Assurance of Salvation

I hope this is the right place to put this thread :smiley:

I have a question about the Catholic teachings about assurance of salvation and how to defend it. My mother, who is a Protestant minister, just recently finished a course in Protestant evangelization and decided that I would be a good person to start with :stuck_out_tongue: My mother has no problem now with me becoming a Baptized Catholic soon, but she wanted to make sure that I knew the ‘full gospel’. Although I know that she had good intentions, many of the things that she tried to convince me of were extremely contrary to Catholic teaching, such as sola fide and assurance of salvation. She repeatedly asked me the question ‘If you were to die today, would you know for sure you would go to Heaven?’ I told her that I hope to go to Heaven, but that this decision was up to God and not me. She then told me that ‘We need to rely on God’s promises because He told us that whoever believes in Him will have eternal life.’ I tried to explain to her in a kind way that we are not saved by faith alone and explained to her my position on assurance of salvation, but she continued to ask me over again. Finally, she asked me again. It was 11:30 PM, I was tired, somewhat frustrated, and I wanted to go to bed, and so I just smiled and said ‘Most certainly :D!’ and then she let me off.

So my questions are:

  1. Did I do anything wrong by saying that I had assurance of salvation just to get out of my mother’s questioning, even though I didn’t mean it?

  2. How do I calm my mother fears about me ‘being saved’ and ‘being sure you’re going to Heaven’ while staying true and explaining to her the Catholic Church’s teachings?

Thanks and God bless! :smiley:

This website should help you. God bless.

That website is a goldmine! Thanks for the link.


Also, have your mom listen to this. THis guy is awesome when defending the faith…

CA has some good articles on this topic.
Assurance of Salvation?
The Nightmare World of Jack T. Chick Assurance of Salvation Chick occasionally takes swipes at the Catholic Church for not teaching …

Was it presumption for Sts. John and Paul to write they were heaven-bound

I also have a couple on my blog that might help.
How Is A Catholic Saved?
Who REALLY Preaches “A Different Gospel”?

Others have provided great resources for you and for your mother. I hope that you and she can have many wonderful and fulfilling conversations in the future.

So my questions are:

  1. Did I do anything wrong by saying that I had assurance of salvation just to get out of my mother’s questioning, even though I didn’t mean it?

Short answer…No you did nothing wrong. We DO have assurance of salvation. The important thing to remember is to not confuse “assurance” with “insurance”.
I know that this can be a tricky distinction, but basically what it boils down to is whether heaven is guaranteed or whether we can “lose our salvation” - put another way, can on lose their faith after finding it.
As you grow in your faith, you will develop a greater understanding of this and be able to express it more fully to your mom.

  1. How do I calm my mother fears about me ‘being saved’ and ‘being sure you’re going to Heaven’ while staying true and explaining to her the Catholic Church’s teachings?

You will not be able to calm your mother’s fears with any sort of short or quick answers. In fact, the best way to help her come to understanding is through explaining Church teaching to her.
Se believes in Faith Alone…Ask her what that means? What does Faith entail?
Ask her to define Faith…A faith that saves.
Talk with her about passages like James 2:14-26 where it is shown how faith and works are interconnected.
Talk about My 25:31-46 and how we are judged not on what we believe, but on what we do. How in this passage even some who claim belief and “gifts” are condemned for their lack of Loving works of Charity.
Talk about 1 Cor 13:1-13 where Paul speaks of the superiority of Love and even says plainly that, “…if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.”.

She will no doubt have good answers for these various passages - about how works without faith are worthless. About how works must stem from faith to have any value and how works are not separate from faith but are a natural outpouring of faith…
All of these would be good answers on her part…
But what you and she will likely come to is an understanding that you BOTH really believe the same, or similar, things but that there are differences in terminology maybe emphasis.

As you grow in faith - as you patiently explain things to her from the bible and also provide her with good reading material that is likewise bible based, you will not only alleviate her concerns about your soul, but you will help her to come to a new appreciation for how thoroughly “bible based” the Catholic Church is.

Thanks and God bless! :smiley:

You are welcome. I hope that this is of help in some small way.


