Q. My question is about sanctification. I have family members that can point to a time in their lives (30 years ago) when they accepted Christ as their personal savior, but they show no ‘spiritual fruit’ at all . They do not live as Christians in any sense of the word. I know that the bible basically says “once saved always saved”, but if there is no spiritaul growth & no desire for God or His word, meaning they are not being sanctified, is it possible that the conversion was not genuine? I’m confused about this. Does this mean that they are still saved, but it will affect their rewards once in Heaven?
A. There are many Christians who spend their entire lives in the way you’ve described your relatives. Only the Lord knows whether they’re truly saved or not. But we need to remember that salvation is based on what we believe, not on how we behave. After we’re saved sanctification is a life style choice we can make, but it’s not forced upon us. After all , the Holy Spirit is our counselor, not our commander, and if we ignore His advice He’ll stop giving it.
But even if that happens, the Holy Spirit was sealed within us at the first moment of belief, guaranteeing our inheritance. (Ephes. 1:13-14) So if the conversion was sincere, then it’s forever.