What must I do to be saved?

“Accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior,” or “Ask Jesus into your heart” isn’t the biblical answer.

It’s important to be saved from hell, damnation, and the stain of original sin, but what are we saved for? We are saved for union with Christ. Our salvation began when we were born again through baptism and God’s own Divine Life was restored in our souls, making us like Adam and Eve were in the Garden before the Original (first) Sin. As we go through life, we are united with Christ through the Sacraments he left as gifts for us, especially through Penance (forgiveness of our sins committed since Baptism) and the Eucharist (partaking of God’s own Life, His own Divine Nature, 2 Peter 1:4) – until that day when we are truly united with Him in heaven.

Scripture teaches that one’s final salvation depends on the state of the soul at death. As Jesus himself tells us, “He who endures to the end will be saved” (Matt. 24:13; cf. 25:31–46). One who dies in the state of friendship with God (the state of grace) will go to heaven. The one who dies in a state of rebellion against God (the state of mortal sin) will go to hell. (For the teaching on venial (non-deadly) and mortal (deadly) sins, see 1 John 5:16-17)

What I must do to be saved:

*I must be baptized with water and the Spirit. Mark 16:16, John 3:3-5, Titus 3:5, I Peter 3:20-21. (Exceptions: [1] If I desire Baptism but die before I can be baptized with water and the Spirit, God accepts my desire to be baptized, and [2] If I am killed (martyred) because of my faith, but I have not had the opportunity to be baptized, God accepts my death as my baptism, called the Baptism of Blood).

  • I must do the will of God the Father. Matthew 7:21

  • I must keep the Commandments of God. Matthew 5:19-20, Matthew 7:21, Matthew 19:17, 1 Timothy 6:14, and others.

  • I must accept the Cross (suffering). Matthew 10:38, Matthew 16:24-25, Mark 8:34, Luke 9:23, Luke 14:27. Phil 1:29, and others.

  • I must be a member of God’s true church. Acts 2:46-47.

  • I must confess my sins. James 5:16, I John 1:9, John 20:19-23

  • I must heed the words of St. Peter, the first Pope. Acts 11:13-14, Acts 15:7.

  • I must eat the flesh and drink the blood of Jesus Christ. John 6:51-58, I Corinthians 10:16-17, 11:23-30.

  • I must do unto others as I would have them do unto me and love my neighbor as myself. I must feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, visit the sick and those in prison or give other aid to those in need. Luke 10:33 ff, Mt 25:31-46. “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are very pleasing to God” Hebrews 13:16. Good works don’t save us, but we will be judged by them.

*I must strive to be holy. “Strive for peace with everyone and for that holiness without which no one will see the Lord.” Hebrews 12:14

*I must endure (persevere) to the end. Matthew 10:22, Matthew 24:13, Mark 13:13.

And … ? What else must I do?

Repent, believe and be baptized

and after that, if you commit mortal sin,

Repent, believe and confess.

That, in essence, is the Catholic message of salvation.

Scripture is clear…
Luke 10:25
On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what** must I do** to inherit eternal life?”
26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
27 He answered: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

God tells you… “The Man answered correctly!”

Can’t get much clearer then this… BUT the man wants to know who his neighbor is NOTE, the man does not question the FACT he must LOVE to enter heaven. He knows you MUST LOVE to enter heaven!!!
He does not want to love everyone… He just wants to love the man to his right and the maN TO HIS LEFT!

Jesus corrects him by telling the “Good Samaritan, story!”

In the story, God tells you…
The Priest and the Levit are noted as people with Great Faith… BUT…
But they pass by!

Samaritan’s are noted as heathen or Pagan! The Samaritan does not pass by!!
The Samaritan is** LOVING his neighbor**… The men with “Faith ALONE” the Priest and the Levite do not enter heaven!

I add scripture…
1 Timothy 2:15
But women will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.

Is anyone here a woman!? Note the…* if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.*
The FAITH the woman needs to be saved is NOT ALONE!!
She NEEDS faith, love and holiness!!!
Childbearing PLUS… faith, love and holiness… NOT Faith ALONE!!


