Last week, I met with the pastor of the Reformed church that I had been attending for the past 4 years. During the discussion he brought up St John 6:39 as “proof” for eternal security.
Now this is the will of the Father who sent me: that of all that he hath given me, I should lose nothing; but should raise it up again in the last day.
Matt Slick from CARM has also used this verse in support of eternal security (see here). They claim that if you can lose your salvation, then that means that the Lord Jesus has failed.
What is a good Catholic response to it? I brought up in the discussion the fact that the early Church did not interpret the verse this way (as far as I know, the doctrine of eternal security/perseverance of the saints did not exist until the sixteenth century). How else would you respond to this?
You will get some good answers from others addressing this directly.
For me, since all protestants dont believe this then they should iron this out first among themselves. Once they are on the same page and unified on this issue a dialogue might be prudent. Untill then, what entity is it that you would be trying to convince that speaks for all protestants?
It’s just a verse about a certain group of Jesus’s followers at the time-and He, alone, knew who they were. And He, alone, knows who any present and future such followers might be. In any case we cannot presume, with any kind of absolute certainty, to be among those the Father has given Him, to be among those who will persevere, to be among those whose names are written in the Book of Life, to put it another way.
This is sort of what Ive said in a few other threads, if Jesus comes and dies on the cross for all of our sins, has the holy spirit inspire the bible, etc and yet a majority of people willingly choose the enemy (by choice or making no choice)…something wrong about that imo.
So, their New Testament has only one page with a single verse on it? Last I checked, there were lots of other verses and pages in it. Ask them to read Romans 11, especially verse 22.
From man’s viewpoint, eternal security exists only once our nether regions are inside the gates of heaven. Saint Paul was never 100% certain of his salvation, so this reformed pastor and Slick Matt must be two angelic guys!
The problem with OSAS (once saved always saved) theology is that it must twist Scriptures into their preconception and ignore Scriptures when they cannot be forced into their theological tenets…
…does that passage take into consideration man’s will or is it simply stating God’s Will?
God’s Will is that all be Saved, correct?:
[FONT=“Garamond”][size=]17 For God sent his Son into the world not to condemn the world, but so that through him the world might be saved.
(St. John 3:17)
…wow, it seems that osas is batting 1000%!
What is man’s will?:
19 On these grounds is sentence pronounced: that though the light has come into the world men have shown they prefer darkness to the light because their deeds were evil.
(St. John 3:19)
…wait, didn’t God pronounced that His Will is that all be Saved? How can Scriptures state that men’s will determines whether he seeks the Light or darkness?
It’s called freewill!
Yes, Salvation is a free Gift from God; yes, God Wills that all be Saved… no, all will not seek God; no, all will not seek Salvation.
Here it is right from Christ’s Mouth:
1 ‘I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in me that bears no fruit he cuts away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes to make it bear even more. 3 You are pruned already, by means of the word that I have spoken to you. 4 Make your home in me, as I make mine in you. As a branch cannot bear fruit all by itself, but must remain part of the vine, neither can you unless you remain in me
. (St. John 15:1-4)
21 ‘It is not those who say to me, “Lord, Lord”, who will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the person who does the will of my Father in heaven. 22 When the day comes many will say to me, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, cast out demons in your name, work many miracles in your name?” 23 Then I shall tell them to their faces: I have never known you; away from me, you** evil men**!’ (St. Matthew 7:21-23)
…wait, didn’t prophesying in Jesus name guarantee Salvation? …what about “performing” miracles in His Name? …surely casting out demons in Jesus’ Name must count…
Yes, Salvation is fully Guaranteed by God; yet, man must Abide in Jesus in order to merit Salvation:
15 If you love me you will keep my commandments.
(St. John 14:15)
…it is not about self-assuredness or about discovering some “guaranteed salvation” method/Scriptural formula… it is about Obeying Christ’s Commandment!
Agree. Remember John 6 is what we used to show the transubstantiation doctrine. In particular, section them as such (using NIV for evangelical)
John 6 35: I am the bread of life (first time stating he is the bread of life)
John 6: 51-52: Jesus stated he is the living bread for the second time, and the response
51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”
52: Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”*
John 6: 53-56: Jesus reitrate he is the bread of life, but in particular:
53:* Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. *
John 6:60: On hearing [the eucharist doctrine] many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”
John 6 61-65: Jesus outright call them out for not accepting it
John 6:66 (notice the numbering!):* From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.*
TLDR version: You can’t just quote that section without stating about Eucharist, and if they say that statement alone is true while the rest are symbolism, then call them out for inconsistent interpretation – you cannot go with literal intepretation on one section but immediately say before and after is symbolism, even though Jesus himself stated it 3 times before outright lectured them on questioning it!
I agree with everyone’s sentiments that the context of John 6 must be considered for one to fully understand Jesus’s words. However, I disagree with the conclusions that have been drawn.
