Is there a point at which we can no longer repent? Answered by Jon Moffitt
Hi, this is Jon and today on Ask Theocast, I’m going to be answering Devin’s question: “Is there a point at which we can no longer repent?” This kind of comes from Hebrews chapter 12 when it said that Esau sought repentance even with tears and it wasn’t granted to him. So can there be a moment where you walk away from Jesus or you sin against Jesus so many times that you’ve kind of hit your limit, where there’s no more grace for you? That’s kind of what that passage may feel like it’s teaching.
I would answer, first of all, that in the context of Hebrews, he’s dealing with people who are wanting to seek redemption and salvation outside of Jesus Christ. They’re going back to the law and trying to live underneath that system in order to have the blessings and protection from God and have a relationship with the Father.
The writer of Hebrews goes systematically through each chapter, showing that Christ is better than everything in the Old Testament. He’s better than Moses, he’s better than David, and he’s better than the prophets and the angels. He is proving that salvation can only be found through Jesus Christ. Hebrews 6 and Hebrews 10 give some pretty strong warnings that if you turn away from Christ, you have no hope. There is no hope for you if you turn away from the only hope of salvation, which is Jesus Christ.
It helps us when we look at all of scripture and compare the Bible with itself. We should look at other contexts where it talks about repentance and our sin. In Romans 5, it says there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. If we are in Christ, we are told that we have been completely washed, not only for our past sins, but also our future sins. Any sins that we can commit, if we are in Christ, they’re covered. That means you can’t be condemned for what you’ve done in the past or what will happen in the future.
Paul even says in Romans 7 that he too struggles with sin. The things he doesn’t want to do, he keeps doing them. The things that he should be doing, he’s not doing them. Oh, wretched man, who will save me from this body of death? He says thanks be to Christ, and he points to the gospel. Then we go to 1 John 1:9, where we are told that when we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. So when we continue to repent and we continue to confess our sins, we will always receive that forgiveness and the promise of forgiveness: that Christ blood has already paid for it, and it’s covered. So, there isn’t a limit to our repentance.
Now, if someone does not see the need to repent of sin, or if they’re unwilling to turn away, or in an attempt at innocence they think, nope, God didn’t need to die for this even though the Bible clearly says that it is a sin- well, at that moment, they are walking away from the gospel. The gospel is the good news that God saves sinners, and if you don’t see yourself in need of saving, then you’re not going to see yourself in need of repenting.
We are horrible at repentance, and I would even say that as much as you think you’ve repented, you haven’t repented enough. This is where grace comes over us. Grace covers the sins that we even are unaware we need to repent of – people that we have offended and hurt, or ways in which we have offended God by not fully loving him – those are forgiven as well. We have to understand that if we are in Christ and we believe and trust in him, that the gospel covers all of our sins.
I think it’s dangerous to believe or teach that there can come a moment where you’ll be no longer allowed to repent, that you’ve sinned too much. You’ve hit your max. I don’t believe that the blood of Christ has a limit. There is not a point at which Christ’s blood can no longer cover your sins.
I don’t think that sets you free to go sin however you want, as that would be contrary to scripture, but I think it’s helpful for us to understand that if we struggle with a sin that we continue to fight, we shouldn’t struggle alone. The church comes in and helps us carry those burdens, and it confronts us and it strengthens us, and the body of Christ is there, designed to build us up and help us with our repentance, through the preaching of the gospel and the administration of the sacraments.
So, no, I don’t think that there can be a moment where a Christian could no longer repent, unless they’re unwilling to repent. God is always willing and able to forgive us of our sins as 1 John says, if we confess them. So hopefully that was helpful. Thank you for sending in your question, Devin, and please keep sending in your questions.