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Discussion Forum : Articles and Sermons : Can Catholics Have the Assurance of Salvation? by Dan Delzell

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Joined: 2005/6/18
Posts: 1481


hi, catholic people pray this prayer at least every time they go to church. some or maybe most arejust giving lip servous. the apostles creed when heartfully believed is enough to save anyone rather they trust in infant sprinkling or not.the bible says "belive on the LOrd Jesus Christ and thou shall be saved." thats all that matters to me... that a soul is saved from eternal torment is all i care about. i know there are enough land mines of ungodly doctrines in catholic tenet to kill an army,but what does this person we are talking to believe about Jesus and do they have intimacy with Him as the risen and living LOrd and not when they " eat him ". He must be in your heart and not your tummy.jimp

 2012/11/27 12:22Profile


Hi Frank,

I am going to start with John 3:15 "That whoever believes in Him may have eternal life", which you feel suggests assurance of salvation, if 'believe' is correctly interpreted to imply faith and entrusting yourself to Jesus.

There are a couple of things I think you need to consider before taking 'assurance of salvation' from this passage.

1)You must persevere in faith to be saved.

Faith is a gift of God. No one can come to faith without the grace of God. I think we would both agree on that. But we can lose this gift according to scripture.

"Wage the good warfare, holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting conscience certain persons have made shipwreck of their faith" (1Tim 1:18-19).

"Fight the good fight of the faith, take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses" (1Tim 6:12).

We have to live, grow and persevere in the faith until the end. We must submit both our intellect AND our will in order to have the 'obedience of faith' (Rom 1:5; Rom 16:26; John 3:36). And our faith must be 'working through love' (Gal 5:6).

The crown of life (eternal life) is for those who have patiently and faithfully endured the trials of life (James 1:12; 2Tim 4:8; Rev 2:10).

Hope is the confident expectation of divine blessing and the beatific vision of God (seeing God face to face), it is also the fear of offending God's love and incurring punishment (CCC 2090).

The two sins against hope are despair and presumption.

Despair is losing hope in our salvation by failing to trust God.

Presumption is losing hope by:

.relying on ourselves for our salvation instead of God, or
.taking God's mercy for granted.

Assurance of salvation seems to be a kind of presumption to me, a form of 'once saved always saved'. 'Hope' rather than 'assurance' is the lanuage of the bible (1Thess 5:8; Titus 1:2; Titus 3:7). If we were assured of heaven we wouldn't need hope!

There is something else I want to say about this verse (which touches on something you have mentioned jimp),but I've run out of time, and then I will respond to the verse on faith and works.


 2012/11/29 23:31


Hi Andie,

Just in case you did not know, I am Arminian in persausion so I have always believed that one can walk away from their salvation and I also believe in the perseverance of the saints. Yet this has nothing to do with assurance of salvation and the old question " If you died tonight where would you go." As a Catholic you must say that you do not where you would go, because if you said otherwise they would pronounce anathema over you, in other words you would be literaly cursed by the Catholic church.

So you can clearly see that there is no presumption in my statements, but there is a gaping lack of assurance in yours because you do not even know where you would go if you died in the next 30 seconds, can you see the difference? You cannot have joy in your salvation because you are not assured of it. The very thing that brings peace to the human soul is when their eternal state is known. I know exactly where I would go If I died this day. My salvation does not lie in cosmic scales, it is apprehended by the blood of the lamb. Now, if I were to turn my back on Jesus and deny Him and walk away from Him that is another matter. Can you see the difference? You can have it and walk away, you do not even know if you have anything, your scales may not weigh properly and you will go to hell. You may have, according to the Catholic church, have a mortal sin residing in you and therefore you will go straight to hell.

Andie, I gave you plenty of Scriptures that tell us that we can know, and you did not respond to them........bro Frank

 2012/11/29 23:54


You don't believe you will go to hell if you die with unrepented serious sins? Why do you think Jesus told us to 'watch therefore, for you know neither the day or the hour'. Or what about 'work out your salvation with fear and trembling.' Do you not believe you will face judgement like everyone else at the end of your life?

 2012/11/30 1:06


HI Andie,

Let me put it to you that those who love Jesus, who are close to the heart of God, do not walk around with " unrepented serious sin." My faith is in the Lord and His ability and desire to forgive me for all my sins.

