Catholic Exegesis of Biblical Passages Allegedly Suggesting Absolute Assurance of Salvation

"Proof texts" must also be exegeted. Appearances of ostensible strength and multiple passages in support of a position can often be deceiving. On the other hand, some doctrines need only a few direct verses in order to be believed (e.g., the Virgin Birth or original sin). I shall offer counter-explanations for each of the biblical passages below, which were offered on a public discussion board by a Reformed Protestant (Calvinist) apologist. His verses were in the New American Standard Version of the Bible (NASB). Counter-verses of my own are in the Revised Standard Version (RSV).

John 10:26-29 But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand.

Of course Jesus gives eternal life to His sheep. No one disputes that. That's different from a person knowing whether he is one of His sheep, with absolute certainty. We can have a moral or practical assurance that we are presently in Christ, and following His will, as it is revealed in Holy Scripture.

John 5:24 Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.

I dealt with this in my paper: "Certainty" of Eternal Life? (1 John 5:13 and John 5:24).

Five verses later (Jn 5:29), our Lord Jesus speaks about ". . . those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment." No one who doesn't do the good works will inherit eternal life (cf. Matt 25:31-46), and we can't know now that we will always do good works.

The Calvinist, of course, has a ready explanation for someone who seemed to be a Christian, and then fell away or fell into extremely serious sin: he was "obviously" never saved. But this perfectly illustrates the conundrum: if such a person thought he was saved and in the elect, but actually wasn't, as later proved by his behavior, then in fact, neither he nor anyone else possessed the so-called "assurance" that he was saved, from the beginning. That's true for him, and for all of us individually. We simply don't know the future. All we can do is strive to follow God's will earnestly, just as Paul stressed, "lest we become disqualified."

John 6:39 And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day.

Obviously so, but this is irrelevant to the question at hand. The Catholic commentary would be the same as for Jn 10:26-29.

Romans 11:29 for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.

Absolutely, but this is a non sequitur, as to absolute individual assurance. Even if it has an application to salvation, it doesn't show that the individual's assurance of his own salvation; only that, in fact, if one is in the elect, this is irrevocable.

Ephesians 1:13 In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation-- having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise,

This is initial justification. Final or eschatological justification and salvation, however, is conditioned upon walking in the good works "which God prepared beforehand" (Eph 2:10; cf. 4:22-32, 5:1-18). Paul later in his epistle emphasizes that attaining salvation is an ongoing struggle, possible only by God's grace: "be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil" (6:10-11). Nothing here gives any assurance that this battle is already won; it's not yet certain. Paul is urging perseverance: ". . . take the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand" (6:13). ". . . keep alert with all perseverance . . ." (6:18).

Philippians 1:6 For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.

First of all, we must understand that Paul is writing to a church. I doubt that any Calvinist would claim that the entire church of Philippi consisted of all elect people who would be saved and go to heaven. So the statement above must be qualified somewhat. God will do whatever He wishes (no argument there). It is only in applying it to any given individual where we have much less certainty. There is no such certainty, not even for Paul about his own salvation, for later in the same epistle, he writes:

that if possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brethren, I do not consider that I have made it my own . . . I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:11-14)

One must harmonize all these verses, not simply present one strain of apostolic thought to the exclusion of the other.

1 Peter 1:3-5 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

Again, St. Peter is writing to a group (thought to be Christians in northern Asia Minor). Unless one claims every one of them was saved and of the elect (cf. 2:9-10), then it seems apparent that the above must be interpreted as the explication of a general principle: the self-evident tautology that those who are predestined by God are predestined. Peter goes on to spend a great deal of time   dealing with good works, which exhibit the "genuineness" of faith (1 Pet 1:7). When it comes to the individual, however, all of a sudden, Peter teaches, "Like newborn babes, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up to salvation" (2:2). What? "Grow up" to what is already possessed? What sense does that make? And in another writing, Peter states:

Forsaking the right way they have gone astray; they have followed the way of Balaam, . . . For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overpowered, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. (2 Peter 2:15,20-21)

This doesn't seem to teach absolute assurance of salvation, as a one-time event.

