2 Peter 2.19- 22 NASB 19They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves£ of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved. 20For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. 21For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. 22What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.”
Every so often I get this question, "Can a person who has had a genuine relationship with Jesus lose his salvation?"
The answer to this question is much more simple than the centuries of church bickering would lead one to conclude. In the passage above we see three truths that show us that every believer is in danger of falling from grace (Gal 5.4) if he or she doesn't take seriously the relationship with Christ that they committed to in their salvation prayer. Peter is writing to false teachers who (v20) escaped the "defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Savior". Clearly this indicates that these men had salvation experience because one cannot know Christ without salvation. These men became "entangled again and overcome" v(20). this shows that momentary sins do not cancel out our salvation- when we become entangled there is always hope of deliverance from such sin... as long as we are not overcome by that sin. Falling back into a sinful act grieves the Holy Spirit (Eph 4.30) but it doesn't cause us to lose salvation- The only way one can be saved is to trust in the work of Jesus on the cross for salvation, and as long as we continue to strive toward the mark (Phil 3.14), watch our life and doctrine closely (1 Tim 4.16), press on to live in holiness under the Lordship of Jesus (Heb 12.14)and trust in his work rather than our own for full deliverance we remain in Him. Certainly there can be no meaning to Christ's warning to his disciples to "remain in Him" (John 15.6)if there is no possibility of being fruitless branches gathered up and "cast into the fire to be burned". So while we are to strive for a sinless life, momentary failures do not discount us for salvation.
The second thing we see in the verse is that because they had been "overcome" by their sin again- they were worse off in the end than in the beginning. now if they were condemned to Hell as sinners in the beginning- what possible way could they be worse if they still had salvation? Obviously - they couldn't be worse off... unless they had lost out with God. Now they stand doubly condemned- where once they sinned in ignorance (Rom 2. 7-8), now they are sinning boldly in defiance of God's provision of Christ (Heb 10.26)and their condemnation is all that can await them.
The third and final point I see in this passage is that losing out with God is a disgusting act- like a dog returning to his vomit. Having three dogs I can say that this is a disgusting act that makes no sense. That which we have once rejected as no good for us, shouldn't be embraced as our own without the accompanying reaction of disgust. And when a person's faith is shipwrecked (2 Tim 2.15-17)it is a pitiful thing in the eyes of the Lord. His will for our lives is to be fruitful and to live out the abundance of his riches and grace in this life.