I do not seek to start another debate over the doctrines of eternal security and divine sovereignty/human responsibility (as I know there are many previous threads in that regard), however, I was simply wondering what thoughts people have on renunciation of faith. Can a person who once firmly believed in Jesus Christ and His work on the cross for each one of us, or seemed to; only God knows the heart of man, decide to renounce this, stop believing, and therefore lose his/her salvation? Or would that then mean that they were never saved in the first place? I do not mean doubts about God, but rejection.
I’m new to Connect and haven’t had the privilege of being a part of the many previous threads on eternal security. I’ve gone back to read what I could find but you’ve obviously read them as well and still have this question. I encourage you to always ask what’s on your heart and never feel like you’re questions are redundant or a burden here in Connect. This entire community is here to strengthen each other through the renewal of our minds. Any question you ask is a blessing to someone.
As for your question, I’d like to offer some scriptures for your consideration.
Ephesians 1:13-16, “You too heard the word of truth in Christ, which is the good news of your salvation. You were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit because you believed in Christ. The Holy Spirit is the down payment on our inheritance, which is applied toward our redemption as God’s own people, resulting in the honor of God’s glory.”
Paul reiterates this in 2 Corinthians 1:22, “He has also put his seal on us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a down payment.”
Ephesians 2:4-6, “However, God is rich in mercy. He brought us to life with Christ while we were dead as a result of those things that we did wrong. He did this because of the great love that he has for us. You are saved by God’s grace! And God raised us up and seated us in the heavens with Christ Jesus.”
Hebrews 9:24-26, “For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made with hands (only a model of the true one) but into heaven itself, so that he might now appear in the presence of God for us. He did not do this to offer himself many times, as the high priest enters the sanctuary yearly with the blood of another. Otherwise, he would have had to suffer many times since the foundation of the world. But now he has appeared one time, at the end of the ages, for the removal of sin by the sacrifice of himself.”
For the sake of brevity, I will stop here but there are many more scriptures that speak to the nature of salvation. I wanted to offer at least this much to assure you that I am not simply referencing one obscure verse out of context.
Here is how I process these scriptures but take it for what it’s worth because it doesn’t really matter what I think, it only matters what the Bible says.
If someone were to renounce their faith, there are two options.
That person was actually saved, had eternal life, and is now no longer saved. (This would indicate that eternal life is not actually eternal since theirs ended.)
That person went from being dead in sin, to alive in Christ, back to being dead in sin. If they come back to Christ, they will be born again-again, and then could go back to being dead in sin, and then born again-again-again, etc.
That person broke God’s seal of the Holy Spirit and returned the downpayment of their inheritance.
That person is removed from the heavens where they were seated with Christ.
Christ’s sacrifice would function in the same way as the Old Testament temple sacrifices. One could be made clean through the blood of Christ and then dirty, and then come back and get clean again, and then dirty and then come back and get clean again, etc. (This also raises the question, “If the blood of Christ paid for my sin and new sin caused me to lose that payment, would Christ need to apply new blood for my new sin? Would He need to die again?”)
That person was never actually saved.
The Bible has many references to people who think they’re saved but are actually not so we know Option Two is possible. However, I know of no biblical evidence that Option One is possible. Most of the arguments I’ve heard are philosophical and based on our human need to judicially explain salvation in a way that makes sense to us.
As for philosophical arguments, I would also like to offer one consideration, which carries far less authority than Scripture.
If anyone could lose their salvation, everyone would lose their salvation. Based on the biblical narrative of salvation, it’s difficult for me to conclude that my “friend” will not spend eternity with Christ because they couldn’t retain their salvation or overcome the evil desires of their flesh but I will spend eternity with Christ because I was able to hold onto my salvation.
Ephesians 2:8-9 states, “For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift- not from works, so that no one can boast.” If we can lose our salvation, we may not be able to boast in receiving our salvation but we could bost in maintaining our salvation.
This is how I biblically process the question, which may be helpful to you.
Please know that my only desire is to be faithful to God’s word. I welcome any “push-back” that you or anyone else has to offer. The knowledge and wisdom of God is a mystery to use and seeking it out brings is a righteous endeavor. (Proverbs 25:2).
Thank you for the question and for giving me the opportunity to process through all this.