Ah its easier just to become a protestant - Lol - but I’m Catholic.

I can’t disagree with your summary but thought I’d use it to bring up some other points. I think if we actually proclaimed the message of salvation that simply, which has been done for all practical purposes at times, people often don’t get the full idea.

Because the flip side would be to put it another way and say that what justifies us (unto salvation) is when we love God with our whole heart soul, mind, and strength and our neighbor as ourselves. This is the right way to “get there”, to become sinless. It’s actually the only way. And this becoming perfected in love (which is a work of God) is what constitutes mans true justice and makes him worthy to be saved-it’s actually what it means to be saved. The Church’s role, through the ministry of the Word and the Sacraments, is to help get us there.

I’m not disagreeing with you-I’m rather stating what in my mind should be emphasized as the real end goal. IOW, to die in a state of grace-or free from mortal sin- means to be turned towards God’s and grown in love for Him and neighbor, fulfilling His end purpose of bringing the world into alignment with His will and His own nature. If we only emphasize the negative side of this-avoiding serious sin-we run the risk of turning it into a game where we think it’s possible for a human to live an otherwise good life, slip up and sin before dying without confessing, and then God is bound to send them to hell. Or the opposite scenario -that a person could lead a terrible life, make it to confession just prior to death, and then be able to slip in on a technicality. I know most of us realize that genuine contrition is necessary, and that we need to avoid viewing confession on strictly legalistic and technical terms, but I also think that it’s all too easy to do that very thing.

At perhaps the other extreme we could say that some Protestants incorrectly claim that there’s no need-or even possibility- for sinlessness, that faith alone justifies us unto salvation, and that through this God justifies us without actually *making *us just, while in Catholicism faith is only the beginning and then hope, and, ultimately and most importantly, love must follow. And as this is done, we’re made truly just and sin is excluded in the process because love and sin are mutually exclusive. Just some thoughts.

Follow all of the Lord’s Commandments. Love and accept Jesus Christ. Practice the sacraments. Love one another.

I wish I could follow all of these, but I’m a sinner and always fall short :frowning:

Just curious, what did you mean by this?

Well, there is not much to the ritual of asking Jesus into your heart. As a Protestant, that is what you do to “know you’re saved,” Catholics we don’t have assurance of salvation.

We have to run the race, pick up our cross daily, follow the commands of God, be the perfect us we can be, &c.

There is no simple ritual which we can just do and have assurance of salvation.

The summary is Matthew 5:48: “You must be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

You’re not to allow yourself anything less.

Nothing worth having is easy, my brother in Christ.

Excellent thread!

“Do you see that by works a man is justified; and not by faith only?”

~ James 2:24

That doesn’t really sound like good news to me!

How about this:

I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. (Romans 1:16)

So the gospel is the power of God for salvation. What is this gospel?

Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you…by this gospel you are saved…that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:1-4)

So this is the gospel. To be saved, I must believe this? I believe Paul would answer in the affirmative:

The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” (Acts 16:30-31)

Paul seems to have left out a lot of your list, Mr. Dandy.

You wouldn’t happen to be a Judaizer, would you?

This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? (Galatians 3:2-3)

I have noticed some Catholics whipping out James 2 as a peremptory strike against us sola fide-ists. I applaud your foresight. And I agree with you. We are saved by faith alone, but saving faith is never truly alone. As Paul said, we are saved by faith (Ephesians 2:8), but we are saved to do good works (Ephesians 2:10). So, yes, works are important. However, they come after salvation by grace through faith since it is actually God working in us to perform what is pleasing to Him (Phil. 2:13; Hebrews 13:21).

The Westminster Divines sum it up best:

Faith, thus receiving and resting on Christ and His righteousness, is the alone instrument of justification: yet is it not alone in the person justified, but is ever accompanied with all other saving graces, and is no dead faith, but works by love. (Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter XI, II)

These good works, done in obedience to God’s commandments, are the fruits and evidences of a true and lively faith: and by them believers manifest their thankfulness, strengthen their assurance, edify their brethren, adorn the profession of the Gospel, stop the mouths of the adversaries, and glorify God, whose workmanship they are, created in Christ Jesus thereunto, that, having their fruit unto holiness, they may have the end, eternal life. (Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter XVI, II)

How do you define the gospel? Do you consider both the oral and written or do you just limit it to the written?

