Washed, Sanctified and Justified
in the Sacraments of the Catholic Church.
I am a former Catholic convert (from agnosticism). Do you know that the majority of the original Protestant Reformers (and those, like me, who follow in their footsteps today, such as Presbyterians and Reformed Baptists) did not hold to the articulation of “Once Saved, Always Saved” found here, but rather to the “Perserverance of the Saints,” which is a very different doctrine?
It is true that genuine Christians will lead lives which are characterized by a hunger for holiness. If a person claims to be a Christian, trusting in Christ for his/her salvation, yet that person is not fighting sin and doing good works, he/she is quite likely not a genuine Christian.
Scripture states clearly that only the person who endures *to the end* (in faith) will be saved.
However, Scripture also claims (of the converted person, the Christian) that “He (God) who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6, ESV) According to this verse, God began the good work in us through bringing us to conversion, and He will complete the good work in us that He began. He leaves no person who has been born again in such a state that the person can somehow become “un-born again.” This being said, God will complete His good work in us through our *perseverance* in the faith– which He Himself *ensures.*
Again, from Paul’s letter to the Philippians, “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” (2:12-13) We persevere in the faith– all *true* Christians do. We do so though, because God works in us, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. This is the Reformed, *Biblical* doctrine of the Perseverance of the Saints (all Christians being called “saints” in the Bible, not just those who have been canonized).
Two last verses which show that for those who have been truly converted, they *will* persevere in the faith, *and* their salvation can also never be lost:
“For those whom He foreknew
He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son,
in order that He might be the firstborn among many brothers.
For those whom He predestined He also called,
and those whom He called He also justified,
and those whom He justified He also glorified.” (Romans 8:29-30, ESV)
In the second verse here, anyone who is predestined and called is also justified and glorified. There is no category left for people who were predestined, called, and justified, but who later lost their salvation.
If a person has been predestined, called, and justified by God, this verse states that he/she *will* be glorified. Again, this will not happen without the person’s perseverance in the faith to the end, but the perseverance is once which is empowered and ensured by God (Philippians 1:6. 2:12-13).
This is what Protestant Reformed Christians believe. The “Once Saved, Always Saved” easy-believism without obedience to God is a relatively recent invention and is *not* faithful to the Protestant Reformation.
Christopher Lake October 17, 2009 at 5:46 AMTypo– I meant to write, in in the last section of my comment that “this (glorification) will not happen without the person’s perseverance in the faith to the end, but the perseverance is *one* (rather than “once”– the typo to which I referred) which is empowered and ensured by God. I would love to read your reply to my (admittedly lengthy) comment! Take care and be blessed!
Thanks for contributing.