Psalm27

Woodpecker
Gold Member
What about someone who completely loses faith? Not just someone who sins excessively, but still retains faith in Christ. Throughout my life I’m ashamed to admit I’ve probably completely lost and regained faith 4-5 times.

Even now I believe beyond reasonable doubt, but not absolutely no doubt. I try to intellectualise my way into understanding it, but inevitably go in circles.

There have been times I believe I have experienced influence of the Holy Spirit and this has led to repentance, but I always end up falling back into sin, and then coming up with complex rationalisations as to why Christianity is not true. Convincing myself that whatever I’ve experienced was just self hypnosis and a delusion. I find it difficult to grow in faith and sustain it.

I find it hard to believe once saved always saved because why then would the bible warn so much against apostasy. Also there are many like me that don’t fit the stereotype of becoming a Christian after a one once in a lifetime experience of being ‘born again’, their relationship with god is more like a lifelong struggle than an instant transformation.
Can a sheep turn into a goat? Can a wheat become a tare? Can an apple tree begin to produce poisonous fruit? If you have become through faith in Jesus and God's grace, a child of God, then that's what you are. He will not abandon His own children. Even evil heathens love their children no matter what they do. How much more loving is God than a heathen? God who has begun a good work in you will finish it (Philippians 1:6), trust Him and His word. God cannot lie (Titus 1:2).
 

tractor

Woodpecker
Orthodox
I should have expected that this thread would end up in the trenches.

But my position is - and I think I can also say it for other Catholics/Orthodox here - that the Catholic/Orthodox position on salvation/redemption is backed by the Scripture. If this tradition - starting with Christ and the Apostles - claims that it is faith plus some works AND you can look it up in the Bible, then I stand by it.

On the other hand, if the protestant position is that it is by faith alone but there're numerous verses in the New Testament that also underline the importance of our works, then you walk in darkness. You can cherry-pick verses supporting your understanding all you want but you only fool yourselves.

If you say "all cats are white" you can't ignore black cats that prove you wrong.

Likewise, if you say "by faith alone" and there's a single contradicting verse in the Bible (they're many), it proves you wrong and you should be able to see it unless you pursue some weird agenda of soul winning for satan.

Works are Necessary for One's Salvation

A Letter to a Layman

by St. Macarius of Optina

I set forth my poor judgment not from my own meager understanding, but—hoping in the God of wisdom and Lord, Who grants speech even to irrational beasts for the benefit of His people—I set it forth from His word and from the writings of the God-inspired Fathers, who after an active life left us their teaching as guidance.

Faith is the foundation of all good deeds, and without faith it is impossible to please the Lord (Heb. 11:6). She is the gift of God (cf. Mark 16:16; Matt. 28:19-20).

The Holy Apostle James teaches: What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works, can faith save him?... Faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.... For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also (James 2:14,17,26).

For our salvation one needs not simply faith alone, but works also. The words of the Apostle Paul: By the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified (Romans 3:20) refer to the works of the Old Testament laws and not to the new commandments of grace.

 
I should have expected that this thread would end up in the trenches.

But my position is - and I think I can also say it for other Catholics/Orthodox here - that the Catholic/Orthodox position on salvation/redemption is backed by the Scripture. If this tradition - starting with Christ and the Apostles - claims that it is faith plus some works AND you can look it up in the Bible, then I stand by it.

On the other hand, if the protestant position is that it is by faith alone but there're numerous verses in the New Testament that also underline the importance of our works, then you walk in darkness. You can cherry-pick verses supporting your understanding all you want but you only fool yourselves.

If you say "all cats are white" you can't ignore black cats that prove you wrong.

Likewise, if you say "by faith alone" and there's a single contradicting verse in the Bible (they're many), it proves you wrong and you should be able to see it unless you pursue some weird agenda of soul winning for satan.



Haha ok my brother. God bless. I hope today is the day you cross the goalpost and earn that sweet, sweet Heaven, making sure to ignore Jesus' sacrifice as best you can. You can do this! It's all YOU, not God. Good day.
 
Haha ok my brother. God bless. I hope today is the day you cross the goalpost and earn that sweet, sweet Heaven, making sure to ignore Jesus' sacrifice as best you can. You can do this! It's all YOU, not God. Good day.

My understanding is that he is both right and wrong. People are saved through Christ alone and not by their works, however faith expands beyond mere belief ie ‘even the demons believe and tremble’. Therefore some amount of good works are a direct consequence and evidence of having saving faith.

