Eternal Security


#1

Hi! New here! Over in the “water cooler” thread I gave a brief testimony about myself. Basically to make a long story short, I’m protestant but always been interested in catholicism. The one area that I’m concerned about is eternal security. I know for a fact if I died tonight I would go to heaven because of my belief in Jesus Christ. I have no doubts about my salvation.

Is there anybody here that feels confident about their eternal security? What is the catholic belief about eternal security?

Thanks!


#2

fellow protestant here, eternal life will be recieved in past, present and future, simply check strong’s concordance on “eternal life”

How do you understand Hebrews 6:4-6?


#3

Not that I intend to get involved in another eternal security debate. Just one comment.

Belief in eternal security (no matter what you do in the future – even renounce Christ – you are assured eternal life because of your faith in Christ today) is not equivalent to belief in present assurance (if you died tonight you know you would have eternal life because of faith in Christ). One can logically adhere to the latter but not adhere to the former (as I do my self).

Now back to your debate.


#4

What I was taught in RCIA: I have been saved, I am being saved, I hope to be saved.

I was evangelical Protestant for over 40 years. I saw many faithful Christians fall away from the faith. Our pastors declared that these people had never been saved to begin with or they wouldn’t have fallen away.

This made no sense to me, and frightened me very much. How could I trust that ANYONE was a Christian? How could I know that I would never fall away like them?

There are other Protestant denoms that believe a person can “fall away” from the faith. So Catholicism isn’t the only church to teach this doctrine.

Basically, Catholics believe in free will. You choose to follow Jesus, but you can choose to leave Him. His grace doesn’t pre-empt our free will as humans.

So this is why we say, “We hope to be saved.” We trust that the Lord will keep us in His grace, and that we will never turn away from Him. But we won’t KNOW that until we die.


#5

Yes I am confident!! :thumbsup:


#6

I am not Catholic, simply a Christian, but I do agree in certain areas about the nature of our eternal security.

One who with all his strength and heart and soul endeavors to please his God and his Messiah is one whose heart is in a position much different from he who loses faith, stops caring, stops trying, and in the end only winds up once more entangled in sin (2 Peter 2:20-21). Deliberate disobedience (not just in a single, sinful act, but in a lifestyle choice) would indicate at least to me a heart that has never known or that has rejected the Spirit.

When listing those who will not inherit the Kingdom, is it not said,

“Cowards, unbelievers, the corrupt, murderers, the immoral, those who practice witchcraft, idol worshipers, and all liars—their fate is in the fiery lake of burning sulfur.”

And perhaps all of us at one point fit in there somewhere! Yet as Paul points out in 1 Cor. 6 (referring specifically to sexual sin), by calling of the name of Yeshua, we were saved, cleansed, and so now we can live new lives. We no longer have to be fearful, incredulous, corrupted, haters or killers, full of immorality, socerers, idolaters, or deceivers–we are free from such things.

Those who live these lifestyles, either before or after receiving the Good News and the very Spirit of God, damn themselves. This at least seems to me to be the case.


#7

Every day brings new challenges and temptations. The longer you live, the closer you will come to the biggest challenge or temptation of your life. Up until this moment you may have been strong enough to resist all sinful temptations. That is wonderful. But, keep praying every day that you will have the grace to continue in your holy life. The Catholic teaching is not to become too complacent or arrogant about your salvation. There is actually a sin called “Presumption”. In a way it is a sin of Pride because the sinner has the “holier than Thou” feeling that there is no temptation that he/she can not overcome. St Peter told Christ that he would never deny him and what happened to Peter as soon as he believed there were no temptations too great for him? Yes, he not only denied Christ once, but three times. Thank the Lord, Peter realized his sin and immediately asked for forgiveness. I realize that I am no where as holy as St Peter who was in Christ’s constant presence for three years. I pray every day that I will be strong enough to resist temptation because only God knows what terrific temptation is lying ahead.


