This is a touchy one with many controversial aspects, however the Scriptures are very clear on this.
First and foremost before all this, there MUST BE a belief in Christ and a repentance of sins. If they did not accept Christ then they are not saved. If they only “Know” Christ but never believed on Him and repented, then they are not saved. If they accepted Christ Jesus in full acceptance in faith believing, knowing who He is and what He has done, confessed with their mouth the Lord Jesus of their belief on Him, and repented of their sins and followed Him, then yes they are saved.
Now if after that, there seems to be a “cooling off” after a while, and they eventually get drawn back into old ways. This is what is commonly known as “Backsliding“, being drawn back into the world like Demas who served the Apostle Paul –
- 2Timothy 4:10) “For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world…“
However Demas was saved, because nobody is able to serve, believe in, or say that Christ is Lord except the Holy Spirit guides him. We know that true Salvation is permanent, we live by Grace and Faith and not by maintenance of Salvation and Works.
- Hebrews 10:38) “Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.“
but if any man draw back the Lord will not have “pleasure” in them, this does not mean “they’re unsaved or lose their salvation” it means the Lord will be grieved with their actions. But as it continues to say, we are of those to the saving of the soul (because the flesh cannot be saved because of the corruption of sin). The soul is saved to life eternal, the flesh is condemned to die. So if one draws back into sin even though they do or did believe, they will still be saved but the Lord will not take pleasure in them due to their apathy, ignorance, disregard, or sinful temptations.
This is also touched on in 1 Corinthians –
- 1Corinthians 5:5) “To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?“
The soul will be saved even though they have been handed over to the devil because of their continuous sin. A Christian that rebels against God will result in God removing His hand of blessing and protection from them, this will allow the devils to come in and ruin them, even to the point of destruction of their lives and flesh, however their soul is still saved.
This is the mercy and grace of God, and the proof of God’s salvation that regardless what we do we cannot lose our salvation. IF, and I say IF we have sincerely believed on the Lord Jesus Christ for our Salvation in true repentance of our Sins in the first place, then yes we are still saved and cannot be removed from the Fathers hand. We become as a prodigal son, wandering away in mire with the pigs, but even in that we still are the sons and daughters of a Father that longs to have us return to Him.
If we have wandered like the Prodigal Son, we can always return by the Grace of Christ into forgiveness and cleansing by the promise of –
- 1 John 1:9) “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.“
So if you have doubts about yourself or others, ask yourself this -Do you (or they) believe Christ Jesus is the Lord?
- 1Corinthians 12:3) “Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.“
Nobody can say that Christ Jesus is Lord and believe in it and not be a saved individual, this is what the Holy Word of God says. If they cannot say this in belief then they are not saved.
So overall, don’t be too quick to pass judgment in who is saved and who isn’t, because you don’t know nor can you see the hearts of men.