I don’t believe that James 2:14 contradicts faith alone at a fundamental level. It is just saying that without evidence of good works, your ‘faith’ is not strictly speaking faith. Not that good works are in themselves necessary for salvation
 

kevm3

Chicken
You need both. When it's said that works cannot get us into Heaven, it is meant that our works ALONE cannot get us into Heaven if we do not accept Jesus's sacrifice as atonement for our sins, because the penalty for our sins are still there otherwise. None of us our holy enough or worthy to pay off the debt of our sins with our works. However, the Bible also tells us faith without works is dead. A lot of pastors would have you believe that all you need to do is believe in Jesus and that living in a holy fashion is only a 'suggestion' and not a requirement, but this is false. You cannot eat the table of demons and the Lord's table as well

1 Corinthians 10: 21
Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and of the table of devils.

Your belief and confession in Jesus and His sacrifice is the key for having the debt paid for your sins. Works are necessary to show that your faith is a living and REAL faith as faith is an ongoing process.

Romans 2:6
Who will render to every man according to his deeds:

In other words, what reward we will get in the afterlife will be based upon our deeds or our works.
 

Aloha50

Sparrow
Luther apparently wanted to remove James from the Bible because he wrote 'faith without works is dead'.

Can one have real, genuine faith and not try to do good works? If you actually read the Bible, and try to live as our Saviour taught us to live, would good deeds not be forthcoming?
No you can't. I'm Protestant and totally agree with you, and James. If you are born again, a changed life which includes works will follow. The Holy Spirit indwells the born again person....how could works not follow? That being said, we must be careful not too judge too harshly the person who claims Christ yet still has manifestations of the old life. People progress in the Lord at different paces; sin clings...the old man fights back. We stumble. Eventually works should show forth for the believer and if not then one must question if that person is truly saved or born again.
 

Aloha50

Sparrow
So you don't believe someone can fall out of grace from God? It sounds like what you are advocating for is Calvinism. Even Martin Luther believed a man could lose justification before God. Keep in mind the early protestant reformers were having these petty arguments amongst each other over things that have been settled or deemed not even debatable in the early church.
No absolutely not. Once a person is saved\born again they can't become un-born again? That's like being unborn....not possible. John 6: 37 - 40 is clear enough about the matter.

I think many people of liturgical faiths (RCC and EOC in particular) think: 'these Protestants think they can live how they please and as long as they've said a prayer of salvation they're going to Heaven....even though they live as the devil!' And to be true, there are some in Evangelicalism who probably think this, but solid conservative Reformed, Evangelical or Pentecostal churches don't believe that.
 

Gazza

Sparrow
So why is it so difficult for you to explain how/when is a person saved? I genuinely don't understand your view in this matter. I asked a pretty straightforward question.

Let's start again then.
Do you believe you're saved the day you are (literally) born? Or maybe born again? If it's the latter, what constitutes being born again?
Can YOU pinpoint the exact time and date that your works were sufficient enough to declare when you were saved?
 

Gazza

Sparrow
I am sorry but you just guys are being super wishy-washy about it, throwing Bible verses and general statements but somehow you're not able to answer one or two simple questions.

Can you believe in Christ and trust in Him (i.e. be granted Salvation) but commit gazillion of worst sins without ever repenting and never lose Salvation?
If one was to "commit gazillion of worst sins" after their supposed salvation, then it would be fairly clear that the person was never saved in the first place!! Anyone can make a false profession of faith. Even satan knew how to quote scripture.
 

Gazza

Sparrow
What about someone who completely loses faith? Not just someone who sins excessively, but still retains faith in Christ. Throughout my life I’m ashamed to admit I’ve probably completely lost and regained faith 4-5 times.

Even now I believe beyond reasonable doubt, but not absolutely no doubt. I try to intellectualise my way into understanding it, but inevitably go in circles.

There have been times I believe I have experienced influence of the Holy Spirit and this has led to repentance, but I always end up falling back into sin, and then coming up with complex rationalisations as to why Christianity is not true. Convincing myself that whatever I’ve experienced was just self hypnosis and a delusion. I find it difficult to grow in faith and sustain it.

I find it hard to believe once saved always saved because why then would the bible warn so much against apostasy. Also there are many like me that don’t fit the stereotype of becoming a Christian after a one once in a lifetime experience of being ‘born again’, their relationship with god is more like a lifelong struggle than an instant transformation.
You should try trusting in God by using your heart not your head.
 

Gazza

Sparrow
No you can't. I'm Protestant and totally agree with you, and James. If you are born again, a changed life which includes works will follow. The Holy Spirit indwells the born again person....how could works not follow? That being said, we must be careful not too judge too harshly the person who claims Christ yet still has manifestations of the old life. People progress in the Lord at different paces; sin clings...the old man fights back. We stumble. Eventually works should show forth for the believer and if not then one must question if that person is truly saved or born again.
SPOT ON!
 
