Can someone lose the Holy Spirit? This is an oft-asked question in Pentecostal circles. Rather than simply stating my position on the question I will offer a few thoughts and insights to stir up your own. Once there has been sufficient discussion I will state my position.

I am somewhat uncomfortable with the way the question is even framed. While it could be a mere limitation of language, I wonder if the way we frame the question reflects a theological misunderstanding of the nature of Spirit baptism. To be filled with the Spirit is not merely having the spiritual substance of God enter your body and spirit in a special way. Spirit baptism involves the regeneration (making-alive) of an individual’s spirit that was “killed” by sin. It is a rebirth as Jesus described it in John 3.

If this understanding of what it means to be filled with the Spirit is correct, then to lose the Spirit would mean our spirit has to be spiritually “unborn.” Losing the Spirit would not be a mere departure of God’s spiritual presence from one’s body/spirit, but a removing of the spiritual life God infused into the individual, so that her human spirit is left for dead once more.

Is this feasible? Is it possible for God to undo a spiritual birth? Nicodemus asked Jesus how a man could re-enter his mother’s womb to be born again. He recognized that birth is a decisive moment in time that cannot be repeated, nor undone. If such is true of the first birth, is it also true of the second? Can the spiritual birthing of our spirit from a state of death to life be undone, yet alone repeated (for those who believe one can lose and then regain the Spirit)? We know it is not possible to undo a natural birth, but is it possible for God to undo our spiritual birth?

If so, how? What Biblical or rational evidence leads you to this conclusion? What would it take for God to “unbirth” you? Is it persistent sin? If so, how long does one have to persist in that sin before God reverses their regeneration? Is it a particular amount of sin? If so, how much is too much?

If regeneration is not reversible, how do you explain the many passages of Scripture that warn of believers falling away from God?