Those who would render parapipto as apostasy seems to have read their theology into the verse. It is definitely true that various translators have had the tendency to do exactly that—insert their own theology into the translation. Here, it seems as if the English rendering of Hebrews proceeds from that assumption. Even the KJV inserts the conditional term “if” where it is not present in the text. Notwithstanding my limitations in Greek, I can see that if I read it word-for-word, just by looking at the interlinear passage, the text should be more like this:

    “It is impossible for those once having been enlightened, having tasted then of the heavenly gift, and having become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and having tasted the goodness of God’s word, the power also of the coming age—and then having erred—again to restore to repentance, crucifying again to themselves the Son of God and subjecting Him to open shame.”

    The KJV, for example, suggests “crucifying to themselves the Son of God” is the reason repentance is impossible (the KJV renders it as “seeing they crucify to themselves”). But there’s no “because” or equivalent in this passage. The only way this passage makes sense is if it’s referring to the one time, all-sufficient sacrifice of Christ—which, again, is the major theme of the Book of Hebrews. THAT’S the reason it’s impossible to renew again unto repentance. Christ’s one-time sacrifice covers sins that believers commit. So there's context on the side of this exegesis, because the context is the desire on the part of the author of Hebrews to move beyond "the foundation of repentance" (Hebrews 6:1). Contextually, there seems to be no reason this passage refers to apostasy. To interpret it this way is like scrutinizing a single piece of the puzzle without regard for how that piece actually fits the context in which you wish to insert it. In Hebrews 6:1-3, the writer is basically talking about moving beyond Christianity 101, as it were—just as the writer of Hebrews admonishes his audience that they need milk and not solid food, as if they are infants (Hebrews 5:12-13), as they have not grown in the faith to the extent that they should have. Hebrews 6:7-12 also does not fit this interpretation of the preceding three verses, because here the author of Hebrews exhorts his audience not to idle but bear fruit and grow in the faith.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Garrett View Post
    I am asking this question because when I was 16 I committed apostasy from the Christian religion. At the time, I was influenced by Jewish counter-missionaries who convinced me that Jesus was not the Messiah. I have since returned to the Christian Faith, but I’m afraid that I cannot be forgiven. Hebrews 6:4-6 states that it is impossible for those who “fall away” (commit apostasy) to repent. Some Arminian scholars have argued that apostasy is the unpardonable sin based on these verses from Hebrews. What do y’all think? Is apostasy the unpardonable sin?
    Of course you can be forgiven! The blood of Jesus is powerful enough to wash away all that sin of yours, you just have to ask God, repent of what you had done, and then receive your forgiveness with thanksgiving. The Bible says the only sin that will not be forgiven, is sin against the Holy Spirit -- and as per the example Jesus used, it is specifically if you say the work of the Holy Spirit if the work of the devil. That slander against the Spirit can not be forgiven, and unfortunately I see that many people these days are committing this unpardonable sin.. by saying the Holy Spirit is actually a demon or the devil... very sad But as for yours... you can be forgiven as long as you repent, and follow the right way.

    For the record, Jesus is the ONLY way to heaven, and sadly, Jews are clinging to wrong ideas that won't get them into heaven.
    "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" ~ Heb 11:1

    "And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him." ~ Heb 11:6

    "Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him." ~ John 3:36

    "Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." ~ Rom 10:9

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    Some more thoughts I’ve had on this subject. It’s occurred to me that the problem with Arminianism is really quite manifest in the exegesis of this passage that many of its proponents have offered. And even Calvinists may not always provide clarity. Scratch even many Calvinists and you will find Arminians!

    Because Arminianism denies that being born again is a sovereign act of God, totally independent of human will or exertion (see Ephesians 2:8, Romans 9:16), it reverses the logical order that this passage sets forth of how repentance and renewal are related. If Biblical repentance were an act that flesh were capable of, despite clear teaching to the contrary (see John 3:3-8), then one might read a backwards sequencing into this text according to which repentance (in Greek, metanoia – a change of heart/mind/ways) leading unto renewal is impossible after having fallen away (or erred, etc.). However, in reality, the order is the exact opposite. What the author of Hebrews references is renewal unto repentance, not vice versa. And this concords with regeneration preceding faith.

