Is love of neighbor sufficient for salvation?

Suppose that all we know about hypothetical person “A” (Alice) is that she truly selflessly loves her neighbor. Is that given fact sufficient to establish that she is in the state of grace? Or do we need to know more?

To phrase the question another way, are there any persons who truly selflessly love their neighbor, who are not in the state of grace?

The Gospel message is so much more.
It’s always interesting that people want to drill it down to the bare minimum for salvation.
The work is hard, sometimes tedious, not always immediately rewarding but it affects not just our neighbor but ourselves. Profoundly.
Our prayer life, our relationship with God if you will, is more than just being nice to other people.
That’s why we have Liturgy, prayer traditions, Sacraments, Scripture study, Social work, vocations, it’s endless.
We’re all involved in all of it, to one degree or another. Hopefully. :wink:
Even selfless people commit sin sometimes. One can be vain in our methods, for example.

How do we know that the person truly and selflessly loves her neighbor? Is it possible to know this? Is there a charity-meter we could hook to someone to know if they’ve maxed it out, so to speak? And I would say that we are fallen, our view of the good is distorted by original sin, and so I would wonder whether total and enduring self-giving charity is really possible. We might make an act that is completely self-giving, like laying down our life for another, but I would question whether it’s possible to have such a high degree of charity for such a long period of time with absolutely no reserve whatsoever, without, of course, a special grace from God.


Loving our neighbor was a command given by Jesus. And we know that in the case of the commandments, they were put in place so that we would realize and be made aware of our sin. So when I don’t love my neighbor, I know that it is a sin because Jesus commanded it.

We obtain salvation through Jesus Christ and the sacrifice He made for our sins.

1 Thessalonians 5:9 For God did not destine us for wrath, but to gain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ

2 Timothy 3:15 and that from infancy you have known [the] sacred scriptures, which are capable of giving you wisdom for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

So we know that salvation comes through faith in Jesus Christ.

Jesus said, “Love your enemy as yourself.”
“Whatever you would like others do onto you, do that to others.”

It works both ways.
The Bible says, “Did you know you are not your own? That you were bought with a price? That your body is the Temple.of the Holy Spirit.”

The Catechism says, mortal sin destroys charity in the soul.
Unless with repentance for personal sins, in confession or at death, the person who does good for neighbours but commits mortal sins against their own body, risks hell, or a low part of Purgatory.

Individual sins, could he Pornography, drugs, alcohol abuse, etc…

A person must also respect themselves as a temple of God.

The Holy Spirit lives within us.

If people loved Jesus, as the greatest other they could love, they would not sin personal individual sins that cause Jesus even more suffering on the cross.

Love of neighbor is necessary, but in Matthew 22:37-40 Jesus says that love of God is more important:
“You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”
Many other passages tell of the necessity of love of neighbor.

The two types of love are inseparable. No one who hates his neighbor truly loves God, and no one who truly loves his neighbor hates God. Everyone who truly loves his neighbor also loves God, at least implicitly.

God is the only One who can judge what is sufficient for a person’s salvation.

i suppose some people are entertained by speculating about such things.

i enjoy watching college football more than engaging in such speculation.

So, need one even acknowledge the existence of God to be in the State of Grace?

Man’s justice is defined by the greatest commandments. If man truly loves God and neighbor, impossible without grace according to our faith, then his or her justice is complete, they’ve achieved all that God desires of and for them.

One who knows God certainly must. It’s not possible to say “I know the truth of the teachings of the Church, but I don’t want to assent to them, so I’m just gonna ‘be a good person’ instead”… and still hope to be saved, according to the teachings of the Church.

But, what if you’ve never known God, yet follow Him (implicitly) by living your life for the Good? Then it’s possible to be saved (although I don’t know that I’d make the “state of grace” claim).

I believe you are asking a hypothetical question in order to solve a difficulty of doctrine, not that you are interested in judging person “A”.

We all know that only God searches the heart. Even St. Paul would not judge of his own state of sanctity.

Therefore, hypothetically, if a person is living their life in accord with their conscience, to the best of their ability, then even according to Church doctrine, this would be pleasing to God. However, doctrinally speaking we can’t say this is sufficient for salvation, anymore than we can dogmatically declare that good unbaptized persons will automatically go to heaven.

IOW, doctrinally speaking “we leave it in God’s hands.”

The Magisterium teaches that a baptism of desire, explicit or implicit, confers the state of grace, and all who die in that state are saved.

I don’t think true love of neighbor is possible without the state of grace, so a person who does truly love their neighbor must have entered that state in some way. Love of neighbor is an exercise of the infused theological virtue of love, always and only present with the state of grace.

Hmm… when Jesus said “love your neighbor as you love yourself”, do you think He was only talking about the theological virtue of love? (If so, he was telling people to do something that they were incapable of doing.)

On the other hand, if it’s not – strictly speaking – just the theological virtue, then “love of nature” does not necessarily equate to “state of grace”, and therefore, is not sufficient to ensure salvation.

In other words, you seem to want to use “love of neighbor” in a way that implies far more than it should, and in doing so, you reach a conclusion that seems a bit overwrought. :shrug:

But isn’t the very purpose of the New Covenant to help, with grace, “people to do something that they were [otherwise] incapable of doing”? Under the Old Covenant man was unable to fulfill the law, but under the New Covenant, whereby man is reconciled with God and begins to commune with Him as was alway meant to be the right order of things, God intends to ‘put His law in men’s minds and write it on their hearts’, paraphrasing Jer 31. IOW, *God *, not man does the justifying; only God can make man righteous. And that righteousness/justice/holiness is most fully described and defined by the term “love”, as “love fulfills the Law”. Rom 13:8

I have always tried to think of it like this:

To ask questions about “what is sufficient for salvation” is to be more interested in the concept of salvation, than in the Saviour. To ask “what do I have to do for/with my neighbour to be saved?” is to care only about yourself, not the neighbour. Speculation like this defeats the entire purpose of our life in Christ.

What must I do to be saved? First, do not ask “what must I do to be saved?”. Rather, I think it’s better to ask, “How can I better love God and love my neighbour today, and bring peace to those who suffer as best as possible?” Then, you will achieve salvation.

Theory is not life. Life is life.

No, that’s not perfect enough. Alice love must be perfect (the love of Jesus)

Yes, since love fulfills the law, then love of neighbor does imply the state of grace.

[1 John]
{2:10} Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause of offense in him.

{13:34} I give you a new commandment: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, so also must you love one another.
{13:35} By this, all shall recognize that you are my disciples: if you will have love for one another.”

{13:8} You should owe nothing to anyone, except so as to love one another. For whoever loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.
{13:9} For example: You shall not commit adultery. You shall not kill. You shall not steal. You shall not speak false testimony. You shall not covet. And if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this word: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
{13:10} The love of neighbor does no harm. Therefore, love is the plenitude of the law.

So if anyone does truly love their neighbor, not merely by affection, but in true selfless love, then that person has the infused virtue of love and therefore the state of grace.

Does all love fulfill the law?

So if anyone does truly love their neighbor, not merely by affection, but in true selfless love, then that person has the infused virtue of love and therefore the state of grace.

Again, you’re pointing to one possible expression of love, but using it to claim that all love meets the standard of the theological virtue. That doesn’t seem to hold. :shrug:

No, all that is called “love” does not meet the standard for the theological virtue. But what Jesus calls the love of neighbor is always and only the theological virtue of love. And all who have that one type of love are in the state of grace.

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