Can A Christian Quit?

A reader recently claimed that it would be wrong for God to force a Christian-Turned-Atheist into Heaven because it would violate his or her free will. This raises an interesting question. This is my response to that claim.

If you've believed in Jesus for salvation then these verses apply to you.

"I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of My hand." (John 10:28)

He said, "never." When does that end? Never.
He said, "no one." Are you included in "no one?" Yep.

"The one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day." (John 6:36-37)

Are you included in what is not lost? Yep.
Are you included in what's not cast out? Yep.

"Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption."(Ephesians 4:30)

Can you break God's seal? Nope. It's sealed by God not man. You're sealed for the day of redemption. That's a done deal, a closed transaction.

"Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life." (John 5:24)

You've passed from death to life. Can you commit spiritual suicide? nope. It's not in the ability of a man of flesh to kill that which is spiritually alive.

Jesus replied, ‘Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again. (John 3:3)

Can you become unborn once you're born? Nope. It's a one-time event.

If you claim that you can lose salvation by becoming an atheist, then you can't believe in eternal security. That's because you don't really know if you'll become an atheist before you die. You might. So you can't be sure if you're saved (with the logic that you presented.) None the less John said:

"I have written these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life." (John 5:13)

If your logic is right then John shouldn't say that you can 'know.' If someone can lose eternal life, then John is wrong. I choose to believe that John WAS NOT WRONG. I believe what Jesus said, and what John explained.



As far as free will goes, I wouldn't die defending free will for the believer. Think about this.

In talking to believers Jesus said,

Those I love, I rebuke and discipline. Therefore be earnest and repent. (Rev 3:19)

Like a dad who loves his kids, he disciplines those who try to wander. They have the freedom to wander in their lifestyle and in their flesh but God but their living spirit belongs to God. So if a believer wants to wander into sin, they have the will to do that but it isn't free - it's going to cost them something. Did you catch that? For the believer, the will to sin isn't free of consequences. God will throw road blocks in their way to slow their sin.

In fact, it's not just those who wander he disciples. Notice what Hebrews says,

"For the Lord disciplines the one He loves, and He chastises everyone He receives as a son.” (Hebrews 12:6)

He chastises EVERYONE he receives as a son. Once again, everyone who has believed for salvation still sins, and therefore God disciplines everyone to some extent. Once again, we see that saved people can sin, but they are not truly free to do whatever they want. The further a Christian gets from God the greater the discipline will be. 

Here's another.

"But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, to proclaim the virtues of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light." (1 Peter 2:9)

It says those who have believed in him for salvation are his possession. It makes more sense to me that he disciplines and chastises us because we're his property. We belong to him. My possessions don't have the right to decide to no longer be my possessions. They may not always be in my house, but they will always belong to me. The same is true of someone who runs from God. They may run, but they still belong to him.

Paul says he and we are

Slaves and Servants of Christ (Eph 6:6, 1 Peter 2:16, Col 3:24 etc.)

That doesn't sound much like we're free. 

To further this idea he says, 

"You were bought with a price." (1 Cor 6:20)

Once again that's slave terminology. He bought us. Don't get me wrong, he's a good master and he has our best interest in mind. However, he will discipline us if we try to run. He will chastise us if we fight against his instructions. 

So, we really don't have free will as believers, nor do Christian-turned-atheists. We have the ability to be run away slaves, or disobedient servants, but that doesn't change the state of affairs. We are his, we belong to him, he paid for us, he disciplines us if we disobey. But he's a good Master. He knows that our most fulfilling experience will be one in which we obey.

In fact, I would say if I had my free will, that would be frightening. I'm a slave of Christ, and I want him to discipline me. My only hope of salvation is if he ensures it. It's God who holds our salvation for the day of redemption, not me.

I wouldn't defend free will for the believer. There seems to be a lot more support for the idea that believers are God's slaves.

The bottom line for me is this. I don't care nearly as much about systematic theology as I do about the simple promises of Jesus. Jesus promised eternal life for all those who believe in Him. He promised that we get that eternal life now, not later.

Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life. (John 6:47)

Notice that the person who believes HAS eternal life NOW. So how long does eternal life last? If it doesn't last an eternity, Jesus lied. You get it the moment you believe, and it lasts forever. That's a promise of Jesus, and I believe it.

Do you?

Comments

  1. Hello, I'm not sure if I'm the one you are replying to, but this just seems like a cop out. Again I'm not a bible expert but It just doesn't make sense for God to force someone be with him because that is not Love. If I forced a Girl to love me, that would be messed up. Even if I loved her dearly, if she doesn't want to be with me, I gotta let her go, Again i'm not God so maybe he works differently, but I believe that people are saved through faith, and that real authentic faith cannot be undone. You can have weak faith and doubt and get in, but no faith at all? if what you say is true then hey thats awesome, but does that mean Hitler will be in heaven? Does that mean I could do w,e my heart desires? I wanted to kill and get my way with alot of people, if Im still heaven then, why not?

    Another thought can you Imagine just a guy who hated and rejected God and he is in heaven with God, maybe his attitude will change at the sight of God, because he will be forced to believe by seeing him face to face... but can u imagine him being like, aww man I didnt want be here this sucks.... or does it make more sense that a man looking at heaven would ask the begger that used to sit on his front steps to dip water into his mouth to cool him from the agony of hell, and beg to get in... but who really knows? maybe that is why its faith, cuz there are no concrete answers, and you just believe. or in your case, believed once but not anymore

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    1. These are good questions d, but one thing is for sure, if at one time, someone genuinely confessed Jesus as Lord and believed that God raised Him from the dead, that person was eternally saved from that point forward, with that belief, that person handed their life to God then and there. No one can take it away after the fact. Now this is completely biblical, there certainly are concrete answers such as this.

      Now, your second part of the question was this. Why not go on sinning if we are saved? You should first realize, yes, there are consequences of sinning for a believer, but God forgives at the moment of true repentance. d, you must realize that being eternally saved has nothing to do with your ability to be good, or not sin, it has to do with what Jesus did, His ability to not sin, and to live a perfect life, and Jesus did those things, then He took your place on the cross, the place where you belonged because of your sin. The eternal God came in the flesh of a man, to live a perfect life, and to become a payment for your sins because He loves you. When you fully realize what He did for you, you don't want to sin anymore anyways!

      Paul answers this question in Romans 6 quite well.
      Romans 6New English Translation (NET Bible)

      The Believer’s Freedom from Sin’s Domination
      6 What shall we say then? Are we to remain in sin so that grace may increase? 2 Absolutely not! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Or do you not know that as many as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we have been buried with him through baptism into death, in order that just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too may live a new life.

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    2. I think I'm beginning to understand the type of people who you call into the category where they were once christian and now are atheist because the atheists I know anyways reject your claim, and they say that their faith was never authentic, then doesn't that mean that they never had faith? Even if they belong to church culture.

      Now there are people who once had faith, had the spirit in them dwell, but will choose not to believe because they have been through something really distraught and they hate God. To that I say that technically they still are believers, they still believe that he is real, they just want nothing to do with him.

      but again, in terms of this once believe argument you are making, I still don't think it is as clear as night and day, because reading the arguments that other people make using scripture can refute your claim, In the end of day, does it really matter? Win win situation regardless I say. You either die hating God and getting in heaven which is a win, or die and not get God and get exactly what you wanted, also a win for you, even though you and I know its is a complete loss.

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  2. Why would God predestine someone to believe once and never believe again?

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