Can YOU pinpoint the exact time and date that your works were sufficient enough to declare when you were saved?
No, because neither Catholics nor Orthodox believe in 'works only' salvation. Moreover, no one except for God knows who will be saved. Having deep faith and doing works that prove the former is the best way to salvation but because we're fallen nothing can be granted to us during our lives. That is the whole point I was asking those questions as it seems like certain Protestants seem to be certain they're saved no matter what.
 

tychomaz

Sparrow
No, because neither Catholics nor Orthodox believe in 'works only' salvation. Moreover, no one except for God knows who will be saved. Having deep faith and doing works that prove the former is the best way to salvation but because we're fallen nothing can be granted to us during our lives. That is the whole point I was asking those questions as it seems like certain Protestants seem to be certain they're saved no matter what.
If you could not know with certainty that you're saved then what would be good about the "good news"?

When I go soulwinning I cannot know for sure if I actually helped someone else get saved, that is true. But I go through a checklist:

Sin -- know that you're a sinner
Hell -- know that sinners go to hell
Gospel -- Jesus Christ's perfect life, death, burial and resurrection is the good news that he died for us
Believe -- trust only in what Jesus Christ did to get me to heaven
Eternal -- know that the free gift of salvation is eternal, you can never lose it like you can never lose status as a son in your earthly family if you do something wrong but you will be chastened on earth
Prayer -- call upon the name of the LORD

Through conversation, questions etc you can generally find where someone is on that sequence.
So for instance if someone does the last step, Prayer and they weren't vetted on the previous five steps, then I don't believe they're saved.

Every non-believer is somewhere on the above list. Often just before the prayer I will remind them that they said earlier "well surely you have to be a good person to enter heaven" near the beginning of the interaction. I will ask them, "after talking with me and hearing the king james bible verses that I provided, do you still believe that?" This is confirmation of the repentance of unbelief. You will be surprised how often people say yes.

But if they say "Actually I no longer believe you have to do good works to enter heaven, it's just trusting on Jesus Christ" I will then ask "OK so somewhere down the line someone asks you 'do you know for sure that you're going to heaven?' what would you say?"

If they say yes then I will ask them how do they know that. One they pass that one I say "let's tell God that you changed your mind about how to get to heaven and that's by his Son Jesus Christ alone"(I never ASK them to pray). If they say "sure" I say, "just one last check here: if you prayed this prayer to God but didn't believe what you're saying, are you saved?"

If they say 'no' then I feel that is enough of a vetting to determine that they believe. I then lead them in prayer which is really just touches on each item in the checklist above, and finish it with "please save me right now, I am only trusting in your Son Jesus Christ for my salvation, amen"
 
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You should try trusting in God by using your heart not your head.
You are right and I’m currently trying to do just that. Unfortunately for some of us that isn’t always easy to do. Our heart follows our head, not the reverse. Or in my case, my heart is highly fickle. I hate sin, or at least the consequences of it, but I also love freedom and dislike feeling limited.

I’ve seen and experienced enough evidence to believe beyond significant doubt, but I can’t get that doubt to completely disappear. I often doubt I’m saved because I haven’t received overwhelming affirmation from God. I then fall into sin, as I think what if I’m limiting myself for nothing. Perhaps I just require more persistent faith, then God will erase my doubt.
If they say yes then I will ask them how do they know that. One they pass that one I say "let's tell God that you changed your mind about how to get to heaven and that's by his Son Jesus Christ alone"(I never ASK them to pray). If they say "sure" I say, "just one last check here: if you prayed this prayer to God but didn't believe what you're saying, are you saved?"

If they say 'no' then I feel that is enough of a vetting to determine that they believe. I then lead them in prayer which is really just touches on each item in the checklist above, and finish it with "please save me right now, I am only trusting in your Son Jesus Christ for my salvation, amen"
What if someone says this prayer and believes to a certain extent, but with doubt? Or what if someone completely believes but then later disbelieves, are they still saved? If we have some doubt or sinful desires remaining after, does that mean God won’t save us? It seems faith in Christ can save someone from sin and hell, but what can save a man from unbelief?

If Christ sometimes can’t or won’t save someone from unbelief, it almost suggests people are saved through belief and not Christ alone. The problem is that what we believe is not something we have full control over.
 

tychomaz

Sparrow
You are right and I’m currently trying to do just that. Unfortunately for some of us that isn’t always easy to do. Our heart follows our head, not the reverse. Or in my case, my heart is highly fickle. I hate sin, or at least the consequences of it, but I also love freedom and dislike feeling limited.

I’ve seen and experienced enough evidence to believe beyond significant doubt, but I can’t get that doubt to completely disappear. I often doubt I’m saved because I haven’t received overwhelming affirmation from God. I then fall into sin, as I think what if I’m limiting myself for nothing. Perhaps I just require more persistent faith, then God will erase my doubt.

What if someone says this prayer and believes to a certain extent, but with doubt? Or what if someone completely believes but then later disbelieves, are they still saved? If we have some doubt or sinful desires remaining after, does that mean God won’t save us? It seems faith in Christ can save someone from sin and hell, but what can save a man from unbelief?

If Christ sometimes can’t or won’t save someone from unbelief, it almost suggests people are saved through belief and not Christ alone. The problem is that what we believe is not something we have full control over.
> What if someone says this prayer and believes to a certain extent, but with doubt? Or what if someone completely believes but then later disbelieves, are they still saved? If we have some doubt or sinful desires remaining after, does that mean God won’t save us? It seems faith in Christ can save someone from sin and hell, but what can save a man from unbelief?

You can believe with doubt. Even John the Baptist doubted Jesus Christ was the Messiah.

> I’ve seen and experienced enough evidence to believe beyond significant doubt, but I can’t get that doubt to completely disappear. I often doubt I’m saved because I haven’t received overwhelming affirmation from God. I then fall into sin, as I think what if I’m limiting myself for nothing. Perhaps I just require more persistent faith, then God will erase my doubt.

If I were to compare my doubts between now and say, five years ago, I've managed to improve a lot. Doubts will always creep in and satan will attack you with "imaginations":

2 Corinthians 10:3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:
2 Corinthians 10:4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; )
2 Corinthians 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;


Test your thoughts. Does this thought that I'm having exalt itself against the knowledge of God? If so, cast it down. Some are easy to know but other thoughts are more subtle and without knowing your bible may send you down the wrong path.

> If Christ sometimes can’t or won’t save someone from unbelief, it almost suggests people are saved through belief and not Christ alone. The problem is that what we believe is not something we have full control over.

Christ promises anyone who calls upon him will be saved.

John 5:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

That is pretty airtight. Were you born twice from your mother? Were you unborn at any point in your carnal life? "hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation" has no conditional here. You have something that is everlasting. If it lasts forever then how could there ever be a point where you'd no longer have it?

> If we have some doubt or sinful desires remaining after, does that mean God won’t save us?

Romans 6, 7 and 8 goes into this in depth, particularly 7. Paul confesses to sinning but it is the flesh that continues on after salvation that sins.

Romans 7:23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
Romans 7:24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
Romans 7:25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

So you sin after salvation but the inward man, the spirit indwelled unto you upon salvation, cannot sin.

John 3:8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

When you're born again, you do not necessarily hear a special sound or a feeling overcome you. The spirit is silent and undetectable by the flesh and by that same token the flesh is undetectable by the spirit. So the inward man, the spirit continues on inside you completely sinless. The outward man, the flesh will sooner or later sin.
 
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Gazza

Sparrow
You are right and I’m currently trying to do just that. Unfortunately for some of us that isn’t always easy to do. Our heart follows our head, not the reverse. Or in my case, my heart is highly fickle. I hate sin, or at least the consequences of it, but I also love freedom and dislike feeling limited.

I’ve seen and experienced enough evidence to believe beyond significant doubt, but I can’t get that doubt to completely disappear. I often doubt I’m saved because I haven’t received overwhelming affirmation from God. I then fall into sin, as I think what if I’m limiting myself for nothing. Perhaps I just require more persistent faith, then God will erase my doubt.

What if someone says this prayer and believes to a certain extent, but with doubt? Or what if someone completely believes but then later disbelieves, are they still saved? If we have some doubt or sinful desires remaining after, does that mean God won’t save us? It seems faith in Christ can save someone from sin and hell, but what can save a man from unbelief?

If Christ sometimes can’t or won’t save someone from unbelief, it almost suggests people are saved through belief and not Christ alone. The problem is that what we believe is not something we have full control over.
Try to think of your relationship as if it were between you and your beloved son or daughter. Think of how many times they might have let you down, turned their back on you, or just downright disappointed you. They are still your beloved son or daughter. You can't forget how much you loved them and you'd never completely abandon them. God feels the same about you. Sometimes us Christians just need to throw all the theories and doctrines out of the window for a while, take a big deep breath, and simplify things. God bless friend, I honestly hope you find the peace that you are in search of.
 
A quick word on James Chapter 2.

IMO there is a difference between saving faith, and a simple belief/understanding of who God is.

The demons 'believe' in the sense that they understand who God is. But this belief never leads to repentance- demons never repent. Another thing that a demon never does is praise The Lord. So if you can praise God with a true heart, you are in a very good place, and this is evidence that you belong to the kingdom of God.
 
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