In Verse 35, Jesus equates a person coming to him with believing in him. Coming and believing are spiritual actions that result in spiritual sustenance. He also expands the following verses beyond the group he is immediately addressing by saying "whoever" (i.e. any person at any time who comes/believes in him). Jesus then moves to explain his audience's unbelief: "But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe" (John 6:36 ESV). Why does this group not believe in/come to Jesus? Verse 37 gives the reason: Those given by the Father to Jesus necessarily come to him and Jesus never casts them out. Put in a negative way, these people were not given by the Father and therefore were not truly coming to Jesus.
In the next few verses, Jesus explains that he came to do the Father's will which is to lose none of those the Father has given to him, but to instead raise "it" (i.e. the group that has been given to him by the Father) up on the last day. And lest one think that Jesus is only speaking of an indeterminant group of people who choose to come to him, he says in verse 40 that every single person who believes in the Son has eternal life and he will raise **him** up on the last day (i.e. Jesus promises to perfectly save a specific individual who has been given to believe in/come to him by the Father). Jesus perfectly gives eternal salvation to each individual within the group of people the Father has chosen to give to the Son.
You are correct in pointing out that Jesus demands that we Believe in Him (St. John 1:10-13; 3:14-21)… this seams to be much of the Protestant understanding of their Faith base… however, I would counsel you to dig deeper… go to St. John 15:1-10… do you see how it takes a greater understanding of “Believe?”
…so what does “Believe” actually means?
Jesus puts it this way:
[FONT=“Garamond”][size=]15 If you love me, keep my commandments.
(St. John 14:15)
…is Jesus referring to the Law or the Ten Commandments?.. no, it cannot be limited to this since He has already explained that by Obeying the most important (Love Yahweh God Above all else) and the second most important (love your neighbor as yourself) we are observing both the Law and the Prophets!
…so Jesus is talking about much more than observance… He Commands that we Love one another and that we become one with one another in Him, as He is One with the Father… Here in St. John 6 He ups the ante… the Word I speak to you is Spirit and Life… the Father gave the Hebrews manna, in the dessert… but they died… I AM the Bread of Life Who Comes Down from Heaven… if you Eat Me you will have Life in you… and whoever does not Eat My Flesh cannot have part in Me… and unless you chew/gnaw my Body you have no Life in you… for my Body is Real Food and my Blood Real drink…
…so yes, we must Believe in Jesus… but we must also Belive Jesus and partake of His Holy Offering:
58 As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father; so he that eateth me, the same also shall live by me.
**My friend have you ever been exposed to the One Infallible Rule for right understanding of the Bible?
Never Ever; can, may or DOES
One verse, passage or teaching have the power or authority to
Invalidate, make void or override another Verse, passage or teaching:
Were this even the slightest possibility; [it’s NOT!] it would render the entire Bible useless to teach or learn Christ Faith”**
2Peter 1: 19-21
And we have the more firm prophetical word: whereunto you do well to attend, as to a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: 20] Understanding this first, that no prophecy of scripture is made by private interpretation.  For prophecy came not by the will of man at any time: but the holy men of God spoke, inspired by the Holy Ghost.
[Douay bible explanation]
 No prophecy of scripture is made by private interpretation: This shews plainly that the scriptures are not to be expounded by any one’s private judgment or private spirit, because every part of the holy scriptures were written by men inspired by the Holy Ghost, and declared as such by the Church; therefore they are not to be interpreted but by the Spirit of God, which he hath left, and promised to remain with his Church to guide her in all truth to the end of the world. Some may tell us, that many of our divines interpret the scriptures: they may do so, but they do it always with a submission to the judgment of the Church, and not otherwise. End Quotes
“Whenever something is good it does not depend on us getting our way, but on God getting His way, and whether we do God’s Will depends on us [humbly] loving God. Moreover to love God we must [actually] know God, [not just know OF God].” Bread of Life booklet January 9, 2016”[Mt 7:21]
Jas.2:  You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.
Heb.6: 10 “For God is not so unjust as to overlook your work and the love which you showed for his sake in serving the saints, as you still do.”
Rev.2: 23 “and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches shall know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you as your works deserve.”
1 Peter 1: 17 “Now if you invoke as Father him who judges impartially according to each one’s works, conduct yourselves with reverence during the time of your sojourning, “
“ Matt.19: 17 “And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? One there is who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.”
Rom.2: 13 “For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified.”
John 3:36 “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God rests upon him.
…that’s the conundrum; for OSAS and its derivatives to work God has to be an insincere double-dealing sadist… promising salvation to those He is unwilling to Save and Saving even those who just don’t care to be part of His Plan.
One correction: the quote above is not St. John’s 12:25 but 12:32.
Matt Slick at CARM is really off base on a lot of things. He is pro-life but even then he says abortion is the same sin as stealing a Pepsi from the grocery store. And he is stanchly against Catholicism.