Has Eternal Life?


#1

I’m wondering what your thoughts are on the meaning of these words of our Lord and Savior:

“I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.”

(John 5:24)

and also these words:

“If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.”

(John 14:15-17)

I’m curious as to the Roman Catholic understanding of them. It’s an important question to me personally.


#2

Socrates4Jesus,

Can you be more specific about your question? Are you asking if Catholics believe in the doctrine of “once saved, always saved”?


#3

What exactly His Word also tells us?
As a Catholic, I believe in not only His Word, but also His Presence in the Eucharist - both nourish my soul and gives me eternal life.

John 6:51
I am the living bread which came down from heaven.

John 6:52
If any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever; and the bread that I will give, is my flesh, for the life of the world.

John 6:56
For my flesh is meat indeed: and my blood is drink indeed.

Socrates4Jesus,
If you need to know further what Dr. Scott Hahn, as a convert, said about the Eucharist, you can read a brief article here:
ewtn.com/faith/Teachings/euchc2.htm

The CD is longer. A friend of mine gave it to me this weekend and I am listening to it. You might find it very helpful how Catholics believe in the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.

Basically, I am only focusing on Eucharist on this post, but there are many things that you need to believe in.


#4

If you try to base your understanding of Christian salvation upon a single, few, or select group of scriptures you will come away with an errant view.

All passages relative to a topic as well as the historically verifiable teachings of the Church have to be considered in order to gain a correct understanding.

Reading the entire New Testament would begin to put these passages into a better context for your understanding.


#5

I can tell you a few doctrines these verses bring to mind, and I can tell you the sorts of meanings that come to me in prayer with them. Please understand, though, that I am not able to give you some type of official meaning for them. Somehow it sounded like that is what you are seeking. Most verses of scripture do not have a defined meaning by the Church.

Overall, these verses bring to mind how we share in divine life while still here on earth. The Holy Spirit comes to dwell in us. When this is the case, we have life, and I’m talking about life like life in heaven, but we will see more clearly then. Also, if you have one of the three, you have all three. However, there is an order. The Father sent the Son (that first verse of yours is from a section that talks about how the Father and Son are related and what the Son can do), and the Son prays and then the Spirit is sent. I digress. If you are in Christ, then you have life. If you aren’t, well, you don’t have life. If that state of affairs continues until you die, you will go to hell.

Just as does the Father, so also does Christ have authority and power, especially concerning life. See how the verses bring to mind how Christ is the way to the Father?

A few other thoughts…Are you obeying? Always worth thinking about. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you think about it. Is your life conformed to Christ? This sort of stuff.

Also, do not take my post as support for OSAS. I’m being a bit garbled, because it is rather late. Goodnight!


#6

Thanks for replying, all.

“I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.”

(John 5:24)

I suppose that, in regard to the first passage, i’m trying to understand at what point in time one receives eternal life. Is it something that begins the day a person 1st commits himself to living for Christ, or is it something that begins the day the person breaths his last breath in this life, or is it something that begins the day Christ returns and raises all genuine believers from the dead?

My understanding of the point in time a person receives eternal life can be shown by a time line:

… E ------------------------>
S — B — D — H — R

Here, the timeline shows eternal life beginning in time at the moment a person becomes a Christian, where:

S = sinful life apart from God (a non-Christian)

B = rebirth, or a change in a person’s life at the time he repents and puts his trust in Christ’s death and resurrection

D = physical death

H = existence of the person’s soul in heaven

R = the day of resurrection when the person’s soul is reunited with his body, which Christ resurrects for him

E = God’s free gift of eternal life

=================================

For the person who never becomes a Christian, i was understanding the sequence of events to be this:

S — D — L — J ------------>

Where,

S = a continuous life of sin

D = physical death

L = existence of the soul in hell

J = reunification of the soul with the body followed by judgement for sins and eternal existence in hell in bodily form

=================================

Of course, Roman Catholicism adds Purgatory into the mix (which i will represent with the letter P). But what i’m asking is if this is an accurate assessment of when the gift of eternal life is received by those to whom God gives it?

… E ------------------------->
S — B — D — P — H — R

That is, do you believe eternal life is received on the day of your death and not while you are still living in mortal bodily form?

or do you actually believe this?

… E -------------------------------->
S — B — D — P — H — R

That is, do you believe eternal life can be a present possession while still in our current form of existence? It might seem an insignificant question, but the truth might have significant implications for me.


#7

Eternal life – that is, as opposed to eternal death (as contradictory as it sounds) – is given to those who endure to the end (cf. Matt 10:22). Eternal life is a direct result of perseverance in a temporal life being lived in Christ. Contrast that with the temporal life lived in Christ until the times get tough (Matt 13:18-23):

“Hear then the parable of the sower. When any one hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in his heart; this is what was sown along the path.
As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away.
As for what was sown among thorns, this is he who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the delight in riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.
As for what was sown on good soil, this is he who hears the word and understands it; he indeed bears fruit, and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”

Not all who hear the Word understand it. Not all who understand it believe it. Not all who believe it let it take hold in them. It is not for us to say “so-and-so has eternal life”. Even Paul wasn’t sure of his own salvation: Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Well, I do not run aimlessly, I do not box as one beating the air; but I pommel my body and subdue it, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. (1 Cor 9:25-27) Paul admits he constantly fights against his body (that is, his fleshly impulses).

The letter to the Hebrews stresses that we must pay the closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it (Heb 2:1).

Peter’s second letter refers to the possibility of being led astray by false teachers who contort Scripture: And count the forbearance of our Lord as salvation. So also our beloved brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, speaking of this as he does in all his letters. There are some things in them hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures. You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, beware lest you be carried away with the error of lawless men and lose your own stability. (2 Pet 3:15-17) If we are to beware lest we lose our stability, surely that stability must be related to our salvation.

The love of God is unconditional; we can only love because He first loved us. However, salvation is conditional. Jesus, Paul, and Peter make that abundantly clear.


#8

I’m wondering what your thoughts are on the meaning of these words of our Lord and Savior:

“I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.”

(John 5:24)

Quick answer…even the Devil believes in God. Look what happened to him


#9

I think eternal life does start here on Earth, possibly before conception, as it is said:

‘Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you’ or something to that effect…

As we are in this place of transition, we can option choose to accept God and his words and live life with the examples Jesus set for us. Jesus clearly states in the Gospels what one must do to inherit the ‘good’ eternal life. No rocket scientist needed to understand these instructions. He also states what leads to Gehenna, which the Church has defined as the eternal separation from God. This all made possible by Jesus’ sacrifice which opened ‘the gates of’ Heaven for the first time since the fall of man.

Based on that, we have a share in life eternal. Which option you choose is a personal decision.


#10

S4J,

I am by no means the official voice of the Catholic Church. Salvation can be a theologically complex topic and I don’t claim to have it completely nailed down. However, in Romans 8:1-2, it says:
1 Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.
From the way I understand it, this means that while we are in Christ Jesus, we have assured our salvation. The caveat is that we have to be “in Christ Jesus”. There is a lot that goes along with that. That does not mean that we have salvation yet. That does not mean that we cannot lose that assurance of salvation if we are no longer in Christ Jesus at some point later in our lives. So, I would not say that eternal life begins at your “B” point. Why? Because eternal life would not be eternal if you subsequently lost your salvation by falling away from Christ.
How can you fall away from Christ and lose your assurance of salvation? I’ll give you one example of the many from Scripture: Matthew 18:23-35.
23 "For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves.
24 "When he had begun to settle them, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him.
25 "But since he did not have the means to repay, his lord commanded him to be sold, along with his wife and children and all that he had, and repayment to be made.
26 "So the slave fell to the ground and prostrated himself before him, saying, 'Have patience with me and I will repay you everything.'
27 "And the lord of that slave felt compassion and released him and forgave him the debt.
28 "But that slave went out and found one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and he seized him and began to choke him, saying, 'Pay back what you owe.'
29 "So his fellow slave fell to the ground and began to plead with him, saying, 'Have patience with me and I will repay you.'
30 But he was unwilling and went and threw him in prison until he should pay back what was owed.
31 "So when his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were deeply grieved and came and reported to their lord all that had happened.
32 "Then summoning him, his lord said to him, 'You wicked slave, I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me.
33 'Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow slave, in the same way that I had mercy on you?'
34 "And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him.
35 "My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart."
In this example, the king freely forgives his slave a large debt. However, when he learns that the slave later fails to forgive another slave of a small debt, the king throws the slave in prison (hell). It’s quite obvious in this story that, among other things, it is possible to lose our salvation by failing to forgive those who sin against us.


