|"When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, |
and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice" (Jn. 10:4)
I'm in no position to judge whether one is truly a Christian or not, but the Bible tells us that apostasy is a clear sign of false-profession (1 Jn. 2:19). Those traitors who claim to be Christians didn't lose their Salvation because they never had it in the first place. They may have known and believed the Gospel (in an intellectual level) and for a time abstained from various worldly activities, but the fact that they apostatized proves that they were not of us in spirit and have never been one (2 Pe. 2:20-22).
Our Lord Jesus Christ declares that none of His sheep will totally perish or be snatched from His and His Father's sovereign hands (John 10:28-29). The main ground for this wonderful promise of eternal security is the absolute sovereignty of God in Salvation. Our Good and Omnipotent Shepherd puts it this way: "My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand" (John 10:29).
A similar thought is expressed in Romans 8:28-39 where Paul argues that because God is in control of everything that happens—making all things work together for the good of His people—then there's no way a true believer (by heart and not only by head) can be separated from God's saving love which is in Christ. He who has began a good work in us will surely bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6).
Now if that's the case for those whom God has effectually redeemed through His Son (John 6:47-40; Hebrews 7:25), what has been asserted above concerning the superficiality of the profession of those who turn their back on the true Gospel message is therefore irrefutable. For if they were ever saved, they wouldn't have departed from the true faith. The mere fact that they did fall back simply reveals that they hadn't been regenerated from the very start as clearly stated in 1 John 2:19. It is not as though God's promise had failed with regard to them who shrink back (Romans 9:6a). The reality is that not everyone who attends Sunday services, Sunday schools, revival meetings, etc., is truly among God's children (Romans 9:6b-24). The Bible says there will always be weeds sown by the enemy in every congregation of good seeds first sown by God (Matthew 13:24-30). Those weeds may at first appear to be one of us. They may also engage in different church activities and ministries and we see them jump, dance and cry in tears when singing praise and worship songs. Yet as these weeds grow along with God's seeds, the difference becomes more apparent, and will become fully manifest in the Day of Judgment. As humans, we may be deceived by what we see, but God searches the hearts (2 Chronicles 6:30; Jeremiah 17:10). He cannot be deceived and He knows those who are His (2 Timothy 2:19; Revelation 17:8).
Is it possible that you who read this may be one of those who falsely think they are saved but actually aren't. YES, and I'm not trying to scare you off. The Bible says the human heart is deceitful above all things (Jeremiah 17:9) and that we should always examine ourselves. We are told by the Bible to make our calling and election sure by supplementing our faith "with virtue, and with virtue knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love" (2 Peter 1:5-7, 10; cf. 2 Corinthians 13:5). God's Word assures us that "if you practice these qualities you will never fall."
This is not to say that we should try to maintain our Justification by our works or that our assurance of Salvation hinges on our performance (Hebrews 11:1). The Bible is clear that we received justification by God's grace alone through faith alone in the complete redemptive work of Christ alone (Romans 3:24-25, 4:1-6). We cannot add anything to what Christ has already done for the Salvation of his sheep. Even our faith through which we receive the forgiveness of sins and God's righteousness (and the assurance of our Salvation) is itself a gift of God's grace purchased for us by Christ through His precious blood shed on the cross! (Ephesians 1:3, 2:8-9; Philippians 1:29; Hebrews 12:2). What is meant by the apostle in 2 Peter 1:10 is this: Although God saves us from first to last through His grace alone, one essential evidence that this grace is at work in our lives is that we persevere in faith by working to add the virtues described in 2 Peter 1:5-7. As Charles H. Spurgeon rightly observed: "Perseverance is the badge of true saints—the target of our spiritual enemies—the glory of Christ—and the great concern of all believers" (link).
Many believers view Christianity as something that begins and ends only with being saved. Hence the ever abounding carnality among the family of God. "I could sin more so grace may abound" is an mindset that is abominable to the Lord (see Jude 4) and is completely unbecoming of people who have already been raised up for a newness of life in Christ (Romans 6:1-2; 1 John 5:18). The Biblical truth of the absolute freeness of Salvation stirs true Christians to "devote themselves to good works" (Titus 3:5-8), not to a life of licentiousness (Jude 4). We are called by God "not for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you" (1 Thessalonians 4:7-8). It is a duty of every Christian to "work out" their Salvation with "fear and trembling" (Philippians 2:13).
As a final note, everyone who claims faith should evince fruits corresponding to a true conversion in Christ—and that includes perseverance in the true faith and in holiness (Hebrews 10:36, 38-39). We do not try to save ourselves by working out these virtues. By faith we know and believe that we are God's children (John 1:12; Galatians 3:26), but the fruit of the Holy Spirit also has its rightful place in the confirmation of our conversion (Galatians 5:22-24). Those who fall back from the true Christian message were never saved to begin with, and this is equally true of those who consciously and deliberately remain in their sinful lifestyle (James 2:14-24). Do not be deceived, brothers and sisters. "Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?" (2 Corinthians 13:5, KJV).