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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Once you accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior and are saved, are you always saved?

“Love the Lord with all your heart, and with all your soul,
and with all your MIND”--Matt 22:37

Once you accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior and are saved, are you always saved?  That is, can you lose your salvation? 

This question is a corollary to the "Are Catholics saved?" topic. Many non-Catholic Christians profess this doctrine of "Once Saved, Always Saved" (OSAS).  Indeed, the issue of soteriology (the doctrine of salvation) is a main point of contention among Evangelical Christians.  It is derived, I believe, from the Evangelicals' great love of Christ and His atoning work on the cross.  What Evangelicals object to is the notion that we must do anything to "earn' heaven.  It's ALL Jesus, all the time, in their paradigm.  God's forgiveness is sooo complete, sooo infinite, that the moment they profess their repentance, all sins, past, present and future, are forgiven.  Anything less than that indicates that Jesus' salvific gift is ineffective, to their way of thinking.
Catholics, of course, ought to give a hearty "amen!" to the Evangelical's "it's ALL Jesus" mantra.  And we ought to be humbled by their great devotion to the atoning work of Christ on the Cross.

Where the Evangelicals get it wrong with the OSAS doctrine is that they ignore all the Scripture verses which state that salvation is conditional.  We have a moral assurance of salvation, but not an absolute assurance.  Thus, if we sin, we can indeed lose our salvation.  The Bible speaks of this, well,  everywhere.
There is a significant number of Bible Christians who believe that you are saved through saying the "Sinner's Prayer".  Sometimes this is done through an altar call, in which people are called to make a public commitment to Christ.  While this practice ought not be denigrated--truly, many have started their beautiful walk with God because of this invitation-- some ironies do exist:
  • the "Sinner's Prayer" is not found in the Bible
  • an altar call is not found in the Bible
  • typically there is no altar in the "altar" call, for most churches of this type eschew the notion of a sacrifice (it was done once and for all by Jesus and cannot be repeated).  Altars are missing from these churches because sacrifice is missing.  (The purpose of an altar, of course, is to offer up sacrifices.)
Again, I offer a disclaimer:  please read my presentation of what Evangelical Christians believe with the same healthy skepticism you would have if you heard a Protestant say, "Catholics believe _______"  Sometimes they get it right; more often than not they get it wrong.  At any rate, as there are over 30,000--and counting--different Protestant denominations it's really difficult to represent the Protestant position anyway.  Also, please note that I use the terms Evangelical Christians, Protestants,  Fundamentalists, non-Catholic Christians, and Bible Christians synonymously, although there are differences--but the distinctions are quite fluid.

(Actually, Catholics are Bible Christians, are we not?  We are the original Bible Christians! 
)So with regard to the Evangelical's OSAS assertion, 'tis true that there are some verses in the Bible which seem to support their doctrine. There are, however, multiple Bible verses which proclaim that salvation is not a "done deal".  How do we reconcile this?  Because Catholics do not use Scripture alone to discern God's Revelation, we have the benefit of the other channel of God's WordSacred Tradition.  And Tradition tells us what truths these Bible verses, in their entirety, profess.  We understand the Bible through the lens of the Faith which was handed down to us through the Apostles.

Finally, "if you can lose your salvation by sin, doesn’t that imply that you are earning your salvation? Ephesians 2:8–9, says, "for by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God—not because of works, lest any man should boast."
...The New Covenant is not a system of works righteousness whereby a person can please God and earn heaven by doing a number of good deeds. This is what Paul is driving at in Ephesians 2. He is not saying that sin cannot separate us from Christ.

When he gave a litany of created things that can not separate us from the love of God in Romans 8:39, notice that he did not say, "neither fornication nor adultery nor drunkenness nor murder will separate us from the love of God." He was well aware that if we choose sin, we renounce Christ. In 1 Corinthians 15:1–2, Paul says, "Now I would remind you, brethren, in what terms I preached to you the gospel, which you received, in which you stand, by which you are saved, if you hold it fast—unless you believed in vain." So, you could believe, but fail to hold fast to the gospel, and not be saved (cf. 2 Pet. 2:20).