Yes, we do have assurance of salvation. We just don’t have the 100% certainty that God, alone, can have. I appreciate what the Council of Trent, Session 6, Chap 9 had to say on this matter regarding the claims of the Reformers at the very beginnings of the Protestant Reformation:

**Against the vain confidence of Heretics.

But, although it is necessary to believe that sins neither are remitted, nor ever were remitted save gratuitously by the mercy of God for Christ’s sake; yet is it not to be said, that sins are forgiven, or have been forgiven, to any one who boasts of his confidence and certainty of the remission of his sins, and rests on that alone; seeing that it may exist, yea does in our day exist, amongst heretics and schismatics; and with great vehemence is this vain confidence, and one alien from all godliness, preached up in opposition to the Catholic Church. But neither is this to be asserted,-that they who are truly justified must needs, without any doubting whatever, settle within themselves that they are justified, and that no one is absolved from sins and justified, but he that believes for certain that he is absolved and justified; and that absolution and justification are effected by this faith alone: as though whoso has not this belief, doubts of the promises of God, and of the efficacy of the death and resurrection of Christ. For even as no pious person ought to doubt of the mercy of God, of the merit of Christ, and of the virtue and efficacy of the sacraments, even so each one, when he regards himself, and his own weakness and indisposition, may have fear and apprehension touching his own grace; seeing that no one can know with a certainty of faith, which cannot be subject to error, that he has obtained the grace of God.

I kind of don’t get the last part of the chapter from the Council of Trent. Does that mean that we cannot be sure that we have received God’s grace? Or have I just read it wrongly :p? Thanks and God bless.

The only people who are assured of salvation are those who are baptised, Catholic, and die in a state of grace.

3 Words:

Book of James

James 2:21-25

Was not Abraham our father justified by works? You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only. Likewise, was not Rabab the harlot also justified by works? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

It’s not over…till its over, and we’ve reached the “Promised Land”

Unfortunately, Protestant brethren do not take into consideration rewards promised…and the fact we will be judged on our “works”…which are now sanctifed by the Holy Spirit which now “works” within us!

Congratulations on your upcoming Blessed Day into Holy Mother Church…The Catholic Church…:thumbsup:

:slight_smile: …by the Holy Spirit who now “works” within us!

You can know at any given moment that you are in the state of grace and your sins are forgiven. Your conscience tells you. Jesus gave the power to forgive sins to men, His apostles. It is there in the Bible, very plain. They were ordained by Him and replaced themselves by ordaining others to take their place. It is there in Acts. When you go to confession and are absolved your sins are forgiven.

What you can not know is what you will do tomorrow. You may turn from grace, and so might your mother despite what she believes. The Calvinist Protestant doctrine of once saved always saved is insidious. It tells people whose consciences convict them of all kinds of sin that they are saved. It is a lie and it leads them to believe they are saved although they have not repented of their sins.

Jesus speaks of seed being sown and some falls on good ground and other not so good. The seed on stoney ground can not take root. It springs up to life and dies. The seend that falls among thorns springs up and is choked out. Salvation can be lost. There it is in the Bible.

This is why Catholics pray for a grace called perseverence. We want to die holy deaths, faithful to the end.

Jesus told His apostles to go to all the nations and preach the good news of REPENTANCE for forgiveness of sins. If we are not penitent we should not think we are saved or headed for heaven.

“The universality of salvation means that it is granted not only to those who explicitly believe in Christ and have entered the Church. Since salvation is offered to all, it must be made concretely available to all. But it is clear that today, as in the past, many people do not have an opportunity to come to know or accept the gospel revelation or to enter the Church. The social and cultural conditions in which they live do not permit this, and frequently they have been brought up in other religious traditions. For such people salvation in Christ is accessible by virtue of a grace which, while having a mysterious relationship to the Church, does not make them formally part of the Church but enlightens them in a way which is accommodated to their spiritual and material situation. This grace comes from Christ; it is the result of His Sacrifice and is communicated by the Holy Spirit. It enables each person to attain salvation through his or her free cooperation.” (JPII, Redemptoris Missio, 1990, 10)

Thus, just as without Christ there is no salvation, so without the Church there is no salvation. *Catechism of the Catholic Church *# 846 - # 848]. The Catholic Church, regardless of whether or not a person knows of its divine origin and founding, is the body through which ALL salvation comes to anyone whom God deems worthy to receive it.

We should strive to offer the fullness of truth to all who seek it so that they may grow in grace and be able to offer it to others also.

