God did not suddenly begin loving us when we were saved. His love is not dependent on how well we live or how obedient we are. It does not grow if we serve Him well, or shrink if we do not. In fact His love doesn't depend on us, at all. He loves us because He is love. Love is not what He DOES, it is what He IS. God is the very essence of love.
Does that mean it doesn't matter how we live, after we are saved? Of course not! Or as the apostle Paul wrote: "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? (Romans 6:1-2) Unfortunately, far too many people think that “Once saved, always saved” means that they can live however they please without consequences, because God loves them. Nothing could be further from the truth.
For believers, those who have trusted in Christ's finished work on the cross for their salvation and eternal life, we do not try to obey God and try to live Godly lives in order to be saved. Our obedience grows from our salvation, not salvation from our obedience. God meets us right where we are, not matter how sinful we may be, and adopts us into His family when we place our faith and trust in Jesus Christ to save us. We don't have to “start living right” or “clean up our act” first; He takes us just like we are. And that's good news for all of us, because we are all sinners and fall short of the glory of God! (Romans 3:23)
But taking us just like we are doesn't mean He leaves us just like we were. The Bible says when we become saved, we become a new Creature: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17) When we are saved, we are changed: our thoughts change, our attitudes change, and our actions change. We no longer want to do those sinful things we were entrapped by before. We learn this difference between what pleases God and what doesn't; the difference between the holy and the profane, the sacred and and the common.
While we certainly cannot tell what is in another person's heart, if someone doesn't show any change in their lives after their salvation, we have to wonder if theirs was truly a salvation experience at all. Therein lies the problem: too many people are walking around believing themselves to be saved because they prayed the “sinner's prayer” at some point, or because they had a really emotional experience at a church event. But true salvation is neither a formula we can recite, nor an emotion we get caught up in. Emotional experiences are great, but they do not equal salvation. Unsaved people can have emotional experiences, too.
The bottom line is this: Yes, if we are truly saved, then once we are saved, we are always saved. We cannot lose our salvation, Jesus gave it to us freely, and paid for it with His blood. But there are consequences for disobedience and disregard for God's words, His laws and statutes. We are not perfect, and never will be until we reach heaven, but, if we have truly received Jesus Christ as our Lord we cannot just continue to walk in the same old sinful ways as we did in the past. The Bible says we are bought with a price, and are no longer living just for ourselves, no longer doing just whatever we want: