There was also a movement in those days that tried to combine the Christian religion with the Jewish religion. This is what was happening with the Galatians. They were trying to incorporate the Christian faith with the works of the law. If you keep that in mind when you read Glatians, you will understand what Paul is talking about.
But it is very clear that St. Paul did not believe as the Protestants. While he taught that we are justified by faith, he never taught justification by faith alone. St. Paul understood that Charity (the state of grace) is greater than faith, and is necessary for a person to be justified. He also realized that if a person had faith without Charity, their faith was worthless:
“…and if I should have all faith, so that I could move mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.” (1 Cor 13:2).
“now there remaineth faith, hope, and charity, these three [theological virtues]; but the greatest of these is charity” (1 Cor 1:13:13)
And regarding once saved always saved, let’s look at few verses from Paul himself which refute that teaching:
“I chastise my body and bring it under subjection, lest after I have preached to you, I myself should be a castaway” (1 Cor 9:27)
“Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: of them which fell, severity; but to thee goodness, if thou continue in His goodness, otherwise thou also shall be cut off” (Rom 11:22).
“if we sin willfully after coming to the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for (our) sins” (Heb 10:26).
“I make known unto you, brethre, the gospel which I preached to you, which alwo you have received, and wherein you stand; by which you are saved, if you hold fast after what manner I preached unto you, otherwise you have believed in vain” (1 Cor 15:1-2)
There are probably dozens of additional verses that could be quoted, but that is enough to prove that St. Paul did not teach once saved always saved.
[quote=UKCatholicguy]he also says stuff like we have complete freedom in Christ and we’re subject to no one but Christ.
Yes, there is a certain freedom in Christ, but that does not mean we are not subject to people on earth. What it means is that we are spiritually free in Christ. Actually, St. Paul even told slaves to “use” their slavery, by obeying thier master as they would Christ. He did not tell them that they were free, therefore they should leave their master.
In another place St. Paul says: “Let every soul be subject to higher powers: for there is no power but from God: and those that are [in power], are ordained of God. Therefore, he that resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God. And they that resist purchase to themselves damnation” (Romans 13:1-2)
This shows two things: One is that we must obey those in power (unless of course obedience would be sinful) and it also shows that if we disobey them we will be damned, which again shows that St. Paul did not teach once saved always saved.
So in conclusion, when you read St. Paul simply recognize what he means by “works of the law”. Fortunately, he almost always adds “of the law” when he is speaking about the Jewish religious practices. There are a few times when he does not add “of the law” to the statment, but you can understand what he means when you read the context.
Also, when you read certain books of the Bible it is really helpful to read the entire book at once, rather than a verse here and there. If you read the entire book the context becomes clear; if you jump in in the middle, it is easy to misunderstand what is meant.