Will God allow His children, born from His own Spirit, adopted into His family in Christ, and indwelt by His Holy Spirit as a guarantee of our inheritance (Eph. 1:14)… to apostatize and lose their justified, beloved place in His sight?
Understand what is at stake: Many who love Christ, His Word, His promises, and His gospel nonetheless teach that the regeneration unto eternal life is revocable upon crossing certain boundary markers. Put another way, they teach us that Christ has no sure hold on His people – any one of us could apostatize, lose our justified standing before the Father, who disowns us, the Holy Spirit leaves us, and we are once again headed for hell.
This is detrimental to the Christian understanding of salvation.
What would Romans 8 (Paul’s magnum opus on Christian security in Christ) look like if God actually let His children lose their faith and die under His wrath? It would be ugly – check it out:
Romans 8 if Christians can go from death to life to death again
1 Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, [but there is condemnation for those who were once in Christ Jesus and who have not properly stayed in Him – He will let you go if you are persistent in unbelief].
2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death [upon condition of remaining non-resistant to His grace, but He may let you resist and be lost].
3 For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh,
4 so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. [And the Law might be fulfilled in us, granted we remain cooperative with the means of grace, which Christ hopes we do].
5 For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit, [unless one sets their mind on things of the flesh too much, at which point Jesus may release them from His hand].
6 For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace,
7 because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so,
8 and those who are in the flesh cannot please God – [even if at one time they were in the Spirit.]
9 However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you[, so be sure to continue to yield to Him]. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him [anymore].
10 If Christ is in you [today], though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness, [and we pray you keep it that way, dear Romans].
11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you, [offering you the opportunity to make it to eternal life if you can remain faithful].
12 So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh—
13 for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live, [and Lord knows He won’t secure you in the latter – it’s ultimately up to you to continue to believe and receive the sacraments].
14 For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God [at least temporarily, as we hope they will remain that way. The adoption of the Father is fully revocable upon continued resistance to His gospel].
15 For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” [Well, actually… as long as you don’t spend too much time pondering the reality that Abba may let you go if your faith falters, then you won’t be subject to a spirit of slavery leading to fear. The adoption can be erased.]
16 The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, [for now]
17 and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. [And that “if” indicates a condition you yourself must maintain, of course not guaranteed to the people of Christ by His blood].
18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us [who remain on board the program].
19 For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God.
20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope
21 that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God [see above contingency concerning adoption].
22 For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.
23 And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body, [waiting in hope that He gets back soon before our faith fails].
24 For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees?
25 But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it, [our own willful perseverance, that is].
26 In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; [interceding just so much, but no so far as to secure our faith infallibly],
27 and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God [which is not to infallibly save a specific group of individual people for Christ, elect from the foundation of the world, because that would not be fair, thus we declare].
28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. [Um, except for apostasy. That isn’t included here. Exegetically. A squirrel!]
29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined [where is my eraser?] to become conformed to the image of His Son [if they are willing to remain faithful and take communion at every offering of it], so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;
30 and these whom He predestined [and by that I mean “these who are baptized and regenerated, receiving justification which MAY lead to eternal life], He also called; [that means baptism followed by a lifetime of faithfulness, unsecured from God’s perspective], and these whom He called, He also [temporarily]justified; and these whom He [temporarily] justified, He also [might, may, could, it is possible, let’s not draw any conclusions not directly given in the text, skip the next word and it’s perfect tense] glorified.
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? [Well, we are. We’re against us. And God hopes not too much so.]
32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? [Minus secured faith that is infallibly kept by the power of God, of course].
33 Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? [The temporarily elected one will, by not believing enough]. God is the one who justifies [temporarily];
34 who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us [to a degree].
35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ [We will!]? Will tribulation [maybe], or distress [maybe], or persecution [maybe], or famine [maybe], or nakedness [maybe], or peril [maybe], or sword [maybe]?
36 Just as it is written,
“For Your sake we are being put to death all day long;
We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us, [granted we don’t forsake our baptism, which God lets happen if you’re not on top of communion, confession, piety in general].
38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. [Hmmm… that’s a tough one to distort.]
I, for one, am very glad that the text I have added into Romans 8 is the exact opposite of what Paul actually said. I, for one, am happily married to Christ for eternity, and cannot be forsaken. Jesus said it:
“ All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out” (John 6:37 NASB).
Thanks for reading,