An apostate has not sinned in ignorance like many people. He has gone away from Christ with his eyes open. He has sinned against a known God. His case is desperate. All things are possible with God. Yet it is written, “It is impossible for those who were once enlightened, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance.” (Hebrews 6:4-6)
The Bible teaches that no sinner is so unlikely to be saved as the man who, after making a strong spiritual profession of faith, falls away and returns to the world; no heart is so unlikely to be changed as the heart that once professed to love the gospel, but afterwards becomes cold and indifferent to it.
I can certainly testify, after sixteen years of ministry, that by far the most hopeless and painful deathbeds I have attended have been those of backsliders. I have seen such persons go out of this world without hope, whose conscience really appeared dead, buried and gone, and on whom every truth, doctrine and argument appeared thrown away by them. They seem to have lost the power of feeling and could only lie still and despair. I fear the true account of such persons’ state of soul was the sentence of our Lord, on which I have now been dwelling.
– J. C. Ryle