Help me explain to my mom how we are saved?

On Christmas Day night, my mom read a little prayer off a pamphlet she bought and got my 2 year old sister to repeat after her. It was one of those “I accept you into my heart, Jesus” prayers that Protestants pray and then say “Now I’m saved!” When I pointed out to my mother that that isn’t how it works, she insisted “Who are you to say? Maybe God has saved her now!” How should I respond? I told her that it is by the Sacrament of Baptism (she’s Baptist, btw) that we receive sanctifying Grace and are initiated into the life of the Church. How should explain to her the real way by which somebody is saved?

Through cooperating with God’s grace–that is how we are saved. No one is definitely saved until the end of their life, after all. Anyone can deny the Lord at any time just like they can pray a one time prayer at any time. The Bible is full of verses warnings us to remain faithful or face the consequences. Why are they there if all one has to do is say one prayer and be done with it? That doesn’t make sense. Jesus established his Church through which he bestows his grace on us in the sacraments. For those who cannot receive them, such as your mother and sister since they are not Catholic is to cooperate with the grace God gives them. Still, when they find that clinging to a one time conversion isn’t enough–and it isn’t, you can be there to help them understand that God has more for them than that, if they’ll only accept it. Our journey of faith is life-long because we fail daily to please God. We are fallen creatures who need God’s graces daily, which is what “give us the day our daily bread” means. Anyway, when you mother is receptive to hearing the Catholic understanding is the time to tell her these things. For now you can simply say that giving one’s life to Christ is a good thing, but that’s not all there is to it–that we need God’s graces to persevere to the end, as Jesus commanded us to do.

You are right. We are saved when we receive sanctifying grace and we receive sanctifying grace in baptism. However, God also gives us sanctifying grace anytime we manifest perfect contrition. Thus, if your mother manifested perfect contrition when she said her “Sinner’s Prayer,” then she received sanctifying grace and is saved, at least as long as she doesn’t sin mortally at some future date and lose sanctifying grace. However, if your mother manifested only imperfect contrition, then she did not receive sanctifying grace and was not saved by her “Sinner’s Prayer.” We are not the best judge of the quality of our own contrition and, if your mother presumes that her contrition was perfect when it was in fact only imperfect, then her mistake could have serious eternal consequences. Baptism is effective in imparting sanctifying grace even when the recipient manifests only imperfect contrition. Thus, baptism is the surest way to obtain the sanctifying grace that saves us.

Salvation is a lifelong journey that starts with Baptism.

Salvation is not a one time event.

The Bible says “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”

This is all great. But the question had to do with my mother’s insistence that my two year old sister is saved because she repeated the words of a prayer after my mom. How do I answer that?

catholic.com/video/what-does-the-bible-say-about-eternal-assurance

catholic.com/magazine/articles/it’s-not-over-‘til-it’s-over

catholic.com/tracts/assurance-of-salvation

Being saved is like marriage. It is a one-time event when you say “I do”. It lasts for a lifetime.
And if your doing it right, it keeps getting stronger.:slight_smile:

Does she believe that no matter what sin she commits she is “saved?”

If so that is a false doctrine peddled by false pastors.

These might help…
How Is A Catholic Saved?
Who REALLY Preaches “A Different Gospel”?

It’s the “Who are you to say?” question you need to respond to. The Protestant position is to reject the authority of the church in interpreting scripture. So she is using you as a surrogate for the church. You should respond by saying what the church says, not what you say. That will quickly take you into the issue of the church having authority to interpret scripture, and that is where the real issue lies here.

The olde “sinner’s prayer” eh? Con job to the max. If this got us saved then I would’ve been saved, in my childhood pentecostal church mind you, roughly 25-30 times.

I remember the 1st time round about circa 1983, so I’m 8. You think for ONE INSTANCE my mind has even begin to formulate the right idea regarding salvation, heaven, hell, death, etc.?

We had a 19 year old bible whiz preaching to us, called all the 19 and unders down to the “altar”, had us all sqaulling and had our parents lay hands on us and then we “repeated the lines”. He then told us we were all saved. Believe me, throughout my pentecostal upbringing the guilt trip “altar” calls would become prevalent.

Sad that nobody in my church could realize here’s kid who has major religious OCD issues but then again, I doubt anyone at my old church could spell OCD.

Back to the OP, tell you’re mother that her Bible says “whomever endures TO THE END SHALL BE SAVED”. It’s a journey with God, not a one time magic trick.

There is nothing wrong with praying the sinners prayer. Catholics would do well to pray it every day (there are many similar prayers from the saints).

Is it necessary to tell her that is not how it works?

Do you have a chance to expose your sister the the True Faith? If so, that would be good. Pray with her, read the bible with her, and as she gets older, you can explain to her and show her “how it works”. If you get into an adversarial position with your mother might that limit your accessibility to your sister?

The doctrines of asking Jesus into your heart to be saved (e.g. Like an altar call) and “once saved always saved”, did not exist until after the Protestant reformation. Once saved always saved is called non traditional Calvinism or Free grace theology. Point out the recent origins of this doctrine.

You can also point to dozens of scriptures that point to repentance or others that reference our judgement before God. Or, simply point to Matthew 25 (sheep and goats).

Lastly, the baptist church was originated by John Smyth in the 17th century. It was not founded in first century Middle East.

P.S. The age of reason for baptism is not in the bible. This is problematic for a baptist sola scriptura believer.

The doctrines of asking Jesus into your heart to be saved (e.g. Like an altar call) and “once saved always saved”, did not exist until after the Protestant reformation. Once saved always saved is called non traditional Calvinism or Free grace theology. Point out the recent origins of this doctrine.

You can also point to dozens of scriptures that point to repentance and our judgement before God. Or, simply point to Matthew 25 (sheep and goats).

Lastly, the baptist church was originated by John Smyth in the 17th century. It was not founded in first century Middle East.

P.S. The age of reason for baptism is not in the bible. This is problematic for a baptist sola scriptura believer.

Its correct that you have to say some words to God (bear fruit to God) in order to remain saved (remain in Jesus) but not those words, they are not the words of Jesus.

John 15:4 “Remain in me, as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me will be thrown out like a branch and wither; people will gather them and throw them into a fire and they will be burned.If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you.”

This is all accurate, and I think important, but is it really releveant when we are talking about a two year old?

21"He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him."John 14:21

Most Baptist will affirm that, if a person is “saved” they will bear good fruit.

I think what is important for a two year old, though, is learning how to pray, and to have a relationship with Jesus. Children learn what they live, and if they grow up around people who are living an obedient Christian life, this is what will make an impression upon their souls.

I was thinking of the mother

"Remain in me, as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me will be thrown out like a branch and wither; people will gather them and throw them into a fire and they will be burned.If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you."

21"He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him."John 14:21

Most Baptist will affirm that, if a person is “saved” they will bear good fruit.

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Not, according to Jesus. You can be in Jesus (be saved) and not bear fruit to God, but then you get cut of.

It’s not enough to be one body and one spirit with Jesus, you have to act (speak), bear fruit with your lips, like Jesus.

Ask her what she thinks of this Bible verse.
Matthew 24:3 But he who endures to the end will be saved.

How about an atheist who accepts God on his deathbed?

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