If faith is not a work but man’s response to the divine initiative and dependence upon the worker of faith (that is God), can that saving faith ever be lost and forfeited?
Furthermore, if regeneration occurs at the time of saving faith, can the miracle of the new birth be reversed through a faith that becomes dead and inactive?
Blessings in Christ
Thanks for your questions regarding faith and assurance. Many wonder. Sometimes there is confusion stemming from imprecise or inaccurate teaching.
Regarding your first question, once faith for salvation is exercised, God’s promise is immediately applied; the believer has eternal life (John 3:16; 6:47). Doubting later does not nullify the previous faith. Doubting is possible but reveals that faith existed. The doubting one needs to focus on God’s promise to know what he already has—eternal life (1 John 5:11-13). Faith cannot be forfeited since God’s promise cannot be forfeited. God cannot lie (Titus 1:2). Eternal life is eternal. Therefore, you cannot have eternal life for only a little while. In fact, eternal life is not something, but someone. Jesus is “that eternal life” (1 John 1:2), and He promised to never leave you or forsake you (Heb. 13:5).
Regarding your second question, regeneration means your spirit has been raised with Christ a new man (Eph. 4:25) consisting of God’s seed/nature (1 John 3:9). A part of you had to be made holy so the Holy Spirit could move in, and it is there that the Holy Spirit moved in to dwell and sealed you to the day of redemption (Eph. 4:30). He that is joined to the Lord is “one spirit” (1 Cor. 6:17), so the new birth cannot be reversed. God does not take back His implanted nature and He never leaves you. Your regenerated spirit cannot be withdrawn because the Holy Spirit will not leave and a regenerated spirit is necessary for His holy dwelling place.
The “dead faith” spoken of in James 2 addresses sanctification and service (not salvation) and reveals the futility of not taking steps of faith. This was discussed previously in Q&A 92, Faith without Works.
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