This is why Paul spoke in the book of Romans about the "obedience of faith" (Rom. 1:5, 16:26). It is not enough that one call Jesus Lord, for, as he said, "Not every one who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven" (Matt. 7:21; cf. Matt. 10:33, 18:35). If we are disobedient, God will "take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city" (Rev 22:19).

Just because you may choose to no longer hold fast to what was freely given to you does not mean that you were ever capable of earning what was given to you in the first place. The same is true of earthly sonship—it cannot be earned. But if you were adopted, you would be free to run away as a prodigal son and lose your inheritance." source

I am trying to be cautious about my presentation of the (OSAS) teaching, lest I misrepresent this concept.  However, it would seem to lend itself to living a life of sin because "hey!  I'm saved!"  I suspect that most advocates of OSAS would deny that their belief promotes a life of sin.  (Just like it's a misrepresentation of Catholicism for objectors to state, "Catholics think they can live a life of sin because they can confess their sins the next day to a priest."  Either way is not a fair portrayal of one's beliefs.)  That being said, it does seem that there has been many an Evangelical Christian who has lived a dissolute life but feels his salvation is still guaranteed. 

For more in-depth study visit these websites:

"Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect
1 Peter 3:15


  1. I am really enjoying reading through many of your topics. I am an adult convert to Catholicism and have many friends who are Protestant and who I care for very much. I often find that I get questions that are hard for me to answer unless I am able to ponder/study for awhile. Unfortunately, those moments of opportunity can slip by... Thank you for your work. And thank you for not putting Protestants down with ugly comments. I would feel comfortable sending them here for an explanation with the hope they might gain understanding and not defensively turn away from exploring our faiths great truths.

  2. Once Saved Always Kept!

    Romans 8:30

    Moreover whom he did predestinate, them
    he also called: and whom he called, them
    he also justified:and whom he justified,
    them he also glorified.

    If you could lose your salvation by what
    you do, the choices you make, or any other
    way, wouldn't Romans 8:30 have to be stat-
    ed in this or a similar way ?

    Moreover whom he did predestinate, them
    he also called: and whom he called, them
    he also justified: and whom he justified,
    (SOME OF) them he also glorified.

    Is God a liar? No way! God secures
    your salvation forever! You are kept
    for Jesus Christ (Jude 1:1),protected
    by the power of God through faith for
    your salvation (1 Peter 1:5).
    If God predetinated you,he called you,
    if hecalled you, he justified you,and
    if he justified you, he will glorify you !
    Praise God !

    How about Hebrews 6:4-6, 2 Peter 2:20-22,
    and so on ? These people were never saved,
    they did not believe from the heart, the
    Gospel message.If these people were saved,
    we have a real problem,Scripture contra-
    dicting Scripture. Can God's Word contra-
    dict itself ? No way ! Praise God ! OSAK!

  3. What happens in a discussion with OSAS proponents is that it simply becomes a Scripture war. You post your verses, and then the opposing verses to OSAS (and there are a MULTITUDE of them!) are proffered.

    Thus let it be said: in order to support OSAS one must ignore all the other verses that show that our salvation is CONDITIONAL.

    It is futile to do the Scripture wars and quote and counter-quote.

    In the end, what we must do when there is a disagreement on what Scripture means is...

    "take it to the Church", which is the "pillar and foundation of Truth."

    1. There are no conditional salvation verses.Salvation
      is a free gift from God. He gives it to you and keeps
      it for you. It's all His work. A free gift is not
      earned. One is not saved by works,nor does one become
      unsaved by works. The Word was made flesh(Jesus),therefore, the Word is perfect as Jesus is perfect. The Word, therefore, contains no contra- dictions. In context, all verses relating to salvation need to harmonize and they do. Salvation
      is free from beginning to end. God is not going to say salvation is a free gift,but after you accept it, tell you gotta do this or that to keep it. This is a contradiction. By His love,mercy and grace you are
      given salvation and By His love,mercy and grace your salvation is kept.

