One specific moment that you are saved

My Protestant friend seems to think that there is one specific moment in which you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and then you are saved. I told him that I have grown up with the faith and just grew up knowing Jesus Christ to be my savior just as a grew up knowing that the sky is blue. He seems skeptical of this though. I just want to know what I can say to him because I told him I would think about it more and get back to him.

You could tell him that you are like St. Timothy. St. Paul told St. Timothy:

2 Timothy 1:5 - “I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you.”

2 Timothy 3:14-15 - “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings which are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”

I think these passages indicate that St. Timothy grew up in the Christian faith – a “cradle Catholic.”

The usual passages about “whole households” being baptized indicate the same thing.

Acts 16:33 - “And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family.”

That emphasizes the size of the family who was baptized and indicates that it included small children. Acts 16:15, 1 Corinthians 1:16, and Acts 18:8 are other examples where large families were baptized, indicating that people can be raised in the Christian faith.

Maybe you could plant some seeds by comparing your situation with those Biblical examples. Anyway I hope that helps. God bless!

Many non-Catholic view salvation as a moment in time followed by growth in holiness. Knowing the moment you were saved is a common expectation in such churches, and is in line with Sola Fide. The Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches tend to view salvation as more of a process, on which the final decision isn’t made until the Particular Judgement (after death) by God. This refusal to separate faith and works is one reason the Catholic Church is accused of teaching “works salvation”, even though it insists on Grace alone. “The Salvation Controversy” by Jimmy Akin is a good resource.

We cannot have “assurance”, but we can, and should, have hope. Show him the teaching in the Church’s Sacred Scriptures which infallibly declare the fullness of His truth.

As James teaches: “Faith without works is dead.” (See Jam 2:14-26).

“All, of us have a scrutiny to undergo before Christ’s judgment-seat, for each to reap what his mortal life has earned, good or ill, according to his deeds.” (2 Cor 5:10).

God “will award to every man what his acts have deserved.” (Rom 2:6).

“The apostle notes that ‘there is a graciousness, then, in God, and there is also severity. His severity is for those who have fallen away, his graciousness is for thee, only so long as thou dost continue in His grace; if not, thou too shall be shalt be pruned away’ (Rom 11:22).

Paul wrote this to people who were already ‘saved’, in a state of grace – a grace they could lose, becoming ‘unsaved’.”

“Consider Romans 5:2: ‘We are confident in the hope of attaining glory as the sons of God.’ If we….are now sure of heaven, and know nothing can deprive us of it, then we have no reason to hope because we know that heaven is ours. But ‘our salvation is founded on the hope of something’ says Paul. ‘Hope would not be hope at all if its object were in view; how could man still hope for something which he sees?’ (Rom 8:24). We hope for heaven, however well disposed we might be spiritually, because we know we still have a chance to lose it.” [Karl Keating,* Catholicism and Fundamentalism, Ignatius 1988, p 174-5].

“All, of us have a scrutiny to undergo before Christ’s judgment-seat, for each to reap what his mortal life has earned, good or ill, according to his deeds.” (2 Cor 5:10).

St. Paul says also, “through the Church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places (Eph 3:10).” The Church teaches even the angels! This is with the authority of Christ! We are redeemed by Christ’s Passion and Death (heaven was opened); we are not saved until we co-operate with Him.

“Work out your own salvation in fear and trembling.” (Phil 2:12).

St Paul is very clear: “I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of His Body which is the Church.” (Col. 1:24). What is lacking in Christ’s suffering is precisely what only we can do – take up our cross and suffer, repent and ask forgiveness, following the dictates of our conscience.

Jesus redeemed us (opened Heaven), we have to play our part. If anyone was to be saved his way it would have been Paul! But he clearly showed the error of that: “But I chastise my body, and bring it into subjection lest perhaps, when I have preached to others, I myself should become a castaway.” (1Cor 9:27). And again: “Wherefore he who thinks that he stands, let him take heed lest he fall.” (1 Cor 10:12). Yet again, “And we exhort you not to receive the grace of God in vain.” (2 Cor 6:1).

