Questions about when people get "saved"


This is true in the sense that falling away is possible. Yet, it is also true that one can be presently in “a state of grace” to use Catholic terminology. One can be presently saved. Initial conversion is in that sense “getting saved”.

It is of course up to the person to remain in God’s grace, to trust in Christ’s keeping power, and to turn from all sin and resist temptation–relying on the spiritual disciplines of prayer, worship, sacraments, fellowship, meditating on God’s word, etc. to grow in grace.


“And you shall be hated by all men for my name’s sake: but he that shall persevere unto the end, he shall be saved.”
[Matthew 10:22]

“But he that shall persevere to the end, he shall be saved.”
[Matthew 24:13]

“And you shall be hated by all men for my name’s sake. But he that shall endure unto the end, he shall be saved.”
[Mark 13:13]

“For God sent not his Son into the world, to judge the world, but that the world may be saved by him.”
[John 3:17]

Looks like a lot or persevering.

The last one which I stated to a protestant colleague that it states may be saved, not will be saved, he went quiet.


So, you haven’t been wasting your time here? :grin: For this reason, the scriptures speak of those who have been saved, those who are being saved, as well as those who will be saved. And, for that reason our Lord admonished us to persevere to the end. Saint Paul admonished us to remain in the Lord’s gentleness, or else we will also be cut from the vine. However, at our particular judgment, we will know. Yet, if nothing impure enters heaven, we have some cleaning up to do. For this reason, it is fitting that God has a mud room where we are cleaned up before attending the heavenly banquet.


I understand what you’re saying, I’ve just never really felt that the whole concept of purgatory was necessary for us to be “cleaned up.” Our salvation is worked out here on earth, in fear and trembling. The gap between our human imperfection and the perfection of God is made up by Christ. Through his vicarious sacrifice, we have become the righteousness of God.


I think the answers you seek will vary wildly depending on which Protestant sect the person answering belongs to.

If there’s one thing Protestantism is good at, it’s providing a plethora of contradictory voices.


Yes, most of us will have some cleaning up to do, in the mud room of purgatory, before we can enter heaven. However, we do need to also be aware that not everyone who will be saved will need to be purified in purgatory. It is possible to pay the penalty for the temporal punishment of our sins in this life and be in like Itwin says…


What happens to us if the work isn’t completed before we die?

When is this gap made up? Before or after we die?

If the gap is already made up before we die wouldn’t this be what the OSAS crowd believes? If Jesus is filling in the gap why would it matter how big we make the gap? Which would mean falling away isn’t possible.

If the gap is made up after we die wouldn’t this be what Catholics believe? The gap is made up by Christ after we die in what we would call Purgatory.

It seems many do admit at this very moment they are not clean enough to enter heaven and if they die at this very moment Jesus will have to do the rest of the purification. Not sure why they object to Purgatory when it is just a word describing the very thing they believe in.

God Bless


What happens if we are not 100% perfect in love when we die? If we have faith in Christ, confessed and repented of our sins, and are not guilty of presumption then we will be in the presence of Christ.

Throughout our entire lives as Christians, Christ is standing in the gap between our righteousness (which never meets the standards of God’s holiness) and the righteousness of Christ. Those who are justified by faith are always being given the grace needed to be saved, because we cannot merit salvation on our own–ever.

I do not believe the Christian life is one in which I am working to be saved in my own power, and then once I die I hope Christ does what I could not in purgatory.

Neither do I believe that the Christian life is one in which I say a prayer once, twice or a million times and then engage in magical thinking where I claim to be saved for the rest of my life simply by virtue of having said some magical incantation all while continuing to sin.

I believe the Christian life is one in which the old man I used to be has been put to death and buried and now it is not I who live but Christ who lives in me. This means I have to change. If I were to remain the same, then that would mean the old me has not given way to the new creation that is in Christ.

So yes, I am “going on to perfection” in this life as the old Methodists used to say, but not through my own efforts but because of the transforming love of God which lives on the inside of me and permeates my being. It is not a sinless perfection or an infallible perfection. I still sin and make mistakes, and I must be watchful lest I fall, crucifying the old man daily. Yet, God’s grace is sufficient to keep me in his love and security–as long as I hold on to him by faith and obedience.

So no, it is not the same thing as OSAS.

I think most Protestants would say we don’t need a state of existence called purgatory for that because at this very moment Christ is purging us and making us like him through sanctification.

There would not need to be an entire state of existence addressing this issue because if we have confessed our sins and turned away from them, they are already forgiven and we are washed clean of them.


A sampling of early Church Fathers and their beliefs:

Also, it is my understanding that the Jews pray for their dead. I confirmed this with a co-worker who said yes, they do.


Maybe if we look at ‘saved’ as in a state of grace, entering the Kingdom of God. You receive the grace by which you will enter eternity when you accept Christ. It becomes a question of emphasis really - do you live in grace in Christ or sin in the world? I honestly don’t think most Protestants deny that they fall into sin and continue to battle to the end. They just mean they are members of the Kingdom of God by faith, which they are. Catholics would agree with this.

Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found;
Was blind, but now I see.
’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed.
Through many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come;
’Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.
The Lord has promised good to me,
His Word my hope secures;
He will my Shield and Portion be,
As long as life endures.
Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess, within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.
The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
The sun forbear to shine;
But God, who called me here below,
Will be forever mine.
When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we’d first begun.

  1. Growing up Baptist, I was taught that “getting saved” meant “accepting Jesus into your heart as your personal savior.” All it took was a concsious statement, and some emotions were the proof of your salvation. “If you don’t feel on fire, you better be getting down on this altar and getting saved,” my pastor would say often. That was it. The only step was “accepting Jesus into your heart” via a conscious decision and a prayer and you were completely saved. If you died that day, you’d go directly to heaven. Basically, it just meant you were trusting Jesus to save you.

My pastor encourages new children that come into the church to go to the altar and ask Jesus into their hearts. These children go up to the altar and pray to ask Jesus into their hearts with no other instruction, and once they stand up, the pastor asks “If you died today, where would you go?” And they answer “Heaven.” And that’s the end.

  1. I was taught that a person can only be “saved” once. Every time after that is just a recommitment.

My Baptist church doesn’t teach eternal security/eternal assurance, it teaches that you can lose your salvation by “willfully jumping out of God’s hand.” But it was never made clear what exactly that meant.

Of course, this is only what my church taught. There are lots and lots of differing beliefs in Protestantism. As said before, there is not one Protestant church. There are many.


**[quote=“FollowChrist34, post:51, topic:457722, full:true”]
Maybe if we look at ‘saved’ as in a state of grace, entering the Kingdom of God. You receive the grace by which you will enter eternity when you accept Christ. It becomes a question of emphasis really - do you live in grace in Christ or sin in the world? I honestly don’t think most Protestants deny that they fall into sin and continue to battle to the end. They just mean they are members of the Kingdom of God by faith, which they are. Catholics would agree with this.

I agree, and if we live with the desire to not fall into sin but still do and die in an imperfect state does our desire account for anything?


Thanks for the response. There is a lot of “IFS” in here though. So what happens if you did not repent of all of your sins? Not sure if you believe in venial and mortal sins or not, so you can answer for both or lump them together.

I do agree God gives us the grace needed to be saved and salvation is a process. However this doesn’t answer the question … Does the process finish before or after we die?

The Catholic Church doesn’t teach we can be saved by our own power either, I hope that’s not what someone told you we believe?

Now we do believe after we have come to Christ and are given grace we can do good works (through Christ) to merit more grace. The initial grace given in Baptism and additional graces (actual and sanctifying) are what help to “fill in that gap” during this life.

If God does not give us any additional grace (after initial salvation) for our good works. How exactly does He decide to fill in your 100’ gap verses someone with a 100,000 ft gap? For this scenario lets make the assumption you both live 50 more years and both die with the exact same size gap.

I never really understood this statement. It seems to be used quite often but I can’t figure out why it’s such a go to? If someone is raised, properly, in the faith, how will they “change”? They won’t ever have a conversion experience. I can see this statement applying to someone who was a grave sinner for 30 years of their life, but what does the person do who was faithful from the crib? They don’t know what the “old man” looks like or acts like.

The Catholic Church doesn’t define purgatory as a state of existence either.

Totally, agree. But what happens if your attachment to a sin is causing you to refuse Christ’s cleansing in this life? Say the inability to forgive someone who has wronged you?

Once again, what about an un-confessed venial sin?

God Bless


Then you would die unforgiven and separated from God. I was never taught to think of sin by any sort of mortal/venial distinction, but I do believe that some sins are more serious than other, carry greater guilt and have greater affects on the soul than others.

It is finished at death.

We don’t fill up the gap with good works. Jesus bridges the gap. If we live in him, then we are new creations created for good works. We will do good works by the grace of God, but not to merit our salvation or to fill in the gap. That gap has already been filled by Christ.

I guess because its a thoroughly biblical way of defining the Christian life, regardless of what age you came to faith: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Even if someone was raised in church their entire lives, there would need to be some moment or series of moments in which they came to terms with what the Christian religion means for themselves. At some point, they must deal with the fact that “those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Galatians 5:24) and actually start doing that.

At some point, they need to ask themselves if this adequately describes themselves: “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).

The old man is simply the carnal nature, the flesh. We all have that battle between the flesh and the Spirit, whether we were lifelong Christians or only became so later in life. We all have to die to self, so that Christ can live in us.


Is Christ present in purgatory?

We are told to forgive others. To withhold forgiveness is a sin. That’s a case of willful disobedience. Not sure why purgatory is the answer to that. Either you obey Christ or you don’t and face the consequences. To me, this would be a situation where you are opening yourself up to judgment due to continual disobedience.

However, if you struggle with forgiveness yet still are trying to forgive, I would place that in a different category. You are not disobeying Christ, just going through the pain of mortifying the flesh. This also would not be something to be “finished” by purgatory. It would be finished at death, and it would not lead to eternal separation from God.