    2. Indeed. This is Catholic theology that you've just proclaimed (with the exception about there being "no conditional salvation verses", of which there are MANY!) Salvation is indeed a free gift! Amen!

    3. So,salvation is a free gift but, if am I am not willing to fulfill just one of the supposed conditional salvation verses that you claim, I lose the free gift of salvation ? If yes,than salvation
      is not free. This is a contradiction.

    4. It is only a contradiction, friend, if you truly believe that you must DO NOTHING to be saved.

      And surely you don't believe that!

    5. Just respond to the gospel message and believe from the heart, which is God's work ( He had to draw me to respond ) , making my role in salvation a passive one. That's it ! Not of my works.
      The truth will set you free !

    6. The moment you "respond" and "believe" that makes your role in salvation NOT PASSIVE.

    7. One can only respond and believe because of God's action,and in this sense, one's role in salvation is
      passive. Everything that one does from the moment he/she responds, and onward, to do works of righteousness, is the result of what God did. One is saved(passive tense)by grace.Believers are God's workmanship.He is the potter, believers are the clay.What can the clay do? Can it be active and help make the pot on it's own ? Yes,one's role in salvation is definitely passive. Without God, one can do nothing.

    8. Everything you have just proclaimed above is very, very Catholic; it appears that what you mean by "passive" is that God initiates, we respond. Our cooperation with God's grace is, of course, required.

      Otherwise that means that everyone---every single soul that's ever existed, whether he is Christian or not--is saved.

      And surely you're not proclaiming that!

    9. Many are called,but few are chosen. Only the ones who are chosen will cooperate with God's grace. God initiates,chooses those to be saved,and they inturn
      cooperate with God's grace,respond and believe and
      go on to do works of righteousness,bear good fruit.
      God intiates,the chosen respond. Yes, that's what I
      mean by "passive".

  4. Again, this makes you very Catholic!

    And when one is baptized, we know he has been chosen.
    An indelible mark is placed on his soul. Indeed, the universe is changed forever at a Christian's baptism. Salvation has been poured into the soul of the newly baptized!

    Nuclear fission appears as child's play if we could see into what happens to the soul at the moment of baptism!

    1. But,this is where we disagree: I believe once
      you receive the indelible mark ( Sealing of the
      Holy Spirit ) God keeps you forever. You can do nothing to lose Him. What does indelible mean
      if you can do away with Him, or erase Him ?
      It's God's indelible mark, theHoly Spirit that in-
      dwells the believer. There is nothing the bel-
      iever can do to do away with, or erase the the
      Holy Spirit. If you can remove the Holy Spirit by
      something you do,or do not do, than He was
      never indelible.

    2. An indelible mark on your soul, Anonymous, is a mark made by God claiming you as His. It is not magic.

      It does not have any supernatural power to prevent us from sinning and turning away from Him.

      We all know that we can turn away from Him. That is called sin.

      I think you are mistaking an "indelible mark" as being one and the same as the Holy Spirit. They are not interchangeable.

      Take this analogy: a tatto of "Mom" is an indelible mark on a child's body. But that does not equate to Mom being omni-present with the child.

    3. Ok,so the indelible mark and the sealing of the Holy Spirit are not the same. So, when do you receive the indwelling of the Holy Spirit?

    4. We receive it when receive the indelible mark on our souls: at our Baptism.

  5. If you REALLY have the Holy Spirit indwelling you,
    you are born again,a new creature, and He will be
    with you forever no matter what you do. If you sin,
    God will discipline you in His own way, but He will
    never leave you or forsake you. You remain His child.
    Once you are TRULY BORN AGAIN, it's impossible to
    become spiritually unborn. Salvation is TRULY a
    free gift GIVEN and KEPT by GOD'S POWER THROUGH
    FAITH.Try to reject your faith through sin, or
    walking away from it, as a born again believer,it's impossible. Your faith will endure forever, because
    it is of God,not you.

