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Can a Christian stop believing and forfeit their salvation?

Quick Answer: Can a Christian stop believing and forfeit their salvation? No, a Christian cannot forfeit or give up their salvation. This is because God has changed them from the inside out and given them a desire to always believe in Him (1 John 3:9, 23; Ezekiel 36:26-27; Romans 6:17). Believers love Jesus Christ with an undying love (Ephesians 6:24).

Diving Deeper: The question of whether or not a Christian can forfeit their salvation is simply another way of asking, “Can a Christian lose their salvation?” However, with this question the faith of the believer is in focus: “Sure, I may not be able to lose my salvation through bad behavior,” one might think, “but what if I want to give it up? What if I don’t want Jesus anymore?”

Here’s the truth: If you are a born-again believer, you will always want Jesus. In fact, Scripture states that you love Jesus with “incorruptible love” (Ephesians 6:24). This is because God has taken out your heart of stone and given you a new, obedient heart that will never stop loving Him (2 Peter 1:3-4; Ezekiel 36:26-27; Romans 6:17). If you’re a believer, then in your heart, you will always believe. 

What about those who walk away? What about our children or friends or spouses who decide “not to be a Christian anymore”? Sometimes, it can be hard to discern what is going on within a person. If they truly received Christ as their Savior, then in their heart, they do still have an undying love for Him. Maybe they say they’re done with Christianity, but they are really only done with a particular church or religious atmosphere, because they were hurt by a group of people. Alternatively, someone who says “I’m not a Christian anymore” might have never had a genuine faith to begin with. They might have only wanted a conservative environment of clean living, family values, and Christian principles. In this case, they are simply deciding to not have that lifestyle anymore, but they never had Christ Himself living within them.

Whatever the scenario, our response can still be the same: We can love them and testify to God’s grace. If they’re a believer, then this may restore their hope that their loving Father is better than the treatment they received in a particular religious group. And if they are an unbeliever, they can begin to recognize the difference between “good living” and truly living in Jesus Christ.

In summary, a true believer cannot forfeit their salvation. Their old self has already died, and they are the new self (Romans 6:6, 11). We believers are “slaves of righteousness”, and there is nothing within the new self that wants to reject Christ (Romans 6:18; Ephesians 6:24). This reality, along with the total forgiveness of the believer, is what secures us forever with our God.

Let’s Make It a Conversation!
1. Have you ever known someone who said they no longer believe? How would you now explain their situation?
2. How does your identity as a new-hearted child of God factor into the false idea of forfeiting salvation?
3. What does it mean to you personally that you’ll never stop loving God?

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