Many evangelicals believe that a justified person cannot lose his salvation (i.e., lose his justification). In which century was this teaching introduced for the first time?

a.     2nd  century

b.     4th century

c.      7th century

d.     16th century



THE ANSWER IS…..D…… 16th century.


Prior to the Reformation, all Christians from the first century on (including Church Fathers, bishops and theologians) understood the Bible to be teaching that it was possible to lose one’s salvation.


The Early Christians believed that even after they were saved, mortal sin would cause them to lose the grace they needed to enter heaven. That is what the Catholic Church continues to teach. Of course, mortal sins can be forgiven, and justification can be restored by the grace of God, and by the grace of God only.


Just because we believe it is possible to lose our justification does not mean we believe we are going in and out of damnation every day. That’s just plain silly. Many Christians I know will continue growing in their sanctification until their death, never once losing their justification.


Note: When I refer to “losing one’s salvation,” I assume you understand I am referring to losing saving grace. Obviously, one cannot lose salvation if one hasn’t got it to begin with. Either our names are written in the Book or Life, or they are not. That never changes.


For more info, see




Regarding the possibility of losing one’s salvation or being cut off, also see Romans 11:22, Gal 5:4, 1 Cor 9:27, Heb 6:4-6, Heb 10:26-27, Mt 24:13, 1 Cor 10:11-12, 2 Tim 2:11-13, Mt 7:18, Mt 22:14, Luke 12:42-46, Luke 15:11-32, Rev 22:19, Rev. 3:11, Rom 11:20-22, Rom. 1:28; Titus 1:16; 2 Tim. 3:8; 2 Cor. 13:5-7, 1 John 5:16-17, plus Ezekiel 18:24 (Old Testament))

See http://www.scripturecatholic.com/salvation.html#salvation-II

St. Augustine agreed. His book “The Gift of Perseverance” examines why it is that some justified people lose their justification, whereas some persevere in it until the end.



As you can see below, the Bible never says you cannot lose your salvation, but it says that you can! All Church Fathers agreed.

 All together, the concept of being able to lose one’s justification is taught in 26 of the 27 New Testament books.

Rom 11:22: “See then the kindness and severity of God: severity of those who fell, but God’s kindness to you, provided you remain in his kindness; otherwise, you too will be cut off.”

Matt 24:13: “But the one who perseveres to the end will be saved.”

1 Cor 9:27: “No, I drive my body and train it, for fear that, after having preached to others, I myself should be disqualified” (Note: if anyone was ever secure in their salvation it should be Paul, after the horse experience, yet he teaches that even he could be disqualified from salvation!)

1 Cor 10: 11-12: “These things happened to them as an example, and they have been written down as a warning to us, upon whom the end of the ages has come. Therefore, whoever thinks he is standing secure should take care not to fall.”

Gal 5:4 “separated from Christ, you have fallen from grace.”

2 Tim 2:11-13 “If we have died with him, we shall also live with him; if we persevere, we shall also reign with him..”

Heb 6:4-6: “For it is impossible in the case of those who have once been enlightened and tasted the heavenly gift and shared in the holy Spirit and tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to bring them to repentance again, since they are re-crucifying the Son of God for themselves and holding him up to contempt.”

Heb 10:26-27: “If we sin deliberately after receiving knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains sacrifice for sins but a fearful prospect of judgment and a flaming fire that is going to consume the adversaries.”




Back to StillCatholic.com








Quick Links on the Early Church: Church Fathers, Life of St. Augustine, St. Irenaeus (Bishop of Lyons), Clement of Rome, Clement of Alexandria, St. Ignatius of Antioch, Pelagianism, The Confessions by St. Augustine, The City of God by St. Augustine, the Martyrdom of Polycarp, Epistle to St. Polycarp, St. Basil the Great, St. Cyril of Jerusalem, St. Cyprian of Carthage, St. Jerome, St. Gregory of Nyssa, St. Barnabas, St. John Chrysostom, St. Ambrose, Eusebius, The Faith of the Early Church Fathers book, Did the Church Fathers Believe in Sola Scriptura? Foundations of Protestantism, Still Catholic