There is interest in the question of what happens to someone who continues to indulge in a specific sinful habit while (apparently, originally) saved. What happens to this person?

So far, I've asked a Truth Question, and to make matters worse, there's probably stridently different schools of thought on this not only between denominations but within congregations, if you worship in a real one. Nonetheless, can anyone provide an overview of the major theological schools of thought on this topic?

A good answer might be along the lines of Puritans saying, "No sinner remains in fellowship"; Luther's Theology of the Cross saying, "Only those who realize they are a slave to sin cling to Jesus like the truly saved"; and Total Depravity saying, "You're hell-bound: go make trouble." I'm hoping that someone qualified to answer this would be familiar with at least this variety of opinion and succinctly pick out three to six major schools and explain them briefly. A poor answer would be your denomination vs. the devil. The identifiable schools of thought could all be popes or all Tent Revivalists—it doesn't matter.

  • 1
    You will want to investigate the theological term "antinomianism" Aug 1, 2013 at 14:15

3 Answers 3


You've asked how various groups of Christians handle the problem of the believer who continues sinning in a particular way (presumably without even a show of repentence?) I can give you maybe three schools of thought on this.

  1. The "Carnal Christian" view: this view takes the doctrine of the preservation of the saints to a different level (one not intended by most adherents). The idea is that if God saves me, I'll be saved no matter what I do, so I might as well eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow I'll die and go to heaven. This idea is related to the Lordship controversy. Anyone in the Lordship controversy who argued that one can have Jesus Christ as Savior but not as Lord of their life, would adhere to this Carnal Christian view.

  2. The Arminian view: this view argues that one can lose one's salvation by sinning a lot. I don't think any Arminian would say that you could lose your salvation by sinning just once, but certainly, if you remain in sin for a long time, you would lose your salvation. Arminians include many, but certainly not all, Baptists, Methodists, Pentacostals, and no doubt others.

  3. The Reformed view: people who are in this sort of sin are one of two kinds of people: the elect or the non-elect (impossible for humans to determine - only God knows). If the deeply sinning person is elect, then the Holy Spirit will work in that person's life to lessen the power of sin, since God's purpose is not just to remove the guilt of sin, but the power of it as well. If the person is non-elect, then his "salvation" was illusory in the first place. Since we don't know who is elect and who isn't, it is not possible to distinguish between the two cases. However, the approach is the same for either: assume that a true believer will improve in their holiness and start sinning less. Those holding to the Reformed view would include many Presbyterians, Dutch Reformed (Continental), and Calvinist Baptists.


Catholic Perspective: There is no such idea, as "a state of being saved", while here on earth. This is a journey, you are saved once it is over.

If by "saved", you mean simply something like baptized, or in full communion with the church or something like this, then please clarify


The Catholic position is that there are certain sins that remove one's State of Justification, if one commits such a sin and dies, they will be condemned. If someone is in such a state, that person can repent and be restored to Justification through the Sacrament of Confession. There is no Catholic concept of "being saved" in the sense of "eternal security" or "once saved always saved"

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .