The Sin of Presumption


#1

More Baptist arguing, it’s good, I’m learning loads and some of these things are things I haven’t come up against before. Can anyone help me with this one?

Roman Catholicism maintains that believing you are assured of going to heaven when you die is to commit the sin of presumption:

“There are two kinds of presumption. Either man presumes upon his own capacities, (hoping to be able to save himself without help from on high), or he presumes upon God’s almighty power or his mercy, (hoping to obtain his forgiveness without conversion and glory without merit).” From the Roman Catholic Catechism Page 507, #2092.

In other words for a Roman Catholic to claim they are saved and sure of heaven would mean they are “guilty of the sin of presumption!”

The Holy Bible declares just the opposite:

“He that BELIEVETH ON THE SON HATH EVERLASTING LIFE: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” (John 3:36).

Questions:

  1. Who is right God or Roman Catholicism?
  1. Is it presumptuous to take God at His Word, or is it faith?
  1. Since a Roman Catholic who is true to his or her religion would never want to violate a rule or law of the Roman Catholic religion - they therefore cannot believe unto salvation and certainly if they did, would not want to tell anybody, otherwise they will be in the “sin of Presumption.” So, does that mean since they believe not the Son and what He has said about everlasting life, that the wrath of God abides on them? (look closely at John 3:36 again).
  1. After reading the Word of God and comparing it with the Roman Catholic Catechism, why would anyone want to remain in bondage to the Roman Catholic religion of sacramental works, without any assurance of salvation? I mean, it is obvious that God doesn’t want dear Roman Catholics to be tortured, wondering where they will spend eternity. Rather, He wants to have a personal relationship with each and every one based on His Love and wonderful grace.
  1. Roman Catholics, will you now ask God to open your eyes so you can see this awesome truth? Will you receive Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior?

#2

For the sake of one scripture verse regarding certainty, they ignore a load of others regarding hope and perseverance.

Matthew 10:22 And you shall be hated by all men for my name’s sake: but he that shall persevere unto the end, he shall be saved.

Romans 8:24 For we are saved by hope. But hope that is seen, is not hope. For what a man seeth, why doth he hope for? 25 But if we hope for that which we see not, we wait for it with patience.

Colossians 1:23 If so ye continue in the faith, grounded and settled, and immoveable from the hope of the gospel which you have heard, which is preached in all the creation that is under heaven, whereof I Paul am made a minister.

1 Thessalonians 5:8 But let us, who are of the day, be sober, having on the breastplate of faith and charity, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.

Titus 1:2 Unto the hope of life everlasting, which God, who lieth not, hath promised before the times of the world:

Hebrews 3:6 But Christ as the Son in his own house: which house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and glory of hope unto the end.

etc.

So the verse they are focusing on,

John 3:36 He that believeth in the Son, hath life everlasting; but he that believeth not the Son, shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

… has to be seen in light of the others. Therefore, I would think this should be viewed as saying that he who believes has life in that Jesus is the Word of life. But it does not mean one cannot lose this Word, or stop believing, etc. We must persevere in good works, bringing glory to this Word, or else be cast out for having buried our talent.

Matthew 5:16 So let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

2 Peter 1:10 Wherefore, brethren, labour the more, that by good works you may make sure your calling and election. For doing these things, you shall not sin at any time.

Titus 1:16 They profess that they know God: but in their works they deny him; being abominable, and incredulous, and to every good work reprobate.

Matthew 16:27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels: and then will he render to every man according to his works.

John 14:12 Otherwise believe for the very works’ sake. Amen, amen I say to you, he that believeth in me, the works that I do, he also shall do; and greater than these shall he do.

hurst


#3

The Council of Trent, in its canons on justification, said:
CANON XV.-If any one saith, that a man, who is born again and justified, is bound of faith to believe that he is assuredly in the number of the predestinate; let him be anathema.
CANON XVI.-If any one saith, that he will for certain, of an absolute and infallible certainty, have that great gift of perseverance unto the end,-unless he have learned this by special revelation; let him be anathema.

From Catholic Answers booklet, Pillar of Fire, Pillar of Truth:

**Are You Guaranteed Heaven? **

Some people promote an especially attractive idea: All true Christians, regardless of how they live, have an absolute assurance of salvation, once they accept Jesus into their hearts as “their personal Lord and Savior.” The problem is that this belief is contrary to the Bible and constant Christian teaching.
Keep in mind what Paul told the Christians of his day: “If we have died with him [in baptism; see Rom. 6:3–4] we shall also live with him; if we persevere we shall also reign with him” (2 Tim. 2:11–12).
If we do not persevere, we shall not reign with him. In other words, Christians can forfeit heaven (CCC 1861).
The Bible makes it clear that Christians have a moral assurance of salvation (God will be true to his word and will grant salvation to those who have faith in Christ and are obedient to him [1 John 3:19–24]), but the Bible does not teach that Christians have a guarantee of heaven. There can be no absolute assurance of salvation. Writing to Christians, Paul said, “See, then, the kindness and severity of God: severity toward those who fell, but God’s kindness to you, provided you remain in his kindness, otherwise you too will be cut off” (Rom. 11:22–23; Matt. 18:21–35, 1 Cor. 15:1–2, 2 Pet. 2:20–21).
Note that Paul includes an important condition: “provided you remain in his kindness.” He is saying that Christians can lose their salvation by throwing it away. He warns, “Whoever thinks he is standing secure should take care not to fall” (1 Cor. 10:11–12).
If you are Catholic and someone asks you if you have been “saved,” you should say, “I am redeemed by the blood of Christ, I trust in him alone for my salvation, and, as the Bible teaches, I am ‘working out my salvation in fear and trembling’ (Phil. 2:12), knowing that it is God’s gift of grace that is working in me.”


#4

[quote=FightingFat]More Baptist arguing, it’s good, I’m learning loads and some of these things are things I haven’t come up against before. Can anyone help me with this one?

[/quote]

“He that BELIEVETH ON THE SON HATH EVERLASTING LIFE: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” (John 3:36). (( bold mine ))

this verse means to me… you have to believe the Son… not only
in who and what He is, but what He says and commands…

the demons knew who Jesus was… they **knew **
He was the Son of God… are they then saved? no… it’s one
thing to believe who Jesus is, it’s another to accept and keep
His commandments…

in John 14:15, Jesus says, “If ye love me, keep my
commandments.”

just my opinion on this particular verse…

:slight_smile:


#5
  1. Both - the originator is twisting the text in order to make a non-existing conflict appear between God’s teaching and the Church’s

  2. It is faith to take God at His word. When the Baptist has a signed “get out of Hell free” card from God, then I’ll take the Baptist’s word on this argument. Until then, it is presumption to take the Baptist’s opinion on how salvation works.

  3. No, it doesn’t mean that Catholics don’t trust Jesus alone for salvation. (I once had a (formerly Catholic) Baptist claim that Catholics don’t beleive Jesus died for our salvation. I asked them just what they thought we meant when we said at Mass, “for us men and for our salvation He came down from heaven. . . was crucified died and was buried. . .” They just responded, “Oh, I never thought about it that way.”) Again, as in #1 and #2, trusting Jesus for salvation is not presumption. Just as he quoted from the Catechism, believing that we can either save ourselves or be saved without conversion is true presumption.

  4. I’ve read (most of) both, and I stay in Catholicism because I’ve never seen a Church teach things that are more harmonious with scripture than the CCC. Correct, God doesn’t want us to be tortured wondering if we’re saved, but we don’t. God also doesn’t want us to fall into sin because of a false sense of security. As for having a personal relationship, I would hope every Catholic would agree. Having a personal relationship now does not mean that we will continue to maintain that relationship until the end.

  5. Yes, I’ve received Jesus as my personal Lord and Saviour. I’ve done so in faith, and I also do so every time I go to Mass. Having Jesus as my saviour doesn’t mean I can’t be Catholic.

