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The terms "Perseverance of the Saints," "Eternal Security," and the phrase "once saved, always saved" are a bit fuzzy in my head. I understand the general concept behind them, but what are the differences between these various views or doctrines?

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up vote 12 down vote accepted

Put simply, perseverance of the saints refers to the Calvinistic view that since Christians are chosen (or "elect") by God prior to conception, it is impossible to lose salvation - if we have it, we've always had it, if we "lose it," we never had it to begin with.

Eternal Security (Also known as "Free Grace") is the view that once someone believes in Jesus Christ as the their Lord and savior, they have eternal life.

"Once saved, always saved" is generally attributed to the former view, as it has to do with Calvinistic predestination, whereas the latter view says that once you make the "decision" to believe, you can't lose your promise of eternal life regardless of subsequent actions.

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So am I understanding correctly that the basic difference is whether one believes in "Unconditional Election"? – Flimzy Sep 21 '11 at 8:02
+1 and welcome to Christianity.SE. This answer does hit on something, but there is another aspect to this as well. Perseverance of the Saints covers the time during this life where we continue to faithfully serve our master, while Eternal Security really just suggests that our position as saved/unsaved when it comes to final judgement can't be changed. – Caleb Sep 21 '11 at 8:59
I would disagree on your definition of Perseverance of Saints. The way I was taught it was as a doctrinal belief, not as a period of time. – Mike Riess Sep 28 '11 at 19:31

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