Is Assurance of Salvation a Good Thing?


#1

Think carefully and follow the theme to its logical conclusion.

**First Premise: **A man believes he is assured of his salvation is confident that he is bound for Heaven.

**Second premise: **As a normal human being, he has both a conscience and concupiscence.

**Minor premise: **This man has an attachment to to a particular grave sinful activity (i.e. excessive drinking, sexual sins, shirking at work, etc.), but is otherwise a “good” man.

**Minor conclusion: **This man sins and regrets it, yet continues to sin.

**Initial conclusion: **The man comes to believe his guilt about sin is something he should not worry about because his salvation is assured. Thus he begins to suppress his natural guilt when his commits his favorite sin.

**Final conclusion: **The man concludes that sin is not really important, nor is avoiding sin important, because salvation is assured. He gives up thinking in terms of “sin” altogether and is able to justify any behavior because he is assured of Heaven.

Is assurance of salvation healthy? Is it rather presuming on God’s mercy?

Is this logical progression correct? Well, since we are talking in very broad generalities, the answer is “Sometimes.” But does “sometimes” mean often or not often?


#2

I agree with your overall assessment. The fact is most OSAS (once saved always saved, ie Eternal Security) Protestants do NOT have a “lets sin as much as we can” mentality…however they very well could fall into grave sin in the future or even have a “pet” sin that they struggle with.

OSAS is both presumption and un-Biblical and does lead to living a lax life because the fact is if you have nothing to worry about you have nothing to worry about.

If you want to hear something that really drives me nuts is when many OSAS Protestants will say that if a “Christian” falls into temptation and commits a grave sin that scandalizes many (eg a pastor fornicating) they were probably never saved in the first place…however they unknowingly contradict their own OSAS teaching that teaches salvation cannot be lost.


#3

That is in the nature of humanity.

If you want to hear something that really drives me nuts is when many OSAS Protestants will say that if a “Christian” falls into temptation and commits a grave sin that scandalizes many (eg a pastor fornicating) they were probably never saved in the first place…however they unknowingly contradict their own OSAS teaching that teaches salvation cannot be lost.

To say that someone never had salvation is not the same as saying they had it and lost it. Many claim to “know Jesus”, and yet few really do. I believe even in any denomination (including the RCC), there will be relatively few compared to the whole who really “get it” (“broad is the path, and wide is the way which leads to destruction, and many enter by it”). Thus, in many denominations (including the RCC), there are hordes of individuals who claim salvation. Many of these are probably not actually saved, though our human senses may not be able to discern the difference currently.


#4

salvation is not assured, for anybody. There is such a thing as personal responsibility. The Nazarene makes that clear when he said, “of the sheep my Father gives me, none will i loose.”

And the quote that just about all people of conscience seen to know:

“For God so loved the world he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believedd in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of the light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”

Plainly, not everybody is saved.


#5

I’m confused – did anyone ever say that “everybody is saved”?


#6

True, but telling someone their salvation is secured is not only un-Biblical, but it has a clear effect of having people let their guards down and slide into a lax lifestyle. As I said above, if you have nothing to worry about you have nothing to worry about, that is “the nature of humanity” as well.

To say that someone never had salvation is not the same as saying they had it and lost it. Many claim to “know Jesus”, and yet few really do. I believe even in any denomination (including the RCC), there will be relatively few compared to the whole who really “get it” (“broad is the path, and wide is the way which leads to destruction, and many enter by it”). Thus, in many denominations (including the RCC), there are hordes of individuals who claim salvation. Many of these are probably not actually saved, though our human senses may not be able to discern the difference currently.

I disagree with that premise, there is nothing in the Bible or Tradition which suggests most Christians were “never really saved”. What Scripture and Tradition do suggest is that a great number of Christians will fail to persevere (loose salvation) which they did have at one time. Going around trumpeting people were “never saved to begin with” is extremely dangerous and unwarranted.


#7

In my experience when I was on the Evangelical side of Christianity was that OSAS led to frustration in many, whose denominations taught it.

They couldn’t understand how they kept on sinning if they were supposed to be free of all sin.

They had a hard time keeping their prayer life going because there was supposed to be no such thing as “spiritual dryness,” but a continual “love fest” of affection (what we Catholics call “consolations”) between them and God.

And they had no where to turn with their frustrations because their leadership kept telling them it was all their fault if they had such frustrations.

Most weren’t lax in the practice of their faith due to OSAS, but they couldn’t have the answers they needed to their very real questions because OSAS can’t answer them.


#8

I think claiming 100% metaphysical certitude of salvation is "unhealthy. Because it is a false concept, and indeed the sin of presupmtion. :smiley:


#9

I think it’s more of since OSAS teaches that one is saved not just from all sins of the past but also all sins to be committed in the future, the logical converse of that would be that if a grave enough sin is committed in the future, it invalidates the OSAS event in the past thereby rendering it as never have happened. Like a coat of paint on a wall, it’s either completely saved all throughout, or not saved at all and never have been.


#10

And where does scripture actually say salvation can be lost?

What Scripture and Tradition do suggest is that a great number of Christians will fail to persevere (loose salvation) which they did have at one time.

Again, where does scripture say this? If it’s tradition which says that, fine – say that tradition say that. Don’t put words in the mouth of scripture, however.