I used to be a Baptist, and I know first hand that some protestant denominations get really wrapped up on the once saved always saved issue and the assurance of salvation. As a Catholic I get a little bugged by the extreme opposite position taken by some Catholics who seem as if they have to go the total opposite direction in order to not sound too protestant. I simply answer the question about if I know I’ll go to heaven by saying that if I die in the state of grace then I have God’s word that I will be saved, but if I die out of the state of grace then I will go to hell. That usually leads to a deeper theological conversation about what it takes to be saved, and if you can ‘lose your salvation’. Sometimes its hard to get a non-catholic and especially a non-sacramental brethren to understand the sacramental mindset. Just like I heard it said, when comparing non-sacramental and sacramental churches, its like comparing freshwater marine-life to saltwater marine-life. Both have fish, vegetation, and so on, but theirs systems are quite different.

…what I find truly interesting about those who claim this “secured salvation” is that they cannot find it in Scriptures (the actual “once saved always saved” statement) and when they come accross a passage that teaches otherwise they are quick to dismiss it.

…as the saying goes, the proof is in the text (ok pudding); did any of Jesus’ Apostles made such statement? NOT!

…we do find them warning against leaving the Faith or falling or backsliding… St. Paul even warns that we must be careful to not lose our own Salvation as we toil to bring others to Christ (Salvation). Even Jesus most revealing statements are not “came so that all may live,” “so that all will be saved” or “when the Son of man returns He will find Faith…” Jesus did warn “abide in Me for without Me you are nothing,” and “not all who call Lord, Lord, will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven (and these were performing all sorts of signs in His Name),” and “if you do not obey my Commandment you cannot be my disciple…”

…and just so that we undestand that the Believers can faulter, we have the passages from the Epistles of St. John that warns that if we claim that we are not sinners we make God a liar and the Truth is not in us… as with the passage of the Vine, our Salvation is not dependent upon a “free-for-all-once-saved-always-save” clause in Scriptures but on abiding in Christ so that He would Abide in us!

We are not saved by a trick that we can pull on God by quoting Scriptures to Him… we are Saved by Jesus as we abide in Him (obey His Commandments) and follow Him (become His disciples).

Maran atha!


…basically it warns about reliance of self and personal merits–none of us merits Salvation, outside of Christ (St. John 15:1-10).

…say I invite you to a party where the food and entertainment is extreme–it does not matter if I paid $1000.00 per serving if my guests are caught up in arguments, fights, and other obnoxious behavior–yeah the food was paid for but only the few who had self-control and respect for my efforts would have truly enjoyed the experience… Jesus said it better: “why call me Lord, Lord, if you do not do as I say?”

Maran atha!


…sorry, I forgot :o:o:o

***Welcome Home!
*** :harp:

Maran atha!


Oh, how often did I have it quoted to me with derision when I was converting! “Outside the church there is no salvation.” “Oh, YOU Catholics! YOUR church teaches all the rest of us are going to hell!” No, we don’t.

Avoid the heresy of Feeneyism. You must understand “church” as Sacred Tradition and the magisterium of the Church understands it. Please also refer to CCC on the economy of salvation. Assurance of salvation will not be mine until I look Jesus in the face, for then I will have endured to the end. Far be it for me, however, to deny Church teaching–by saying only baptized Catholics will be there with me.

Joan of Arc, in her trials, wrestled with the question of grace. “If I am in grace, may God keep me there. If not, may God place me there.”

Interesting and informative

As you said your mother had good intentions, she believes the Bible and bc she cares for you wanted to discuss your salvation. Its hard to tell anything about anyone but your way of getting out of the debate was an obvious “im done” by a fake agreement. I would take it that way at least.

Second, im also a protestant, so i want to be open there and I know this is a hot discussion. I joined the board a couple of years ago to better understand catholicism and that meant reading and respectfully staying out of debate when possible. Now there are 1,000 breads of protestant nowadays so dont look at us all as one clump :). I would not encourage you to try to stay faithful to any branch or religious system before God. This is a downfall to all systems we try to defend our systems not how we hear God. Good systems come from that foundation (bible) even though many claim to. We follow jesus and he is who we look to and directly under him are the apostles.

Anyway, id let her hearts concern soak in a bit in line with the reality you believe. Heaven, hell, God dying on a cross for you, living for Him, the second coming, etc. i then would encourage you to look into the scriptures and let your belief (Spirit willing) come from there rather than someones interpretation. Im not againts others interpretations but they must be secondary and used with good judgment.

As for your debate, i think its ok, just realize what you guys are talking about and how serious it actually is. I think you speaking to her or her to you is a must based on the weight of it.

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