#8

Thanks for the replies. All I know is that the assurance of salvation has been part of my belief for over 20 years now. I can call the Lord “Abba Father” knowing I am his child redeemed. If I’m ever disobedient I’m still his child. He will rebuke and correct me, but I will always be his child. I know I will go to heaven if I died today or if I die 50 years from today because will I not still be his child even if I’m a “rebellious” child?


#9

First of all, confidence that you will go to heaven if you die *now *does not imply eternal security. Assurance of present salvation is a different issue.

Catholicism (and indeed all forms of Christianity not deriving from Calvinism) categorically denies eternal security. It teaches that we can have a “moral certainty” but not an absolute certainty of our present state. We can’t have absolute certainty because of the human capacity for self-delusion.

As an evangelical, Wesleyan Anglican with strong Catholic leanings, I am more sympathetic to the idea of assurance of one’s present condition, in the sense that one can have a personal knowledge of and trust in Christ producing an intuitive confidence. In the end, though, I have to agree that there is no way one can describe this confidence such that a person who was not really in a living relationship with Christ could not delude themselves into thinking that they were.

On the whole, I think that the issue of assurance is a trap for evangelical Protestants. It may be a source of genuine and healthy comfort for some–I can’t deny your testimony or that of others who find it so, and certainly some of these people (obviously I don’t know you) are leading holy lives and are not deluded. However, in many people’s experience (including mine) an emphasis on assurance leads to nothing but self-torment. Assurance is supposed to point us away from ourselves toward Christ. If it does that, it is doing a good job. But if it becomes a confidence in our own faith, then it’s deeply problematic.

IN Christ,

Edwin


#10

And our God is also the originator of “tough love” and if we give back His wonderful gift by “falling away” or turning our back on him, he will in the end be not only our Father but our judge. If we are judged unworthy to spend eternity with Him in heaven, we will spend it in hell without Him from our own fault. Not from His. It is our will that will send us to eternal separation from God and Hell. And it will happen with God still loving us and there will be tears in His eyes.
I may be wrong but I’m not willing to bet my eternal happiness on it.


#11

Yours is probably the sin of Presumption, which is unforgivable, because the presumptuous will refuse forgiveness, believing that he possesses it without repentance. If you have never committed a mortal sin since baptism, I canonize you! :eek: This is theoretically possible, although near-impossible. Therefore it is almost certain you are commiting presuption, according to the Catholic view.

May God guide your heart. Whether you convert or not, I will always pray for you. :wink:


#12

I have confidence in my salvation. But consider the following.

From Catholic Answers Library Assurance of Salvation?
Places where Scripture speaks of our ability to know that we are abiding in grace are important and must be taken seriously. But they do not promise that we will be protected from self-deception on this matter. Even the author of Can Anyone Really Know for Sure? admits that there is a false assurance: “The New Testament teaches us that genuine assurance is possible and desirable, but it also warns us that we can be deceived through a false assurance. Jesus declared: ‘Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord” shall enter the kingdom of heaven’ (Matt. 7:21).”

So while we certainly can and should be confident of our salvation, to fail to acknowledge any possibilty of failure, would be denying that the above scripture is true. This is why Catholics reject the belief that one can KNOW without a shadow of a doubt that 50 years from now, they will be saved. To do so, fails to acknowledge the possibility of self deceit and presumes upon God’s mercy. It shows a pridefulness of spirit instead of humbleness.

This is Catholic mindset and view on this. Note, I am not saying that you are being prideful or presuming upon God’s mercy. I am saying these are the reasons that Catholics do not believe that we can know that we will end up in heaven.

While we agree that once you are a child of God, you will always be His child, we just believe that some of the children will be in hell and not heaven. The Prodigal Son shows that no matter what we do, we will always be welcomed back and we will always be family. But it does not mean that we necessarily will choose to come back to Our Father’s House. Some choose to stay and die in the gutter and never enter into the banquet waiting for them.

God Bless,
Maria


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