Again, there’s a difference between invalidating the “OSAS event” (very odd term, by the way) and never having had it to start with. The very point of OSAS is that the former (invalidation of the salvation) is impossible. What is possible is that it was never truly had to begin with. It’s much like a wolf that hides itself in a sheepskin. Though it may appear to be a sheep to all of the other sheep, once it becomes evident that it’s a wolf rather than a sheep, you don’t suddenly assume that it’s sheepness has now been invalidated. No – instead you go back and look and see “that was a wolf the whole time – I just couldn’t tell – I thought it was a sheep, but I was wrong”.


#11

So that means… an OSAS event is assumed valid until a subsequent event proves that the initial supposed OSAS event was invalid from the beginning?


#12

As convoluted as that may sound, it’s essentially right – remember, we’re only human beings, and just as with the sheep, we can’t always see the truth, even if it’s right in front of our eyes. It’s a good thing that, in the grand scheme of things, salvation is up to God, not us. :slight_smile:


#13

So there really is no assurance of salvation at all in that respect. Because how can I as a person say that I’m truly assured of my salvation through OSAS if a subsequent event can prove that my initial OSAS event (which was supposed to have assured me of eternal salvation and felt pure and true at the time) was worthless anyway?

I agree with you, I’m glad it’s all up to God.


#14

I knew a man who believed in OS-AS…

He once thought he was “OS”. But he found he wasn’t “AS” when he went to hell.

Becoming a true OSAS person means God has just told you you’ll be saved.

So now you know you’re going to heaven.

What do you do now? God’s requirements for heaven aren’t lifted for you just because you know you’re going there. You still have free will. Perhaps He expects more of you, but He certainly doesn’t want less. All His laws apply as they always did. And - just as before - you don’t know all that He knows, or all that He wants you to do. Above all you still can sin.

Hope is an assurance of salvation, but not absolute certainty. However great your hope, you have to work out your life in “fear and trembling”. If God told you that you would be going to heaven, you’ld still have to live your life as before.

But If you are WRONG, if it is not GOD who has made you feel certain of your own salvation, what will God think? What terrible arrogance and presumption will you be guilty of? What sins will you carelessly commit?

How likely might it be that your “assurance of salvation” turns out to be nothing but a lie?

Wouldn’t it be far safer to be humble and recognize that God most likely does not want to tell you that you’ll be saved? Such knowledge is most often not a good thing to have. God will save you if you cooperate. Trust in Him.


#15

I see your point, and in connection with the original topic, you’re right. There is no complete assurance of salvation. On the other hand, this interestingly does not invalidate OSAS. It just makes it impossible to determine by us mere mortals.

And when/where did you gain this knowledge? Or was it a hypothetical?


#16

Yes. In which case, OSAS is just a statement that God knows what will happen to each of us. Those who will be saved, will be saved, and those who won’t, won’t.

I know there is a question in Catholic theology as to whether God offers saving grace to those whom he knows will not avail themselves of it. Some say yes, others say no. But really, given God’s omniscience, it doesn’t make any difference.


#17

Okay, let me see if I understand your position here.

Once a person is saved, they are going to heaven.

When a person gets saved, they cannot be certain if their salvation is actual or if they are fooling themselves somehow. As mortals we cannot determine this.

Therefore, once a person is saved not only is there no assurance that they actually are saved, but the person cannot even know. The only sign that a person was not saved is if the person **lived long enough **to have some type of obvious fall.

Is that right?


#18

The only problem is that it is False. Falsehoods are never a good thing.


#19

I try to be fair on that issue, there are some that admit you can sin as much as you want, but I know many good hearted Protestants who never take OSAS to its logical conclusion and would never ever think of sinning as much as they could.


#20

Many places, two that come to mind are Mat 18:25-32 and Gal 5:19-21.

Again, where does scripture say this? If it’s tradition which says that, fine – say that tradition say that. Don’t put words in the mouth of scripture, however.

Scripture says it, as I pointed out above, and nobody in Christian history, including Luther, believe in OSAS until Calvin taught it in the 1500s.

Again, there’s a difference between invalidating the “OSAS event” (very odd term, by the way) and never having had it to start with. The very point of OSAS is that the former (invalidation of the salvation) is impossible. What is possible is that it was never truly had to begin with. It’s much like a wolf that hides itself in a sheepskin. Though it may appear to be a sheep to all of the other sheep, once it becomes evident that it’s a wolf rather than a sheep, you don’t suddenly assume that it’s sheepness has now been invalidated. No – instead you go back and look and see “that was a wolf the whole time – I just couldn’t tell – I thought it was a sheep, but I was wrong”.

You just exposed the great danger I was getting at this whole time. Just imagine how dangerous it is when people speculate on whether someone was really saved in the first place like how you describe above. Imagine two pastors witness a professing Christian sinning, one concludes they were never saved the other concludes they were saved but didnt lose salvation either because the sin wasnt “grave enough” or because sin doesnt hurt your salvaiton.

This also comes back to haunt the individual because if they find themself caught in sin they could think they were “never really saved to begin with”.

Here is the question I love to ask Calvinists and watch the gymnastics begin, I ask, “Is everyone who thinks they are going to Heaven really going to Heaven? Why or why not?”. They cant say “yes” because they know many people wont go, but if they say “no” then they just shot them self in the foot because that means they cant know for sure regarding their own “assurance”.


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