by Matt Slick
No, a saved person can never go to hell. The reason is that a person who is truly saved cannot lose his salvation.
Now, I know that a lot of people will disagree with the opening statement because many Christians believe that it is possible to lose one's salvation and therefore end up going to hell. They often cite verses such as Hebrews 10:26 which says, "If we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth there no longer remains a sacrifice for sin." They assert that such verses prove we can lose our salvation. But, verses mean what they mean in context and Hebrews is written, of course, to the Hebrews. The writer was seeking to warn them about abandoning the only sacrifice for sin, Jesus. Therefore, if the Jews were to go on sinning after receiving the knowledge of who Jesus was and what he did on the cross, then they would have no sacrifice for sin left because he's the only true sacrifice. After all, the blood of bulls and goats cannot cleanse of sin (Hebrews 10:4). The verse is not about losing salvation.
Furthermore, if salvation can be lost then what is the list of things that must be done, believed, maintained, etc. in order to keep oneself right with God? This is a serious question, and it is a problem for those who would teach that you can lose your salvation. If salvation is maintained through our effort, then how did not salvation by works which is denied by Scripture (Romans 3:28; 4:1-5; 5:1)
You cannot lose your salvation
Nevertheless, it comes down to whether or not someone who saved can ever go to hell. In other words, can a saved person lose his salvation? No, you cannot. Let's turn to the words of Jesus.
- John 8:29, "And He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him."
- John 6:39, "This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day."
We learn that Jesus always does the will of the Father (John 8:29). We also learn that all that the Father has given to the Son will not be lost. After all, Jesus says in John 6:39 that it is the will of the Father that Jesus lose none of those who have been given to him by the Father. In other words, Jesus who always does the will of the Father, will not lose any. Therefore, none can be lost because if they are lost, then Jesus did not accomplish the will of the Father.
So, can a saved person ever go to hell? No, not a truly saved person. But, that doesn't mean that there won't be people who appear to be saved, but really are not. There are those who can appear to walk in the faith but abandoned it later on. They do so because they were never truly believers to begin with.
"They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us," (1 John 2:19).