Assurance of Salvation, or the Once Saved Always Saved error is something new in Chrisitanity, following the invention of a strict reading of Election by John Calvin. Being a teaching that was invented around 500 years ago, makes it at the very least suspect. It seems to contradict Jesus promise to never abandon the Church, or that He would send the Holy Spirit to guide it, and then abandon the Church and let it wallow in error until Luther and Calvin came along to hurl insults at each other for denying Catholic teaching by their different interpretations of Scripture.
If for the moment we base our discussion on Scripture alone, we have to understand a few things. First the translations into English, or other modern languages can be misleading if you are not grounded in the constant teaching of the Church handed down from the Apostles who received it from Jesus Himself.
When it come to the passages that in English read, saved, we really must look at the original Greek text. When you read it in Greek the text in the majority of cases uses a transitional verb. How does this effect the text? Well it supports the teaching that our Salvation is from Jesus, and the Cross, From the time of the Apostles up to the invention of new doctrines by Luther, Calvin and the other inventors of Protestantism 500 years ago the Catholic Church always taught that Everything we need for our Salvation was accomplished by Jesus through His Incarnation, Passion, Death on the Cross and Resurrection, so on this we agree. What happened at the Protestant Reformation was a new doctrine on how it was applied. For 15 centuries all Christians, (remember that until 1056 there was only the Catholic Church, and then the Orthodox East broke communion with the Pope.) believed that by following all the Scriptures tell us about our spiritual life we arrived at salvation. The application of the Cross, and the benefits of Christ’s sacrifice is something that is applied to us each day. Not something that we enter into and cannot break if one day we say, “I accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior” but as we live a life which proclaims Jesus as our Savior. Something precious that we need to continually cooperate with, a precious gift we can loose, if we choose to defy God and reject His Grace.
Matt. 10:22, 24:13; Mark 13:13 – again, Jesus taught that we must endure to the very end to be saved. Salvation is a past, present and future event (not a one-time event at an altar call).
Mark 16:16 – Jesus says whoever believes and is baptized will be saved.
Acts 15:11 – we believe that we shall be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus.
Rom. 5:9-10 – since we are justified by His blood, we shall be saved.
Rom. 13:11 – salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. How can we be only nearer to something we already have?
1 Cor. 3:15 – he will be saved, but only as through fire.
1 Cor. 5:5 – Paul commands the Church to deliver a man to satan, that he will be saved in the day of the Lord.
Now the Protestants who developed the Once Saved, Always Saved, and the idea that we “Make a Decision for Christ” based on isolating texts using the English have rejected what the scriptures really teach by proposing that all you have to do is accept Jesus, that the Holy Spirit will lead you to understand the Biblical text denying the rest of what Jesus and the Apostles taught. This has led to thousands of Protestant Sects, all with differing interpretations of the Scriptures, all claiming to be Bible Only Christians. This does not sound like the Holy Spirit, but rather other spirits to me. I am thankful to them though, if when I was still a practicing Jew, they had not made claims against the Catholic Church I would never have been motivated to check and see if their attacks were valid, and I would have never been led by God to become a Catholic.
Now to the way the Church taught the truth from the Apostolic days forward. First the New Testament did not exhist for the first sixty years after Jesus, Passion, Death and Resurrection. Only oral tradition exhisted. It would be another two hundred plus years when a Council of the Catholic Church gathered with the Authority that Jesus gave to the Church gathered to determine which books would be included or exclueded from both the Old and New Testament. The Canon of the Old Testament for the Jews was not determined until after 600 AD. By accepting the books of the Bible, you are accepting what a group of Catholic Bishops determined, otherwise you have dozens of other books which you need to determine for yourself, by the guidance of the Holy Spirit as to their status. If your Church worships on Sunday, that too was a decision nowhere mandated by the Scriptures, but by the Authority of the Catholic Church. There are dozens of other things that your denomination and the thousands of others all who claim to be Christian do that have no warrent by Scripture, but have retained because the Catholic Church authorized them.
As to Puragtory, first we have the unchanging teachings of the Church from Apostolic times. We have from the Earliest days of the Church letters and writings about votive offerings and prayers for the dead. While they are not equal to scripture, discounting them means that we are not open to interpreting the Scriptures, and teachings of the Apostles in a vacuum, unaided by anything except what we want to believe. Remember that there were those who left Jesus during His life because the teachings were too hard for them to accept. I’d love to believe that all I had to do was believe and not have any responsiblity to do anything else, or to be responsible for my behavior.
As to Scripture and Purgatrory: Matt. 12:32[i:2y6glrjm] “And anyone who says a word against the Son of man will be forgiven; but no one who speaks against the Holy Spirit will be forgiven either in this world or in the next[/i:2y6glrjm].” Jesus thus clearly provides that there is forgiveness after death. The phrase “in the next” (from the Greek “en to mellonti”) generally refers to the afterlife (see, for example, Mark 10.30; Luke 18.30; 20.34-35; Eph. 1.21 for similar language). Forgiveness is not necessary in heaven, and there is no forgiveness in hell. This shows that there is another state after death, and the Church for 2,000 years has called this state purgatory.
2 Tim. 1:16-18 – Onesiphorus is dead but Paul asks for mercy on him “on that day.” Paul’s use of “that day” demonstrates its eschatological usage (see, for example, Rom. 2.5,16; 1 Cor. 1.8; 3.13; 5.5; 2 Cor. 1.14; Phil. 1.6,10; 2.16; 1 Thess. 5.2,4,5,8; 2 Thess. 2.2,3; 2 Tim. 4.” title=”Cool” />. Of course, there is no need for mercy in heaven, and there is no mercy given in hell. Where is Onesiphorus? He is in purgatory.
Heb. 12:23 – the spirits of just men who died in godliness are “made” perfect. They do not necessarily arrive perfect. They are made perfect after their death. But those in heaven are already perfect, and those in hell can no longer be made perfect. These spirits are in purgatory.
1 Peter 3:19; 4:6 – Jesus preached to the spirits in the “prison.” These are the righteous souls being purified for the beatific vision.
Rev. 21:4 – God shall wipe away their tears, and there will be no mourning or pain, but only after the coming of the new heaven and the passing away of the current heaven and earth. Note the elimination of tears and pain only occurs at the end of time. But there is no morning or pain in heaven, and God will not wipe away their tears in hell. These are the souls experiencing purgatory.