Bible Question:

If a person becomes a Christian and later in life switches to another religion, such as Mormonism, do they “lose” their salvation? Are they no longer able to go to heaven?

Bible Answer:

A person usually changes religion when he/she believes it was not the correct one. It is important to realize that Mormonism, Islam, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Buddhism, and other religions are not the same as Christianity. Those religions believe in different gods, different doctrines and ways to be saved. Mormons believe that Jesus was once a man who became a god, and they believe we can become a god too! The Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that Jesus was an angel and only 144,000 people will be saved. Islam teaches that Jesus was merely a prophet; and the list goes on. They believe in different gods, have different explanations for our sin problem, teach different types of salvation, and suggest different ways to be rescued from our sin.

No Other Faith Is Like Christianity

The Bible says that Jesus is the only way to be saved. There is no other way to saved. This means that if someone is not a Christian, they will go to hell and eventually the Lake of Fire. Acts 4:12 says that Christ is the only way to be saved.

And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved. (NASB) Acts 4:12

Christianity is unique. It does not teach that man becomes one with God, or becomes a god, or can never know God. True Christianity does not teach that man must perform good works in order to obtain salvation. Romans 3:22 teaches that we are saved by believing in Christ.

. . . even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction . . . Romans 3:22 (NASB)

The phrase “no distinction” means that there are no exceptions. Christ is the only way to go to heaven and we only go to heaven by faith in Christ. This verse says that when a person believes in Christ, they are imputed with or attributed with the righteousness of God. That is, Christians are declared to be as righteous as God. The Q&A What is the difference between holy and righteous in the Bible? explains what it means to have the righteousness of God.

Ephesians 2:8-9 specifically tells us that we are saved by faith and not by works.

For  by grace you have been saved  through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is  the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8-9 (NASB)

If we try to work in order to earn our way to heaven, we send ourselves to hell and the Lake of Fire. There are no exceptions. Christianity is unique when it says that a man can do nothing to obtain salvation. Christianity was referred to as “The Way” in Acts 24:22. There is no other way because Jesus is the only God who died for our sin and who did everything that is necessary for us to be saved. There is no other way!

True Christians Do Not Leave Christ

Scripture teaches that true Christians will never leave Christ. 1 John 2:19 is the clearest statement in the Bible that reveals those who leave Christianity were never Christians in the beginning.

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 (NASB)

This verse says that people who leave Christianity were never Christians. In fact, God motivated them to leave to prove that they were not real.

It is extremely important to remember that Jesus promises that everyone who becomes a Christian will never lose their salvation and will be raised up on the last day (John 6:39, 40, 44, 47 and 54). This means that the moment, at the second, a person becomes a Christian, they are going to heaven. It does not matter if the persons sins later; but if they leave the faith it proves they were not Christians in the beginning.

In Ephesians 2:6 we are told that Christians are already positionally seated in heaven. This  statement that means true Christians are already sitting in heaven, as far as God is concerned. We can think of it as a reservation in heaven. God has made the room reservation and paid for the room in advance of our arrival. In 1 Peter 1:4-5 we are told that God protects a Christian’s salvation because they believe in Christ. Philippians 1:6 teaches that God, who began the good work in a Christian, will complete the work. He will not fail. Both Christ and the Father promise to protect a Christian and keep them saved.

The clear teaching of Scripture is that someone who leaves Christ was never a Christian. Christ will not raise them up on the last day. God was not protecting them. God did not begin a work in their lives and He was not working in their lives. The fact that they left Christianity means that they were never real Christians.

Conclusion:

Jesus is the only way! He is the only way to life with God. So if someone rejects Jesus for something else he believes is true, how can he expect to go to heaven? He has rejected “The Way.” He has rejected the only One Who can save him! God created a plan that enables our sins to be forgiven. It is by grace, through faith in Jesus, and only through Christ. He does not ask us to do any good deeds to gain His favor. In fact, He tells us that we cannot gain His favor. He only asks us to trust in Jesus to forgive our sins. If we reject this offer, why should we think we could still go to heaven?

He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him. (NASB) John 3:36

Reference Links:

What is the difference between holy and righteous in the Bible?
Searching for God