Yes indeed the NT is full of warnings, I absolutely accept that and I definately agree that we must work out our salvation ( sanctification) with fear and trembling because one indeed can become a cast-away. None of that changes the fact that I have assurance of salvation. I have known Jesus, my Lord, my savior my closest friend for 21 years. I have never doubted, not even for a second, that I knew Him and that He saved me and that I knew where as I was going. I gave you the Scriptures to that effect to which you did not answer, the fact that you can know.

And again this is very different from your own confession that if you died 30 seconds from now you would have no idea where you would go. Let me just ask you straight out, are you living in sin? Do you have serious unrepented sin right now? If yes, why? Where is the Spirit of conviction, where is your fear and your trembling? Why would you trample underfoot the blood of Jesus with full knowledge? If not, can you tell us where you would go if you died 30 seconds from now? If you cannot tell us, why cant you tell us Andie? I await your answer to my unambiguous questions :) These are not designed to trap you Andie, but I do know the terrible doctrines of Catholicism having come out of that church...............Frank

 2012/11/30 8:45


I didn't ask if many of those who love Jesus walk around with unrepented serious sins. I asked if you believed you would go to hell if you died in that state. Because you implied that you were covered by the blood of the lamb, and I was relying on the scales balancing in my favour. And you seems to imply that the Catholic church was wrong in teaching if you die of unrepentant serious (mortal) sins you will go to hell.

We also rely on the redemption wrought by Jesus in the Catholic church. But we believe if you die in sin you will go to hell. We believe that you can fall from grace and have a need to be reconciled to the Lord. So do you believe you would go to hell if you died with unrepentant mortal sins?

And in answer to your question I have a pretty good idea of where I would go if I died in 30 seconds, because I examine my conscience regularly. As to whether I live in sin, I have only been a Christian for a couple of years, and I fall often. Not in being deliberately disobedient, but I have certain weaknesses to overcome with the help of God's grace.

And to be honest I don't feel the same need for 'assurance of salvation' that you do. I have a lot of peace after being a agnostic most of my life. It gives me joy knowing there is a God who is all good who loves us.

 2012/11/30 15:44


I am going to continue on with refuting that John 3:15 "That whoever believes in Him may have eternal life", affirms the doctrine of 'assurance of salvation'.


I have already discussed how faith must be lived out in love and obedience."If you love me you will keep my commandments" (John 14:15). We should live in confident hope, avoiding despair or presumption, which I have proposed is a feature of this 'assurance of salvation' doctrine


Our Lord tied the forgiveness of sins to faith AND baptism."Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation. He who believes and is baptized will be saved" (Mk 16:16).

Jimp and Frank, both of you have expressed some things about baptism I would like to refute. Jimp you have said a sincere profession of faith is salvific but baptism is not. And Frank, you suggested I may have been baptized only in water. That baptism is water only. You also said 'natural birth' is referred to as 'born of water' in John 3:15. I am taking it you mean becoming indwelt with the Holy Spirit is not associated with sacramental baptism, but rather with your faith (accepting God as your Lord and saviour). Please correct me if I have any of this wrong.

The reason I want to offer a refutation of these interpretations of baptism is because I see the doctrine of 'assurance of salvation' being flawed not just because:

a. You see salvation as a past event, and seem to imply there is no judgement. You have been saved, and are guaranteed not to fall.

b. But also because you see initial salvation and adoption as a child of God as being by grace through faith alone, which the Catholic church agrees with, but you don't acknowledge the biblical and traditional view that baptism is 'the sacrament of faith.

The Apostolic church, both East and West, has always taught that those who hear the gospel and believe, are catechised, then make a profession of faith and are baptized (with a few exceptions). Just because perseverance and baptism are not mentioned explicitly in every verse speaking on faith and eternal life, if your theology takes the whole bible into account, rather than plucking out verses here and there, it will show that baptism follows belief and that faith must persevere to the end.


"Truely, truely, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God" (John 3:5).

Frank you have said 'born of water' refers to our natural birth. My response to that is:

a. The syntax of this verse suggests that Jesus is speaking, not of two separate births, one by water and another by the spirit, but of a single birth through the water and spirit together (Ignatius Catholic Study Bible).

b. John links Spirit/water is other versus (John 7:38-39; John 1:33). And other NT passages describe baptism as a sacrament through the Spirit ( Acts 2:38; 1 Cor 6:11; Titus 3:5; 1 Pet 3:20-21).

c. This single sacramental Spirit/water baptism continued on through the Apostolic age to the Church Fathers.

