Kathy Bernard – Publisher - A CatholicView

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 God’s judgment and the raging fire that will consume
His enemies."
-   Hebrews 10:26-27


It 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?

In the 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.  

The Catholic 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])

Catholic 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 Christian’s life please read Romans 11:17-22:   “But some of these branches from Abraham’s tree—some 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 God’s 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 remember—those branches were broken off because they didn’t believe in Christ, and you are there because you do believe. So don’t think highly of yourself, but fear what could happen.  For if God did not spare the original branches, He won’t 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 Peter2:21

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 God’s 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. 2:5–10), but I’m 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. 5:9–10). 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. 2:11–13)."  http://www.catholic.com/library/Assurance_of_Salvation.asp

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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