Greetings! I am new here, this is my first post. I would like to give you all a brief history of what has been going on with me.
I am a cradle Catholic. For the past 8 years I have been like a ping pong ball between the Catholic church and the Baptist church. In 2003 I decided to be baptized in the Baptist church. I thought I was following the Lord. Now I am not so sure. Anyway, since that time at Christmas (12/03 and 12/04) I get this craving and pull back to the Catholic church. In 2003 I gave into the crave temporarily, then returned to the Baptist church. All was fine for all of 2004 until Christmas when I got the crave again. I ignored it this time though, and by January it was still there, only the crave grew stronger and stronger. The only way I can describe it is an addict type crave or urge. This time I am giving in to this and I have the feeling it may be for good. This time I am not going to try to push God into leading me in my time, I will sit back and let him lead me in His time. I began praying the Rosary daily to and have gotten in contact with a Catholic church I used to attend….well now that you have my brief history I will move on with my question.
I explained to a friend of mine that has helped me over the past 2 years. Only, her help has been pro-Baptist anti-Catholic. She has been praying for me to resist these “demons” that are trying to pull me back to the Catholic church. In an email to here I said the following:
“Regarding acceptance of Salvation…I have been thinking about this a great deal lately. I cannot remember word for word what I said in my last email regarding purgatory and how it makes sense to me, the need for it makes sense to me. First I will begin with a question. If we accept Jesus into our hearts as our Lord and Savior, we are saved right? If that is true, why are we judged when we die? There would be no need for judgement if our Salvation was gaurenteed, right? Now, the way I understand the Catholic teaching of purgatory is this…though we are covered by Jesus’ blood, our sins remain on our soul. Nothing unclean can enter heaven. And the Loving Father that God is has created a way for us to be thoroughly cleansed so that we can enter heaven. Just as we are to discipline our children, our Father disciplines us, gives us our just punishment for our sins.”
Her response to this was the following:
“we aren’t judged, only our works are judged if we’ve been saved. When we receive Christ’s atonement, we are once and for all saved. When we stand before Him after we die, we stand before him as our Savior, not our judge. John MacArthur was definitely not referring to purgatory. He’s referring to those people who receive salvation, but don’t full live the victorious Christian life. Their works are shallow, thus easily “burned up”. He’s talking about people who are saved, but “just barely” because of the way they lived their lives. This in no way refers to purgatory. There is something called the Great White Throne judgment mentioned in the book of Revelation. This judgment is not for believers, but for the non-believers. When we, as believers die, we are immediately in His presence and all he sees is not our righteousness, but the righteousness that was imparted to us upon our acceptance of Christ. Our robes will be white as snow. We will get our crowns “rewards” based upon what we did for the Kingdom while here on earth.”
So I would like to ask if you would please explain to me what the church teaches (in layman’s terms) on Salvation and how we obtain it and how purgatory comes into play. This way I will better understand the church and also be able to respond to my friend with facts and not just my thoughts.
Thanks so much! I am sorry this is so long and thank you if you made it through this whole post.