Are you saved?
Have you ever been asked this question? Has anyone ever told you that Catholics think they can work their way into Heaven?
The Catholic Church does not now, nor has it ever, taught a doctrine
of salvation by works - that we can “work” our way into Heaven. And, the
Bible does not teach that we are saved by “faith alone.” The only place
in all of Scripture where the phrase “Faith Alone”
appears, is in James 2:24, where it says that we are not justified (or
saved) by faith alone. However, if works have nothing to do with our
salvation, then how come every passage in the New Testament that talks
about judgment says we will be judged by our works, not by whether or
not we have faith alone? (See Rom 2, Matthew 15 and 16, 1 Ptr 1, Rev 20
and 22, 2 Cor 5, and many, many more verses).
If we are saved by faith alone, why does 1 Cor 13:13 say that love is greater than faith? Shouldn’t it be the other way around?
As Catholics we believe that we are saved by God’s grace alone. We can
do nothing, apart from God’s grace, to receive the free gift of
salvation. We also believe, however, that we have to respond to God’s
grace. Protestants believe that, too. However, many Protestants believe
that the only response necessary is an act of faith; whereas, Catholics
believe a response of "faith and works" is necessary, or, as the Bible
puts it in Galatians 5:6, “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor
uncircumsion is of any avail, but faith working through love." (Just as
the Church teaches.)
St. Paul said he needed to work out his
salvation with "fear and trembling." If anyone professed their faith in
Jesus it was Paul. If he felt so assured of his salvation because of his
faith alone in Jesus, why then would he be trembling, and have to work
out his salvation?
So, the next time someone asks you if you are saved, the Catholic should reply:
As the Bible says, I am already saved (Rom. 8:24, Eph. 2:5–8), but I’m
also being saved (1 Cor. 1:8, 2 Cor. 2:15, Phil. 2:12), and I have the
hope that I will be saved (Rom. 5:9–10, 1 Cor. 3:12–15). Like the
apostle Paul I am working out my salvation in fear and trembling (Phil.
2:12), with hopeful confidence in the promises of Christ (Rom. 5:2, 2
Tim. 2:11–13)." ♥