If justification is unmerited, how can it be lost?

I recently got into a debate with a protestant friend about the church’s teachings on faith, works, and justification/salvation. I told him that the church teaches that justification is the unmerited gift of grace, and that all good works are a result of that grace. He responded by saying that if justification is unmerited, it can never be lost. How should I respond?


If someone gives you a gift, whether you deserve it or not will not necessarily affect your freedom to reject it. This is the way it is with gifts.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.