Churches are sinfully honouring reprobates—Eli and his reprobate sons. The unpardonable sin.
What is a “reprobate”? Esau was a reprobate. Pharaoh was a reprobate. Eli’s sons, Hophni and Phineas, were reprobates. Scripture tells us that there are indeed people who are beyond God’s mercy, for whom it is in fact too late, for whom repentance is now impossible. Let us consider how they ever got to such a point and why their sealed condition serves as a sobering warning to all who are continuing to reject Christ.
We can find numerous examples of anemic, erroneous theology in people who claim to be teachers in Christ’s church. It is a repeated refrain – “No one is beyond God’s mercy. It is never too late for anyone.” These kinds of falsehoods are frequently presented to us when some person who has claimed to be a pious, model “saint” is found out to be what they really are – a wicked, evil, deceiver guilty of the most horrendous sins.
What does the reprobate look like today?
- He claims to be a Christian.
- He has heard the gospel and the truths of Scripture for years and years.
- He is often quite “religious” in appearance.
- But behind all of this lies an evil, unbelieving heart as evidenced by his real life of walking in evil, of refusing to repent, of having no fear of the Lord.
Hophni and Phineas, Eli’s sons, were reprobates.
What were the sins of Hophni and Phineas?
- They were “pastors.” Ministers. Priests. Church leaders of their day.
- They did not know the Lord.
- They stole from the offering plate (by force).
- They fornicated with women who were at the tabernacle, apparently setting up a kind of temple prostitution ring.
And so it was the will of God to put them to death. Not to redeem them. Not to plead with them to repent.
Eli the priest was the father of Hophni and Phineas. Eli’s guilt was in pleading with his sons to repent. Many pastors and Christian counselors today would want to “fix” Hophni and Phineas. Many, many church leaders and professing Christians today are guilty of Eli’s sin.
Reprobates, sinning with a high hand and the sin that leads to death (the unpardonable sin)
Ps Jeff Crippen explains about reprobates and the sin that leads to death in his sermon Today if You Hear His Voice, Do Not Harden Your Heart. The main text of the sermon is 1 Samuel 2:22-36 but it also discusses Hebrews 3:17-19; 6:1-8; Numbers 15:28-31; Matthew 12:31-32; Jeremiah 7:13-16; 14:10-12. It is an excellent coverage of the doctrine of the reprobate, what it means to sin with a high hand by intentionally and persistently resisting the Holy Spirit, and how that is the sin that leads to death — the unpardonable sin.
1 John 5:16-18 If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask, and God will give him life—to those who commit sins that do not lead to death. There is sin that leads to death; I do not say that one should pray for that. All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that does not lead to death. We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him.
The text of this post is a shortened version of Part 1 of this 2-part sermon series by Jeff Crippen:
Today if You Hear His Voice – Do Not Harden Your Heart, Part 2 this discusses the doctrine of the reprobate more, and explains the difference between an apostate and a reprobate.
For Further Reading