SAVED, ALWAYS SAVED?
Kathy Bernard Publisher - A
Dear friends, if we deliberately continue sinning
after we have
received knowledge of the truth, there is no longer any sacrifice
that will cover these sins. There is
only the terrible expectation
of Gods judgment and the raging fire that will consume
His enemies." - Hebrews 10:26-27
was a unanimous agreement of early Christians that one was capable of losing the gift of
salvation by committing mortal sin.
How did some Christians change
from believing that they must cherish the gift of eternal life, nurturing and keeping it
holy, then later adopting the belief that salvation, once accepted, covers all sin with a
lifetime warranty of salvation?
mid-sixteenth century, John Calvin became the first to embrace the "once saved,
always saved" premise, teaching that sinning, no matter how serious, did not
need accountability after salvation.
The Wikipedia Free Encyclopedia offers the
following on Calvinism: Perseverance of
the saints (also known by the
common expression "Once Saved, Always Saved", and the relative acronym (OSAS)
is a Christian teaching taught in some branches of Protestantism which teaches that none
who are truly saved can be condemned for their sins or finally fall away from the faith.
The doctrine appears in two different forms: (1) the traditional Calvinist doctrine found
in the Reformed Christian confessions of faith and (2) the Free Grace or non-traditional
Calvinist doctrine found in some Baptist and other evangelical churches. In a sense, both
can describe Christian believers as "once saved, always saved", but the two
forms attach a different meaning to the word saved namely, whether or not it
necessarily involves sanctification, the process of becoming holy by rejecting sin, and
obeying God's commands. Because of this difference, traditional Calvinist Christians tend
to prefer the historical term "perseverance of the saints", which is one of the
five points of Calvinism, and advocates of the Free Grace doctrine usually prefer the less
technical terms "eternal security", "unconditional assurance", and
"once saved, always saved" to characterize their teaching.
"The two views are similar and sometimes
confused, and though they reach the same end (namely, eternal security in salvation), they
reach it by different paths. Free Grace advocates seek to moderate the perceived harshness
of Calvinism as it is found in the Reformed confessions and to emphasize that salvation is
not conditioned on performing good works. Traditional Calvinists maintain that the Free
Grace doctrine ignores certain key Bible passages and would be rejected by Calvin and the
reformed churches, which have both firmly advocated the necessity of good works and with
which Free Grace has sought to align itself historically to some degree. Other Christians
such as Catholics and Orthodox reject both versions of the doctrine. Visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Once_saved,_always_saved
for more on this subject.
Answers website writes "In the first century, the Didache, commonly
known as the Teaching of the Twelve Apostles said, "Watch for your life's sake. Let
not your lamps be quenched, nor your loins unloosed; but be ready, for you know not the
hour in which our Lord comes. But you shall assemble together often, (attending
church) seeking the things which are befitting to your souls. For the whole time of
your faith will not profit you, if you be not made complete in the last time". (Didache
16 [A.D. 70])
Church teaching holds that serious sin
destroys or weakens the life of grace in our souls. Therefore
we must be on constant watch against this happening, for if we continue to sin, we are in
danger of losing the salvation we profess to have, for it is in the maintaining of that
Christian life to the end that brings us to eternity.
Do you think that I like to see wicked people die? says the
Sovereign Lord in Ezekiel 18:23-24. Of
course not! I want them to turn from their wicked ways and live. However, if righteous
people turn from their righteous behavior and start doing sinful things and act like other
sinners, should they be allowed to live? No, of course not! All their righteous acts will
be forgotten, and they will die for their sins.
To further clarify that God expects faithfulness throughout the
Christians life please read Romans
11:17-22: But some of these
branches from Abrahams treesome of the people of Israel - have been broken
off. And you Gentiles, who were branches from a wild olive tree, have been grafted in. So
now you also receive the blessing God has promised Abraham and his children, sharing in
the rich nourishment from the root of Gods special olive tree. But you must
not brag about being grafted in to replace the branches that were broken off. You are just
a branch, not the root. Well, you may
say, those branches were broken off to make room for me. Yes, but rememberthose branches were broken
off because they didnt believe in Christ, and you are there because you do believe.
So dont think highly of yourself, but fear what could happen. For if God did not spare the original branches, He
wont spare you either. Notice how God
is both kind and severe. He is severe toward those who disobeyed, but kind to you if you
continue to trust in his kindness. But if you stop trusting, you also will be cut off.
When people escape from the wickedness of the world by knowing our Lord and
Savior Jesus Christ and then get tangled up and enslaved by sin again, they are worse off
than before. It would be better if they had
never known the way to righteousness than to know it and then reject the command they were
given to live a holy life. - 2
Jesus told His disciples to remain in His love because just as we enter freely
into a relationship with Christ, we are free to leave Him. Scripture is overflowing
with examples of this. In Romans 11:22, Paul says, "Note then the kindness and the
severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but Gods kindness to you,
provided you continue in his kindness; otherwise you too will be cut off." In
Galatians 5:4, Paul says, "You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by
the law; you have fallen away from grace." This verse implies that they were
united with Christ and in grace before they fell. In 1 Corinthians 9:27, Paul again
warns the Christians against being overconfident: "I pummel my body and subdue
it, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified." This is not
the language of "once saved always saved."
What shall we, as Catholic Christians, say to those who tell us that we are
among the foolish who believe the gift of salvation that came so freely upon acceptance of
Christ as Savior can be lost? Be
the one to say to them what Catholic Answers suggests if we are asked by
those of other denominations, "Are
you saved?" The Catholic should
reply: "As the Bible says, I am already saved (Rom. 8:24, Eph. 2:510), but
Im also being saved (1 Cor. 1:18, 2 Cor. 2:15, Phil. 2:12), and I have the
hope that I will be saved (Rom. 5:910). Like the apostle Paul I am working
out my salvation in fear and trembling (Phil. 2:12), with hopeful confidence in the
promises of Christ (Rom. 5:2, 2 Tim. 2:1113)."
In Revelation 3:11 it reads, I am
coming soon. Hold on to what you have so no
one can take away your crown. And so there is
great hope to be gained for us as Christians because our faith is sufficient to carry us
through to eternal victory. However it is not
a passive faith once it is obtained; it is a faith that is added to day by day through
this life by keeping our eyes fixed on our Savior, giving others love and compassion,
exercising self control and endurance, avoiding sins of the flesh that were expressly
forbidden, and by walking in the footprints left by Jesus Christ as best we can. As
St Peter says in 2 Peter1:10-11, "So, dear brothers and sisters, work hard to
prove that you really are among those God has called and chosen. Do these things, and you
will never fall away. Then God will give you
a grand entrance into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Fellow Catholic Christians, always be in readiness, not tarrying in sin, seeking
pardon if we stray, yet making haste with Christ's gift of salvation so all will be
well with our souls when He comes again.
"The fact that Christianity is a religion of
salvation is expressed in the
sacramental life of the Church. ... Baptism and the Eucharist (are)
sacraments which create in man the seed of eternal life.
- Pope John Paul II
(Quoted from Crossing the Threshold of Hope, pp. 74-75)
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