The Knowledge of Salvation

Some Evangelical Protestant and Pentecostal Christians believe that an individual Christian can have a certain unmistakable knowledge, an assurance from God, that one is saved.

Roman Catholic Christians believe that a Christian can have a firm hope and confidence of salvation, but that no one can know of one's final salvation with absolute certainly. This fact is amply affirmed in the New Testament.

Mt 10:22
... but whoever endures to the end will be saved.
Mt 24:13
But the one who perseveres to the end will be saved.
Mk 13:13
But the one who perseveres to the end will be saved.
Lk 9:62
(To him) Jesus said, "No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God."
1 Cor 10:12
Therefore, whoever thinks he is standing secure should take care not to fall.
Phil 2:12-13
So then, my beloved, obedient as you have always been, not only when I am present but all the more now when I am absent, work out your salvation with fear and trembling. For God is the one who, for his good purpose, works in you both to desire and to work.
2 Cor 6:3-5
We cause no one to stumble in anything, in order that no fault may be found with our ministry; on the contrary, in everything we commend ourselves as ministers of God, through much endurance, in afflictions, hardships, constraints, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, vigils, fasts;
1 Cor 4:3-5
It does not concern me in the least that I be judged by you or any human tribunal; I do not even pass judgment on myself; I am not conscious of anything against me, but I do not thereby stand acquitted; the one who judges me is the Lord. Therefore, do not make any judgment before the appointed time, until the Lord comes, for he will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will manifest the motives of our hearts, and then everyone will receive praise from God.
Heb 6:11-12
We earnestly desire each of you to demonstrate the same eagerness for the fulfillment of hope until the end, so that you may not become sluggish, but imitators of those who, through faith and patience, are inheriting the promises.
1 Pet 1:13
Therefore, gird up the loins of your mind, live soberly, and set your hopes completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Rom 5:2
... we boast in hope of the glory of God.
Rom 8:24-25
For in hope we were saved. Now hope that sees for itself is not hope. For who hopes for what one sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait with endurance.

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By Paul Flanagan and Robert Schihl.
Catholic Biblical Apologetics, © Copyright 1985-1997, Paul Flanagan and Robert Schihl

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture texts are taken from the New American Bible with Revised New Testament and Revised Psalms © 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

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Last Updated: January 3, 1997