What like harmless gossiping? Like you gossip and then get hit by a bus and never had time to ask pardon? That sort of thing?

I’m sure a theologian would have some jam up explanation for this, but I’d say off the cuff that I don’t think a regenerate Christian who is faithful and growing in grace as evidenced by good works would be eternally damned for one instance of minor gossiping in which they did not have time to pray for forgiveness and possibly didn’t even register what they were doing.

Now, if they slander people and refuse to repent or do so while presuming upon God’s grace, then that would be a situation where they would fall under judgment.


Yes, I believe it does. I would say if we die in a sincere state of repentance (and of course with sincere faith, in word and deed, both on record) that is sufficient. That is my understanding of how God handles forgiveness, salvation, etc. (confession/denomination aside) These are the people I think God calls his elect.


It sounds like we are on the same page with this. What you said can fit into the Catholic definition of mortal sin. A mortal sin destroys charity in the heart (greater guilt) of man by a grave violation (more serious) of God’s law; it turns man away from God (greater affects on the soul).

Well Christ is God and God is everywhere. As for being in purgatory, I don’t know because it has not been revealed as to whether purgatory is an actual place.

The more we talk it sure seems you either have an impossible plan for salvation when you say things like that is a case of willful disobedience. Are you saying to not forgive another, for any reason, means eternal damnation?

What if you die before getting to the point of “trying to forgive”?

All purgatory is, is being cleaned up by the cleansing love of Christ. Whether you want to call it Purgatory or not, do you believe this is something that needs to occur before you enter heaven?



I never said WE fill in the gap with good works. I asked how does HE (Jesus) fill in the gap?

I’m sorry if I am coming across pushy, I just like to understand the “WHY?”. I just want to know how the gap is filled in. I think this is an important question. I know you don’t believe in OSAS, however if there is no theology behind how the gap is filled in then there is no way of saying OSAS is wrong. All the OSAS person has to say is "I’m OSAS because no matter what I do from this point forward there is no gap so big that Jesus won’t “fill it”.

Sure as Catholics we believe our good works merit God’s grace, which “fills in the gap”. Now our work doesn’t “fill the gap”, the free gift of grace does. This position just makes more sense to me.

For instance. We believe confession is a “good work” that merits grace that “fills in the gap”. Now you don’t believe that “good works” fill in the gap but you do believe if you don’t confess you would die unforgiven and separated from God. Why does Jesus unfill the gap (That you said was already filled in) when you didn’t confess? Since confession (a good work you must do) has no merit on Jesus filling in the gap in the first place.

A different approach that I would like your thoughts on…

We believe when we go to Mass and communion. When we read the Bible, feed the hungry, cloth the poor, etc. Basically, when we do the good works, Jesus commanded of us, he will gives us additional graces to “bridge the gap” between us and God.

Now I’m sure we both agree that a person doing these things are going to be closer to God than the person not doing these things?

Now this is where I get confused.

From the Catholic perspective the things we are doing merit additional graces and these graces “bridge the gap” and bring us closer to God. This makes perfect sense to me nothing we did brought us closer to God, it’s the additional grace, that God gave us, that brought us closer to Him.

Now from the perspective that nothing we do can bridge that gap. On the assumption that we both agree that the person “A” doing all of the above is closer to God than the person “B” just having faith and not doing any of those things, what brought the person closer to God? I hope it’s not confusing and you see what I’m asking? If person A is ends up closer to God (not because they were given additional graces for their “good works”) wouldn’t that mean that it was actually their actions (all of the above things they did) that brought them closer to God?

I’m hoping you might be able to give me answer other than these are just things descriptive of what a saved person will do after the gap is bridged and not prescriptive of what a person must do to bridge the gap. I’ve heard that answer so many times, but no one seems to give a sound reason why we should believe Jesus was speaking descriptively and not prescriptively.

I think I’ll stop here for now, this question is the heart of the understanding for me.

God Bless


OK. What is the difference between someone now who is not in purgatory and someone who is?

It is possible with God’s help. We can ask him to give us the strength to let go of our anger and hurt and allow us to heal because ultimately forgiveness is not really about that person (who may or may not care about being forgiven). We need to forgive so that we can walk in freedom and become more like Jesus.

Unforgiveness is a serious sin. As Jesus teaches us in Matthew 5. We are to love our enemies and those who persecute us so that we may be children of our Father in heaven-who forgives us so easily. Forgiveness is part of being a child of God, and we have to reconcile with our brothers and sisters in Christ and forgive those who mistreat us.

You want to know about “any reason”. I can’t get any more specific than that because anything else would be gross speculation on my part as unlike God I am incapable of searching the secrets of the heart. However, I can say this, if you are a child of God then you must be willing to forgive even if its hard because God forgave us.

What I meant above is that sometimes forgiveness can be a process, especially in complex relationships. I believe God is capable of knowing the condition of someone’s heart and whether they were following Christ or not. I will not speculate further.

For those who have followed Christ, purgation ends and is completed at death.

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