Once saved always saved?? I have seen this question weekly on a church sign for a couple of months now. It got me thinking....I have some people in my life that say they are believers (saved) but you would not recognize them or the way they live their lives as believers, I have some in my life that accepted Christ in preteen or teenage years but in their adult years have turn their backs to God and say they are unsure, now unwilling to acknowledge what they once believed, and then I recently had a conversation with a family member about this very subject. So I have thought about it a good bit lately, I have looked it up online and read both sides of the argument some say yes, some say no.....both sides using scripture to back up their argument. So, this is my opinion....based on what I have read, but more based on how I have lived in my life since I was saved 12 and a half years ago.
I think we are asking the wrong question - I think the question should be once you are saved will you chose to surrender?? See I believe that once you are saved...(once you have accepted and acknowledge Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior) you are SAVED...you are forever His. I know from personal experience that He does not leave you nor forsake you...no matter what! This is not to say that believers are without sin - we are ALL sinners, with one sin not being any greater than the next in Gods eye. This does not mean that being a believer makes you without or immune to the consequences of your sin in this world or in eternity. We will all stand before God on judgement day....ALL of us, those that have accepted Jesus Christ and those that have not.
At 25 years old I understood that I was offered the gift of salvation because of the great love and sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross. I understood that my "good" deeds would never be enough for me to enter heaven - that my sin ever how large or small meant I fell short and someone had to pay that debt...be it me or my Savior. I will never forget the way I felt that day, it was amazing, it was wonderful and freeing - I literally told everyone I came across -including the elderly couple I was showing a home later that afternoon :) But those that knew me between the ages of 25 to 34 will tell you that I certainly did not live as if I believed that there was anything after this life on earth....I made many poor, very ill advised, regretful decisions in my life. To be honest, looking back there were times that I made so many bad choices...it seems that I was ONLY making bad choices. There were consequences in this life for those choices and there very well may be consequences in heaven...but I am certain that losing my salvation is not on the list. Salvation is a gift for your acknowledgement and belief that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that His death on the cross and then His resurrection was payment for your sin. The Lord sees and knows your heart, you can not hide anything from Him. He knows if you truly believe just as He also knows when you are fully surrendered.
I can tell you that the first time I called out to Him at 25 years old...truly called out, He answered me and led me to the church were I received the precious gift of salvation. I can tell you that every single time I cried out to Him after that first time He always answered...I did not always listen, but He was always there, always faithful, He never once left me and was patiently waiting on my surrender.....and I am sure heart broken at my refusal of Him, heart broken at my rebellion. Had you asked me during that time if I was going to heaven should I die, I probably would have answered you "yes"...but in my heart I was not certain, because I knew that I was living my life as if the only thing that mattered was the moment I was currently in. Proof of this fact is that several years ago we had a "earthquake" in Atlanta...maybe you remember it if you were in the area in I think 2002...anyway, I awoke from a dead sleep to my dog freaking out and my armoire rattling - an overall weird feeling...and my first thought "It must be the rapture, and I just got left behind" Seriously...I am not making this up!! I thought Jesus came for His people and left me in my bed because of how poorly I was living my life.
However today, looking back, I can tell you that I am certain that had my day come to pass during those years that heaven was my destination because I accepted the gift of salvation. Remember the criminal hanging on the cross next to Jesus just before his death having lived a life he acknowledged deserved his punishment of death on the cross? That criminal (sinner) recognized Jesus as God. At his acknowledgement Jesus said to him " I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise." (Luke 23:40-43) Because salvation is a GIFT, we can not earn it.
Only in the past couple of years can I also testify that if/when you make the commitment to follow the Lord, when you lean into Him, trust Him, communicate with Him....simply surrender to Him - everything in you changes. Your life here on earth is different - not without trials, hurt, & confusion but you have a peace, hope and security that is completely absent without your surrender to Him. Without your searching for God's truth and will in your life...you are living a life (many times) as if there is nothing on the other side, that all that matters is right here right now...and you miss out on your BEST life here on earth (which is His best for you) while preparing for your place in heaven.
I believe that if you accepted Christ into your heart and accepted the gift of salvation....fully understanding the sacrifice made on your behalf as payment for your sin - then you are saved once and for all, no matter if you were 5, 25, 55 or 75 when this happened. Once saved always saved!! And you are called to live a different life, you are called to follow the teachings of the Lord, you are expected to love the Lord God with ALL of your heart and then demonstrate God's love to everyone around you. We are called to work daily on our relationship with our Creator, called to reflect Him when others look upon us, called to be unafraid to speak God's truth while remaining gracious, loving and non judgemental. We are called to shine so brightly that everyone around us is drawing closer to the Lord. We are called to live our lives being true and authentic. We are called to pray and seek the Lord! You (me, all of us) will stumble...you will sometimes flat out fall on your butt! But once you have surrendered to Him it is easier to get up, dust off and try again....because you know your future is secure. That there is absolutely NOTHING that can separate you from Him! (That makes me smile, with a lump in my throat, full of gratitude! THANK YOU Jesus!)
So I think the better question is - once saved will you seek His word, guidance, and will?? will you surrender your life? Do not question the priceless gift He has offered, instead focus on Him, draw closer to Him so we can be shaped by Him to reflect His love to others until the day comes when we stand before the throne.