Comeback: Using this person’s reading of the Bible, according to 2 Corinthians 5:17, once you’re saved you no longer sin. Has he sinned? Does that mean he’s not really saved? Isn’t he tortured about whether he’s really saved, because his actions don’t match what the Bible says will happen when he’s really saved? [dripping sarcasm. . . ] Oh, why don’t these Evangelicals come out of their darkness and realize that there is not absolute assurance of salvation?!?!?!


#6

I am going to answer this original post w/o reposting it so it is incorporated by reference herein.

Question #1: Who is right God or the Church?

God and the Church. I find it ironic that those who assert Sola Scriptura arguments as the sole authoritative source depend on common vernacular and Webster’s Dictionary for the determining what the word “believe” means. Essentially, when they rely on the scripture passage “He that BELIEVETH ON THE SON HATH EVERLASTING LIFE: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” (John 3:36) they interpret “believe” to mean “think to be true”.

To properly interpret the passage, they have to fully grasp the theological context with which the passage was written. Pope Benedict when he was Cardinal Ratzinger wrote a book “Introduction to Christianity.” In this book, he took 90 pages to explain what the word “believe” means within its theological context. In short, he articulated how it means much more than “think to be true” but means “understand and stand.”

Within the context of John 3:36, “believe” or “understand and stand” requires that one has a full understanding of God, all his Teachings, and then “stand” for it by living fully the life God intended for us and to “stand” in the world as a beacon of light to the Gospel.

The beginning of the original post referenced the Church’s teaching on the “sin of presumption”. Within the biblical context of the word “believe” and John 3:36, no human has the knowledge of God’s judgment on whether or not they adequately “believe”. If one were to “assume” their “belief/understand and stand” is sufficient, they are presuming to know what God knows. To know what God knows, they’d have to be God. To claim to know or be God is blasphemy and is a sin for which the consequences are damnation. To be damned is proof the person’s belief is insufficient meaning they don’t believe as required in John 3:36.

In other words, the promise of John 3:36 is true. However, “to believe” means more than “to think it to be true.” One must incorporate all of God’s Word and follow it fully as God intended. To think that all one must do is “think it to be true” denies the rest of Scripture (ironic position for one who asserts they are Sola Scriptura). Concurrently, one does not know if they “believe” as in “understand and stand” and to presume so is blashemy and a grave matter.


#7

In 1746, Jonathan Edwards wrote a book entitled, A Treatise Concerning the Religious Affections; he wrote it to deal with the problem of the matter of evidence for true conversion. He came to the conclusion that the ultimate proof of true conversion is what he named “holy affections,” or a longing for personal holiness and a desire and longing after God.

The apostle John, states at the end of his first epistle that, “these things I have written to you who believe in the name of the the Son of God, in order that you may know that you have eternal life (1 Jn 5:13). In that letter, John outlines a series of “tests” to determine whether or not one has been truly converted.

If it is not presumptuous of John to tell the believer that he may know he has eternal life, how then can it be presumptuous of the believer to make the claim of having eternal life, provided he passes the tests that John sets forth?

John’s “test”:

  1. Do you enjoy fellowship with Christ and the Father? (1 Jn 1:2-3).
  2. Are you sensitive to sin? (vv5-6).
  3. Do you obey God’s word? (2:3).
  4. Do you reject the world? (2:15).
  5. Are you eager for Christ’s return? (3:2-2).
  6. Is the pattern of sin decreasing in your life? (3:4-10).
  7. Do you love other believers? (3:10).
  8. Does God answer your prayers? (3:22).
  9. Do you experience the ministry of the H.S.? (4:13).
  10. Can you discern spiritual truth from spiritual error? (4:1-3).
  11. Have you been rejected because of your faith? (3:12-13).