#11

Be aware of interwoven concepts. I’ll go backwards. There is the consummation, the summing up of all things in Christ with the new Jerusalem, new heavens and new earth, the end. This is after the resurrection of the body. Also, there is eternal happiness, the beatitude that is our end, the beatific vision, full participation in communion with the Trinity. This is in heaven. There is also that after a person in Christ dies, they enter eternal life, even though they may go to Purgatory. While in Purgatory, they do not yet have the beatific vision and eternal happiness. While still on earth, we have a foretaste of eternal life, a pledge of future glory, the Eucharist. All the sacraments communicate or give divine life. While on earth we have a real sharing in the divine life of the Trinity (notice how that is part of what happens in eternal happiness). This begins when we are born again or born from above, which will typically coincide with baptism, because that is when we receive the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will dwell in us while we are on earth. If we die without this, without life, without sanctifying grace, without being in Christ, we go to hell.

Note, however, that for a Catholic, it is possible to be born again, but fall away after that. During the time we are fallen away, we do not have the Holy Spirit, we do not have sanctifying grace, we are not really alive, we are sort of like disconnected from Christ, who is the life. By grace we must return to God (usually this will involve confession). Then we are again in Christ, with love/charity within us.

I don’t really know which type of life, which concept you are meaning for what your “E” is on the chart. I don’t think you can possibly mean the beatific vision stage, because most Protestants don’t think that begins when you are born again, and I’m guessing you are from a tradition like a Protestant of some type. Right now, a Christian has life, the new life in Christ, and that life isn’t natural, regular life. It is divine or supernatural or something. They are alive in Christ. They aren’t currently dead. So, for me, I see myself as currently alive, and the life I have is a gift of life that stems from Christ, like being a branch connected to a trunk. In heaven my life in communion with God will be more perfect, but Christ is already alive now (He is Risen, Alleluia!), and I am in him, so that life for me is sort of like that life in heaven. It is life in Christ.

I hope that helps a little. I think it depends on what you mean by “eternal life” before I can answer which of these stages is “it” as you would understand it. To me in prayer life what matters is communion with God, and I have small some of that now. So that is how I tend to talk about life.
*
Now this is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ.*


#12

[INDENT]“I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.”(John 5:24)[/INDENT]FP:

Thank you for trying to answer my question. I think your idea that eternal life begins in this life makes sense. It is a belief i held and of which i was certain until this week.

The belief actually appears to mitigate against the Catholic position that one can lose salvation (which is the belief that some Protestants also hold). If you are living the eternal life God gave you right now, and you by this time next year reject that free gift and return to a life of unforgiven sin terminated by physical death, then it is logical to say that the life you had was not eternal, because it ended the day you gave it up. That is, a person who loses his salvation never had eternal life in the first place.

I think that the only way your belief can be true and Jesus’ words can be true at the same time is this: If the word Jesus used for believes actually means to continually believe. The word he used in Aramaic was translated as the Greek word* Pisteuo.* I do not know what the Latin translation of the word is. Does anyone know if the meaning of this word in context means to continually believe?