Psalm 37:28. For the Lord loves justice, and does not forsake His saints; they are preserved forever, but the descendants of the wicked shall be cut off.

This tells us nothing about how one knows for sure that he is of the elect. The only way to even speculate and have any assurance at all is to be righteous and holy: that is the biblical teaching, and why works are so emphasized at the Judgment.

Psalm 121:3,7-8. He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber.… The Lord shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul. The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in from this time forth, and forevermore.

This is proverbial in some sense, and conditioned upon human cooperation. After all, even King David, a "man after God's own heart," one with whom God made an eternal covenant, committed murder and adultery. God didn't preserve him from all evil (people had to die because of his sin). But David repented. That's the whole point. We can fall and repent and be restored by God's grace and mercy and boundless lovingkindness. God will preserve His elect. Thus, many of these alleged "proof texts" for assurance are self-evident truths that all Christians agree with, and no proof of a Calvinist position over against the Arminian or Catholic or Orthodox soteriological positions.

Jeremiah 32:40. And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from doing them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts so that they will not depart from Me.

Only God knows who His elect are. He will cause them to persevere. From our human perspective, we do not know this; therefore, we must be vigilant, as Paul warns repeatedly. It's easy to come up with the Calvinist position if a simplistic exegesis is taken, and contrary verses are ignored. Anyone can do that. The trick is to harmonize all of Scripture.

John 17:11. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are.

See commentary for Ps 37:28, above.

Romans 14:4. Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand.

Ditto. No one has the slightest disagreement with this.

Romans 16:25. Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ....

Ditto. The same Paul writes to certain folks:

. . . because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, 'Abba! Father!' . . . Formerly, when you did not know God, you were in bondage to beings that by nature are no gods; but now that you have come to know God, or rather, to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and beggarly elemental spirits, whose slaves you want to be once more? (Galatians 4:6,8-9)

And you, who once were estranged and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and irreproachable before him, provided that you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel which you heard . . .  (Colossians 1:21-23)

. . . stand fast therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery . . . You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. (Galatians 5:1,4)


1 Corinthians 10:13. No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

This is a non sequitur. God gives power to overcome temptation: a completely uncontroversial truth. But what is the context? St. Paul in chapter 10 writes about the disobedience of the Jews wandering in the wilderness. He writes, "these things are warnings for us, not to desire evil as they did" (10:6). He urges against idolatry and immorality, mentioning that "23,000 fell in a single day" (10:8). He writes, "we must not put the Lord to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents" (10:9). He cautions Christians that "these things happened to them as a warning, but they were written down for our instruction . . . " (10:11). But of course, he tells the Corinthians that they are "safe and secure in Christ, not to worry; they are already saved," right? Wrong! Rather, he warns:

Therefore let any one who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. (1 Corinthians 10:12)

After that, he affirms the truth that God's power is able to withstand all temptation. None of this proves in the slightest that believers cannot fall away, or are assured of instant salvation, as if the Christian life is the equivalent of instant fast food at McDonalds. Paul is writing about God's power, not our assurance that we went up to an altar on a certain Sunday and "got saved," and "accepted Jesus into our hearts" and are therefore guaranteed a spot in heaven.

2 Corinthians 9:8. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, have an abundance for every good work.

Another non sequitur for our supposed subject.

Ephesians 5:25. Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for it, that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish.

The subject of the "holiness" of the Church (the sense in the Nicene Creed: "one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church") is too involved to get into here. The Church also clearly contains sinners, in Scripture, so this verse would eventually cause more trouble for the Calvinist than support for their novel positions. Entire churches can fall away, according to our Lord Jesus Himself (Revelation 2:4-5).

I Thessalonians 5:23-24. Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.

Once again, the obvious truth that Paul is writing to an entire Church, is neglected. Paul is simply praying for them, that God will do this. God indeed will do this for His elect, but that is not our present inquiry, which is assurance of the individual that he is saved once and for all.

2 Thessalonians 3:3. But the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one.

He sure is faithful. Amen!

2 Timothy 1:12. For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless, I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.

