Once Saved Always Saved?

Q. If one has professed of being born again but in time has gone back to the ways of the world (one’s sinful deeds), continues on in such behavior even when one knows that it is wrong, never asks forgiveness and then passes away before repenting. Where would one go? Will the person be accepted in the Kingdom of GOD, but have a minor role in GOD’s Kingdom? Or will the person be identified as one who never really accepted CHRIST as ones’ Personal SAVIOR and thus be delegated one’s portion with the wicked? I hope I made sense in my question and hope by GOD’s favor you will be able to enlighten me.

A. I’ve answered questions like this many times but the answer bears repeating every now and then. Ephesians 1:13-14 is the clearest of many verses that address your question. It goes like this.

And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession–to the praise of his glory.

Paul expanded on this promise in 2 cor. 1:21-22 to show how God Himself has taken responsibility for keeping us saved.

Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

Together these verses show that at the first moment of belief, we were saved. Before we had done anything good to deserve it or anything bad to lose it, the Holy Spirit was sealed within us as a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance. Being sincere in our belief, we have met the single requirement for salvation (John 6:28-29) and God has marked us as His own, off limits to anyone else.

Therefore, sinning and failing to confess won’t cost us our salvation, because it has been guaranteed. But it will cause us to live a defeated spiritual life here on Earth. And while we’ll still be a child of God’s we won’t have enjoyed any kind of relationship with Him. We’ll miss out on tons of blessings here on Earth and some crowns when we get to heaven. But even if we receive no rewards at all, we won’t be relegated to some kind of 2nd or 3rd class salvation. We all get the same, because our salvation isn’t based on our behavior, it’s based on our belief (1 Cor 3:10-15).

And while it’s true that behavior such as you described may be a sign that a person was never saved in the first place, that isn’t ours to judge because we can’t know the motives of another person’s heart. That’s between the person and the Lord (1 Cor. 4:5).

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