What do you mean by a “real” Christian? Well, you know, a great many people believe Christians can’t fall away from God – it’s a “once saved always saved,” sort of thing. Thereby, no Christian can lose their soul after believing in Jesus. Does the Bible teach this? No. The Bible teaches just the opposite. Now, a real Christian is one who, according to the Bible, has believed Jesus is the son of God, John 8:44. He has repented of his sins, living a life of repentance, Luke 13:3. The same has confessed his belief Jesus is the Son of God. And last, he has been baptized to wash away sins, Acts 22:16. When a person has accepted God’s terms of salvation and surrendered his heart to the Lord, Jesus adds him to the church. They are indeed saved from God’s wrath and hell.
So, can someone who has accepted God’s salvation ever lose their soul? What does the Bible say about this? Well, let’s go back to the Old Testament as an example, 1 Corinthians 10:11. Remember the Hebrews and their Exodus from Egypt. Things were going relatively great for them. They escaped the Egyptian army, Exodus 14:27; they had food delivered by God, Exodus 16:12; they had water, Exodus 17:6; and they made it to the land promised them, Numbers 14:22-32. However, they couldn’t put their trust in God at this crucial time even though He has shown them mighty miracles. These folk, who were accepted by God at the time, lost their entrance to the land and died in the wilderness. They were once “accepted” but died away from the promise because of their unbelief.
Moving on to the New Testament we see the same “accepted until lost” construct. Notice Hebrews 6:4-6. Here’s the NLT version: “For it is impossible to bring back to repentance those who were once enlightened—those who have experienced the good things of heaven and shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the power of the age to come— and who then turn away from God. It is impossible to bring such people back to repentance; by rejecting the Son of God, they themselves are nailing him to the cross once again and holding him up to public shame.”
Some would say, these folks weren’t “really saved, to begin with.” Those with this view want to hold to their “once saved, always saved” belief. But one can easily see that the writer is speaking of the one who having been enlightened, experienced the good things of heaven, shared in the Holy Spirit, tasted the goodness of God’s word, and the power of the age to come. This person is no doubt saved. Now, what does scripture say? “It’s not possible to bring that one to repentance as long as he rejects the Son of God – it’s as if he nailed Jesus to the cross again and putting Him to open shame. Note these words: “turn away from God.” It’s obvious, isn’t it? This one turned away from God.
Rather than glorifying Jesus, he who turns away from God shames Him publicly. Is this “once lost, always lost, then?” Of course not. God says anyone can repent and come back to Him, 1 John 1:9. One can always come “home.” However, if this one never repents, he is lost to God forever in the pit of hell.
Hebrews 10 also shows one can lose his salvation, Hebrews 10:26-27. The writer is speaking to the saved and he’s warning Christians to not throw away their salvation. Then, there’s the case of Demas, forsaking Paul in the work of the Lord to return to the world, 2 Timothy 4:10.
So, what to do? If one wants the once saved, always saved thought, he must stay with the Lord in truth all the days of his life. Paul is an example. He said he would receive the “crown of life,” because he had finished his race and fought the good fight, of faith” 2 Timothy 4:7-8. That crown, he said, is available to all who love the Lord. Finally, what did Jesus say about all of this? Consider Revelation 2:10, if one remains faithful, even in the face of horrible persecution, he too will receive the crown of life. It’s Jesus’ promise. So then, don’t throw away your salvation which has great reward, Hebrews 10:35. Amen.