Salvation = forgiveness of sins past, present & future?

I engaged in a debate with a Baptist co-worker who is steeped in OSAS - claiming that when we accept Christ, all of our sins, past, present and future are forgiven - therefore if someone sin but does not repent, they are still saved - or they were never saved to begin with. This makes no sense to me. In my feeble attempts to explain that while we believe that salvation is a gift freely given, we reject it by sin, so therefore we separate ourselves from the gift. At which time she accused Catholic of believing that our works (i.e. not sinning) are what gets us to heaven. To which I responded - we are not capable of it (not sinning) without Christ - the gift freely given. I told her OSAS was man-made and came from Calvin, and that the early Christians most certainly did believe they could lose their salvation. She also attacked the Pope (for "no salvation outside the church’) and Mary worship. I’m not very good at apologetics and I have to work with this woman. In the end, we agreed that we have differences, but both believe that is Jesus Christ who saves us. I am praying for her.

It sounds like you are handling this very well! Since you have to work together, you don’t want to foster animosity - and of course, you will have an almost daily opportunity to be a witness, simply by living your faith.

OSAS is a very comforting belief. It allows mothers to cling to the time their 5 year old asked Jesus to be his savior, and believe that no matter that the boy is now an atheist and a flagrant sinner, his eternal soul is safe. It also, ironically, can leave people worried that they are not really saved because they still struggle with the inclination to sin.

You might want to read a couple of good books in case she opens the discussion again - as she may well if she sees the reality of your faith. I recommend Alan Schreck’s Catholic and Christian, Mark Shea’s By What Authority, and of course Karl Keating’s Catholicism and Fundamentalism. Dr. Schreck’s book especially will help you to understand where your co-worker is coming from.

Well, you could always turn to scripture to disprove OSAS. For example, St. Paul certainly did not believe he was assured of salvation,and he had definitely given a profession of faith. For example, in Ph 3:11-12 he says, "if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead. It is not that I have already taken hold of it or have already attained perfect maturity, 9 but I continue my pursuit in hope that I may possess it, since I have indeed been taken possession of by Christ (Jesus). " Not to mention the 20 or so times he writes about the “hope” of salvation. Then there is Peter who talks about “growing up to salvation”— how is that possible if salvation is a done deal after you first profess faith. Then again, there is the Lord Himself telling the various seven churches that they have to endure to the end or else He will “remove the lampstand” (Rev 2:5), or if they are lukewarm, He will will spit them out of His mouth (Rev 3:16) or that they should hold fast to what they have or someone may take their crown (Rev 3:11). These are all folks who had accepted Christ.

Be firm on what Catholics believe about salvation-- because it is 100% scriptural and that is what will be most convincing to a baptist. Catholics believe we are saved by GRACE. Not our works. We do works to grow in holiness, we do things, because faith MUST be active or else it is dead (Js 2:26). Tell her to look at the beatitudes— they aren’t just about sitting around believing in God— they are about doing the will of God. We must be merciful, we must be poor in spirit, we must be peacemakers. Jesus said, My food is to do the will of my Father. That should be our food too. Being obedient does NOT remove the importance of faith, by the way. Of course, we must be faithful and scripture says that nothing is “good” to the Father unless it is done in faith. So our obedience is simply our faith working in love.

Regarding, Mary worship, tell her to find official documentation in Catholic teaching (not some anti-Catholic literature) that tells Catholics to worship Mary. She won’t find it, because that is a lie of Satan. A lie she has fallen for. Catholics are more Christlike in this respect, because they love and honor His mother as their own mother. We are told to imitate Christ, and we do. Loving and honoring are not the same as worship.

Remind her that the “no salvation outside the Church” must only be considered in light of Who the Head of the Church is. She thinks it is the Pope, but the Church has always recognized Christ Himself as the Head of the Church.

You’re right, it doesn’t make sense. Is your friend one of the people who “thinks” she is secure but turn out to never be saved to begin with or not?

Acts 8 has the story of Simon the “sorcerer”—the text actually says this Simon fellow “believed.” Then later he is told he must repent of a sin subsequently committed. So as a sola scripturist, does your friend take this Scripture as it reads?

The teaching that all future sins are (pre)forgiven is flatly unbiblical (e.g. Mat 6:12-15; 1 Jn 1:9; 2 Pt 1:9). Their teaching, while unbiblical, is logical in that it “logically” flows from their errors in Sola Fide (faith alone) and this comes from their erroneous view of the Cross (in which they believe the Father damned Jesus to hellfire, taking the equivalent punishment the believer deserved for all their sins, thus the sins were already pre-punished in Christ and there is no need to repent of them for they are pre-forgiven all at once). I should note that Luther and Lutherans explicitly repudiate OSAS (and call it a doctrine of devils).

Two great texts (among many) that teach salvation can be lost are Mat 18:23-35 and Romans 11:19-22 (in which Paul says some have been broken off, past tense, indicating they lost salvation).

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