There are Scriptures that speak about the potential of someone that is a Christian falling away from Christianity. There are Scriptures that speak of eternal security of salvation. There are Scriptures that speak on Jesus not only being Savior but being Lord. There are those who believe “Once Saved, Always Saved”. There are those who believe a person can “Walk Away from Salvation” (wrongly called ‘Lose their Salvation’). There are those who believe Jesus Is Lord so if a person accepts Christ He is their Lord and Savior. There are others that believe a person must make a conscious choice to allow Jesus to be Lord and not just Savior. Some believe if Jesus is not Lord, He is not Savior. Others believe He can be Savior and not Lord and a person can be saved, but then can make choices that lead to damnation, or they are still saved but little rewards in heaven.
The following is one of many true stories of individuals who have clear evidence of becoming born again/saved and yet at the end of their life a person would question if they were ever saved or walked away from their salvation. (Only the Father knows their eternal situation.) As we share this story, what is more critical than what is biblically/doctrinally true in their situation, or if they died going to heaven, is for each of us to live our Christian life that others do not wonder about our salvation.
The Life Story
This individual was an atheist who did not believe in God. Their lifestyle showed that was the case. They were involved in drugs, alcohol, sex, and violence. In reality they were living for the devil and were in complete bondage to sin and evil. Without a miracle they would certainly die in their sin and go to hell.
This individual ultimately had various unique situations that led them to believe that there is a God and that Jesus was calling them into a saving relationship with Him and to turn their life completely over to Him.
This individual had a dramatic conversion. God literally set them free from all their addictions in a miraculous manner. They immediately began serving God with all their heart. They became a faithful servant and got into ministry.
Over a period of several years there was much fruit from their ministry. They were a great example of a transformed life. However, over the next couple of years they started living a life of compromise. They got back into drugs and alcohol. They started dealing drugs, committing crimes, mocked the God of heaven by their actions and words. Sadly, they cursed God and died in a hospital from an overdose.
Was this person truly born again? Did this person fall away into apostasy? Did this person die and go to heaven or hell?
A. Because some believe “once saved, always saved”, they will say the person died saved and went to heaven in spite of their latter years and their rejection of Christ. They were clearly walking in apostasy, but the ‘once saved, always saved’ crowd do not believe a Christian can commit the act of apostasy, so they try to lessen the blasphemous acts.
B. Others believe in “once saved, always saved” but cannot justify the person’s blasphemous behavior in their latter years, so they say the person was not ever saved. The problem is a lost person cannot ‘magically’ on their own get set free instantly from drugs, alcohol, sex, violence. Also, the devil certainly is not in the business of stopping a person from doing evil, it is not his modus operandi. Anyone that knows anything at all about addiction knows a person on their own cannot get set free from addiction in an instantaneous moment and live addiction free for years afterwards without God. Any Christian knows a person cannot set themselves free by works. Also, no person is capable of living a life of righteous for decades by their own strength. So, is it realistic to say the person was never saved?
C. Can it be that the person was totally lost, became truly born again, served God wholeheartedly but did not take heed to all the warnings in Scripture? Can it be they ignored the ‘if/conditional’ passages in Scripture? Can it be they opened themselves to demonic oppression and demonization? (A Christian can certainly be oppressed and demonized, influenced by the devil, even if they cannot be possessed.) Can it be that even though they were saved, they never lost their free will after being born again? Can it be that Jesus no longer was allowed to be the Lord of their life and Jesus must be LORD and Savior to have eternal security of salvation. Can it be they themself walked away from Christ?
D. Obviously all the above cannot be true. I personally believe option C describes their situation when we look at all of Scripture, not just what we want to look at to fit our belief system.
Whichever option is correct, what matters is we should do all we can to make sure someone we are ministering to is truly born again, disciple them, walk alongside of them and do what we can to ensure they truly understand what Romans 10:9-11 is saying.
9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 11 As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.”
Apostasy-Part One, Definition
Apostasy-Part Two, Biblical Warnings
Apostasy-Part Three, Conditional Verses
Apostasy-Part Four, Lordship of Christ
Apostasy-Part Five, An Example
Apostasy-Part Six, Extremes
Apostasy-Part Seven, Summary