Assurance of Salvation

I want to share something that came up in a recent discussion I had with a good friend who is Baptist. My friend believes that he has absolute assurance of salvation because he has accepted Jesus as his personal Savior. His (mis)understanding of the Catholic position is that we believe that we have to work our way to heaven. I explained to him what the Church actually teaches and that believing that one can earn heaven is actually heresy.

However, an interesting concept came up during the discussion when we were addressing the idea of mortal sin. When one considers that mortal sin, by definition, has to be committed with full knowledge and full consent and when one considers that if we die in a state of grace (free from mortal sin) we believe that we will not go to hell (we didn’t get into purgatory this time), then we have a truer assurance of salvation than our Protestant brothers and sisters. In other words, we can choose not to commit mortal sin, it’s not something we fall into unknowingly. We can also go to reconcilliation if we do fall.

With that backdrop, I contend that the Catholic Church offers a clear and practical, Scripture-based assurance of salvation that is not otherwise available.

Any thoughts? :slight_smile:

Philippians 2:12
[Shining as Stars] 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,

JimO wrote:

My friend believes that he has absolute assurance of salvation because he has accepted Jesus as his personal Savior. His (mis)understanding of the Catholic position is that we believe that we have to work our way to heaven

A good question to pose to your Baptist friend is the case of Charles Templeton, ordained minister, founder of churches, fellow evangelist and backup for Billy Graham, Baptist extraordinare. Templeton lost his faith and caused others to doubt or lose their faith. He wrote books “exposing” Christianity as a false religion and professing his agnosticism. Now dead, was he “assured of salvation” because he once believed? The Baptists will say no, that he wasn’t really saved at all, that he just*** thought*** he was saved all those years when he was a professing Christian. But he was wrong. You can read about this “once saved always saved” guy on the Net – just search under Charles Templeton.

Do you have assurance of salvation, or do you just think you have? Thinking you are saved is no assurance! And since no one knows that they will not “backslide” – which is a sign of not really being saved – they can never be sure they are REALLY saved at all. That’s why Baptists (and others) keep “getting saved” all over again when “altar calls” are issued. Was I sincere enough the last time I “got saved,” or did I only think I was sincere? The doctrine of “Assurance of Salvation” is a quagmire of quicksand.

The Catholic knows that as the Bible says: **I am already saved (Rom. 8:24, Eph. 2:5–8), but I’m also being saved (1 Cor. 1:8, 2 Cor. 2:15, Phil. 2:12), and I have the hope that I will be saved (Rom. 5:9–10, 1 Cor. 3:12–15). Like the apostle Paul I am working out my salvation in fear and trembling (Phil. 2:12), with hopeful confidence in the promises of Christ (Rom. 5:2, 2 Tim. 2:11–13)

Protestantism in all its forms is illogical because it rests on the illogical and unbiblical foundation of Sola Scriptura and Sola Fide.

(former Southern Baptist)


I agree and am interested in how people see this issue, particularly Catholics. Martin Luther fell into scrupulosity because he didn’t see the hope offered by the Church, and many of our fellow Catholics “have no idea where they will end up, but hope it’s heaven” because they too don’t see that Christ made a way through His sacrafice on the cross and gave us the Sacraments of the Church as the visible signs of the invisible realities that light our path to heaven. I want to see more Catholics embrace this hope and have the joy of salvation in their lives. In my parish, so many are hopeless and so few are in the lines for confession. It is truly sad.

Blessings :slight_smile:

Good points all around. You’ve touched on the major problem with Once Saved Always Saved: people thinking as if there is no such thing as self-deception. This does not correspond to reality at all. Our Lord said that not everyone who says “Lord, Lord.” will enter the kingdom. We should heed that.


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