2 Timothy 4:18. And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen!

Indeed, if one is predestined for heaven, God will do all this. The same Paul, however, also writes these words to Timothy:

Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by giving heed to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons. (1 Timothy 4:1)

For some have already strayed after Satan. (1 Timothy 5:15)


Hebrews 12:2. Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.

No one disagrees with this, either, so it is a non sequitur with regard to the subject of assurance.

Jude 1. To those who are called, sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ.

Jude 24. Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy....

Of course. Non sequiturs . . .

Matthew 24:24; Mark 13:22. For false christs and false prophets will arise and show great signs and wonders, so as to deceive, if possible, even the elect.

John 6:39. This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at that last day.

No one disagrees with this. Nor is God's sovereignty under dispute, or God's undeserved love for the elect, or election itself (the Catholic only disagrees with predestined reprobation). Regeneration and the indwelling are separate issues. Protestants can't even agree amongst themselves about this (Luther accepted baptismal regeneration, Calvin didn't, etc.). Catholics believe that Christ's redemptive work is sufficient to save anyone, but that people can reject His work for them.

1 Corinthians 9 and 10

As someone else pointed out, Paul, in 1 Cor 9:27, is certainly talking about salvation in context (not "service," as my Reformed friend suggested). His metaphor refers to the Olympics (or similar local games). The Olympic athlete competed for a "perishable wreath," but Paul was striving after the "imperishable" (wreath) -- 1 Corinthians 9:25 (RSV; KJV: "incorruptible"). All through the next chapter (and the Bible didn't originally have chapters), Paul gives the example of the disobedient Jews in the wilderness, many of whom God killed.

This is a standard allegorical, biblical, Hebraic comparison of physical life to spiritual life. Physical death for the ancient Jews represented spiritual death to the Christian, just as "salvation" or "deliverance" in the OT (notably, Psalms and Isaiah) usually referred to victory in a war or from an enemy. The NT readily applies that to theology and salvation.

The Greek word for "imperishable" in 1 Cor 9:25 is aphthartos (Strong's word #862); the same one Paul uses at 1 Cor 15:51-52:

. . . we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.

Paul also applies the word to God in Romans 1:23 and 1 Tim 1:17. But in 1 Cor 15 it is obviously referring to the resurrection from the dead (as all agree). It seems quite reasonable and plausible, then, to infer that Paul is referring to the same thing in 1 Cor 9:25. The Olympic athlete was competing for the wreath, Paul and the Christian are working for the imperishable wreath of a resurrected body (i.e., salvation in heaven, in a glorified body). Therefore, to be "disqualified" from receiving this prize is to lose one's salvation. One can come to no other conclusion. The conclusion that this is "service" is mere desperate special pleading.

Another indication that the soteriological interpretation is correct is Paul's use of the word "prize" in 1 Cor 9:24 (Gk., brabeion -- Strong's word #1017). It appears only one other time in the NT: Philippians 3:14: "I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call in Christ Jesus." Now, in context, Paul is again clearly talking about the resurrection from the dead:

that if possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brethren, I do not consider that I have made it my own; buit one thing I do, forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on . . .  (Phil 3:11-13, 14a)

Kittel's Theological Dictionary of the NT concurs as to the meaning of prize / brabeion:

Paul has it in 1 Cor 9:24 ff. and Phil. 3:13-14 for the prize of eternal life . . .

(p. 110, one-volume abridged ed.)

Calvinists think resurrection from the dead (or salvation, or eternal life) is attained only by justification, not by man's strivings. Therefore, Paul is referring to "working out his salvation" (Phil 2:12-13; more context); working through his justification, since sanctification alone (service?) cannot save one, according to Calvinist theology. The resurrection or eternal life are not merely "rewards" for "service," but tantamount to salvation itself, for whoever is saved will also be resurrected. Paul  more than once discusses the general resurrection in the context of salvation (e.g., Romans 6:3-14, 1 Cor 15:12-23; cf. Heb 11:35).

Galatians 5:1,4 . . . stand fast therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery . . . You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace.

