Thursday, 17 March 2011

Beware not to harden your heart

See that no-one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son.  Afterwards, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected.  He could bring about no change of mind, though he sought it with rears (Hebrews 12:16-17).

I have a friend who is troubled by the warning passages in Hebrews.  I have great sympathy because a number of years ago I went through enormous worry about verses like that above.  I have decided to open up a new category in this blog to record helpful comments about such verses.

John Piper says the following about the above verse:
Will Genuine Repentance be Rejected by God? Don't make the mistake of thinking that Esau genuinely repented and was rejected by God. God does not reject genuine repentance. The text says plainly that he found no place for repentance. In other words, he couldn't repent. He was so hardened (see Hebrews 3:8,15; 4:7) that he cried out for things to go better in his life, but inside he would not submit to God's terms. He was, as verse 16 says, "immoral and godless." This is an illustration of what the writer has in mind in Hebrews 6:6 when he says it is impossible to renew this person again to repentance.

Similarly Wiersbe writes
God's grace does not fail, but we can fail to depend on God's grace.  Esau is a warning to us not to live for lesser things.
On this passage Donald Guthrie writes
The words he found no chance to repent ... could bear the meaning that there was no opportunity to change his circumstances.  In this sense no chance to repent remained, but it is a New Testament principle that an opportunity for spiritual repentance is possible whenever there is a spiritual desire ... Esau was regarded as one of the most striking examples of those who failed to appropriate 'the grace of God'

No comments: