Someone on Facebook posted a picture saying this and people were commenting “yes I accepted Jesus as my personal lord and savior on such and so date”. As a catholic we would say no but can someone explain why and how from the bible can we show that we can’t know for certain our salvation.
“Are you saved?” asks the Fundamentalist. 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. 1:18, 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).”
Basically, it comes down to what Jesus himself said, "He who endures to the end shall be saved. (Mt 10:22)
Salvation isn’t a one time event. It’s a process. We can lose it through sin and be cut off from God. (Rom 11:22) We can fall away from grace. (Gal 5:4) Even the great St. Paul himself recognized that he could lose his salvation when he said this:
“Therefore, I pommel my body and subdue it, lest after having preached to others I myself may be disqualified.” (1 Cor 9:27)
If St. Paul couldn’t even say he was 100% for sure going to make it to heaven, then how can we?
We have a moral assurance of salvation, but nowhere does scripture give an absolute assurance. What’s the difference? A moral assurance says that God provides us every ounce of grace we need to live and die in a state of sanctifying grace. It is all God’s grace, not anything we can boast of nor demand as fair pay for a saintly life. It’s a gift. Another way of saying this is: no soul will stand before God on their judgement day and be able to say to God, “You didn’t provide me the grace I needed to live a holy life, so you have no right to condemn me to Hell.” God gives us that moral assurance that He will do His part to get us to Heaven. However, that is different than an absolute assurance which says, “No matter what you do, say, or think, you, Sally Jones, will go to Heaven.” This flies in the face of so many passages of scripture which warn Christians of losing their inheritance due to neglect, apostasy, serious sin, and final impenitence. This idea of Once Saved Always Saved is truly diabolical in that it gives believers a false assurance that there is nothing they can do to “undo” their salvation. It completely denies free will in the equation of salvation and simply relegates “belief” to a one-time event where a soul is “saved”. It does not say that belief is a life-long testament of fidelity. They would simply say that we can’t be faithful, so don’t get hung up on that. A Catholic would say that the struggle for sanctity is the critical aspect of faith. The fruits of faith are necessary fruits.
While we should be vigilant about our salvation, we need not be paranoid. It truly is God working in us, so it doesn’t all depend on our human efforts. Also, He wills that all men be saved. Not that they will be, but it is God’s goal to reach out to each soul. He is not some ogre in Heaven eagerly waiting to condemn souls to perdition.
Also, we need not be so skeptical of our own salvation that we give the impression that we have no hope at all. That would be a depressing form of religion that would not draw converts nor mirror that hope of Christians throughout the centuries. We are not left dead in our sin, abandoned to certain damnation. No, we have an advocate with the Father, and that advocate is Our Lord who loves us and paid for us with His blood. He will not give up on our cause.
But what about people who through no fault of their own have never heard of Jesus or the Gospel?
The Bible says so…in Romans 11:
17 If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, 18 do not consider yourself to be superior to those other branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. 19 You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.” 20 Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but tremble. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either.
22 Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off.
As v22 says…it is conditional…in that continue in kindness…otherwise, you will cut off.
Whenever people ask that, I want to give a snarky remark along the lines of Fortune telling is a sin or As sure as I am of tomorrow’s DOW close.
Generally, I just say something along the lines of That’s between me and God.
The entire human race has been saved by the Paschal Mystery: the Passion, Death, Resurrection, and Ascension of Jesus. However, we have to, for lack of a better phrase, “cash in” on this salvation through Christ by having faith in Him through the Catholic Church alone and preforming good, charitable works for, in the words of Jesus, the “least of My brethren.”
May God bless you all!
In this case (invincible ignorance), from EWTN:
Concerning this doctrine the Pope of Vatican I, Pius IX, spoke on two different occasions. In an allocution (address to an audience) on December 9th, 1854 he said:
We must hold as of the faith, that out of the Apostolic Roman Church there is no salvation; that she is the only ark of safety, and whosoever is not in her perishes in the deluge; we must also, on the other hand, recognize with certainty that those who are invincible in ignorance of the true religion are not guilty for this in the eyes of the Lord. And who would presume to mark out the limits of this ignorance according to the character and diversity of peoples, countries, minds and the rest?
