How can you explain to a Protestant the errors in the belief that “once saved, always saved”?
12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed – not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence – continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfil his good purpose.
By Tony Kovach
Imagine that you have just fallen out of a boat into stormy waters (Matt. 8:23-27). The wind and currents are too strong, and you are going down. Suddenly, a hand pulls you into the boat. You are saved! Even though you were saved, you could still lose your life in another accident (Matt. 14:22-33) or even by your own hand.
When Scripture says we are saved, it is speaking of an ongoing process. Remember, no biblical verses say you are guaranteed salvation from the point of your conversion on. In fact, such a belief is unbiblical. Consider the parable of the sower and the verses warning us against sin or false prophets; they were spoken to believers! What would be their point if you are “once saved, always saved”?
14 Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, ‘See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.’
John 8:10 – 11 (Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition)
10 Then Jesus lifting up himself, said to her: Woman, where are they that accused thee? Hath no man condemned thee?
11 Who said: No man, Lord. And Jesus said: Neither will I condemn thee. Go, and now sin no more.
By Rev. Brian W. Harrison, M.A., S.T.L.
It is always possible to fall from the state of grace, by our mortal sins of commission or omission. For that reason, we cannot in this life claim any absolute certainty that we will die in the state of grace and reach Heaven. We should trust confidently in God’s grace and mercy, but at the same time be aware of our sinful weakness, which can endanger our salvation, and strive to overcome it with God’s help. As St Peter tells us, “Brothers, you have been called and chosen: work all the harder to justify it. If you do all these things there is no danger that you will ever fall away” (2 Pt 1:10).