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Can you explain Hebrews 12:16?

Submitted: 3/17/2008
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Question: Hebrews 12:16 warns against fornicators and profane persons such as Esau. It then goes on to describe a place of no return, from which repentance cannot be obtained. Does this mean a Holy Ghost filled person who commits fornication cannot repent?

Answer: No, that is not what it means. Hebrews 12:16-17 says, 'Lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright. For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears.' The repentance this verse is speaking of concerns Isaac, the father of Esau, not Esau. What it is telling us is that after Esau sold his birthright, he later regreted it and pleaded with his father to change his mind. Isaac had given the birthright to Jacob, and even though Esau must have become very emotional trying to convince his father to renig and give it to him, Isaac would not (that is, he would not repent of his earlier decision). This is not to say that it is perfectly okay to commit fornication. But there is certainly a window of time wherein a person can repent of his sin. Many have. But keep in mind that there have been many who would not repent. Revelation 2:21 says, 'And I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality (fornication), and she did not repent.' And Revelation 9:21 speak of those who 'did not repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality (fornication) or their thefts.'