#13

Low:

Are you saying the true believer does not receive the gift of eternal life until after death?

I think this idea is problematic because Jesus says, “Whoever hears my words and believes him who sent me has eternal life…” He does not say, “might have” or “will have” but he uses the word has, which is the present tense of the word. That is, Jesus is saying his true followers own this eternal life in this life, not merely in the one hereafter.

I’m assuming, therefore, that you believe that we do possess eternal life here and now in a similar way that a person possesses money that is not in his possession but in the bank in his name. Therefore, i’m assuming you believe you possess eternal life now, but will not begin living eternal life until you reach Purgatory or perhaps heaven.


#14

Pug:

And that leads us to the second passage of which i’m inquiring:

“If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.”

*-- Jesus Christ (John 14:15-17)*Lets say you have the Holy Spirit (who is the Counselor or Spirit of truth of whom Jesus speaks). That is, lets say the Holy Spirit is living with you and is in you right now. Lets also say you, by this time next year, reject Jesus Christ and lose your salvation (God forbid this ever happens, but i’m using this as a hypothetical situation).

The question to consider, in this case, is this: If you lose your salvation, will the Holy Spirit be with you and in you, even in hell? I do not see how this can be true, at least not without contradicting the Bible.

The next question i’d like to ask (and it is a question for which i’m not sure i have an answer) is how can a person lose his salvation without contradicting Jesus’ words to us in John 14:15-17?


#15

No my friend…first of all, the quote you listed above by itself literally means just hear (listen) and believe. But the content of what Jesus says throughout the Gospels doesn’t instruct one to just listen, but to hear what he’s actually saying and follow his teachings, otherwise one is facing rejection of God and will be eternally separated from Him.

If you reject the ‘free gift’ (I HATE that term, BTW…sounds cheap, like an infomercial.) you still have eternal life, but it is eternal life separated from God, ie, Gehenna, or Hell. So it does not change the position of losing your salvation. Salvation and eternal life are two different things.


#16

S4J,

My brother, this is an interesting question. Let me reply by asking you a couple of questions.

  1. Do you think it is permissible in our Lord’s view to exegete God’s Word by attempting to interpret individual Bible verses in isolation without harmonizing them with the the entirety of His Word? I think that 2 Peter 3:16-17 is instructive in providing guidance on this issue:

16 as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.
17 You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness,

  1. Do you think it is possible to lose your salvation after you have attained it? Let’s look again at the parable in Matthew 18:23-35.

23 "For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves.
24 "When he had begun to settle them, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him.
25 "But since he did not have the means to repay, his lord commanded him to be sold, along with his wife and children and all that he had, and repayment to be made.

What’s going on in this story? A servant who owes a debt he cannot repay? That sounds a lot like us with God.

27 "And the lord of that slave felt compassion and released him and forgave him the debt.

A king who forgives the debt after the servant falls to his knee and begs for patience? Doesn’t that sound a little like a sinner’s prayer? The slave’s debt is forgiven. It is gone. It does not exist anymore. Jesus does not say, “might be forgiven if” or “will be forgiven” but the slave’s debt is forgiven now, in the present tense. The slave believes he has been discharged from the debt forever. Sounds a lot like many of our Christian brethren who believe in “once saved, always saved”. What happens next?

28 "But that slave went out and found one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and he seized him and began to choke him, saying, 'Pay back what you owe.'
29 "So his fellow slave fell to the ground and began to plead with him, saying, 'Have patience with me and I will repay you.'
30 But he was unwilling and went and threw him in prison until he should pay back what was owed.

The slave does not forgive his fellow slave who owed him a debt. Is the first servant still forgiven? Nope.

33 'Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow slave, in the same way that I had mercy on you?'
34 "And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him.

