Vol.XIX No.VI Pg.1
August 1982

Point Of No Return

Robert F. Turner

The Hebrew writer, exhorting brethren to be faithful, tells them Esau was a "profane person ... who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears" (Heb. 12:16-17).

A "profane person" says he had little regard for genuinely important matters; gave up first-born privileges to satisfy a sudden burst of appetite. But the heavy punch line is, the choice was irrevocable. There was no changing the outcome. The A.S. has "in his father" in italics, following "he found no place for a change of mind." Others have balked at Esau being "unable to repent —" linking that with the tears; but we believe this unnecessarily limits the word "repent" to a moral change affecting Esau's soul. The eternal well being of the Hebrews was in mind, but the illustration need not go so far. We believe the illustration is given to show our actions can take us to a point from which consequences are unavoidable. Regretting you are late to an appointment does not change the time of day. Heb. 6:4-6 warns that saints may so reject Christ ("crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh") that there is no further incentive to repentance — no legitimate appeal can move them. Or, rejecting Christ's self-sacrifice "there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins" to which they can turn (10: 26-31). These are extreme warnings!!

Besides, Esau seemed only sorry he had lost the blessings, not sorry he had been a "profane person." Isaac "trembled very exceedingly" when he learned he had blessed other than Esau, but said, "yea, and he shall be blessed" (Gen. 27:30-38). When Esau heard this (note, rt) he cried, saying "Bless me, even me also." Again, "Bless me, even me also, O my father and Esau lifted up his voice, and wept" (v.38). The weeping was not in penance, but for the blessing.

While there is life, and while the gospel can still prick the heart, a moral change and eternal destiny may be effected. But this — life consequences may be unalterable, by our having passed the point of no return.