Can We Leave God?

Q. I’ve been thinking that a person could leave God if he chose to do so. This would have to be an act of volition and a decision one would come to over the course of time. I guess my question would be; Why wouldn’t a person be free to leave God if he chose to do so at some point in time? If he couldn’t, would that not be a violation of his free will?

A. I don’t believe a Christian has the option of walking away from the faith. First, Christians are born again, a new creation in Christ (1 Cor. 5:17). How does one go about becoming unborn?

Second, we received the seal of the Holy Spirit when we first believed, as a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance (Ephes. 1:13-14). I haven’t found any evidence in Scripture to support the notion that we can be unsealed and our guarantee surrendered or revoked.

Third, Jesus said it was His father’s will that He would lose none of those who had been given to Him, and that no one can take us out of His or His father’s hands (John 6:39, John 10:27-30). I believe the word “none” means “not any” and the phrase “no one” includes us.

Fourth, it is God who makes us stand firm in Christ. He has set His seal of ownership on us and put His spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come (2 Cor. 1:21-22). Paul confirmed this, saying we are not our own, but have been bought at a price (1 Cor. 5:19-20). It seems to me God would have to relinquish His claim of ownership in order for us to depart, something Jesus promised never to do (John 6:37).

And finally, 1 John 2:19 says a person’s going out is evidence that he or she never really belonged.

Taken together, I believe these conditions limit our agency to exclude departing from the faith.

But I think the real question is, why would someone who knew his or her choice of destinies, having already chosen eternal life, decide to cancel that and chose eternal suffering instead? Personally, I don’t see how this could ever happen.

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