In the face of God’s sovereignty and His very real desire that all are saved, the reality that repentance could become impossible for anyone seems contradictory. And yet, that is exactly what the Hebrews writer states1. Is there really a “point of no return”; when repentance becomes impossible for an individual?

How Scripture answers "Can repentance become impossible (Hebrews 6:4-6)?"

Practically speaking, yes, there is a point where repentance becomes impossible1. While man does have free will to choose, and God will take back anyone that repents, the Hebrews writer makes it clear throughout his letter1,3,6 that an individual can reach a point where repentance becomes impossible. In fact, the Hebrews writer simply illuminates a concept well taught throughout Scripture2,4,5,7,8,9,10,11. It also helps to understand some otherwise challenging things in the Old Testament5,8,11. The “seared conscience”9 and the “hardened heart”4,5 are all manifestations of a “puffed up”2 and “unholy”3 individual that has become so comfortable with sinning2,4,6,7,10,11 that repentance becomes impossible1 for them.

Answer built on scripture-blocks below

For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt.

It’s impossible to restore to repentance those that have fallen away after coming to understand and experience salvation – having shared in the Holy Spirit and the goodness of God’s word and the power to come – since they crucify all over the Son of God, putting him to public shame to their own harm.

The Hebrews writer is arguing the “better” things in Christ, contrasting with things from the Old Law these Hebrew Christians had turned from, but apparently were at risk to turn back.  He is chastising them for having become “dull of hearing” (5:11) and requiring someone to still need to teach them these “basic principles” (5:12).
Scripture-block application to this question

Those who “fall away” from having “tasted the heavenly gift” and all that is involved will eventually find it impossible to return to God.

And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.

Those refusing to acknowledge God, He gives way for them to do the unrighteousness of their depraved mind.

Paul’s letter to the Christians living in Rome expressing his eagerness to come there and preach (vs 15).  He praises them for their faith being “proclaimed in all the world” (vs 8) and contrasts living by faith (vs 17) with those that know God but have not honored him as God (vs 21).
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God gives way to those determined to refuse Him and act sinfully.

See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears.
Make sure that no one fails to obtain the grace of God.  Take care not to let bitterness grows to make you defiled, or that you become sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who was shortsighted in selling his birthright for a meal, since later, when he was sorrowful when realized his mistake, he was rejected and found no more opportunity to repent.

The writer’s summation (chapters 12-13) of a letter dedicated to encouraging Christians to “hold fast” to their faith and “run with endurance the race” that is before them (vs 1).  He implores them to strive for holiness since “without which no one will see the Lord” (vs 14) and concludes with two examples from the Old Testament.

The first reference is the “root of bitterness” which comes from Deut 29:18-19 where the children of Israel are being warned about hearing God’s word but pridefully saying to themselves, “I shall be safe, though I walk in the stubbornness of my heart.” The second example is Esau and him selling his birthright to his brother Jacob for a pot of stew (Gen 25) and later regretting it when his blessing from Issac was irredeemable (Gen 27).

Scripture-block application to this question

Speaking to Christians, the writer warns of failing “to obtain the grace of God” by either (a) trusting in oneself (e.g. pride), or (b) in the case of Esau, being “unholy” or “profane” (KJV) or “godless” (NASB). In the end, Esau lost his chance to repent.

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Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.

Therefore, I say with God’s authority, that you are to no longer behave as the Gentiles do in their foolishness. Their understanding is distorted. They are strangers to a life of God due to ignorance, which is due to their stubbornness. As a result, they are numb and have turned themselves over to carnal passions and a lust to practice every kind of sin.

Paul, writing to the church in Ephesus, has just used a body metaphorically to describe the church.  He transitions to encourage them as to how they are to behave by putting off their “old self” (vs 22).
Scripture-block application to this question

Paul is encouraging Christians not to walk as the Gentiles who were stubborn (“hardness of heart”) and are now numb (“callous”) as they gorge on their fleshly passions and every kind of sin.

But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and though I multiply my signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, Pharaoh will not listen to you. Then I will lay my hand on Egypt and bring my hosts, my people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great acts of judgment.

I [God] will harden Pharaoh’s heart/mind, and even though I amplify my power in Egypt he will still not listen to you [Moses]. Then I will bring judgment on Egypt and redeem my people from the land with great signs and wonders.

