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What Does the Bible Say About..Being Reprobate?

I would like to know more about reprobates. I have been trying to get my dad to go to church, but he says that he is afraid that he has been turned over to a reprobate.


"Reprobate" is a word meaning "failing to pass a test." It was originally used for metals that were not pure enough for use, like impure gold or silver. In the New Testament it is used several times to mean a person whose works won't pass God's test. This is the meaning in 2 Corinthians 13:5-7. "Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobate? But I trust that ye shall know that we are not reprobate. Now I pray to God that ye do no evil; not that we should appear approved, but that ye should do that which is honest, though we be as reprobate." Here Paul is telling Christians to examine themselves to make sure that Christ is in them, which he will be if they don't fail the test of good works.

In Titus 1:12 Paul talks about some men who he calls "deceivers." "They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate." The last phrase means that if they were tested by their good works they would fail the test.

The phrase your dad misquotes is found in Romans 1:28. Paul is talking about people who were not Jews who should have known about God just by observing everything around them. Since they chose not to put God in their minds, God allowed them to fill their minds with evil things that would not stand the test of purity. He says such people committed homosexual acts. Then he says,

"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." (Romans 1:28-32)

First of all, even if your dad does any of those things mentioned (such as lying, gossiping, breaking promises) Paul is not saying that God allowed individuals to be reprobate. He is talking about mankind in general and not individual people. The good news is that the rest of the book of Romans is about the fact that even such people can be changed and can be saved. Anyone, while still living, can give up their old life and begin a new life of obeying God. (See especially the sixth chapter of Romans.) In fact, that is what the whole Bible is about. If he is reprobate, that is if he fails God's test of righteousness, it is because he chooses not to accept the salvation that comes through Jesus the Christ. He is not without hope unless he chooses to give up that hope.