Can You Lose the Holy Spirit?

From time to time I get questions.  Here’s a particularly disturbing one I recently received:

I have a quick question that I believe I know the answer to, but need confirmation: can you lose the Holy Spirit? Can you lose your salvation? That idea seems rather Arminian, yet we’ve come across it in Canadian Reformed circles…can you explain?   Thanks.

This was my reply:

No, you [a Christian] cannot lose the Spirit or your salvation. That idea goes against the doctrine of the preservation (perseverance) of the saints, found in the Bible, and confessed in the Canons of Dort. The way of thinking that you’re hearing is related to a bad understanding of covenant theology. In that understanding, with our baptism we receive all the benefits of Christ, but if we do not obey the obligations of the covenant, then we can lose those benefits. Included in those benefits are salvation and the gift of the Holy Spirit. I have written something on that (see this link). Hope that helps.

It doesn’t take a theologian to sense that badly formulated covenant theology can be a way for Arminian thinking to find a home among us.

About Wes Bredenhof

Pastor of the Free Reformed Church, Launceston, Tasmania. View all posts by Wes Bredenhof

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