A Question I Was Asked:

'Could Paul Have Lost His Eternal Life?'

Here is the question:
'Paul is a christian when he mentioned (in Gal 1:8-9) that if even he or an angel from heaven were to preach another gospel, let them be condemned, or go to hell.
Does this mean that his eternal life could have been terminated if he had preached another gospel?
What about many of the cult leaders who started off as true christians and are now cult leaders, are they saved?'

My Reply:

Your question is very interesting. Problem is: the question is looking at this whole matter from a human perspective, whereas God says that His elect will not fail to inherit the kingdom and no one can 'pluck them,' or 'snatch them' out of God's hand: John10:27-29.

Paul was under God's grace, just like every true Christian today, so the question is not whether Paul could have lost his own salvation (impossible!). Rather, the question must be that if a person had apparently behaved like a true servant of God but then went off into heresy, could that person ever have been truly of God?

The New Testament answer appears to be a resounding, No. Consider 1 John 2:19:

1Jn 2:19: 'They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they were of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out so that it might be revealed that they were not all of us.'
1Jn 2:20: 'But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things.' (MKJ)

Here we see John the Apostle comparing two groups: the first group go into heresy, the second stay steadfast; this is a very clear depiction of those among Christians who go into heresy, and those who remain steadfast. His very clear message is that the heretics do not have a divine mandate and did not have the 'anointing' of the Elect of God! Strange really that many of these heretics talk rather a lot about their "anointing," something which, according to John, they do not have. Such people frankly never had salvation in the first place but were of the 'tares' that God allows Satan to sow among His Church. See Matthew 13:24-30.

Yes, this may well mean that many of these prosperity teachers (and other heretics who truthfully have known better but preferred favour and fame in this present life) will never inherit eternal life. Consider Matthew 7:21-27.

Yet it remains possible that such perverting teachers could finally come to see their deadful errors and - at the last - to repent and fully embrace the true gospel of Jesus Christ, thereby receiving our Lord's forgiveness.

Here are other articles which should help you:

Can the Elect be Deceived Or Not?
Eternal Security and the Saving Love of God
Once Saved, Always Saved?
Eternal Security; Not a Vain Promise
I hope that you will find this response helpful.
Robin A. Brace, January, 2009.