#8

[quote=sandusky]In 1746, Jonathan Edwards wrote a book entitled, A Treatise Concerning the Religious Affections; he wrote it to deal with the problem of the matter of evidence for true conversion. He came to the conclusion that the ultimate proof of true conversion is what he named “holy affections,” or a longing for personal holiness and a desire and longing after God.

The apostle John, states at the end of his first epistle that, “these things I have written to you who believe in the name of the the Son of God, in order that you may know that you have eternal life (1 Jn 5:13). In that letter, John outlines a series of “tests” to determine whether or not one has been truly converted.

If it is not presumptuous of John to tell the believer that he may know he has eternal life, how then can it be presumptuous of the believer to make the claim of having eternal life, provided he passes the tests that John sets forth?

John’s “test”:

  1. Do you enjoy fellowship with Christ and the Father? (1 Jn 1:2-3).
  2. Are you sensitive to sin? (vv5-6).
  3. Do you obey God’s word? (2:3).
  4. Do you reject the world? (2:15).
  5. Are you eager for Christ’s return? (3:2-2).
  6. Is the pattern of sin decreasing in your life? (3:4-10).
  7. Do you love other believers? (3:10).
  8. Does God answer your prayers? (3:22).
  9. Do you experience the ministry of the H.S.? (4:13).
  10. Can you discern spiritual truth from spiritual error? (4:1-3).
  11. Have you been rejected because of your faith? (3:12-13).
    [/quote]

But wouldn’t it be presumptious to assert that have passed all these tests? Is it enough to be a “little” sensitive to sin or do you have to be so sensitive that sin effectively incapacitates you? Do you have obey God’s word always and without fail or just a little? Do you have to reject the world completely such that you are a hermit and/or live in a cloister or just a little? The answer your prayers is not an issue as God answers all of our prayers all of the time. Similarly, we all experience the ministry of the Holy Spirit. He is with us always even if we don’t acknowledge or submit to Him. Finally, what qualifies as rejected? A little anti-Christian bias from a stranger or do we have to be fired from our job and forced into bankruptcy?

In short, there is enough diversity of interpretation to the “right” answers to the test to drive the proverbial truck thru the test. Surely, eternal salvation has to be less loosy goosy than this.


#9

[quote=sandusky]If it is not presumptuous of John to tell the believer that he may know he has eternal life, how then can it be presumptuous of the believer to make the claim of having eternal life, provided he passes the tests that John sets forth?
[/quote]

Of course not. But that’s always contingent on *if *you pass the test. It may be presumptuous for the believer to assume that he is not necessarily fooling himself, perhaps both in the vein of self-deception, ‘Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord” shall enter the kingdom of heaven’ (Matt. 7:21), and perhaps also in the sense in which Paul says, "I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby justified. It is the Lord who judges me" (1 Cor. 4:4). It is also presumptuous, even if you pass the test, to claim that you will still be passing the test at any given point in time in the future, because we are reliant on “God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness; otherwise you too will be cut off” (Rom 11:22)— and since we are not assured that we will stay in God’s kindness and not be cut off, it is presumptuous for us to say we will stay in God’s kindness.

God uses ‘if and then’ statements. For instance, in Gal 6: 7-9
Paul in Galatians 6:7-9 instructs us thusly:

“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”

It’s in this sense that we can ‘know’ that we have eternal life. We know that we have eternal life if we hold up our end of the bargain. But we don’t know that we will hold up our end of the bargain (i.e., see Rom 11:22 and Matt 24:13 “He who endures to the end will be saved.”) God is guaranteed to keep his end of the bargain, we are not.


#10

Does this Baptist believe that it is possible for a person to turn away from God, or to have been deceived (maybe self-deceived) when they thought they were saved, and have it turn out that they were never saved after all? That is, is it ever possible to be mistaken or deluded about one’s state of salvation? If not, then how do they explain e.g. a preacher who becomes an atheist?

If the Baptist does agree that it is possible to be mistaken or deluded regarding one’s state of salvation, then what’s the argument about? Both Catholics and Baptists agree that God will never fail to keep His promises, and both Catholics and Baptists agree that humans may nonetheless mistakenly believe they are saved when they are not.


