QA: Can we still go lost after being ‘Saved by Grace’?
In isolation, saying ‘yes’ to your question, obviously sounds very harsh. It is difficult to answer these questions without sounding judgmental. But let us look at the Plan of YHVH globally – as a whole:
God in the beginning created man and woman to ‘be masters over His creation’, to take charge and ‘manage’ it. They were the pinnacle of His Creation on earth, created in His Image (Gen 1:26,27).
There they were, having newly ‘seen the light’ – now receiving an awesome Divine mandate: “Take charge and manage it!” It must be like walking onto the estate of the richest man in the world and being appointed manager of his estate! Most of us just don’t have the credentials to do so successfully. Yet, here was something more superior: a freshly created world – perfect, unpolluted. Made by the perfect Creator! Two ‘newly-born’ normal humans without any experience are put in charge. And they have a free will – to destroy or to maintain. Obviously they had to conform to His System and Rules – His Law which is pure, perfect and able to maintain Creation in a perfect condition. Just as we would have to work according to the rules and requirements of the rich man.
Later in Scripture, God selects Abram, a gentile, who knew about YHVH and followed His rules – so much so that God approached Him and made a ‘deal’ (Covenant) with him. “I will make you a great nation. I will bless you and make your name famous.” (Gen. 12:2). Next God promised Abram to give ‘The Promised Land’ unto his descendants (Gen. 12:7).
Most of the O.T. concerns God’s dealings with these descendants of Abram, who’s name God later changed to Abraham – the Israelites. God’s purpose was to use this nation as an example to the other nations: of the Blessings He would bestow on them if they respected His Laws and System – but also as an example of the Curses He would allow to overcome them if they disobeyed His Requirements.
The rest is history. A clear Divine Example engraved in history and sealed by the blood and tears of Israelites throughout the centuries, culminating in the Death Camps of Israel! So horrific were these sufferings, that the next problematic question that we are faced with, is: “Where was God? How could He allow ‘His own nation’ to be suffering to that extent without helping them?”
This question is dealt with at: QA: Why does God allow evil?
This should answer your question: ” …if we believe, can we still go to Hell?”
Many Christians will, in self-defense, cry out: “God deserted the Jews because
they crucified Messiah – they deserved it!”. Forget! Long before Messiah walked this earth, the Israelites suffered brutally, time upon time, under the oppression of their conquerors – the Babylonian Captivity, to name but one – when they lost their country and were deported on foot to a strange land, much as we see happening in this very day in Kossoville, Yugoslavia, with the Albanians. This Babylonian Exile was for the very same reason: for not obeying YHVH fully.
The Sacrifice and Grace of Messiah is there, freely, to reconcile us with YHVH, notwithstanding the eternal condemnation that we have earned ourselves by our non-compliance until the time that we came to accept this Offer of Grace.
Why did He reconcile us? So that we could simply continue in our non-compliant lifestyle? If we insist to do so, we will simply earn eternal condemnation once again.
Consideration of YHVH’s promised Eternal Kingdom should also confirm a ‘yes’ to your original answer. YHVH intends setting up an Universal Kingdom of Peace on earth. For this He requires rulers and citizens. He could have made us all perfect and set-up His perfect Kingdom. We would then all have been automated ‘half-brain’ beings. He therefore chose an infallible route: that of free choice of his individual created beings – to serve Him truly, or to reject Him. How ultimately superior will a Kingdom be, to have rulers and citizens qualifying by merit – who choose good over bad? Choosing God’s interest over self-interest; finding the Truth in a diligent search for the True Way; being prepared to follow Him on His terms, not our own or our prophet or teachers terms? What would it benefit Him to have had a Kingdom with citizens who begrudge His Laws and Customs, who describe it as “Only for Jews” and “Done away with by the Cross”?
Rev. 22:12 “Very soon now I shall be with you again, bringing the reward to be given to every man according to what he deserves … Happy are those who do His Commandments, so that they will have right to feed on the Tree of Life and come through the Gates into the City (of Eternal Jerusalem)” (confirmed by KJV and Anti Nicean Fathers Tertullian (CE 208) and Cyprian (CE 251) and by the context of all the O.T.)
Matt. 22:29 “You err because you understand neither the Scriptures (O.T. only, in His time) neither the Power of God.”