22 August, 2009

Discussion with "saved by faith" about the Protestant heresy of eternal security

(Saved by Faith) Twisting scripture as you all see fit seriously your barking up the wrong tree, most Christians won't argue with Catholics but i am the exception.

(Cristoiglesia) I would not think of “twisting Scriptures” or using eisegesis which is so common with Protestant apologists. I am always amazed at how bold they are in ripping verses out of context to support their presuppositions and heresies.

I am afraid that if you are looking for an argument then you are having a discussion with the wrong person. I will simply explain to you how orthodox Christian teaching is different from your beliefs. You can accept the teaching of Christ and the disciples as taught by the teaching authority of His Church or reject the teaching for your doctrines of men, the choice is yours. Hopefully if this does not change your point of view it will be beneficial to others who are deceived by false teaching. As for you I can only pray that the seed that is planted will grow on fertile ground and that you will be encouraged to study and respond to the Holy Spirit which calls you to His Church.

(Saved by Faith) To teach that men can lose salvation is to place the responsibility of salvation upon man's self-righteousness, i.e., if I do something wrong than I can forfeit my salvation. Nothing could be further from the truth.

(Cristoiglesia) First of all you start off with the wrong premise by believing that one can be self-righteous. All righteousness comes from God through His grace. Salvation is God’s work in us which is why He gave us the Paraclete to guide and inspire the Church as a community and to guide us individually to truth. Our initial salvation begins a journey that if we continue on the path to the narrow gate it will result in sanctification and final salvation.

Mat 7:13 Enter ye in at the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there are who go in thereat.

Mat 7:14 How narrow is the gate, and strait is the way that leadeth to life: and few there are that find it!

If we do not endure in our faith and fall away we will lose the race. We must continue to believe. (Note: In the Koine Greek the verb is subjunctive mood and means continues to believe)

Joh 3:16 For God so loved the world, as to give his only begotten Son: that whosoever believeth in him may not perish, but may have life everlasting.

There are dozens of other Scripture references that teach that we must endure and St. Paul said:

Php 2:12 Wherefore, my dearly beloved, (as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only but much more now in my absence) with fear and trembling work out your salvation.

Here is what the prophet Ezekiel says about a righteous man and see if it sounds like the righteous are guaranteed eternal security……

(Eze 3:20 DRB) Moreover if the just man shall turn away from his justice, and shall commit iniquity: I will lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die, because thou hast not given him warning: he shall die in his sin, and his justices which he hath done, shall not be remembered: but I will require his blood at thy hand.

(Eze 18:24 DRB) But if the just man turn himself away from his justice, and do iniquity according to all the abominations which the wicked man useth to work, shall he live? all his justices which he hath done, shall not be remembered: in the prevarication, by which he hath prevaricated, and in his sin, which he hath committed, in them he shall die.

The same teaching is repeated by St. Paul in His letter to the Romans lest one say that this prophecy only applies to the OC……

(Rom 8:13 DRB) For if you live according to the flesh, you shall die: but if by the Spirit you mortify the deeds of the flesh, you shall live.

(Rom 6:16 DRB) Know you not that to whom you yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants you are whom you obey, whether it be of sin unto death or of obedience unto justice.

St. Paul’s teaching is full of warnings against lawlessness and false security regarding our salvation as well as the teaching of St. James…….

(Gal 5:19 DRB) Now the works of the flesh are manifest: which are fornication, uncleanness, immodesty, luxury,

(Gal 5:20 DRB) Idolatry, witchcrafts, enmities, contentions, emulations, wraths, quarrels, dissensions, sects,

(Gal 5:21 DRB) Envies, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like. Of the which I foretell you, as I have foretold to you, that they who do such things shall not obtain the kingdom of God.

(Gal 6:8 DRB) For what things a man shall sow, those also shall he reap. For he that soweth in his flesh of the flesh also shall reap corruption. But he that soweth in the spirit of the spirit shall reap life everlasting.

(Gal 6:9 DRB) And in doing good, let us not fail. For in due time we shall reap, not failing.

(Jam 1:14 DRB) But every man is tempted by his own concupiscence, being drawn away and allured.

(Jam 1:15 DRB) Then, when concupiscence hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin. But sin, when it is completed, begetteth death.

(Jam 1:16 DRB) Do not err, therefore, my dearest brethren.

We know that both St. Paul and St. James were speaking to and about believers as St. James confirms in the following verses lest there be any doubt….

(Jam 5:19 DRB) My brethren, if any of you err from the truth and one convert him:

(Jam 5:20 DRB) He must know that he who causeth a sinner to be converted from the error of his way shall save his soul from death and shall cover a multitude of sins.

Jesus taught of the necessity of keeping the Word and of the consequences of not keeping the Word once received…..