The beginning of events surrounding the exodus of the people of Israel from Egypt and the ten plagues. God has already told Moses a summary of what would happen (Ex 4:21-23), but the detailed account stretches from chapter seven through chapter twelve.

Scripture-block application to this question

Pharaoh’s heart was hardened not to obey God’s message through Moses.

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Throughout the ten plagues that God sent upon Egypt, we see a process taking place within Pharaoh’s own heart. A struggle to submit becomes more and more difficult with each progressively severe plague until finally, he yields to his pride and fully commits to his rejection of God.

For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries.

For if we continue to sin willfully/voluntarily after obeying the gospel, there is no sacrifice remaining for us.  Only a fearful expectation of judgment and a consuming fire awaiting the unrighteous.

The Hebrews writer is beginning the conclusion of his letter imploring the Jewish Christians to remain faithful and not forget all of the “better” things they have in Christ.  A Christian continuing to sin willfully is further described as “one who has spurned the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace” (vs 29).

Scripture-block application to this question

If, after becoming a Christian, someone continues in willful (e.g. prideful) sin, their judgment will constitute “a fury of fire” (e.g. Hell) since they have rejected the sacrifice by their sinful actions.

Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
As a result, God sends a strong delusion in order that they will believe what is false and so be condemned from not believing truth but instead determined to sin.

Paul’s second letter to the church in Thessalonica where he is warning them about coming destructive forces to the faithful. He encourages them to not listen to the false teaching that Christ has already come (vss 1-3). Rather, they must endure through lawlessness that is “already at work” (vs 7) and the “lawless one” that Satan empowers (vs 9) and Jesus “will kill by the breath of His mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming” (vs 8).

Scripture-block application to this question

God may have a part2,5,8 in the final demise of those who want to “believe what is false” and take “pleasure in unrighteousness.”

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These “refused to love the truth and so be saved” (vs 10) which led to God sending “a strong delusion.”

Scripture-block application to this question
Then the Lord said, Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great and their sin is very grave, I will go down to see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry that has come to me. And if not, I will know.
Then God said that because of Sodom and Gomorrah’s great and grave sin and the outcry against it, He would go and see if the outcry is justified.

God appears to Abraham (vs 1) along with three men (vs 2), possibly angels (see 19:1-2). After delivering news that his wife Sarah would bear a child in the next year (vs 10), the topic turns to the cities in the Valley of Siddim (see Gen 14:2-3) – Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim, and Zoar.

An entire city/society was beyond the point of redemption11. Their culture of sin had made it such that repentance became impossible and the merciful thing to do was destroy them.

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In the rest of the story, we know that only Lot’s family was saved.

Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.
The Holy Spirit instructs that in the latter times some will leave the faith by loving false spirits and demon teaching offered up by liars with seared consciences, who forbid marriage and require food be avoided that God never required for those that believe and know the truth.

Paul’s letter to a young preacher, Timothy.  Throughout the letter, Paul’s instructions have to do with Timothy’s activities and relationship with the brethren there with Timothy (the church).

Scripture-block application to this question

During the last days, some will leave the faith due to a love of teaching that is contrary to the truth7, taught by those “whose consciences are seared.”

As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.

If anyone encourages division, give them two warnings before having nothing to do with them. They are perverted and sinful and bring condemnation upon themselves.

Paul’s letter of encouragement to a young preacher, Titus.

Scripture-block application to this question

Someone that is unrepentant after being confronted with their sin is perverted and damned by their stubbornness.

For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them.
They would be better off remaining in their sins and worldliness, if, after turning from them because of the knowledge they have about Jesus their Savior, they turn back and again are ensnared.  In other words, they would be better off never knowing the way of Christ and His holy commandments if they will only reject them later.
Peter is concluding a lengthy instruction/warning about false teachers (2:1) rising up among them and embarks on a treatise about the danger of coming to a “swift destruction” (vs 1) and how “the way of truth will be blasphemed” (vs 2). He provides examples including some illuminating information re: angels (vs 4) and several more from the Old Testament including Noah (vs 5), Sodom and Gomorrah (vs 6), and Balaam (vs 15).

This section closely parallels Jude 1 and Peter relates this process of one’s descent to spiritual destruction with Proverbs 26:11, “Like a dog that returns to his vomit is a fool who repeats his folly.”

Scripture-block application to this question

Peter describes a situation exactly parallel to what the Hebrews writer describes1.

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Throughout the chapter, Peter relates several Old Testament examples where repentance became impossible.

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