Once a person has been justified through faith in Christ, do we lose our salvation each time we sin? Each time do we need to repent and confess our sin putting our faith in the atoning work of Christ in order to resaved again and again? That is the position of those who hold the theology of Charles Finney who writes, "the penitent soul remains justified no longer than this full-hearted consecration continues. If he falls from his first love into the spirit of self-pleasing, he falls again into bondage to sin and to the law, is condemned, and must repent and do his "first work," must return to Christ, and renew his faith and love, as a condition of his salvation."
Continuous Justification is the idea that those who have been
born of God are justified even when we sin.
Discrete Justification is the idea that those who have been born of God lose their justification and become unborn of God each time we sin. In this case justification through confession and repentance has to be sought for each instance of sin to be saved. Finney proposes that sanctification (living a holy life) is a condition for justification, rather than the other way around.
I contrast these two but in fact another significant position is the idea that one can sin up to a point before losing salvation. But nonetheless such a view does accept the idea of Continuous Justification until such a point is reached. Therefore the issue concerning Discrete Justification is not just about the concept of Eternal Security. For there are those who don't believe in Eternal Security and yet perceive that Discrete Justification is unBiblical.
Discrete Justification is held most commonly among Holiness groups in the Charismatic community who reckon that they no longer sin. That itself gives one pause. For John writes, "If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us." 1John 1:8 But rather than call such people liars outright, I think Jesus' approach would simply to be more specific in defining sin, just as he dealt with the man who asked what he must do to have eternal life. For example, let's say that you heard that your neighbor made alot of money on the stock market or such, and just for an instance you envied him. According to Finney you have now lost your salvation. Or if you at the supermarket checking our grogeries and took a second glance at that glamour magazine, you have sinned, and if you were to suddenly die right then you would end up in eternal damnation. Or if you misrepresent the views of other Christians, that is slander and you're on your way to hell. The Pharisees were also quick tojudge others and condemn others, but it seems they were rather blind to their own hypocrisy.