Advent and The "Once Saved Always Saved Teaching"
Last evening's vigil mass began the season of Advent. The reading from the epistle to the Thessalonians encourages us to be blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus. The Lord then warns us (Luke 21) to avoid drunkenness and debauchery* and not to be obsessed with the cares of this life. We are commanded, not suggested, to be ready for the Lord's second coming. Therefore, as a Catholic Christian, the advent season takes on a twofold purpose; celebrating his incarnation but also making sure we are ready when He comes again! Warning us, in no uncertain terms, that we need to "be vigilant at all times and pray that we have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man."
As a Protestant, I didn't appreciate this second aspect of the season and I love the way the Church encourages Maranatha at this time of year. Yes, advent encourages us to "prepare our hearts to make him room" this little babe born of the Virgin. But, at the same time we are exhorted by the Church to live lives worthy of our calling so we will be ready at the second coming.
My final point is that the "once saved always saved" teaching cannot coincide with these readings of Scripture. Why would our Lord and Saint Paul encourage us to avoid sin and be blameless if our actions had no effect on where we are to spend eternity? Why keep our lamps trimmed and burning if there is no consequences of our behavior?
Advent season is a season of joy and renewed hope and yet another opportunity to avail ourselves of Christ's mercy and grace to live a life that will cause us to not be ashamed at His coming.
*Our priest made a special point in his homily to mention that pornography is included in those warnings, which is not often preached about in Mass during advent!