    1. Again, Anonymous, everything you say above makes you very, very Catholic, with this exception: ".Try to reject your faith through sin, or
      walking away from it, as a born again believer,it's impossible. Your faith will endure forever, because
      it is of God,not you."

      That clearly is false. For we all know people who have walked away from their faith, even after being born again.

  6. Once you are saved you are "sealed" in salvation.

    1. Except for the fact that we humans leak after being "sealed".

    If you want someone to get to know you, what might you do? Would you not tell the person your name? Does God have a name? Many religions answer that his name is “God” or “Lord,” but those are not personal names. They are titles, just as “king” and “president” are titles. The Bible teaches that God has many titles. “God” and “Lord” are among them. However, the Bible also teaches that God has a personal name: Jehovah. Psalm 83:18 says: “You, whose name is Jehovah, you alone are the Most High over all the earth.” If your Bible translation does not contain that name, you may want to consult the Appendix of this book to learn why that is so. The truth is that God’s name appears thousands of times in ancient Bible manuscripts. So Jehovah wants you to know his name and to use it. In a sense, he is using the Bible to introduce himself to you.

    1. The Catholic Church gives a thumbs up to everything you say here. We Catholics are certainly free to call our God Jehovah, or Yaheweh.

      We can also call Him Father. Or Abba. Or Daddy.

      Or, of course, Jesus.

      I don't really understand this obsession with God's name?

  8. connect this luke 1:31 - 32

    and, look! you will conceive in your womb and give birth to a son, and you are to call his name Jesus.32This one will be great and will be called Son of the Most High;

    to Psalm 83:18
    You, whose name is Jehovah, you alone are the Most High over all the earth.”

    notice the MOST HIGH in both?

    1. This is very Catholic, what you are professing here. *thumbs up!*

  9. I find this very interesting that no one can see that we are saying the same things only differently. Evangelists believe that your salvation cannot be taken away if you have truly accepted Christ as your Savior. If you have truly done this then the Holy Spirit continues to refine you and bring you closer to Jesus. You lose your taste for sin.

    Catholics believe that you can lose your salvation where a Evangelist would question whether they had salvation in the first place.

    I am relieved to know that my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ knows that man is imperfect which is why God's master plan was put into motion in the first place. After all if man was incapable of sin even after accepting salvation, God would not have had to walk through the blood for Abraham when he made his covenant.

    Regardless of whether you confess your sins to a priest who guides you on how to show you really are sorry and repent for what you have done or you cry out directly to God for your shortfalls, if you have truly accepted God's gift of salvation then you are going to heaven. All the other stuff is insignificant to your salvation.

    I belong to Jesus Christ, not a church. The bible clearly shows that a church is for fellowship, support and corporate worship, not to hold over one another's heads as being more superior than one another. I wonder if God sheds a tear when he sees things like this. We continue to not get it any more than the Israelites who wandered for 40 years. Love each other and exalt your Lord God over what you think the superiorities of your particular religion. Religion is man's creation and salvation is God's creation.

    Blessings and may God soften your hearts.

    1. Thanks for your comments. There are numerous truths in what you proclaim, and also many, many errors.

      Truths: "Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ knows that man is imperfect."


      and "I belong to Jesus Christ".

      Errors: " a priest who guides you on how to show you are really sorry..." That is not the priest's job. We must be repentant prior to entering the confessional.

      Also erroneous: "The bible clearly shows that a church is for fellowship, support and corporate worship." The Bible actually shows that the Church is the Body of Christ, His Bride, and the pillar and foundation of truth.

      One cannot love Jesus without loving His Body, the Church. Otherwise, what one is loving is an a-corporate, disembodied head.

      And your response has one puzzling statement that I am unsure as to its meaning: "After all if man was incapable of sin even after accepting salvation, God would not have had to walk through the blood for Abraham when he made his covenant." I do not know to which you are referring here.

    2. Regarding assurance of salvation: if someone can think he's saved but not really be saved, how assured can a Christian be of his salvation?

      Answer: not very.

      There's always the chance that he may be one of those hapless fellows who's a faux believer--he thinks he's saved when he actually is not.