“It is not those who say to Me, ‘Lord, Lord’, who will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the person who does the will of My Father in heaven.” (Mt 7:21).
When asked “What must I do to have eternal life?” Jesus answered, “Keep the commandments.” (Mt 19:16-17).

If he is “saved” then he denies that anyone has the power to cast him into hell. Yet, Jesus spoke of this power - to His believers!

We are saved when the gates of heaven are behind us. To think anything else is self-delusion.

The Bible says that being saved is something that has happened, is happening and will happen. Scripture speaks of salvation in the past, present and future.


This idea of a “salvation event” (or moment) is a protestant invention. It is not attested to in Scripture or Catholic doctrine.

The Catholic Church teaches that the ONLY ordinary means of salvation is Christian Baptism. A person who receives Christian Baptism and avoids subsequent mortal sin is absolutely assured salvation.

By Baptism all sins are forgiven, original sin and all personal sins, as well as all punishment for sin. In those who have been reborn nothing remains that would impede their entry into the Kingdom of God, neither Adam’s sin, nor personal sin, nor the consequences of sin, the gravest of which is separation from God. CCC 1263].

A person who receives Christian Baptism but falls into subsequent mortal sin has recourse to salvation through Sacramental Confession.

Christ instituted the sacrament of Penance for all sinful members of his Church: above all for those who, since Baptism, have fallen into grave sin, and have thus lost their baptismal grace and wounded ecclesial communion. It is to them that the sacrament of Penance offers a new possibility to convert and to recover the grace of justification. CCC 1446]

This is the sum total of the economy of salvation of the Catholic Church.

Hi NFrancis,

We are saved through faith and baptism. Baptism gives us the ticket to heaven; it’s our job to get there with God’s help. If we fail on the way, forgiveness is available to the truly repentant.

4 We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life.
For if we have grown into union with him through a death like his, we shall also be united with him in the resurrection.
We know that our old self was crucified with him, so that our sinful body might be done away with, that we might no longer be in slavery to sin.

Rom 6


Born and raised Lutheran, there is one thing I know, and one thing I do not know:
I know that “Baptism now saves you”, or me in this instance. I know that faith was kindled in my heart beginning with Baptism, as promised in scripture.
Beyond that, I do not know, cannot identify, I moment when I was justified before God by His grace through the faith which He has strengthened in word and sacrament through the years.
I have received (“accept” just sounds too much like “decision theology” to this Lutheran’s ears) Christ into my heart. And by His work in me, I continue to grow in grace.


Look at the examples of some saints in history.

St. Paul got a BAM! moment while riding on his horse to Damascus.
St. Peter came to a slow realization that Jesus was the Christ.
St. Augustine knew the truth but resisted it for decades because of his worldly attachments.
St. Therese of Liseaux grew up in a Catholic home and became a Carmelite at 15.

There is no “one-size-fits-all” type of conversion experience.

Here is the scriptural answer for your Bible Christian friend:

Salvation as a past event

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. (Ephesians 2:4-5)

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Salvation as an ongoing activity

Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. (Philippians 2:12-13)

Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:8-9)

Salvation as a future event

And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. (Romans 13:11)

If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames. (1 Corinthians 3:12-15)

When you are assembled in the name of our Lord Jesus and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present, hand this man over to Satan, so that the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord. (1 Corinthians 5:4-5)

A general summary of salvation, highlighting its past, present and future dimensions, would go something like this: “Salvation is a process that begins when a person first becomes a Christian, continues for the rest of his life, and is completed when he stands before God in judgment.” This summary allows the faithful Christian to do justice to all of the biblical data by saying, in faith and hope, “I have been saved, I am being saved, and I hope to be saved.” It embraces all three dimensions of salvation that are present in the Bible.

Randy Carson #10
“Salvation is a process that begins when a person first becomes a Christian, continues for the rest of his life, and is completed when he stands before God in judgment.” This summary allows the faithful Christian to do justice to all of the biblical data by saying, in faith and hope, “I have been saved, I am being saved, and I hope to be saved.”

In reality, everyone does not have to become a “Christian” to be saved, as well as the fact that mankind has been REDEEMED by Christ and SALVATION occurs only at the end when we achieve Purgatory and/or Heaven.

It also is a fact that anyone is saved only through the Catholic Church whether they know it or not.

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