Once Saved Always Saved: Is it illogical?

From Catholic Apologist John Martignoni’s newsletter #118:

Every believer in once saved always saved that I have ever met, also believes that there are those out there who think they are saved, but really are not – the faux believers, as I call them. So, ask anyone who believes in OSAS these questions (this is from an actual conversation):

Question: Are there people who think they’re saved, but they really aren’t?

Answer: Yes, there are.

Question: Are you saved?

Answer: Yes, I am.

Question: How do you know you’re not one of those people who think they’re saved, but they really aren’t?

Answer: I know in my heart that I am saved.

Question: Wouldn’t someone who thinks they’re saved, but really aren’t saved, say the same thing?

Answer: I suppose so.

Question: Then how do you know you’re really saved?

Answer: I just know.

Question: How do you know?

Answer: I just do.

The whole point of this line of questioning is that, if it is possible to think you’re saved, but not really be saved, then no one can have eternal security – no one can know for sure that they are saved – because anyone who thinks they’re saved could actually be one of those who think they are but really aren’t. As you ask these questions, I guarantee you will not be able to keep from smiling as the folks you’re talking to can do nothing but go ‘round and ‘round in a circle of illogic.

That last sentence provides a little insight into the character of this particular Catholic apologist, don’t you think?

Martignoni can’t seem to figure out how a believer can believe they are saved. He apparently has no confidence in his own faith, ells why would he be so mystified? Is it really so odd for a believer in Jesus Christ to believe he is saved? Is it illogical? Let’s compare the logic of someone believing they are saved with one of the seven sacraments of the Catholic Church: Holy Matrimony.

Holy Matrimony in the Catholic Church is a sacrament that rightly depicts and represents the relationship between Christ and His church (true believers). Fr. Thomas Richstatter, an expert in liturgy and sacramental theology stated:

“Christian marriage is the sacrament which shows us God’s desire to be one with us.” .”1

In addition, the Catholic Church does not believe that a Christian marriage can be ended. Richstatter further declares:

“The Church does not want to say that a sacramental marriage comes to an end because we consider the love of the husband and wife to be a sign of God’s unending love for us.
God’s love for us can never end in divorce. God is faithful even if we are not. The Church desires that even if one of the partners of a marriage is faithless to the marriage bond, the other, by remaining faithful, gives a powerful witness to the community of the way God loves us.” (ibid)

Amen to that! God is faithful even when we are not. If we truly possess a loving relationship with Him, even though we are not always faithful to His commandments, He promises never to forsake us. (Heb. 13:5) But what becomes of couples who are not really committees to each other; their marriages will surly fail. In this situation, the Catholic Church may provide and annulment – “a legal declaration that a valid sacramental marriage never existed.” (ibid)

In the Catholic Church marriage represents God’s love for His people. The relationship is either permanent or it never really existed. But when it comes to our relationship with God, all this seems to go out the window for Martignoni. When a groom says his vows and believes in his heart that he truly will commit to them, he knows he is committed to his bride. But when a groom harbors doubt in his heart he knows he is not committed, even though he may say, “I do.”

A person who says he is saved is not necessarily the same as a person who truly believes they are saved. Both say it, one knows it. It is not possible for us to judge the heart of another. But the Catholic Church, which appears to grasp the sanctity of marriages, should not be confused by the idea that one can know they are saved. One is either committed to God or they are not.

In John 15, Jesus tells us to abide in Him. We do that through love which enables us to obey His commandments. And when we unwillingly fail to keep His commandments, He is our advocate with the Father who is quick to forgive because we are covered by Christ’s blood. So a person who loves God will cherish their relationship with Him, and by Him they will be nourished and bear fruit. Jesus promises that those who bear fruit will not ever be cut off, but pruned so that they might bear more fruit. But those, like the doubtful groom who bear no fruit, will be cut off.

Although we cannot tell by simply asking someone if they are saved if they really are, the person who professes their salvation knows deep down inside where he stands, whether he is able to face that reality or not.

Any persons that doubt another’s ability to know they are saved must have doubts as to their own salvation. Perhaps that should be their cue to refocus their criticism from others to themselves.

1. http://www.americancatholic.org/newsletters/cu/ac0596.asp

32 Responses to Once Saved Always Saved: Is it illogical?

  1. Where in the Bible does it say anyone on earth is Christ’s visible representative, including the Apostle Peter?

  2. David of MI says:

    I guess I don’t understand what you’re getting at David. I only say this because when you said the word “word” it wasn’t capitalized. If you are asking me if I have looked up what is said in the Bible, then the answer is “yes”. There is no place in the Bible that shows Jesus telling Peter that when He is gone that He will need a visible representative to carry on His work until He returns. There is no mention of a need of an infallible leader, at least infallible only if he is speaking ex cathedra in Rome. There also is no mention in the Bible that makes me think that having some kind of foundation in Rome is critical for salvation.

    If you are asking me if I have looked up the meaning of the word “vicar” then I guess I would say that you made me look it up just now. I found that the word “vicar” means “substitute” or “deputy” or “representative”. So, I guess that would give credit to Luther’s position (which I happen to agree with). I mean, the Roman Catholic Church does expect you to see the pope as a representative of Jesus Christ.

    I say, why don’t we expect all Christians to be representatives of Jesus Christ?

    God Bless

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