#11

John’s “test” (and some hypothetical answers, obviously based to some degree on my own life):

  1. Do you enjoy fellowship with Christ and the Father? (1 Jn 1:2-3).

Sometimes. Other times I don’t sense God’s presence. What does “fellowship with Christ and the Father” even mean?

  1. Are you sensitive to sin? (vv5-6).

Sometimes. Other times I have large blind spots.

  1. Do you obey God’s word? (2:3).

Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t.

  1. Do you reject the world? (2:15).

Probably not nearly enough.

  1. Are you eager for Christ’s return? (3:2-2).

I don’t think about it much.

  1. Is the pattern of sin decreasing in your life? (3:4-10).

Yes, I believe it is.

  1. Do you love other believers? (3:10).

Some I do. It’s very hard for me to love believers who attack my own faith with such gusto.

  1. Does God answer your prayers? (3:22).

Sometimes yes, sometimes no.

  1. Do you experience the ministry of the H.S.? (4:13).

Sometimes yes, sometimes no.

  1. Can you discern spiritual truth from spiritual error? (4:1-3).

Not always. Otherwise I’d be infallible.

  1. Have you been rejected because of your faith? (3:12-13).

Can’t really say I have been.

So, is this person saved or not? Ask 1000 people and I’m sure you’d get some yes’es, some no’s and some maybe’s. Then we’re kinda back where we started. And who knows what the answers would be in 5 or 10 or 20 or 50 years?


#12

[quote=Orionthehunter]But wouldn’t it be presumptious to assert that have passed all these tests?
[/quote]

Why would it be, if John says, that you may know that you have eternal life, sounds pretty straightforward to me.

The believer has eternal life as a present possession.

Do you think that eternal life can be lost? If you do, how can that be? Isn’t eternal life, by definition, “eternal,” or do you think that a believer can have eternal life as a possession “temporarily,” which really doesn’t make sense?


#13

[quote=RobNY]It’s in this sense that we can ‘know’ that we have eternal life. We know that we have eternal life if we hold up our end of the bargain. But we don’t know that we will hold up our end of the bargain (i.e., see Rom 11:22 and Matt 24:13 “He who endures to the end will be saved.”) God is guaranteed to keep his end of the bargain, we are not.
[/quote]

John offers no caveat in his statement in 1 Jn 5. You have not really shown why other statements in scripture are caveats to John’s statement in 1 Jn 5. Also, That is not the first time John makes that statement, he also makes it in his Gospel. Seems to me, that John is pretty stuck on the idea that the believer can know that he has eternal life.

Also Rob, I gather from your post that you believe that you are responsible for meriting or obtaining eternal life. Is that true?


#14

[quote=VociMike]Both Catholics and Baptists agree that God will never fail to keep His promises, and both Catholics and Baptists agree that humans may nonetheless mistakenly believe they are saved when they are not.
[/quote]

John says, you may know that you have eternal life. I am not sure what you are saying, are you disagreeing with John’s statement? If you are disagreeing with John, what do you think that he is saying?

It can be demonstrated, from scripture, that the ex-Baptist you cite never had a saving faith to begin with.


#15

[quote=sandusky] Also, That is not the first time John makes that statement, he also makes it in his Gospel.

[/quote]

You got that right! :smiley:

John 6:54 "Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.


#16

I agree you will know you have eternal life if you pass John’s “test”. The big question is - when will you be judged on this “test”?

Hebrews 9:27 says man faces judgment after he dies.

St. Paul wrote in I Corinthians 4:4-5:
"4My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. 5Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God. "

Since it is the Lord who will be the judge and judgment only happens at the end of one’s life, wouldn’t it be presumptuous of the believer to claim to have passed the test while still alive?


