Many say once you have come to Jesus that you cannot fall away. Many others say that salvation can be lost. Let's look at some verses that cover this highly controversial topic. Many preach that you say a prayer and you're saved for eternity no matter what you do. Others preach that you can lose your salvation at the slightest stumble. Some say Jesus is all about love and grace and only reference that one extreme side of scripture because they're afraid to step on others toes. Others still focus on obedience and walking the narrow path beating people over the head with a religious lifestyle and putting it in people's minds that the only way to be saved is to walk the perfect walk. Both of these approaches are dangerous. We need to find balance as scripture truly does. It is not once saved always saved but it is not an easy thing to fall away either. Let's look at some scripture and break down a few points.
First we need to understand that we do not actually receive our salvation until we are judged. At that moment, Jesus stands up and tells the Father that we belong to Him and covers all our sin in His blood and blots it out. However, scripture does reference a few things about once we have believed and known the way of righteousness. We also need to understand the original words used for believe which we have broken down in this article and in this bible study video. Look at 2 Peter 2:20-22.
For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire. 2 Peter 2:20-22
This verse clearly shows that peter speaks of someone that has already accepted Christ and willfully chose to turn from Jesus back to a life of sin. This shows it is possible to be a Christian and then lose that status. Just as in Mark 4:16-19 Jesus is explaining parts of the parable of the sower where he shows that some received the Word (from John 1 we know the Word is Jesus, so they received Jesus) and because they didn't root themselves in the True Vine (again Jesus) by studying the Bible and solidifying a relationship with the Lord they withered when the world persecuted and mocked them for their beliefs. It also shows another set of believers that are Christians and have accepted Christ but they didn't separate themselves from people that walk in darkness or the ways of the world and leave their life of sin, so that sin and those people choked out of their walk with the Lord and they fell away. The same parable is referenced in Matthew 13 as well.
And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word's sake, immediately they are offended. And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful. Mark 4:16-19
We know by the Gospel of John 15 (especially John 15:5-6) that Jesus is the True vine and we are the branches (please reference that chapter to understand the following scripture) and we are meant to be purged so we can bear the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5. The following scripture tells us what happens if we do not walk the narrow path and bear that fruit. However many scriptures show us we may stumble or stray to the right or left and find our way back to the path. This doesn't mean we have the ability to say oh well I will do what I want and repent later. Matthew 7: 13-23 tells us if we do not bear good fruit we will cut down and thrown into the fire. It says that not everyone that has called on the Lord will be saved and that some He will say I never knew you. He requires a relationship with you and John also tells us if we love Him we will obey Him.
Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Matthew 7:13-23
Hebrews 6:4-6 has some information on the subject as well. It shows someone who has known the truth and received the gift of grace and the Holy Spirit then has fallen away. Revelation 2:4-5 says to come back to Jesus meaning they have left Him or He will remove their candlestick or their place in heaven. Revelation 3:15-17 says Jesus will literally vomit a lukewarm person out of the His body which is the church and those that will be saved. Romans 11:20-22 says that after we have been grafted in we can again be cut out. 2 Thessalonians 2:3 says there will be a great falling away before Christ's return and rapture. Many will turn away from their faith in Christ. You can also reference Galatians 5:1-4, 1 Timothy 4:1 and Hebrews 10:26-27. All these point to it being possible to lose our place in heaven. It is not assured until we endure all that we must endure. Read Matthew 24:12-13. We must endure. However backsliding for a few months or years does not mean we have lost our grace. We never lose the grace He gives us. Its when we refuse further grace to continue to cover us then there is no more sacrifice for us once we have died in sin after willfully turning from the Lord and walking back into a life of sin. For a more in depth explanation, please see our sermon over this here. We hope this has helped you and blessed you. Love and grace are highly important and so is walking in obedience and holiness. None are more important than the other and we need them all to be in the Lord's presence. Jesus reconciled us to the Father and we should live in a way where He wants to be in our lives, not disgusted with how we live. We should also understand that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus and you don't need to fix anything before you come to Christ. Just be willing to let Jesus fix it once you get there and learn to be righteous as He calls us to be. May the Lord bless you richly in Jesus name, Amen.