I much prefer practical discussions about following Jesus to theoretical, theological discussions about Christianity, though sometimes the theoretical must be addressed because it affects the practical.
Never Saved or Falling Away?
I have a conflict with most evangelical pastors over the assurance of salvation. In the twentieth-century, at least in my experience, evangelical pastors often told their congregation that they could get to heaven no matter how they lived as long as they believed Jesus died for their sins. Fortunately, more than 30 years have passed since my early experiences in evangelicalism, and evangelical pastors have mostly come to their senses and rejected that falsehood, at least in my experience.
There remains, however, a disagreement. If someone is not living for Jesus, are they in danger of falling away, or were they never saved?
Whichever answer you choose to that question, there is just one thing to do about it. Whether you wonder if you are really saved, or whether you wonder if you are falling away, the Bible has just one course of action for you.
How You Can Restore OR Begin Your Relationship with God
There are three things to think about here:
1.) If you were never really saved, but you did believe and were baptized, then the next step is not to believe and be baptized all over again. If that did not work the first time, why would it work the second time? As the saying goes, it is a mark of insanity to do the same things over again but expect different results.
2.) Mark 16:16 says that the one who believes and is baptized will be saved. If you have believed and been baptized, then you have a promise that God will save you. All denominations believe that the Christian life should be lived by faith. They all quote Galatians 2:20 to establish this. It is a great verse. So, you can simply step out in faith on the promise that he that believes and is baptized will be saved.
3.) Think about what happens when a person believes and is baptized and is really saved. What should happen is that all their sins are forgiven, they receive the Holy Spirit and, as a result, they live a holy life; i.e., they “bear fruit” (Jn. 15:1-10). If that did not happen for you, the Bible gives specific steps you can take to get all those things.
The forgiveness of sins: 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Confess and repent of your sins (Cf. Acts 26:20).
Receive the Holy Spirit: Jesus said, “If you, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those that ask him” (Luke 11:13). Similarly, the apostle Paul says, “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead be filled with the Spirit” (Eph. 5:18, NIV). Since Paul was writing to a whole church in a large city, it is safe to conclude that he thought Christians should be filled with the Spirit over and over again. Ask your Father in heaven to fill you with the Holy Spirit.
Live a Holy Life: If you asked your heavenly Father for the Holy Spirit, trust Jesus and begin obeying God. Peter said God gives the Holy Spirit to those who obey him (Acts 5:32). He will help you every step of the way. Here are the ways you can begin obeying God: