"Sometimes Fundamentalists portray Catholics as if they must every moment be in terror of losing their salvation since Catholics recognize that it is possible to lose salvation through mortal sin.”
But the truth of the matter is that numerous Roman Catholics act as though they cannot have assurance of salvation. When asked what it takes for one to enter heaven, Catholics tend to point to their church attendance and being a good person. Christ is not the point of focus in life. This may not true in every instance, but we cannot overlook this problem. Consider also the words of Cardinal John O'Connor:
"Church teaching is that I don't know at any given moment, what my eternal future will be," the Cardinal wrote. I can hope, pray, do my very best-but I still don't know. Pope John Paul II doesn't know absolutely that he will go to heaven, nor does Mother Teresa of Calcutta, unless either has had a special revelation."
What is more, Catholics attend Mass on a weekly basis for the express purpose of receiving grace from God. Justification for them is viewed as a fixed regular payment that can be depleted daily by sin. The Roman Catholic Church views grace as forgiveness plus works of obedience, which is not a biblical definition of grace at all. It is an unmerited, undeserved gift of God (Romans 5:6-10; Ephesians 2:8-9).
The Bible tells us that we can have absolute assurance of salvation (John 5:24; 1 John 5:13). If we are in Jesus Christ, then we are fully justified (John 1:12; Romans 8:15-17). The salvation that He gives to believers is complete and instantaneous. We simply need to place our trust in Him (John 3:16; Acts 16:30-31). If we repent and believe on the gospel, then we are saved (Romans 10:9-10). We are saved by trusting in His work alone. Consider this excerpt from Ludwig Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, p. 262
We do not have to fear as Roman Catholics about quickly and unexpectedly loosing fellowship with God as a result of no longer being considered worthy. Justification cannot simply be a gift of God if our works contribute to it at all. Our justification is not based on performance, even though we are responsible for our eternal destiny. The question is how we respond to the gospel. Constant doubt is a logical consequence of a system of works righteousness.
We can have infallible assurance of salvation because it is rooted in the promises of God. He is faithful and trustworthy. He can neither lie nor deceive. In Roman Catholicism, committing one mortal sin constitutes a loss of all saving grace and so requires confession to an ordained priest. Thus, one could hypothetically lose his salvation thousands of times in a lifetime. Moreover, no man knows if he is going to commit one of those allegedly salvation forfeiting sins. What if a person dies before getting to the confessional? God is much bigger than this. The author of the article at Catholic Answers makes the following statements:
The New Testament most certainly does use three tenses in describing salvation. The initial tense simply involves God pardoning the iniquity of the sinner. Christians are no longer under the penalty of sin. That is justification. The ongoing tense involves being conformed gradually to character of the Lord Jesus Christ. That is sanctification. The future tense involves being utterly taken away from the presence of sin in heaven. That is glorification. The author seems to have equated justification with sanctification, which is an abysmal error. In addition, James Swan has made an observation regarding the irony interwoven in the midst of this theological catastrophe:
"Roman Catholics are always bringing up certainty, as if by being a member of the Roman Church, one of the benefits is certainty. That is, by being a Roman Catholic you can (allegedly) know with certainty which books are supposed to be in the Bible, you can know with certainty which is the church Jesus Christ established, you can know what the Bible says and means with certainty. But ironically, on a very basic (and important) fundamental human issue, you can’t have certainty of your salvation."
If one takes the Word of God to heart, then he will depend wholly on Christ for salvation (Matthew 11:28-30). We cannot make reparation for our sins because doing such requires a perfect substitute (Hebrews 7:25; 10:10-14).We cannot make reparation for our sins because that has already been accomplished at the cross. The gospel nowhere demands that it be administered through some complex church hierarchy. Works are the product, not the cause, of our justification before God. We do them out of gratitude for what He has accomplished on our behalf. We do good works because our hearts have been transformed through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.