Let’s define what a reprobate is.  In the New Testament, the Greek word for reprobate is ‘adókimos’ and means unapproved, rejected, worthless, castaway. 

We read in Romans 1:28-32, “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, GOD GAVE THEM OVER TO A REPROBATE MIND, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.”  In this portion, a reprobate mind is one of which the Lord cannot approve, and which must be rejected by Him.  This is a result of their refusing to “retain God in their knowledge.”  It was not because they could not retain the knowledge of Go, but because they disregarded God, and chose to reject him, and follow their own passions and lusts.

Notice carefully here that the Lord did not cause these rejecters to become reprobate.  No, He simply “gave them over” to the logical condition of their minds as they refused to consider their need of the Lord.  These people “loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” (John 3:19).  It is clear that these men were turned over to their lusts without the restraining hand of God. 

These people did not simply refuse the Lord but, “…when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.”  (Romans 1:21-23).  They completely and totally rejected the Lord until the point that the Lord rejected them.  Because of their calculated rejection of the Lord, we see that:

  • “God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves.” (Verse 24).  This has to do with their hearts.
  • “God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature.” (Verse 26).  This has to do with their desires.
  • “God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient.” (Verse 28).  This has to do with their minds.

Can these people ever be forgiven?  Can they ever repent?  Can they ever be saved?  I cannot speak dogmatically to this question, yet it does seem there can be a recovery from this state of being a reprobate.  Notice some of the characteristics of being a reprobate in verses 29-32.  Things such as fornication, envy, murder, spiteful, disobedient to parents, no natural affections, not merciful.  Verses 24 and 27 list homosexuality as a characteristic of one who is a reprobate. Verse 27 says, “And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.”

With that in mind, let us read 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”  We see several here bearing the traits of the reprobate, yet we see they “are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus.”  Perhaps this rejection of the Lord may be temporary for some.  Perhaps some of them do repent and come to the Lord Jesus for salvation. 

We are warned in Hebrews 4:7, “To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.”  It is so important that we do not resist the leading of the Spirit in our hearts.  Today, if you feel the Spirit is leading you to put your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, do not delay. 2 Corinthians 6:2 tells us that, “…behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”  Today!  Do not wait until your heart becomes hardened and you refuse to retain the Lord in your knowledge.  Today, put your faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.  (451.6)