#17

[quote=sandusky]It can be demonstrated, from scripture, that the ex-Baptist you cite never had a saving faith to begin with.
[/quote]

Maybe yes, maybe no. But at one point in his life he certainly thought he had saving faith, you cannot deny that. He certainly believed in the name of the Son of God. Nor can you deny that others who thought at one point that they were saved, demonstrated later in life that they were not saved. There are countless stories of such people.

For that matter, you cannot possibly say that the preacher in question will not recover his faith in the future. You don’t know what his fate is, just as you don’t know what his faith was.


#18

[quote=sandusky]John offers no caveat in his statement in 1 Jn 5. You have not really shown why other statements in scripture are caveats to John’s statement in 1 Jn 5.
[/quote]

Scripture isn’t being read in a vacuum. If there are two statements on a subject, no matter how far apart, they need to be read together and harmonized. You must agree with my on that, at least in principle.

Of course, I think I’ve shown it. :smiley: Let me try to draw my logical procession a little bit more clearly, Sandusky. Forgive me for being vague (unclear writing comes from unclear thinking).

“That we may know we have eternal life,” needs to be read in context with the warnings in Matthew that we must 1. persevere to the end and that of Paul in Romans that we should be careful 2. lest we be cut off.

They might seem to contradict at first (to me, honestly, they don’t, but I would never think to read an ‘assurance of salvation,’ meaning onto Scripture). If we say that John’s verse means that we have assurance of salvation, then how do we read Matthew’s statement that we need to endure to the end, or Paul’s warning about being cut off from the branch we were grafted onto?

To me, it seems more rooted in the idea that God is always faithful to his covenant, as established in salvation history. It’s the one common story, man strays from God, God forms covenant, man breaks covenant. Again and again Israel strays from the path. Israel strays but God never defaults on his promises.

This is where the idea of the ‘if and then’ comes in: God’s grace is conditional on us keeping our end of the bargain, that is, on loving God, which is obeying his commandments. As Paul says, *but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart." *In other words, people who sow the Spirit with reap eternal life, if they do not lose heart. People who lose heart will not reap eternal life, as Paul shows.

The only variable in the equation is perhaps our rejection of God. Until you can give alternate explanations for the verses that suggest that we can lose salvation, eternal life, it is senseless to try to assert that 1 Jn 5 must refer to an assurance of salvation, because other verses explictly show that those who have been saved can be ‘cut off’ and that those who are must ‘endure.’

Also, That is not the first time John makes that statement, he also makes it in his Gospel. Seems to me, that John is pretty stuck on the idea that the believer can know that he has eternal life.

Which verse in John’s gospel are we talking about?

Also Rob, I gather from your post that you believe that you are responsible for meriting or obtaining eternal life. Is that true?

It is Christ who merits the grace that saves a person, and the gift of eternal life promised to those who are saved.


#19

It is a sin to think that we can go on unrepentant and still saved.

But the meaning of “repentant” is “a change of heart” first.

We are bound to try to do the best we can, believing God will be “on my side”.

If I “intentionally” do bad things, then how can I hope that God will be “with me” ?

To have persistent bad habit, but “wanting to change” is not “intentionally bad”. Thus, having a change of heart-- THOSE WHO BELIEVE-- will be saved : meaning they will change habit as well later on.

And it is not that hard to believe : we just have to confess assertively that “Jesus is the Son of God and have died for me” , therefore, “I am righteous, because God account my faith as righteousness, just as He did with Abram”.

God sent John the Baptist to shout “repent, make straight path for the Lord” first. Then the people received the baptism of repentant from John, only then that Jesus came to heal the sick, give sight to the blind, and change the behavior of the adulterous woman.

If we turn our hearts to God, He will run to help us such as in the story of “the prodigal son”. He see us coming home from far, and run to His children like a father.


#20

[quote=FightingFat]More Baptist arguing, it’s good, I’m learning loads and some of these things are things I haven’t come up against before. Can anyone help me with this one?

[/quote]

Maybe you can suggest to your Baptist friend to come here, he’ll/she’ll get his/her answers directly that way.


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