I understand in many Protestant circles their theology is once you believe and accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Saviour you have been saved, you will go straight to heaven under the condition that you do not sin again or otherwise your original confession of Jesus was not genuine.
Most Catholics struggle to remain in the state of grace. You mean to tell me our Protestant brethren have always remained in the state of grace after their confession? None of them have even had an impure thought?
I was a protestant until the age of 59 (Baptist then Covenant) and basically my experience was that there were two ways of looking at OSAS. If you were talking hypothetically about someone who was saved but then committed some horrid sin(s) and never repented, then they were obviously never a Christian to start with. If you were talking about a fellow church member/friend/loved one that was saved but then committed some horrid sin(s) and never repented, then you knew that “John” was in heaven because he accepted Jesus as his Saviour when he was (insert age here) years old at (insert place here). I actually heard a sermon once where the minister said if you could not name a date and place where you accepted Jesus as your Saviour then you weren’t really saved.
I would call this the sin of presumption myself and the underlying fault could be sloth. Why else would anyone think nothing is required beyond a few words of “confession” that once saved always saved cause Jesus did it all for me when He died? This is nonsense and unbiblical thinking. But if you never want to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, then you could just stay “saved” and never have to lift a finger again! Yeah. I think that is what does it. Sloth and a bunch of other sinful tendencies leftover from concupiscence. But many Protestants don’t even believe in that ten-dollar word either.
As for them being in a state of grace, unless they’ve experienced such deep contrition that it has caused God’s mercy to pour out on them in an act of perfect contrition, then the truth is they cannot be in state of grace. When God’s mercy does pour out on them, they tend to leave their Protestant ways and come home to the Catholic Church.
You’re not understanding Protestant theology. Let me try to explain it to you.
My husband and I were Evangelical Protestant for the first 47 years of our lives.
In Evangelical Protestantism (Baptist, etc.), salvation is entirely dependent upon JESUS CHRIST and His finished work on Calvary. We are not saved because of anything we do, but because of everything HE did. Our good works are as filthy rags.
So there is no need to worry about whether our sins are forgiven, because when we are “saved,” God forgives ALL our sins, past, present, and future. The only reason a Christian needs to confess is to realize that forgiveness that has already been bestowed upon us–we don’t need to ask for forgiveness, because Christ has already forgiven us.
So if we “sin,” we have not lost any “grace” or “lost our salvation,” because we are already forgiven. Christians are always in a “state of grace.” Evangelical Protestants have no concept of the idea of a “state of grace” being present, then absent, then present.
However, if a “Christian” practices a lifestyle of sin, and continues to live sinfully, then it’s likely that they aren’t really Christians at all. (Remember, Evangelical Protestants do NOT believe that someone becomes a Christian when they are baptized–they believe that one becomes a Christian by choosing Jesus Christ.)
Our “good works” are merely the results of our growing in Christ and becoming more like Him as we have fellowship with Him. But they have nothing to do with our salvation.
There are several aspects that we need to separate out. Often, non-Protestants confuse them and bunch all of them together.
Evangelical Protestants tend to believe that salvation consists of faith and repentance. By faith, I mean the supernatural trust, assurance, and confidence in Christ Jesus and his work on the Cross. By repentance, I mean a turning away from sin in both word and deed. This is often talked about in terms of a conversion experience or “getting saved.”
Evangelical Protestants also believe in the security of the believer, that we can trust that God will never fail to save those who have faith and truly repent. These people can be secure in Christ.
Where evangelical Protestants disagree is over the issue of the security of the believer. Is the believer’s security Eternal, i.e. “once saved always saved”? Or is the believer’s security Conditional, i.e. there is the possibility that someone could have had a true conversion experience but later “fall away” in an act of rebellion and rejection towards God that includes loss of faith and/or failure to repent?
Protestants who believe in once saved always saved (of which I do not) are basically saying that anyone who has (1) faith and (2) repentance will always persevere to the end. They cannot “fall away” once they’ve received the gift of faith, and once they receive the gift of faith, they must logically follow through to repentance. It does not mean they will be perfect or sinless. However, it does mean that no matter how far they travel away from God, He will always somehow draw them back to Him. You can run, but you can’t hide.