My friend then argued that people who seemingly fall away from faith were "severed from the covenant community" similar to those severed from the olive tree in Romans 11. They never had faith to begin with, and didn't trust Jesus alone for justification, so they are dead branches.
There is a problem, however, with such a view. How can one be severed from something or someone if in fact he was never connected to something or someone? And how can a person "fall away from grace" if they have never had it? What sense does it make to say that someone "fell off the ledge" if, in fact, they never sat on it in the first place? Why does Paul admonish the Galatians to "stand fast therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery" (Gal 5:1), if there is no danger for that happening whatsoever? These people were Christians and now are not: "You were running well; who hindered you from obeying the truth?" (Gal 5:7).

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and turning to a different gospel . . .  (Gal 1:6)

O foolish Galatians! [referred to as "the churches of Galatia" in 1:2]. . . Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law, or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun with the Spirit, are you now ending with the flesh? Did you experience so many things in vain? (Gal 3:1-4)

Paul nowhere in this epistle takes my Calvinist friend's approach of claiming that the straying people were severed from the churches of Galatia or never were part of it (wolves in sheep's clothing). Quite the contrary; he rebukes the "foolish Galatians" en masse. He rebukes them, then he will turn around and write (presupposing that restoration is possible):

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh . . . I warn you as I warned you before, that those who do such things shall not inherit the Kingdom of God . . . If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit . . . Brethren, if a man is overtaken . . .  (Gal 5:16,21,25, 6:1).

Romans 11 was appealed to as an analogy. I see no indication in Galatians that someone is cut off eternally, either from the church or from God. In any event, if we examine Romans 11 closely it only greatly strengthens the Catholic "case." The branches broken off were the unbelieving Jews. But note how Paul thinks about this. Does he casually assume that the Christians who have been grafted onto the tree are absolutely safe from falling away like some of the Jews did? No. Here is what he states:

. . . They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast only through faith. So do not become proud, but stand in awe. For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you. Note, then the kindness and the severity of God: severity towards those who have fallen, but God's kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness; otherwise you too will be cut off. And even the others, if they do not persist in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again. (Romans 11:20-23; see also 11:24)

This is a remarkable confirmation of Catholic and Arminian soteriology (one I had never noticed before). Note that being a Christian offers no further guarantee of absolute assurance of salvation than being Jewish did. People can still fall away, because people are people, and can rebel. The Jews were cut off, but Paul says they can be "grafted in" again. The Calvinist would likely reply, "well, they were never saved, so, no problem." Sure, but the rub and important, relevant point here is that the Christian is no different, because they, too, can fall away. They are only secure "provided  [they] continue in his kindness; otherwise [they] too will be cut off." This makes no sense at all if a Christian can never fall away. Paul simply wouldn't write this way. It would be nonsensical and absurd.

Paul writes: "Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on Eternal life unto which thou art also called" (I Tim. 6:12). The whole point is how to harmonize or synthesize the two strains of thought: the assurance of God, and the need for the person to be vigilant in matters of their own salvation. The Catholic and Arminian can easily do so. The Calvinist cannot. Paul in 1 Tim 6:11 is making an exhortation, not issuing a statement of metaphysical finality. He doesn't say Timothy will inevitably do all this great stuff because he is saved, and it is therefore inevitable, etc., etc.

Rather, he urges him to "shun all this; aim at righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness." (1 Tim 6:11) He has already stated shortly before that people can fall away from the faith. That is presupposed in this exhortation. The language of "take hold of" does not sound like this is something already accomplished. Paul even ends the letter with another warning (odd, if Timothy's salvation is so irrevocably secure):

O Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you. Avoid the godless chatter and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge, for by professing it some have missed the mark as regards the faith . . .  (1 Tim 6:20-21)

Why should Paul warn Timothy and mention people who had "missed the mark" if there was in reality no reason to make such a warning? He mentioned others who fell away near the beginning of the letter:

By rejecting conscience, certain persons have made shipwreck of their faith, among them Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have delivered to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme. (1 Tim 1:19-20)

Note that they had a faith to begin with, and shipwrecked it; also that Paul believes they can be restored. We know this from a parallel instance in 1 Cor 5:3-5, where Paul commands the Corinthians to "deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus." Later, in 2 Cor 2:6-11, Paul urges that the man be restored to the fellowship. Conclusion: even people who have made a shipwreck of their faith can be restored to the Christian life and status of Christian again.

