Reprobate Does Not Mean Irredeemable Because Paul said it was possible for himself to become a castaway, in which he uses same Greek word as he does for reprobate.
“But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” 1 Corinthians 9:27
ἀδόκιμος adókimos, ad-ok’-ee-mos; from G1 (as a negative particle) and G1384; unapproved, i.e. rejected; by implication, worthless (literally or morally):—castaway, rejected, reprobate.
We know that Paul was not concerned about losing his salvation because he taught that if a man’s works amount to nothing they will burn but the individual shall still be saved however he will suffer loss of rewards.
“If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” 1 Corinthians 3:15
Paul was talking about his becoming a castaway. Meaning that he could end up as useless to the Lord by ruining his reputation through some type of sinful conduct. He didn’t want to be set aside or be put on the shelf so to speak.
When God gives someone over to their sin it’s a strategy to get them to come to the end of themselves and realize that God’s way was right all along. Sometimes people will only learn the hard way. And when someone gets their fill of what they want, hopefully they will realize the consequences of their downward spiral to destruction. Remember that the prodigal son had to “come to himself” (Luke 15:17) by experiencing the consequences of his actions and THEN it dawned on him that he should return to his father!
The children of Israel complained in the wilderness that all they had was manna to eat and they wanted to go back to Egypt for a “better” menu.
“And the mixt multitude that was among them fell a lusting: and the children of Israel also wept again, and said, Who shall give us flesh to eat? We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlick: But now our soul is dried away: there is nothing at all, beside this manna, before our eyes. … Then Moses heard the people weep throughout their families, every man in the door of his tent: and the anger of the LORD was kindled greatly; Moses also was displeased. … And say thou unto the people, Sanctify yourselves against to morrow, and ye shall eat flesh: for ye have wept in the ears of the LORD, saying, Who shall give us flesh to eat? for it was well with us in Egypt: therefore the LORD will give you flesh, and ye shall eat. Ye shall not eat one day, nor two days, nor five days, neither ten days, nor twenty days; But even a whole month, until it come out at your nostrils, and it be loathsome unto you: because that ye have despised the LORD which is among you, and have wept before him, saying, Why came we forth out of Egypt?” Numbers 11:4-6, 10, 18-20
Afterwards the children of Israel became so sick of quail it became loathsome to them and they never complained about manna again!
Paul was led by the Lord to use this tactic as well on the Corinthian brother who was in flagrant sin.
“In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” 1 Corinthians 5:4-5
This course of action was eventually very successful. Romans 1:28 describes people alienated from God and are referred to as reprobates.
“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;” Romans 1:28
God is active in the life of EVERY person giving them every opportunity to believe on Jesus as Saviour. Jesus is seeking to save the lost. Their opportunity is NEVER over until they take their last breath.
“Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:” Acts 17:25-27
God through His Divine Son, Jesus is not far from every one of us. We don’t know the day of our last breath. Jesus is seeking to save every sinner. He shed His blood on the cross for all the sins of every person. No matter what you have done, He calls you to respond to Him today!
“And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:” Acts 17:30