Baptism for Salvation


#1

In my heart I already feel as though I am Catholic; however, the Baptist in me keeps coming back to one question-how does baptism save a person?

Let me explain what I mean. In my formation as a baptist we made a profession of faith as most of you probably know. Being baptized just made you a “member” of the church and part of the bride of Christ. Sadly though, I saw people profess Christ and follow Him in baptism never to be seen again.

Herein lies my thoughts so far. The other 6 sacraments we receive AS WE CONTINUE TO SEEK CHRIST. Together they compose our salvation song. It’s much like a symphony-together, all the instruments work to make a beautiful piece of music. Similarly, receiving the sacraments throughout our lives works together to form and strengthen our relationship with the Lord. How can it not for if we truly & genuinely seek him and our disposition is right we find Him alive and well in us!

Am I even close to the correct answer?! Please share your thoughts.


#2

I think part of the problem is that you are viewing the Sacraments as something that we are doing to draw closer to God.

The Sacraments are more about what GOD is doing to bring US closer to Him. They are actions by God for us.

Baptism saves because God desires it be so, it imparts Grace and configures the soul to be receptive to Grace. This is done as an unmerited gift from God.

This is true for all of the Sacraments.


#3

Baptism is necessary to remove the stain of Original Sin. Without that no one can enter heaven. There are three types of Baptism; of water, of desire and of blood.

After Baptism we are held to keeping in a state of grace for salvation. In other words, “once saved, always saved” is not what Catholics believe. We can fall out of grace by sinning, which we tend to do. Therefore we have the Sacrament of Confession (Reconciliation), where we confess our sins through a priest who is delegated by Christ to either loose or bind our sins.

To assist us in staying in a state of grace we follow Christ’s words in John 6, by eating His flesh and drinking His blood, without which we have no life within us. Communion, in the Catholic belief, is doing exactly that. It is HIs flesh and blood in reality.

I’m starting to ramble on a bit so I’ll cease for now. God Bless


#4

You’ve already partially answered your own question: “Sadly though, I saw people profess Christ and follow Him in baptism never to be seen again.” Strictly speaking, baptism doesn’t save, it justifies.

It is possible to be baptized and yet not attain to salvation. So, baptism justifies us – it provides us with God’s grace and enables us to cooperate with Him through acts of supernatural virtue. Only by persevering to the end and dying in a state of grace are we saved. At the end of our lives, having been justified and cooperating with the graces we’ve received in whatever way has been made available to us, we hope to attain to heaven. Baptism is the first step – but not necessarily the only step – in that process.

Let me explain what I mean. In my formation as a baptist we made a profession of faith as most of you probably know. Being baptized just made you a “member” of the church and part of the bride of Christ.

Right; and the Catholic understanding of baptism is that it actually does something: we receive God’s grace through baptism in a way that we do not by simply professing our faith or filling out a registration form to become a member of a particular parish church. But, we don’t believe in a “once saved, always saved” doctrine, either: baptism invites us to participate in the life of the Church, such that, through the reception of God’s grace (in the sacraments), our actions (which redound to God as merited by Him), and our faith in Christ, we look forward to salvation and eternal life in heaven.

receiving the sacraments throughout our lives works together to form and strengthen our relationship with the Lord. How can it not for if we truly & genuinely seek him and our disposition is right we find Him alive and well in us!

:thumbsup:

One thought, though: if you listen to a symphony, you’ll hear a performance that’s greater than the sum of its parts. Yet, each part has merit which belongs to it alone: if the tympanist plays well, the symphony sounds better; if the 1st chair violinist gives a virtuoso performance, the symphony’s performance is sublime – but, each of these individual performances are credited solely to the individuals. Even if we consider the conductor, we realize that he is only coaching, directing, and coordinating the individually meritorious performances. Not so with our salvation. God gives us the grace; we cooperate with the grace; our works are merited primarily by Him. (We share, in a certain way, in the merit; but it is God who deserves the praise and credit for our works, not us.) In no way would we as Catholics suggest that we, on our own behalf and through our own efforts, merit salvation!


#5

We are baptized because Christ commanded it. We do not have to fully understand it. Eastern Christians call the sacraments Sacred Mysteries. We probably cannot fully understand God with our human reasoning.


#6

I’m getting the picture. Now tell me how we can overcome the mistaken idea (held by many of my baptist friends) it is salvation by works.

-srfnolen


#7

I believe baptism is extremely important because we are told to do it in Scripture but I’m not so sure that we can say that one can’t enter heaven without being baptised. What about the thief on the cross? He was told by Jesus that he would be in paradise with Jesus that day.

When I was taking classes as an adult in the LCMS, I had to finish instruction before I could be baptized as well as take communion. If I had died before baptism would I have not been able to enter into the gates of heaven?

