When Have You Gone Too Far?

When Have You Gone Too Far?

Love, trust, betrayal.

There’s an ongoing argument in my family. I’m going deep here, and I very much desire reader input.

Here’s the question up for debate: if a person fits the parameters of Luke 9:62 and/or Hebrews 10:26, are they consigned to hell with no hope of reconciliation with God? Have they gone too far from God?

Luke 9:62 (NASB). “No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”

Hebrews 10:26 (NASB). “For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins.”

My opinion leans toward optimism.

Just before Jesus made the statement in Luke, he was referring to someone who wanted to take care of worldly obligations first. So the man put his hand to the plow of faith, thought better of it, and figured he’d get back to it later. According to Jesus, he’s not fit for heaven. He won’t commit.

Another way to picture the scene is a farmer trying to plow his field and looking backward. What a mess of furrows that would be! He’s not fit for the job, and a Christian who always looks back at his old life and yearns for it really isn’t interested in following Christ, a New Testament version of Lot’s wife. She never wanted to leave Sodom in the first place.

Either scenario supports the idea of not being fit for heaven. However, if the person repents and does a U-turn, Jesus welcomes him.

Charles Rondeau via publicdomainpictures.net

I can make similar points with Hebrews. A person accepts the knowledge (the facts) about Christ, she sins, and she doesn’t care. Either this person never really had personal connection with Jesus, or something caused her to turn away—adverse circumstances, falling to temptations, any one of a million reasons. Well, Jesus already made His once-for-all sacrifice. It’s done. He’s not going to perform a dog and pony show and die in various ways for mankind until one method strikes the sinner’s fancy. She can accept His sacrifice on the cross. Or not.

Regardless of whether she never accepted Christ or turned away from Him, she still has the option of the U-turn. Repentance. And she’s golden. The cross has covered all of it.

The opposite point of view held by a few others in my family is negative, even despairing, for a person caught in the vortex of past sin. You looked back? You blew it. You turned away from God. There’s no going back because YOU’RE NOT FIT.

You knew it was wrong? You kept sinning anyway? That means you rejected the cross, and there’s no other sacrifice to be made for you. The cross is no longer an option. You’re

credit to www.gamegirlconfessions.blogspot.com

Both Luke and Hebrews speak to situations we face on earth. But Romans 5:10 (NASB) is filled with eternity. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

The apostle Paul’s words cover everyone, sinner and saint alike. Jesus covers all our sins, both before and after our conversion to faith. We may wander a long road further and further from our Savior, but if we pivot in His direction, He’s right there, arms held out to welcome us.

Now, what I’m asking from you is help in recognizing if the viewpoint opposite my own holds merit in ways that I have not been able to see, as well as if my own views hold some glaring error that I’m not yet aware of.

Like I said when I started. This is deep. And my question lies at the heart of Christian faith.

About Linda Sammaritan

For years, Linda Sammaritan tried to be perfect wife, perfect mother, perfect teacher and crammed so many activities into her days that twenty-four hours couldn’t possibly hold them all – perfectly. She now lives by the motto, “relentlessly eliminate hurry.” Newly retired, Linda keeps the freezer packed with homemade take-out meals for her full- time working husband when she travels to visit children, grandchildren, siblings, and Mom. Read more about her faith and writings at www.lindasammaritan.com.


  1. Laurie Driesen says:

    Wow, you are right, you really want to go deep with this question! It’s an age-old question, don’t you think? I read this twice, and found it fascinating that really, everything you said is true. Some aren’t fit for the kingdom because they are looking back. Some weren’t saved in the first place. Some sin willfully, even after learning the truth. Some reject the truth. God will never turn away the person who truly repents. And of course, it’s true that if people continue to sin, there really is no more sacrifice available because Jesus is it, the only way. But I would like to offer this: the bottom line in God’s eyes is….. who is indwelt by the Holy Spirit? Only those who have the Holy Spirit will be fit to live with God in Heaven.

    The Spirit seals us when He comes to live in us. We can’t be “unborn” after being reborn. We can’t kick Him out. We are sealed for eternity. We can sin, reject God, be stupid, get caught up in bad choices, waste our lives, keep longing for the past, be useless here on earth for the work of the Lord….but, we will not lose our salvation. We will escape, as one who narrowly escapes the flames, with nothing to show for our lives. The real question is does the person have the Spirit? And we may not be able to figure that out because if the person is living in sin, the fruit of the Spirit is not evident. Therefore, the question remains, is the person really saved? Generally you know a tree by its fruit. If we’re saved, we lose our desire to sin. But the question still remains as we live in a fallen world. People will fall into sin. As far as each individual? There are times we just don’t know…. only God knows!

  2. Laurie,
    Thank you for such a thoughtful response. You’ve expressed the quandary with amazing precision. WE can look at a person and assume “saved” or “not saved,” yet WE can’t read any person’s heart. Only GOD can.

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