(Joh 8:51 DRB) Amen, amen, I say to you: If any man keep my word, he shall not see death for ever.

(Joh 11:25 DRB) Jesus said to her: I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, although he be dead, shall live:

(Joh 11:26 DRB) And every one that liveth and believeth in me shall not die for ever. Believest thou this?

(Luk 8:13 DRB) Now they upon the rock are they who when they hear receive the word with joy: and these have no roots: for they believe for a while and in time of temptation they fall away.

Now, those teaching the false doctrine of OSAS will defend their views with saying that those who continue in lawlessness never were saved to begin with and it was a false eternal security that they received. The Bible clearly contradicts such a belief because it states that those who fell away were believers……..

(Act 17:11 DRB) Now these were more noble than those in Thessalonica, who received the word with all eagerness, daily searching the scriptures, whether these things were so.

(Act 17:12 DRB) And many indeed of them believed: and of honourable women that were Gentiles and of men, not a few.

Even St. Paul recognized that the righteous were in danger of falling away when He said:

(1Co 9:27 DRB) But I chastise my body and bring it into subjection: lest perhaps, when I have preached to others, I myself should become a castaway.

St. Paul clarified his view and teaching in the following ……

(Phi 2:12 DRB) Wherefore, my dearly beloved, (as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only but much more now in my absence) with fear and trembling work out your salvation.

Even in the salvation chair passage of John 3:16 and also John 11:25-26 we find that in the Greek that a continuing tense is used in the word believe which clearly shows that we must “continue to believe” and not a one time belief for eternal security.

Here are a few more verses that emphasize our continuing belief and sanctification and warnings that the faithful can and often do fall away…..

(Rev 3:2 DRB) Be watchful and strengthen the things that remain, which are ready to die. For I find not thy works full before my God.

(Rev 2:10 DRB) Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer. Behold, the devil will cast some of you into prison, that you may be tried: and you shall have tribulation ten days. Be thou faithful unto death: and I will give thee the crown of life.

(Rev 2:11 DRB) He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches: He that shall overcome shall not be hurt by the second death.

(1Jo 5:16 DRB) He that knoweth his brother to sin a sin which is not to death, let him ask: and life shall be given to him who sinneth not to death. There is a sin unto death. For that I say not that any man ask.

(Saved by Faith) When the prodigal son deliberately left home, and went into sin--carefully notice that the father didn't disown him. The son was still loved and missed by his father. No matter what crimes the son may have committed, he was still a son. Do you think God is less righteous? Shame on those who teach that God casts out His children.

(Cristoiglesia) Of course God is righteous and charitable but you are forgetting that He is also the God of Justice. God expresses His love not only in continuing to draw us to Him and providing us with grace but also by allowing us free will to continue in our faith to Him or to reject Him as the previous verses indicate. If the Prodigal son had not returned to his father, his father would have never stopped loving him but would not have gone to him and forced him to return either. The prodigal son was not cast out by his father but left freely and returned freely to his family. God allows us to leave by choice and through sin and allows us to return and reconcile back into the family by contrite confession.

(Saved by Faith) It is true that, as Christians, we do sometimes walk away from God; but He is still faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1st John 1:9). There is no depth of sin to which a person can go, but that God will still forgive them if they SEEK it (Isaiah 1:18). What a wonderful Savior!

(Cristoiglesia) Yes but if we do not confess our sins with a contrite heart we continue to be separated from the familial relationship of our initial salvation by that sin.

(Saved by Faith)If we see that the scriptures exclude works in any form as a means of our salvation, then logically, we are saved by faith alone. Let's take a look at what the Bible says about faith and works. Then, afterwards, we will tackle James' statement about "faith alone".

Rom 3:28 For we account a man to be justified by faith, without the works of the law.

Rom 3:29 Is he the God of the Jews only? Is he not also of the Gentiles? yes, of the Gentiles also.

Rom 3:30 For it is one God that justifieth circumcision by faith and uncircumcision through faith.

Rom 3:31 Do we then, destroy the law through faith? God forbid! But we establish the law.

(Cristoiglesia) St. Paul is teaching the Jews that they are not saved by the law of Moses. St Paul makes it clear that one cannot be justified by the virtue of faith alone as this is the opposite of the of the Gospel and the teaching of the apostles. In verses 20 and 28 he says that man is justified without the works of the law. What he is teaching is that the works of law and any other works are insufficient for justification by themselves unless joined to faith and Gods grace. No where does he teach faith alone as a means of justification. In chapter 2:6 of this epistle that God judges man according to our works and in 2:13 that not just the hearer of the law are justified but those who do the works. In Chapter 5:6 that our faith must be working in charity and repeats this same theme in 1 Cor 7:19. St. James tells us also that works with our faith are dead works.

God bless!

In Christ
Fr. Joseph

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