Not trying to argue … just putting forth a what-if…


#8

:thumbsup:


#9

Do you mean your friends think Catholics believe in salvation by works because we believe even a true believer can lose there salvation by falling into sin?
Here is a very interesting debate about that on youtube. link: youtube.com/watch?v=EZtDKbnjIG0


#10

What I understand from the Protestant view on Catholics and works is that if you have not done enough to enter heaven right when you die then you end up in purgatory. Catholics have masses and pray the Rosary to help friends and family to get out of purgatory. Those who have “done enough” enter heaven right away and become saints. Help me understand if I don’t have this right…


#11

That would be baptism of desire. We know that Jesus commanded His disciples to baptize many so if that were the case here and the thief could be baptized under ‘normal’ circumstances he would be, but the both of them dying on the crosses were not normal circumstances. It also teaches us that Jesus words make things happen.


#12

Thank you for that info!


#13

This is how I’ve come to understand it from a Catholic perspective…

Actually purgatory is a place of final purification by Jesus so it’s our first step in our heavenly life. None of us will die in a perfect state of grace, we just can’t because we’re not perfected while we are in our human condition, so we will enter into place called sheol (or gehenna=place of the dead) as referred to in the OT to be purified by Jesus so we can enter heaven fully purified (because no sins can enter heaven). And we pray for those souls who are in purgation that they would be forgiven of their sins and purified. At that point these souls have already been judged because if they are being purified of their sins they have not gone to hell so have passed the first judgement (Particular).

Jesus will again judge all the living and the dead by their good as well as their bad doings, at the end of time, those who have already died, and those alive left on earth so that all can be made righteous and justified by God. This is the second judgement (the general judgement).

2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.


#14

Catholics believe that by being & remaining in a state of sanctifying grace at the time of your death you will obtain salvation. I think most Protestants would call this getting & being right with God. Its not so much a question of “done enough” but the condition of your immortal soul & your relationship with the Almighty. Good works are a part of it but if you read anything about great Catholic Saints you will see they all had deep interior personal spiritual relationships with God. And yes, Catholics do pray & offer personal sacrifices for all the departed souls hoping that they will enter Heaven quickly but in the knowledge they have already obtained salvation.


#15

Well… not exactly. Let’s suppose you are contrite for your sins, go to confession, receive absolution, and get hit by a bus as you leave church. Would you perfectly be in a state of grace? Absolutely!

, we just can’t because we’re not perfected while we are in our human condition

Of course, although we might be in a state of grace perfectly, this doesn’t imply that we are perfected in ourselves. The sins that we had committed while alive may have been absolved – in which case, they were completely absolved – but, we ourselves still bear the scars of those sins. It is these imperfections that purgation removes. Purgation doesn’t deal with grace, but rather, with perfection.

(If that’s what you were trying to say, then my apologies. It seemed, though, that you were saying that purgatory and grace are related.)

so we will enter into place called sheol (or gehenna=place of the dead) as referred to in the OT to be purified by Jesus so we can enter heaven fully purified (because no sins can enter heaven).

Umm… not quite. ‘Purgatory’ is the description of a state of purification; it’s not a place, per se, and it’s not ‘sheol’ or ‘gehenna’ or ‘hades’.

Also, if we received absolution immediately prior to death, there would be no sins left to be forgiven… and so, purgatory must necessarily have to deal with something beyond ‘sins’.


#16

Are you asking whether this is what Protestants think of Catholic soteriology, or whether this is what Catholics themselves believe?

Clearly, this is not what Catholics believe. It’s never a matter of “having done enough”, either to enter heaven, or to enter it right away!

And, of course, prayer for the souls in purgatory isn’t a matter of saying enough prayers to spring a person, as if from jail or as if a specific number of prayers is sufficient to get them to heaven. That sounds more like a theology gleaned from “It’s A Wonderful Life”… :wink:


#17

When Jesus put mud on the eyes of the man and told him to go wash in the pool, did the man get healed of blindness because of his “works”?

If God says those who stand under a certain waterfall will receive saving graces, and we go to stand under that waterfall, are we saved by “works”?


#18

Whatever Jesus says, He accomplishes. It, like all of the Sacraments is from Jesus.

** John 3:1-5 (KJV)**

3:1 There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:
2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou does, except God be with him.
3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?
5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

Being born of Water and The Spirit is Baptism. When an infant receives Baptism, it is God’s free gift to him, washing away original sin and giving him Sanctifying Grace. There is absolutely nothing the baby does (or is even capable of doing), it is only through the free gift of God’s Grace that he is receiving the Sacrament.

I would also agree with guanophore.


#19

What I hear most of you saying is that the works are not of ourselves but it is a matter of being available to Jesus so He can use us to His glory and we in turn can look forward to an eternity with Him.

The illustration of the mud in the eyes and example of the waterfall sort of put it all together for me.

Thank you all very much!

Feeling better now!!!
srfnolen


#20

My post was the perspective I have understood from the Protestants about Catholics. Again, I don’t want to come across to anyone that I am trying to be disrespectful to the Catholics here. I’m a guest and am hear to learn about Catholic dogmas and doctrine.
There was a question earlier about Baptists friends and why they thought Catholics taught salvation by works.


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