Calvinism and Psalms 69:28?

Question
People can lose their salvation (Psa 69:28), so how come Calvinism teaches a Christian can't lose it?
Answer

Psalm 69:28 Let them be blotted out of the book of the living; let them not be enrolled among the righteous.

"Blotted out of the book of the living" (ESV, KJV 2000, JPS Tanakh 1917) or the "book of life" (NASB, NIV, KJV) in Psalm 69:28 does not refer to the eternal book of life. Rather, Psalms 69 is an Imprecatory Psalm (see below). It is a prayer to God against one's enemies. It is one of David's prayers asking God to protect him from and to destroy his enemies. Simply put, this passage is speaking about physical life, not eternal life. It means to let them cease to live; let them be cut off (cf. Ezek 13:9; Psa 6:5; 109:13-14). Let them be treated for what they are - wicked, unrighteous (cf. Psa 55:23; Heb 9:27). Length of days is the reward of the righteous, not the unrighteous (Job 5:26; Prov 3:2; 9:11; 10:27). The language is taken from the custom of registering the names of persons in a catalogue (Exod 32:32). It is similar to damnatio memoriae, Latin for condemnation of memory, meaning a person shouldn't be remembered. Before execution the Romans would erase a criminal's name from their records. So, Psalm 69:28 has nothing to do with the eternal destiny of those that have been saved by Christ.

However, there is another text that speaks of not being blotted out book of life. Revelation 3:5 states, "The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels." This is a promise. It is the assurance that those who overcome will never be blotted out of the book of life. Please see "Calvinism and Revelation 3:5?" below.

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Answer by Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr.

Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr., D.D., M.Div. is the Theological Editor at Third Millennium Ministries (IIIM).