I then offered the very explicit passage Hebrews 3:12-14:

Take care, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day . . . that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we share in Christ, if only we hold our first confidence firm to the end.

How did my Calvinist friend reply to this? By citing a verse absolutely irrelevant to the discussion of falling away:

Wherefore He (Christ) is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. (Hebrews 7:25)

So what??? Who denies that our Lord Jesus Christ can save anyone who comes to Him? This is illustrative of the serious problem of many Calvinists in understanding and comprehending the Catholic and Arminian views. No one is saying that the elect fail to be saved. They will be. But we don't know whether we are of the elect. It is true that some people never were Christians at all, as I Jn 2:19 indicates. But that by no means explains all the examples I have brought to bear, such as the following:

Hebrews 6:4-6 For it is impossible to restore again to repentance those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God, and the powers of the age to come, if they then commit apostasy . . .

The elect are the elect and will be saved. Those who are predestined will go to heaven, of course. That was never at issue. What is at issue is whether a person can be regenerate and justified and sanctified and indwelt with the Spirit, yet fall from God's graces (and whether such a one can be restored). At some level, the Calvinist or Baptist believer in eternal security has to deny this. Again and again they state that the ostensible apostate "never was saved." The Catholic and Orthodox and Arminian affirm it, and the reason they do is seen in the many biblical evidences above, which cannot be ignored and subjected to the dogmatic predispositions of a man-made theology.

Indeed, one can have a high moral assurance (through prayer and self-examination and knowledge of the Scriptures and Christian teaching) that they are right with God, so that if they died, they would be saved, but no more than that. I don't lose a moment's sleep worrying over whether I am saved or not. I simply concern myself with living a righteous life and trying not to sin (certainly a very strong biblical motif itself). I don't approach the subject much differently (in practical, everyday terms) than I did when I was a Protestant who believed that one was "saved" in an instant.

We simply deny that one can have absolute knowledge or certainty of their own salvation. What we do possess along those lines doesn't reach the level of absolute knowledge. If someone is elect, they are predestined to eternal life, but I am considering the subject from our human perspective (which is all we can do, since we have no revelation listing who is in the book of life and who isn't).

Catholic theology and spirituality emphasizes the human effort at seeking to live the holy life (while not at all denying that God's grace is the entire basis of anything good we do). From the human, limited (Catholic) perspective, we do not possess "salvation" entirely until the day we die and face God at the Judgment and He declares one way or the other.

It depends on whether we look at this from a human or divine perspective. It is a paradox of sorts (one of many in the Christian life). From the human point of view, I don't see how any other answer could be given (because that vision is limited, unlike God's). We can have a high degree of moral assurance upon self-examination, confession and absolution, etc. but not an absolute certainty, not even in faith (considered apart from philosophy or epistemology and suchlike). Thus it is ultimately meaningless to assert that we "have eternal life."

From God's vantage-point it is different. The only way we could possibly say that someone "has eternal life" (presently) is to know whether they are of the elect or not. An elect person "has" it already, I suppose. But Arminian and Catholic and Orthodox theology always allow for the possibility of falling away (again, from our human perspective). Whether a person committing a murder or adultery or other serious, mortal sin, has eternal life at the time they are doing those sins, is an absurd question from the Catholic perspective. They may be among the elect, and will repent, but right then, they are out of God's will, not following Him, and not in possession of eternal life -- as long as they remain in a state of mortal sin.

Catholics believe these are serious sins which separate a soul from God in some sense and to some degree analogous to how hell separates a soul from God. First things first: one must get right with God and cease sinning, and when they fall again, they must repent, get up and try to do better, with God's help. Most of us will not attain to the infused righteousness necessary to enter heaven, and that is where purgatory (one of God's greatest graces and mercies) comes in.

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