He now has to pay the full amount. His debt is reinstituted because of a sin he committed after the debt had been discharged; after he had been saved from his debt.
So, how does this parable relate to us in the here and now?

35 “My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart.”

Remember, that this is Jesus himself giving us this parable. He knew that once your sins have been forgiven, you don’t automatically love the Lord so much that you automatically go out and do what is right. He knew that you can stray from the path and lose your salvation. The slave sinned after he had been saved from his debt and there was a big price to pay for it.
Let’s look at Matthew 6:14-15:

14 "For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
15 "But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.

Where is the distinction made between the “saved” and the “unsaved”. Where does it say that if you are already saved that the Father will look the other way if you do not forgive others? We have to forgive or we will not be forgiven. Period. There is no distincton.

CONTINUED----->>


#17

Let’s take a look at Romans 11:17-24. In this passage, Paul is talking about the incorporation of the Gentiles into God’s covenant love as a wild olive shoot being grafted into a cultivated olive tree. Verse 22 says:

22 Behold then the kindness and severity of God; to those who fell, severity, but to you, God’s kindness, if you continue in His kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off.

Notice the “if”; “if you continue in His kindness”. What was Paul thinking? Surely Paul knows that Jesus said “Whoever hears my words and believes him who sent me has eternal life”. Like you said, that eternal life was granted in the present tense; there was no “if”; it was contingent on nothing else occurring in the future. Maybe Paul was a heretic? Or maybe “once saved, always saved” is heretical? Maybe under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Paul understood the whole picture and was not tripping over little snippets and sound bites.
Let’s look at Galatians 5:1:

1 It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.

Who is this letter addressed to? In Galatians 1:2, it says it is addressed to the “churches of Galatia". What is a church? According to a Protestant website, a church is an “assembly of baptized believers” (link). In other words, Paul’s letter was addressed to believers; those who are already saved according to Protestant theology. If they are already saved, how can they be “subject again to a yoke of slavery”. Why would Paul warn of such a thing if their salvation was assured?
S4J, I could go on and on. I will if you need me to. The Bible is full of such examples. Catholic Tradition and Church history all support this truth. Thanks to the Bible Christian Society for many of the ideas in this posting.


#18

You left out something VERY important in your citation. Allow me to include it for you:
– Jesus Christ to his Apostles (John 14:15-17)
Jesus is talking specifically to the Apostles at the Last Supper. He’s not staring off into space, dreamy-eyed, he’s talking to the first 12 members of his Church. He’s speaking to the Church. Throughout this chapter, certain Apostles ask questions, and Jesus answers them. Philip asks Jesus to show them the Father, and Jesus responds (John 14:9-21):

"Have I been with you so long, and yet you do not know me, Philip? He who has seen me has seen the Father; how can you say, `Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father in me; or else believe me for the sake of the works themselves.

"Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I go to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it, that the Father may be glorified in the Son; if you ask anything in my name, I will do it.

"If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he will give you another Counselor, to be with you for ever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him; you know him, for he dwells with you, and will be in you.

“I will not leave you desolate; I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world will see me no more, but you will see me; because I live, you will live also. In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. He who has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me; and he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”

The Spirit is in the Church; it will be in the Church for ever (cf. John 14:16). The world cannot accept the Spirit, because it does not know him. The Church knows and accepts the Spirit, but a single member of the Church who returns to the worldly way of life will not be with the Spirit.

If we assume that Jesus is speaking to every future Christian individually, you will run into the problem of the Spirit being with a person who stops loving Jesus. Let’s look at a timeline:
[LIST=1]
*] I love Jesus, therefore I keep his commandments. (cf. John 14:15)
*] Jesus prays to the Father and the Father sends the Counselor to be with me forever. (cf. John 14:16)
*] I stop loving Jesus and disobey his commandments.
*] The Spirit remains with me. (See #2)
[/LIST]
So if I go to Hell, is the Spirit of God, the Counselor, with me in Hell? What purpose is that serving?

