Thursday, December 9, 2010

Why do protestants believe in 'once saved always saved'?

Question You said that we do not believe in 'once saved always saved', that even once we are Christian we can still fall back into sin and away from God. So then being saved is kind of like it is in flag wars- you get freed, but can get caught again? Given this passage, why do Protestants believe "once saved always saved"? wouldn't it make more sense that the passage would be interpreted in this way? (Follow up on Can we work for our own salvation?)

AnswerThat's a decent analogy, except remember that the word 'saved' means healed, forgiven, rescued, freed.... so depending on the context in scripture, it could be refering to any number of things.

But protestants tend to use the word only in the sense of 'rescued', like from Hell.

The Calvinists taught (teach) that we are predestined, and can do nothing to contribute to out own salvation. This idea is scriptural, in that we can't possibly deserve salvation and it is only because of the mercy of God that we can be saved- but it ignores the fact that scripture tells us to wortk for our salvation and that we will be judged and saved according to what we did. For a Calvinist, if you're 'predestined' it means that from before all time it was decided, so it is impossible to lose your slavation. So, "once saved, always saved". When confronted with someone who obviously was a Christian and later rejected Christ, they just say that he was never really saved in the first place, he was never really predestined.

It is a problem, because scripture does refer to the 'elect', and 'predestination' (Eph 1). Like anything the ballance has to be struck between two extremes. One is that we can totally earn our way to Heaven, the other that we can't do anything and we just passively recieve salvation. Catholics are somewhere between these two extremes, and we say that anything good we do is done by the grace and prompting of God, grace builds on nature, but nature must cooperate with grace. I don't think we'll fully understand this until Heaven. (Though it'd be interesting to look into further...)

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