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The requirement for salvation for anyone living after Christ's revelation of the "mystery" gospel of God's grace to the apostle Paul is summarized in one verse. Ephesians 1:13: "In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise." KJV More specifically, we see in the previous verse (Eph. 1:12), that Paul is referring to trusting Jesus Christ as our savior. We also learn in verse 13 that this occurs after hearing (or otherwise learning of) Paul's gospel, "the gospel of your salvation". What is the gospel of our salvation? 1 Corinthians 15:1-4: "Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. 3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:" KJV Next in verse 13, we see that we must "believe" the gospel that we just read. We are then told what happens immediately upon our belief. We are "sealed with the holy Spirit of promise". We also learn how long we are sealed in chapter 4. Ephesians 4:30: "And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption." KJV We have now essentially been purchased by God upon our belief and cannot lose our seal until Christ returns to gather us up (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). Going back to Paul's gospel in 1 Corinthians 15:2, Paul mentions "unless ye have believed in vain". This is important in answering the original question. Did the believer actually believe the gospel or not? If the "believer" never truly believed the full gospel, then it is clear that they were never 'sealed' to begin with. If the believer did truly believe, then they would never sincerely "deny" their faith. This is not just opinion. We find throughout Paul's epistles how faith in Christ gives a believer true peace. A believer can rest knowing that they are secure with God in Christ. They now understand that there is nothing more they need to do to secure their salvation. There is also nothing they can do that would cause them to lose their salvation. Understanding this causes the believer to desire to serve God by sharing the true good news, that salvation is now a free gift offered to us by God's grace. We can receive His free gift by doing nothing more than having faith in Jesus Christ, believing "the gospel of your salvation".
Good question, Albert! I have known at least one person like this who professed Christ and later lived like an unbeliever. Sadly and unfortunately I would have to say that this person was never really saved in the first place. Although all believers struggle with sin (Romans 7) and this denial of the faith is sin, Christians will repent of this sin and come back to Christ.
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