    In the popular (Arminian) view among evangelicals today, we basically believe the Gospel and are then born again. This is backwards. In fact, we’re born again so that we can believe the Gospel. Could Lazarus raise himself from the dead? Can a blind man make himself see? No, in all cases. So it is with us. The Holy Spirit must first give us spiritual rebirth so that we can believe the Gospel.

    For more on how regeneration precedes faith:
    https://www.monergism.com/thethresho.../sproul01.html
    https://www.monergism.com/thethresho...scripture.html


    If we look at this passage in Hebrews in light of this, all it would seem to be saying is that this renewal is a one-time thing. Repentance is not necessarily a one-time act; however, the basis of all Biblical repentance would be the one-time act that is renewal, or being born again. So in the case of someone who errs from the truth, as James 5:19-20 attests, they can certainly be brought back. Moreover, I think this also fits much better with the immediate context, which I contemplated in my previous post.

    Quote Originally Posted by Loki View Post
    Of course you can be forgiven! The blood of Jesus is powerful enough to wash away all that sin of yours, you just have to ask God, repent of what you had done, and then receive your forgiveness with thanksgiving. The Bible says the only sin that will not be forgiven, is sin against the Holy Spirit -- and as per the example Jesus used, it is specifically if you say the work of the Holy Spirit if the work of the devil. That slander against the Spirit can not be forgiven, and unfortunately I see that many people these days are committing this unpardonable sin.. by saying the Holy Spirit is actually a demon or the devil... very sad But as for yours... you can be forgiven as long as you repent, and follow the right way.

    For the record, Jesus is the ONLY way to heaven, and sadly, Jews are clinging to wrong ideas that won't get them into heaven.
    This is a hard teaching—perhaps even more so than Hebrews 6:4-6, as many Christians fear they may have committed this sin in some way. It seems to me that the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is the sin of unbelief—specifically, final unbelief, not temporal—as Jesus clarifies that you are either for Him or against Him (see Matthew 12:25-30). Moreover, Jesus says to the Pharisees that anyone who speaks “a word” against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but when speaking about blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, does not likewise say “a word”—rather, just speaks (Matthew 12:32... see also Luke 12:10 where such an asymmetry is established). The Apostle Paul was a Pharisee as well, who persecuted Christians before his conversion, and wrote in Romans 11:23 that if the Jews do not persist in unbelief, then God is able to graft them back in.

    In the end, as Christians, Jesus is our Good Shepherd Who will not lose even a single sheep that the Father has given Him - see John 6:39 and John 10:27-30. The Arminian view that one must cooperate with grace would turn salvation into a work. But Romans 11:6 declares: And if it is by grace, then it is no longer by works. Otherwise, grace would no longer be grace.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loki View Post
    Of course you can be forgiven! The blood of Jesus is powerful enough to wash away all that sin of yours, you just have to ask God, repent of what you had done, and then receive your forgiveness with thanksgiving. The Bible says the only sin that will not be forgiven, is sin against the Holy Spirit -- and as per the example Jesus used, it is specifically if you say the work of the Holy Spirit if the work of the devil. That slander against the Spirit can not be forgiven, and unfortunately I see that many people these days are committing this unpardonable sin.. by saying the Holy Spirit is actually a demon or the devil... very sad But as for yours... you can be forgiven as long as you repent, and follow the right way.

    For the record, Jesus is the ONLY way to heaven, and sadly, Jews are clinging to wrong ideas that won't get them into heaven.
    So nothing can save you after you think that? You are doomed if you think that from the heart? Even if someone thought that in the past, but no longer believes it. That's sad if true. It means the person who once thought that, has nothing to look forward to in the after life, no matter how much they repent and cry out for mercy.

    But iv'e never heard of such people thinking in that way about the Holy Spirit.
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