This article will allow you to know whether King Saul was saved or not, or if he was saved and later lost his salvation. Many people go back and look at King Saul's hideous, wicked life and automatically think he was lost. This is what we would all think of Lot if it weren't for the New Testament. But, Lot was saved but lived poorly for the Lord. Throughout this note, you will find that King Saul's story is a little similar to Lot's. I hope that you do take the time to read this thoroughly. Before you read the next paragraph, I know that not everyone that reads this is going to agree with me here. But, the important thing is that you agree with God concerning this matter, not me. I only wish to share with you what the Word of God has to say and for you to understand whether King Saul was really saved or not.
I bring this up because it is debated that King Saul was either never saved or that he was saved and then later on he lost his salvation. But, we must first note that all men in the Old Testament were saved the same way that we are today. Acts 10:43 says, "To him (Jesus Christ) give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins." Need we go any further? The verse not only says that Jesus Christ as preached by every Old Testament prophet in the Bible (To him give ALL the prophets witness...), but it also says that belief was the only requirement (...whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.) Therefore, the message and gospel of the Old Testament was salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. Abraham even heard the gospel and got saved by the same gospel we get saved by today (Galatians 3:8). Thus, it is important to note that all men were saved wholly on believing on the Lord Jesus Christ. If they didn't do that, then they didn't get saved.
This all being said, 1 Samuel 10:2-6 says, "When thou art departed from me to day, then thou shalt find two men by Rachel's sepulchre in the border of Benjamin at Zelzah; and they will say unto thee, The asses which thou wentest to seek are found: and, lo, thy father hath left the care of the asses, and sorroweth for you, saying, What shall I do for my son? Then shalt thou go on forward from thence, and thou shalt come to the plain of Tabor, and there shall meet thee three men going up to God to Bethel, one carrying three kids, and another carrying three loaves of bread, and another carrying a bottle of wine: And they will salute thee, and give thee two loaves of bread; which thou shalt receive of their hands. After that thou shalt come to the hill of God, where is the garrison of the Philistines: and it shall come to pass, when thou art come thither to the city, that thou shalt meet a company of prophets coming down from the high place with a psaltery, and a tabret, and a pipe, and a harp, before them; and they shall prophesy: And the Spirit of the LORD will come upon thee, and thou shalt prophesy with them, and shalt be turned into another man."
Here we learn that Saul meets a group of prophets and they preach to him. We can safely assume that they preached Jesus Christ to them since this was the main theme of all the Old Testament (Acts 10:43). After Saul heard the gospel preached to him, Saul received the gospel and was born again. Saul in verse 6 was "turned into another man." In verse 9 it says that "God gave him a new heart," which is a clear reference to new birth. So here we learn Saul got saved.
Saul's Christian life experience after his new birth is given in the same chapter in 1 Samuel 10:7-12 where Samuel is instructing Saul to follow the leading of the Lord (which are instructions to the Christian life we have today), "And let it be, when these signs are come unto thee, that thou do as occasion serve thee; for God is with thee. And thou shalt go down before me to Gilgal; and, behold, I will come down unto thee, to offer burnt offerings, and to sacrifice sacrifices of peace offerings: seven days shalt thou tarry, till I come to thee, and shew thee what thou shalt do. And it was so, that when he had turned his back to go from Samuel, God gave him another heart: and all those signs came to pass that day. And when they came thither to the hill, behold, a company of prophets met him; and the Spirit of God came upon him, and he prophesied among them. And it came to pass, when all that knew him beforetime saw that, behold, he prophesied among the prophets, then the people said one to another, What is this that is come unto the son of Kish? Is Saul also among the prophets? And one of the same place answered and said, But who is their father? Therefore it became a proverb, Is Saul also among the prophets?"
We are told in these verses that those who knew Saul before Saul was saved saw the evidence that Saul had been born again. His old friends were shocked and amazed that Saul had joined the prophets and began preaching with them, "Is Saul also among the prophets?" Clearly, his old friends had noticed a change in Saul's life and that was his salvation.
Now, I would like to say that there is a such thing as a backslider. Proverbs 14:14 says, "The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways: and a good man shall be satisfied from himself." As we look at the end of Saul's life, we can tell that he was very disobedient not only to those around him but also to the Lord. Because Saul was disobedient as a child of God, God had to discipline and finally take his life. This is what happens to the Christian - he is convicted by God, and may shun that conviction. He may indulge into sin, and then God must then take his life. But first, I would like to say that no believer can lose his salvation (John 6:37, 39) but when they fail to use their life for God, then they can lose rewards (2 John 8, 1 Cor. 3:15). God can also take their life as He did with Ananias and Sapphira.
In 1 Samuel 28, Saul goes on to speak with a witch of Endor to bring Samuel back to life just to answer a question concerning Saul's future. Mediums are not able to bring people back to life, but in this case God took over and allowed that to happen. The Bible tells us that Christians ought not have anything to do with mediums (Deut. 18:10-12; Lev. 20:6). Satan's can angels can impersonate the dead and we become his prey. In 1 Samuel 28:7 Samuel rose from the dead and the witch screamed because it never happened like this before.
But, why did Saul want Samuel back? What was the whole point of having Samuel come back from the dead? It was that Saul wanted to know what was going to happen with this war with the Philistines. Samuel gives the answer in verse 19, "Moreover the LORD will also deliver Israel with thee into the hand of the Philistines: and to morrow shalt thou and thy sons be with me: the LORD also shall deliver the host of Israel into the hand of the Philistines." Please understand this passage - it is telling us that Saul is told that he is going to lose the battle and that he and his sons are going to be killed.
He is also told that Samuel is going to be with him. This is very important to note because Samuel the prophet was obviously saved and therefore Saul was saved because he went to be with Samuel (I Samuel 28:19). There are those who teach that because Saul was a backslider at the end of his life, Saul lost his salvation. The fact that Saul did not lose his salvation is evidenced by the fact that he went to go see Samuel (1 Samuel 28:19).
King Saul is an example of a believer who did not live for the Lord after his salvation. On the other hand, he did not lose his salvation, that's impossible. God saves us with an "everlasting salvation" as taught in Isaiah 45:17 and God promises that He will never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).
As Christians and children of God, we can lose our rewards and will have to stand before God at the judgment seat of Christ and the punishments put on us are going to be way worse than we can ever imagine. We should learn the lesson from Saul that we need to use our talents, gifts, or whatever we have for the Lord. Romans 12:1-2 says, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." Verse 1 says that this is our reasonable service; there is nothing unreasonable about serving the Lord and being involved with His work. It is very reasonable to do so, and we must do it if we want to be good Christians in God's eyes. God shouldn't have to vomit up lukewarm Christians who are living in pleasure rather than serving God. I pray we all learn the lesson from Saul and that we use our lives for the glory of God.