Yes. Think about Peter. He believed Jesus was the Messiah and as such was saved. Yet he denied Christ not once but three times swearing before men. Jesus always foretold Peter he would deny Him three times but that He prayed for Peter to come back in faith after feeling such shame for doing it. And Peter was restored to strengthen the other disciples. He did not lose Salvation. He was eternally saved by his BELIEF on Christ as Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3, repetitively, regarding how a person is born again and justified in Salvation.
What about Matthew 10:33?
“But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 10:33 KJV)
As believers, knowing what Christ went through to save us on that cross, shedding His blood for us, we hope that we would have enough courage to withstand persecution, even unto death. However, if a person is tortured for their belief in Christ and denies Christ verbally, yet in their heart still fully believes, are they still saved? Jesus paid such a high price in the greatest love there is for us. Would He deny a saved believer for verbally denying Christ under such duress?
The TYPE of denial matters in understanding this subject. Jesus was talking to the disciples right? Keep in mind Judas Iscariot. He did not deny Christ out of fear or distress. His act of betrayal for silver was a complete denial. Although Judas was with Christ, traveled with the disciples and Jesus, he never believed Jesus was the Messiah. He was not a saved believer. And even though he felt remorse and guilt for being responsible for Jesus horrible death, he still did not believe He was the Messiah and committed suicide unsaved.
Do you see the contrast between Peter’s denial and Judas’ denial of Christ. Yes! It is about BELIEF and not outside appearances. Don’t get me wrong, we should all stand up for our belief in Christ. The Gospel is the power to be saved eternally! Yet. I am saying God looks at a person’s heart. Not everyone is strong enough to withstand torture and persecution. They may act one way outwardly to protect themselves but inwardly they are a true believer.
For this reason I believe they are saved.