Are Some People Beyond Salvation?

Is Jesus able to save even the most vile sinner?

Warning: graphic content ahead.

My question is this: are some people such horrific and evil sinners that they are beyond being saved? Are there such diabolical monsters out there who have committed such repulsive and reprehensible sins that they cannot be saved? Are some people simply irredeemable?

Most Christians would likely answer these questions with a resounding no. They would argue that of course Jesus is able to save anyone – even the most despicable and demonised sinners. We have plenty of such stories from the past two thousand years. They would rightly say that Jesus came to save sinners. Consider just a few passages on this:

Mark 2:17 Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.

Luke 5:32 I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

Luke 19:10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.

Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

1 Timothy 1:15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.

Hebrews 7:25 Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.

Christ came into the world to save sinners. That is the clear teaching of the New Testament. So why write about this? Some people might think an article like this is a no-brainer. Why even ask such foolish questions? We KNOW that Jesus is in the business of saving sinners and transforming lives. But still, some folks might have some legitimate questions that can come up here.

For example, the issue of deathbed conversions arises. What about those who have been terrible and horrific sinners who lived their whole lives doing really evil things? Can they get saved in the last days or weeks or months of their lives? Again, most Christians would answer in the affirmative, although most would rightly caution against waiting till you are at death’s door to try to get right with God.

That is not the best way to proceed. NOW is the day of salvation. NOW is the time to get right with God. And believers can still wonder about some hard cases. What about some monster like Hitler? Was it possible that in his bunker in his last hours he could have repented and turned to Christ, and therefore will be with us in heaven forever?

Again, this is something most believers would say is at least theoretically possible, but many might start having some doubts here. Hitler forgiven? Indeed, consider some of the worst sinners in history who did so much evil, be they more recent tyrants like Hitler or Stalin or Mao, or older figures like Caligula or Attila the Hun or Jack the Ripper. Could they be saved?

Again, why write about all this? Often when I pen a piece there was something that triggered it. Some recent event may have spurred me on to write an article. That is the case with this piece. Two recent matters concerning one person have led me to think and write about this.

Last night on television a documentary about American serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer was on, and I managed to view some short portions of it. Most people have heard of the ‘Milwaukee Monster’. All up 17 men and boys were murdered by him between 1978 and 1991. Some were sexually abused and tortured. After they were killed most were dismembered and cannibalised! Necrophilia was even involved.

He has also been spoken about a lot lately because of a recent controversy. A new Netflix series about him seems to have succumbed to the forces of wokism and political correctness: “Netflix removed the LGBTQ tag from its new true crime show ‘Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story’ after receiving backlash over the categorization. The Netflix show about Jeffrey Dahmer, a gay man who murdered 17 men from 1978 to 1991, is no longer filed under the tag on the streaming service.” www.fox16.com/news/national-news/netflix-removes-dahmer-lgbtq-tag-after-user-backlash/

Um, a guy who is attracted to and has sex with guys is a homosexual. But today we are not allowed to call anyone who is clearly evil personified a homosexual. That however is not the issue I wish to discuss here. What I am interested in talking about is how Dahmer seems to have converted to Christ at the end of his life.

Image of Dark Journey Deep Grace: Jeffrey Dahmer's Story of Faith
Dark Journey Deep Grace: Jeffrey Dahmer's Story of Faith by Ratcliff, Roy (Author), Adams, Lindy (Contributor) Amazon logo

The background is this: on July 22, 1991 he was about to kill his 18th victim, but he managed to escape and alert the police. He was arrested that day, and on February 15, 1992 he was judged to be not insane, and was found guilty of 15 murders. He was sentenced to life in prison. But on November 28, 1994 another inmate bashed him to death.

However, what is of interest is what happened in the last few years of his life. He asked for a Bible, he became a born-again Christian, and he was baptised. But this is where things can get hairy. Again, most believers would say God is able to save the most horrific of individuals. And Dahmer certainly was horrific in every sense of the term.

But what about the friends and family of his victims? Would they really believe he was now a changed man? When Dahmer was asked that very question, he agreed that if he were them he would not believe the story either. One can understand how those so terribly impacted by this man and his crimes would be fully sceptical, and refuse to believe him or forgive him.

More than one person has stated outright that if Dahmer is in heaven, they do not want to be there. In the same way, many have felt that they could never countenance a God who forgave someone like Hitler. One can certainly understand sentiments like these.

But it is the biblical and theological aspect that we must finish with. On the one hand we all rejoice that Jesus came to save sinners, and no cases are too hard for him. (The matter of the unforgivable sin which Scripture discusses in a few places will be touched on here. One day I will complete and post a piece I started on this!)

On the other hand however all believers should have a strong sense of justice. We WANT to see evil punished and we want to see justice served. So one can understand how a believer can be of two minds here: we delight in a God who saves, but we also delight in a God who is a God of justice and will not let the guilty go unpunished.

But the work of Christ at Calvary is the unique and amazing answer to this dilemma. Yes, God loves sinners, but yes, God hates sin. So how do these things harmonise? Well, God did enact punishment. But he allowed his own innocent son to take our punishment so that guilty sinners can be pardoned and forgiven – IF they repent and come to Christ in faith.

So there is still divine justice taking place, and punishment is still meted out. But it is done in such a way that the pardon that we do not deserve is made available to us. Wrath and mercy fully meet at Calvary. God’s standards of justice are NOT reduced one iota. But God’s desire to save sinners is also made possible.

This is the wonder of Christ and his work on the cross. It is amazing love and amazing grace. And it is also amazing justice. All are found in what Christ did for sinners.

For further reading

There are a number of books now out on Dahmer, including one that looks at his conversion: the 2006 volume by Roy Ratcliff and Lindy Adams: Dark Journey Deep Grace: Jeffrey Dahmer’s Story of Faith. See the link above.

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7 Replies to “Are Some People Beyond Salvation?”

  1. You said in the article he was bashed to death. he has ‘paid the price of sin’ which is death.
    As for being saved, if he truly repented with Godly repentance, then God will have a place for him somewhere.
    God will see into his heart to see if he did truly repent or not.
    Man’s judgement and justice has been served, now it is up to God.

    As for myself, I judge nobody. As a soldier, my job was not to judge, but stop someone from doing harm to others, sadly that sometimes required someone to die. he murdered people, soldiers have to kill people. who is innocent and who is guilty.

  2. I remember years ago seeing a video where he talked about reading some creation science materials that were sent to him & being convinced of his need of Christ. He seemed pretty genuine in the video & wasn’t evading his sin.

  3. The blood of Jesus can save any sinner, but for some sinners their conscience is so seared that they would never accept the redemptive work done for them.

  4. If he did it would be great but I am not one to quickly shout “hallelujah”! Some will quickly call me a Doubting Thomas but I’ve seen several crime programs and ones on serial killers talk about how convincing they can be how they can make you believe things that aren’t true. Also I’ve seen quite a few of these ravenous wolves that have come into the church at first saying everything you want to hear, all the right things, and then showing they aren’t really Christian by altering the beliefs of the church they are in. NOT SAYING his wasn’t a genuine conversion but just I’m cautious.

    Too many Christians aren’t cautious when we hear someone has converted I think because we’re afraid of being called Doubting Thomas’ but that fear allows so many enemies to come into the church and change it all while claiming to be Christian. (In th 2000 election in USA so many were convinced George W Bush was God’s man because he said he was a Christian but I had said we should hold his feet to the fire and check before proclaiming him one of us. I was resoundly shouted down and rebuked for that because you can’t do that and it’s not very Christian and I’d even be going against God. I don’t know if he WAS THEN OR IS NOW a Christian but I feel if one claims to be it is fair to test him to find out.)

    I’ll try to read the book if my eyes allow as I bought the ebook.

  5. Just saw a video about this on YouTube, short, and it played a clip from and interview he did where he spoke of Christ and an interesting thing he said regarding his thinking prior to prison was “if there’s not a God to be accountable to what’s the point of modifying your behavior to keep it in acceptable ranges. At least that’s the way I thought.”

    Exactly. If God doesn’t exist what’s the point of acting in a “moral” way since morality becomes nothing more than man’s opinion which is always subject to change and always is changing! What is immoral today is going to soon be moral so if you’re doing something immoral and you don’t believe in God you probably figure you can just wait it out till “morality” is updated and you’re in the clear.

    The video presenter mentioned the apostle Paul and his past, as Saul, as an example of changing the worst people. Even pointed to the verses were he talked about God’s grace for sinners of which he is the worst. So while he was no cannibal he was a man who killed many Christians. So it can be done.

    But with Jeffrey Dahmer dead so soon after his apparent conversion the truth of the matter will truly be know only when we get to heaven.

  6. In this video interview Jeffrey Dahmer acknowledges his own responsibility for his sins.
    He confesses that Jesus Christ is his Lord and Saviour and that He is the Creator of heaven and earth.
    He acknowledges the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit as the only true God.

    http://www.youtube.com › watch
    Jeffrey Dahmer Confesses the Lord Jesus Christ – YouTube

  7. The Bible says NOW is the day of salvation. There is no guarantee the Holy Spirit will continue to call a person until the day they die. There is an old book still available and free online called Dying Testimonies of Saved and Lost. These are documented cases of the last words of the dying, famous and the ordinary. Some involve people wanting to be saved at the very end but unable to because the Holy Spirit had been withdrawn. They had past the point of no return. And not necessarily in old age. One look at much of the leadership of this country and some leading entertainers makes one acutely aware that some are indeed past the point of no return. Many sell their souls for fame, fortune, and power, a few even admitting such. Of course only God knows who is and isn’t past hope. He even uses the unrepentant wicked for his purposes. I have often heard it said one of the greatest surprises in heaven will be some that made it and some that didn’t.

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