Saturday, May 4, 2013

Are You Saved?

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)." ♥


  1. Those passages and what is being pointed out here actually would be helpful to have memorized for conversations with 'born again' Christians. Usually they they hit a Catholic with one bible quote and the Catholic panics and doesn't have anything to say. Just a little bit of informed back-and-forth in our part can be helpful.

  2. I am always amazed when reading the "saved through works" argument that no one points out the obvious.

    That for those saved through faith in Christ, good works are a natural result of that grace.

    In other words, it isn't "works" that get you to heaven. The "works" comes naturally as a reflection of faith. Not as a requirement for it.

    Someone living in faith projects the grace of God which is what is meant by: "we will be judged by our works.

  3. Ephesians 2:8-9 says "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast."

    Works is a sign and result of faith: James 2:26 "For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead."

    And the reward for works is in proportion to ones works so therefore cannot be salvation:
    "The Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works" (Matthew 16:27).
    "[God] will render to each one according to his deeds" (Romans 2:6).
    "He who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor" (1 Corinthians 3:8).

  4. I always answer back to these questions thus: "Saved? No. Redeemed? Yes!"

    There is a great need to catechise Catholics about the difference between redemption [something Our Lord won for all men by His Death on Calvary] and each man's individual salvation, awarded him/denied him, at the particular judgment. When we grasp this, we have a great tool to convert those outside the Church.