How can you explain to a Protestant the errors in the belief that “once saved, always saved”?
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”?
Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, “Behold, you have become well; do not sin anymore, so that nothing worse may befall you.”
10 Then Jesus straightened up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11 She replied, “No one, sir.” Then Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on do not sin anymore.”
12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.
3 Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.
4 Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. 5 The one who is victorious will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out the name of that person from the book of life, but will acknowledge that name before my Father and his angels.
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).
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 fulfill his good purpose.