So the typical response is to say either a) “you won’t stop loving Jesus” or b) “if you stopped loving him, you never really loved him in the first place, so you never got the Spirit”. That’s what happens when you don’t understand that the Spirit resides in the Church and therefore in all members of the Church.


#19

No. The Holy Spirit is not dwelling in the person in hell. If He were, they would be justified, not condemned.

I do not see how this can be true, at least not without contradicting the Bible.

It is hard to just read one passage and see its meaning. For example, just before your selected verses, it says, “If in my name you ask (me) for anything, I will do it.” Taken by itself, it hardly seems true. “I asked for X and didn’t get it, and I asked in Jesus’ name,” a person could say. The problem is not the bible, but the entirely of understanding.

First, this is a passage you can see the Church talking about in her Catechism fairly directly, but I don’t think it will answer your question, so I’ll give you that reference. Another poster has already touched on this, but it is important to think about how this passage could be true, whom is it talking to, what does it mean. The Holy Spirit is with the Church. We are individually temples of the Holy Spirit, but even more as a whole, the Spirit dwells in the Church like in a temple as well. This latter state of affairs is not subject to “falling away” or something. Even were I to fall away, the Spirit would still be with the Church. I add a Catechism quote to explain this temple thing (if you are unfamiliar, I can provide a bible verse that mentions the temple metaphor):

**797 **“What the soul is to the human body, the Holy Spirit is to the Body of Christ, which is the Church.” “To this Spirit of Christ, as an invisible principle, is to be ascribed the fact that all the parts of the body are joined one with the other and with their exalted head; for the whole Spirit of Christ is in the head, the whole Spirit is in the body, and the whole Spirit is in each of the members.” The Holy Spirit makes the Church “the temple of the living God”:…

The Holy Spirit never leaves the Body of Christ. The gathering or group is not left orphaned. I can leave the body, however. I can cut myself off to the point where I need to be re-formed again.

Another possibly helpful Catechism quote, on account of the orphan verse shortly after your chosen verses (verse 18):

**788 **When his visible presence was taken from them, Jesus did not leave his disciples orphans. He promised to remain with them until the end of time; he sent them his Spirit. As a result communion with Jesus has become, in a way, more intense: “By communicating his Spirit, Christ mystically constitutes as his body those brothers of his who are called together from every nation.”

I will be on silent retreat for most of the weekend (starting tomorrow afternoon). Silent = no computer. Pray for the success of my retreat.


#20

Greetings S4J,

There is no contradiction. It is Christ’s intent that we that the Holy Spirit “be with us forever.” But this is conditional upon our abiding (remaining) in him. You are assuming that in the verse you quote, Christ is describing a chronological process.

  1. Love Christ
  2. Then obey what He commands
  3. Then He will give us the Spirit who will be with us forever.

Given the fact that there are so many other verses that clearly teach that our salvation is conditional upon our continued abiding and remaining (see the entire epistle of 1 John), and given the fact that scripture cannot contradict itself, John 14:15-17 is not a chronological process. Rather, it is concurrent. And it is conditional. Interestingly, it begins with the condition “if.”

Yes, we have the Holy Spirit, who is promised to be with us forever IF we love and obey Him.

Catholics describe grace as being infused into our soul (and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit brings this grace). It is not merely imputation, it is actual grace and actual transformation. We are not merely regarded as holy, but we actually become holy. This fullness of grace is a quality or state of being that we also refer to as eternal life. We can have that quality now.

Does the fact that it is “eternal” negate the possibility of losing it? Is that a contradiction of terms? If someone loses eternal life, was it never “eternal” in the first place? This is a stumbling block that I tripped over when I was a Protestant. This is actually to misunderstand how the word “eternal” is modifying the word “life.” The word “eternal” is not describing the duration of something we can have. It is describing the nature of something that we can have. Whether we have it or not is a matter of whether we remain in Christ.

Peace,
petra


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