To all my brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus,
I'm going to say some things that will rock your understandings of "Falling away", "Born-again", "Salvation", and "Eternal Life". What I'm hearing in this chat thread so far are the typical notions of receiving Christ to become born again and because you said the "sinner's prayer", you are saved and have eternal life and you can never lose your salvation because God won't allow it to happen. There are many assumptions within this last sentence and Biblical evidence dispels those assumptions.
Because this is a multiple topic subject and because all of the concepts in quotations are intertwined, if anyone is to understand what the concepts really mean, it is best to deal with one concept at a time. So, I'm going to address the "Born-again" concept first.
I'll start off by saying, "Just because you are born-again, it doesn't mean you are automatically saved and automatically have eternal life." Okay, I just ruffled a few feathers and some of you are now crying out, "Heresy! This guy needs to be stoned to death!" Well, I'm glad this is not Old Testament times - LOL.
Let's start with some Scripture:
As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes.
What is the Apostle Paul saying here in Romans? He is describing our natural human state of being. He is describing the human race that is in a fallen state because of Adam's sin in the Garden of Eve. No one in a fallen state, without the direct intervention of God Himself touching that person, has the inclination to even seek God!!! All of you reading this (and me included) were all born in a fallen state, having no desire toward God. If you can accept this fact, then here's a question for you: How could you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior in your fallen state? Your natural inclination according to Romans 3:10-18 is to reject and resist God at every level. Jesus gives us that answer in:
"No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him…"
The word translated as 'draw' comes from a Greek word which more literally means 'drag'. It puts a better understanding to heart when we read the more literal translation: "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me drag him…" It more accurately describes what our true condition was before accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior.
Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
Being 'born-again', 'born anew', 'born of the Spirit', they all mean the same thing, so let's not get hung up on which is the best wording. The Greek most literal translation into English is 'born from above'. The point that Jesus is making is that the Holy Spirit comes to enter us and how it happens should be of no concern to us. The purpose of the Holy Spirit entering us as our new birth, is not to change our flesh, but to give us sight to see the Kingdom of God, and to give us an inclination to seek God. The point that I'm making is that we all had to become born-again before we could see that Jesus is the Christ and God. The Kingdom of God is everything that God IS, including Jesus being in and of that Kingdom. The notion that we accept Jesus and then we become instantly born again does not comply with Scripture. You were born-again before you ever came to accepting Jesus to be your Lord and God.
Okay, what does that have to do with "Falling away"? If you can understand that being born-again is not by our choice, it is the sole discretion of God, the Father, who determines who will be born-again and when it will happen, then you can begin to understand that being born-again does not instantly make you 'saved', nor does it instantly give you 'eternal life'. Being born-again is merely one step in a process of getting to the place of salvation and eternal life. So, to answer the tough question, "Can a born-again person reject Jesus?" The answer is yes, because that person despite being born-again has yet to accept Jesus. "Can a born-again believer reject Jesus?" Yes, again, because we still have our free-will even after saying the 'sinner's prayer'. "Can a born-again believer throw away His salvation?" Well, who said he was saved in the first place? If you believe you are saved right now, every time you sin, you throw your salvation away, but by the grace of God and the forgiveness of Jesus and the prompting of the Holy Spirit, hopefully, you rebound in the hope.
As I mentioned, we are all in a process with regards to Salvation and Eternal Life. In our human nature, which is still very much alive within us, we want to "know" that we have Eternal Life. We don't like hanging in mid-air, so the well-meaning theologians try to convince us and themselves that through the cause and effect of saying the 'sinner's prayer', you are saved and have eternal life, but God has given us a better way for any assurance that is desired:
He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.
Can you feel the manifest presence of God in your heart? It is God's way of giving you a sure assurance that His promise of Eternal Life will be given to you.
For those of you who cannot feel God in your heart, don't be discouraged. Not everyone will feel the manifest presence of God, because not everyone will reach this point in the process of salvation. As long as you, as a believer, are seeking the Kingdom, God will continue to hold you in His hands and honor His promise of Salvation as you hold onto Him. He will strengthen you with His Spirit when you need it. Anyone who simply has a figurative relationship with God is in danger of falling away. When those who think of themselves as Christians are confronted with persecution and the Mark of the Beast, those with figurative relationships will likely buckle and fall away. But, those Christians who are strengthened by God's Spirit because their relationships are truly personal and intimate with God, they will stand in their Faith and not fall away.
My prayer for all of you is to experience John 14:21-23, if you have yet to experience what Jesus promises. I can tell you from firsthand experience with our Lord, that He is faithful and He Loves us with so much graciousness, it goes beyond our comprehension. Ask Him to show you His Love for you.
In His Love,