""' and dipped himself', say [the scriptures], seven times in the Jordon. It was not for nothing that Naaman of old, when suffering from leprosy, was purified upon his being baptized, but it served as an indication to us. For as we are lepers in sin, we are made clean, by means of the sacred water and invocation of the Lord, from our old transgressions; being spiritually regenerated as new born babes, even as the Lord declared: 'Except a man be born again through water and the Spirit, he shall not enter the Kingdom of Heaven (Irenaeus fragment , 34 ( AD 190).

d. Biblical events prefigure salvation through water. This is from 'the blessing of baptismal waters' from the liturgy of the Easter Vigil:

"Father, you gave us grace through Sacramental signs which tell us of the wonders of your unseen power. In baptism we use your gift of water which you made a rich symbol of the grace you give us in this Sacrament. At the very dawn of creation, your Spirit breathed on the waters, making them the wellspring of all holiness. The waters of the great flood you made a sign of the waters of baptism, that make an end to sin and a new beginning of goodness. You freed the children of Abraham from the slavery of Pharaoh, bringing them dry-shod through the waters of the red sea, to be an image of the people set free in baptism...'.


Jimp, you and Frank seem to see baptism as an empty ritual, and I get the impression from your words that you think I believe water has power as of itself. Please know that I believe God washes away my sins. He does it through grace, because through baptism we enter into communion with Christs death and resurrection (1 Pet 3:21; Rom 6:3-8; Rom 4:25; Gal 2:20; Gal 5:24; Gal 6:14). It is through Christ that our redemption comes.

The first converts after Pentecost..."Repent and be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus for the FORGIVENESS OF SINS; and you shall receive the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:38).

"He who believes and is baptized will BE SAVED" (MK 16:16).

"Arise and be baptized, and WASH AWAY YOUR SINS (Acts 22:16).

"Baptism, which corresponds to this (baptism), now SAVES YOU (1Pet 3:21).

I think it is difficult to read these verses and tell people they have be saved by either: a prayer after an alter call or an emotional/spiritual 'feeling' that God has saved you.

 2012/11/30 17:25

Joined: 2005/6/18
Posts: 1481


hi andie, salvation and faith are an ever present tense. faith is now... to have assurance is in the now of God. johns baptism was old test. baptism the important baptism on the new covenant is being baptized in His death. reckon yourself dead... present yourself as a living sacrifice(dead man)... the life i now live is not my i do see the old test. pictures of baby dedication but as Jesus said they are condemned already .the parable of the vigins proves that you must be ready now. the bible tells us to die daily.jimp

 2012/11/30 17:49Profile

Joined: 2010/8/30
Posts: 2

 Re: catholic assurance

Since coming to jesus and repenting of my sins ,and accepting jesus as my savior i have the assurance that i am saved and washed in the precious blood of christ, "The spirit himself bears witness our spirit that we are children of God". Ro. 8:16. we know that we know that we know,down deep in our heart because the word of God says so,praise the lord.

 2012/11/30 17:50Profile


Hi Andie, you write........

"b. John links Spirit/water is other versus (John 7:38-39; John 1:33). And other NT passages describe baptism as a sacrament through the Spirit ( Acts 2:38; 1 Cor 6:11; Titus 3:5; 1 Pet 3:20-21)."

Lest look at the Scriptures that you say refers to water baptism in the context of John 3:5...

Joh 7:38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
Joh 7:39 (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)

As you can see from a plain reading that this Scripture has zero to do with water baptism Andie, it has to do with the Holy Spirit.

Act 2:37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
Act 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost

Here is great proofs against infant baptism. One must be convicted of sin, repent, and then as an outward sign be baptized in water in the name of Jesus. No baby can do that.

1Co 6:9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
1Co 6:10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
1Co 6:11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

You see Andie, this Scripture refers not to infants and babies, it refers to the thieves and drunkards and such who were gloriously saved and changed and had joy unspeakable.

Mar 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
Mar 16:16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
Mar 16:17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;

This scripture actually states that he that " believes," shall be saved. Again, Scripture is not broken, water baptism is a symbolic sign to the world of one who has believed and is justifed in the sight of God.

Andie, Jimp and I are speaking to your not knowing that if you died right now where you are going. You may ignore this question time and again, but its not going away Andie. If you die 30 seconds from reading this where will you go? Now I am not talking about some possible sin you may get into in the future, and I am assuming that you are not walking in " serious sin," I am talking about right now. This is the heart of this thread but it speaks volumes to the nature of what one believes. I believe there is not a single saint on this forum who could not answer that question Andie. Its not an unreasonable question dont you think? ...................bro Frank

 2012/11/30 20:15

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