Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.
The DEEP

Can God Lose Someone?

Not finish?

1 John 2:18–19

Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us.

In John’s writings, “the last hour” does not mean the last 60 minutes. Jesus told His disciples that they wouldn’t know when the end would be.

Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.” — Acts 1:6–7

Rather, John is referring to the last times—the era preceding Christ’s return. We’re in that era until He shows up. With that, let’s move on to analyze John’s point.

This passage follows up on the preceding one about not loving this world, nor the things of this world. John is pointing out how bad love for this world can get.

Some church members had recently walked away from the church, and people were shaken by this. John seeks to reassure them and answer the questions they might be thinking. How is this even possible? Can God lose someone? Where’s the Holy Spirit in all this?

John’s answer is that the members who left weren’t Christians in the first place. In fact, they’re antichrists.

And hallelujah that they left. In a single step the traitors in our midst are made manifest and removed.


The passage addresses a doctrine known as Perseverance of the Saints.

They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us;

Perseverance of the Saints says that truly regenerate people cannot fall away. Jesus introduces this concept in His response to the Jews asking Him if He’s the Christ.

Then the Jews surrounded Him and said to Him, “How long do You keep us in doubt? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly.” … “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.” — John 10: 24, 27–29

When God starts a work in us, He finishes it.


These Monday—Friday DEEPs are written by Mike Slay. The Weekend DEEPs are written by Matt Richardson. To subscribe to all the DEEPs click here:

https://www.ailbe.org/resources/community

The weekly study guides, which include the Monday–Friday devotionals plus related questions for discussion or meditation, are available for download here:

https://www.ailbe.org/resources/itemlist/category/91-deep-studies

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ESV stands for the English Standard Version. © Copyright 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved. NIV stands for The Holy Bible, New International Version®. © Copyright 1973 by International Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. KJV stands for the King James Version.

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.

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