Again, in his encyclical Quanto conficiamur moerore of 10 August, 1863 addressed to the Italian bishops, he said:
It is known to us and to you that those who are in invincible ignorance of our most holy religion, but who observe carefully the natural law, and the precepts graven by God upon the hearts of all men, and who being disposed to obey God lead an honest and upright life, may, aided by the light of divine grace, attain to eternal life; for God who sees clearly, searches and knows the heart, the disposition, the thoughts and intentions of each, in His supreme mercy and goodness by no means permits that anyone suffer eternal punishment, who has not of his own free will fallen into sin.
Also, from the Catechism:
847 This affirmation is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church:
Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience - those too may achieve eternal salvation.
848 “Although in ways known to himself God can lead those who, through no fault of their own, are ignorant of the Gospel, to that faith without which it is impossible to please him, the Church still has the obligation and also the sacred right to evangelize all men.”
May God bless you!
If it’s truly through no fault of their own, and not willful negligence, the Church teaches they have the possibility of salvation, because they cooperated with the grace God gave them.
This grace isn’t apart from Christ or his Church though, but through it. If someone is sincerely seeking and following after the truth, then they are in fact seeking and following after Christ, who is the truth.
As a Catholic, I am 100% positive I go to heaven every time I go to Mass! Now all I have to do is receive the discipline to live the Mass 100% of the time!
How can we respond to some of these scripture passages this protestant site gives about salvation? Particularly the snatching from his hand part
From your link:
Jesus Himself assures those who believe in Him: “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all;*** no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand***” (John 10:28–29). Eternal life is just that—eternal. There is no one, not even yourself, who can take Christ’s God-given gift of salvation away from you.
The answer to your question is that while “…no one can snatch them from [Christ’s/the Father’s] hand”, that does not serve to nullify free will. “No one snatch[ing]” implicitly refers to a third party.
However, even a baptized Christian can still turn his/her back on God, and turn/return to sin, and thereby lose their salvation.
No one would therefore have ‘snatched’ such a Christian from God’s/Christ’s hand, yet, remaining consistent with the metaphor, the said Christian would have essentially jumped out of Christ’s/God’s hand, by turning/returning to sin.
Hence the need for perseverance referenced up-thread.
I am not 100% certain I am going to Heaven, and it would arrogant and presumptuous for me to think that I was. I just have to hope that God looks kindly on this sinner and cuts me a break.
By taking on the whole Bible, not just parts of the Bible. The site does not paint a complete picture, only a partial picture.
As Romans 11 says…22 Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off.
If one does not continue in kindness…you will be cut off…cut off from what?
1 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
Heb 10 says the same thing…26 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.
So to get a complete picture, take those verses in the link you provided, and add in Romans 11 and Heb 10 and Matt 7…you still have to do the will of the Father and persevere.
What about people who have heard the Gospel, but never received the grace to believe it even though they wanted to?
It’s fine to have confidence in your salvation, Paul himself has great confidence in his own salvation (**2 Timothy 4:8, "Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day–and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing."). But Paul himself knew that even in the end, he himself may be damned (**1 Corinthians 9:27, "I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.")
No one can be 100% sure of their salvation, though great confidence we may have, but assurance we cannot have. Jesus says, those who endure to the end shall be saved (Matthew 24:13)**
We don’t get to decide. Jesus is the just judge. In the creed it says:
I believe in Jesus Christ … he ascended into heaven and from there he shall judge the living and the dead…
We also have the parable of the sheep and the goats:
sheep to heaven, goats: not so much.
These are some of the criteria Jesus will use in his judgement: Feed the hungry, comfort the sorrowful, clothe the naked…
I think some protestants follow Paul as the savior, and Jesus with the Gospels are just supplementary material. Paul speaks much of faith, but he assumes you have heard the Gospels. They are primary, not Paul.
Faith leads to action. Without action, faith is of no value (see James for this).
Right. In addition, many of us, when we die, will be so sure that we’ve followed Jesus well - yet find out in the end that we’ve actually chosen Hell. Jesus Himself stated this in His parable of the sheep and the goats at the Last Judgment. This is actually also the point of Michelle Arnold’s latest blog piece on the front page - the people think they’re in line for Heaven, when they’re really in the line for Hell.
I don’t think I’m likely to go to Heaven at all. I can’t go a week without committing a mortal sin and every day I’ll have committed tons of venials(like swearing and stuff). If I can sneak into Purgatory I’d be happy but even that’s not likely and I’m almost definitely not going straight to Heaven(barely anyone does).