At the same time, OSAS Christians also believe that if someone testifies to a conversion experience or being saved but later does appear to backslide or fall away and never returns to a “state of grace” (as Catholics call it), then that means they never truly had faith and they never truly repented. They were the tares among the wheat that Jesus warned about.
Essentially, the way OSAS sees it, a true Christian will persevere to the end. They have to. They can’t “lose their salvation” because its not their’s to lose. It’s a free gift, and once its accepted, you belong to God. God will not orphan His children. He will always draw them back to Him.
No. That is not what OSAS is saying. OSAS Protestants will readily admit that they still sin and struggle with sins. However, the difference between someone truly saved and someone not truly saved, OSAS believers will tell you, is that the truly saved person will repent and will persevere. An inauthentic Christian, however, may be able to play the part for a while but they won’'t last. They won’t persevere.
In short, when it comes to OSAS, it is not that they think they never sin after being saved. It is that they believe they will always repent of their sin and come back to a state of grace.
The trouble I have with OSAS is that it can easily devolve into a concept called “cheap grace.” This is the idea that all I need to do is say a “sinner’s prayer” and then I’m magically assured a ticket to heaven no matter what I do or don’t do.
This is why I believe that the believer’s security and perseverance is conditional on our cooperation with God. No one should say, “I’m saved once and for all.” We all need to be humble enough to acknowledge the possibility that we could fall, and thus rely daily on Christ’s grace and mercy.
The doctrine of “Once Saved, Always Saved” is a heretical Calvinist thought which relies
on the sin of presumption of Salvation. I don’t know if all Protestants are like that, but in-
deed there are some out there who believe that once you’ve been saved, there’s no way
you could undo your salvation.
Our place before God is in a state of flux, though God knows all things. We can believe
and be in a good state of Grace before God, but then many of us could fall away, thus
be unsaved. It is for those who believe, keep believing, endure to the end, who are the
saved people. One can believe, sin, disbelieve, then at the end of his life believe again,
even in that last moment, and he is justified.
God knows all things, but that doesn’t mean we are fated, as that removes the concept
of Free Will. We CHOOSE, then based on our choices are either saved or not saved.
We fall and rise and fall and rise again, there is no certainty to our salvation, that’s
to presumptuous. All we can do is have Faith.
One thought though: For those who are filled with the Holy Spirit, there’s almost no way
that we could resist God’s love and presence. I, for example, was born/confirmed as a
Catholic, became a Pagan pessimistic towards Christianity, the Abraham Religions,
even towards God himself, favoring the Great Mother Goddess instead, but in only
3-4 years, the Holy Spirit didn’t just draw me back, He YANKED me back into the
Faith, and I was saved again. So in a way, “Once Saved, Always Saved” is kinda
true, but not in the way Calvinists today would present it as.
There is are two different types of OSAS as you can see in Itwin’s and Marquette’s posts. The first is more common in Baptist circles which is that once you “get saved,” you are always saved no matter what you do. A common expression I have heard is that if you sin gravely and obstinately after getting saved, you might “lose fellowship” with God, but you’re still saved. I have never gotten a chance to inquire how one can have salvation apart from fellowship with God, but this is one example I found from a quick goodle search: “A Christian who backslides is like a child who disobeys his parents. It does not affect his sonship but it affects his fellowship, his joy, and the approval of the Father.” jesus-is-savior.com/Books,%20Tracts%20&%20Preaching/Printed%20Books/Dr%20John%20Rice/Backslider/bs_01.htm
The other view is more common among self-indentified “Calvinists” or “Reformed.” This view is that either that salvation is conditional upon good works or, more commonly, that salvation will necessarily produce the fruit of salvation (so that whoever fails to produce the visible fruit was never truly saved), but that God will infallibly guide all true Christians to perform good works and to return to good works if they have fallen away. This is not usually called “OSAS” since Calvinists view it as a pejorative description of the first view. Rather, it is usually called “perseverance of the saints.” You might also see this position today called “Lordship salvation.”
Brings to mind the parable of the prodigal son. Of course, some people pass over the verse, “It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.” (Luke 11:32)
Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSVCE)
32 The men of Nin′eveh will arise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.
This view is quite popular in prison ministries, for obvious reasons. I suppose people who have committed crimes would prefer that message. Does it give people false hope? Does it cause them to try harder because they feel like they are saved? Or does it tempt them to repeat their crimes knowing they are saved and will be forgiven automatically?