Bible Question:

Quite recently a dear friend of my family became senile and mentally unstable to the point of being foolish and sometimes abusive and not knowing anyone. My daughter then asked me if he had lost or could lose his soul. Could this condition cause a person (who was a Christian God fearing person) to lose his soul?

Bible Answer:

There are different medical and spiritual reasons why people become senile or their minds no longer functions as they once did. For example, Alzheimer’s is one of a number of diseases that cause a person to lose his/her mental capabilities. Alzheimer’s disease (AD) usually comes late in life but not always. Architects, doctors, attorneys, teachers, meat cutters, auto mechanics, the young and the elderly can eventually have Alzheimer’s disease, losing their ability to think clearly or remember the past. This includes even those who at some point in their life accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

Now for the question, “What happens to someone who accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and then later develops senility?” The answer is found in the fact that once a person truly believes and accepts Jesus as Lord and Savior, God has promised that that individual will go to heaven. When a person is truly saved, he or she cannot be “unsaved.”

Some teach that a person can be “unsaved” if he or she commit a serious sin. However, a careful study of the Bible reveals that God does not do that. The Bible teaches that when we believe in Jesus Christ, God forgives all of our past and present sins, and declares us to be holy individuals for the rest of our lives and into eternity. If God has declared us, who are still sinning, to be righteous for the rest of our lives, why would any sin that we might commit, cause us to be “unforgiven” and declared to be sinners again and deserve hell? The reader may be interested in a study that explores the teaching of the Bible. The study provides scripture references. The name of the study is called “Saved Only Once.”

The New Testament indicates that if one’s decision is real, then one’s conduct and attitude will reveal it. That is, conduct flows from belief. Salvation does not flow from conduct. Salvation flows from belief in Jesus Christ and it results in good works. True belief includes a willingness to let God change one’s life. One’s life will change and one will seek to please God.

Alzheimer’s disease is one medical explanation why some have impaired mental capacity. A person who has truly believed in Jesus Christ cannot lose their salvation due to impaired mental capacity resulting from disease, medications or accidents. First, these conditions are not sins and they do not affect the eternal destiny of the spirit. Second, if an impaired mental condition resulted from a prolonged pattern of sin, one must ask, “Was the person ever a Christian?” A true Christian will increasingly deal with sin patterns in their life. The apostle Paul asked this question of the Corinthians who had great struggles with sin in their lives,

Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you– unless indeed you fail the test? (NASB) 2 Cor. 13:5


Mental instability has different causes. But once a person is truly saved, no disease, accident, catastrophe or tragic event can change that person’s destiny. At the moment a person truly believes, he or she is viewed as being in heaven already. Then it is impossible for that person to lose their salvation. That is the message of the following passage.

But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. (NASB) Eph. 2:4-7

Suggested Links:

Saved Only Once
Seated In Heaven
Searching For God