I define the gospel as Paul defined it in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4.

It seems as if a sola scriptura red herring is about to be thrown. Of course, as a Protestant I do indeed believe that God’s word is all that is necessary to be saved. Under inspiration of the Holy Spirit, John felt that his Gospel contained enough information for one to be saved:

But** these are written** that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. (John 20:31)

I trust that the Holy Spirit had enough foresight to ensure that the Scripture He inspired would be able to save those who trust in Christ Jesus as Lord and Savior.

Sometimes, definitons would help. How do you define “saved”? Destined for heaven already? Or there is still work do to while still alive here on earth?

I define “saved” as being freed from God’s wrath:

For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thes. 5:9)

Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.” (John 3:36)

If we believe, God’s wrath is taken away. If we don’t, it remains.

How do you define “saving faith”?

Rather than reinventing the wheel, I will once again turn to the Westminster Divines:

Of Saving Faith.

I. The grace of faith, whereby the elect are enabled to believe to the saving of their souls, is the work of the Spirit of Christ in their hearts; and is ordinarily wrought by the ministry of the Word: by which also, and by the administration of the sacraments, and prayer, it is increased and strengthened.

II. By this faith, a Christian believeth to be true whatsoever is revealed in the Word, for the authority of god himself speaking therein; and acteth differently, upon that which each particular passage thereof containeth; yielding obedience to the commands, trembling at the threatenings, and embracing the promises of God for this life, and that which is to come. But the principle acts of saving faith are, accepting, receiving, and resting upon Christ alone for justification, sanctification, and eternal life, by virtue of the covenant of grace.

III. This faith is different in degrees, weak or strong; may be often and many ways assailed and weakened, but gets the victory; growing up in many to the attainment of a full assurance through Christ, who is both the author and finisher of our faith. (Westminster Confession of Faith)

Saving faith will result in the indwelling of the Holy Spirit which will results in the manifestation of the fruits of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23). A lack of these qualities would suggest a lack of true faith.

So if faith should be followed by works, then it is not faith alone, but faith and works?

Perhaps an equation will demonstrate my meaning:

Rather than the following:

faith + works = salvation

Protestants believe:

faith = works + salvation

What if God is not working in you to perform good works? Can you or are you still capable of doing good works?

No, not at all. Once again, the WCF:

Works done by unregenerate men, although for the matter of them they may be things which God commands, and of good use both to themselves and others; yet, because they proceed not from a heart purified by faith; nor are done in a right manner, according to the Word; nor to a right end, the glory of God; they are therefore sinful and can not please God, or make a man meet to receive grace from God. And yet their neglect of them is more sinful, and displeasing unto God. (Westminster Confession of Faith, XVI, VII).

Thanks for the response! :slight_smile:

It’s sad that this is a common misconception regarding Protestants. I have to admit that there are many “Protestants” who have the same misconception, act accordingly, and perpetuate this misconception. I’m going to mention a couple of things I do as Protestant. I’m not doing this to brag, but I do want to show that it’s not as easy.

-I believe in the Trinity and I have faith that Jesus is the only one who can save me from my sins.
-I attend church regularly on Sundays and attend ministry meetings and worship events during the middle of the week.
-I read the Bible and pray daily, not out of obligation, but because I need guidance, support, and comfort.
-Although it was hard to give up the things of the world at first, I am slowly able to give up more and more, including money and time, and although I am now more likely to end harmful relationships with family and friends if called to do so, I would still continue to reach out to them and love them.
-I meet up weekly with a church group and a portion of that time is dedicated to confessing our shortcomings, discussing ways to fix the shortcomings, and holding each other accountable to help each other.
-My Bible study group tries to come up with what Catholics call “penitential acts” weekly (fasting, apologizing to someone we’ve hurt, praying for someone we don’t particular like, volunteering, etc.)
-Everyday, I wait for God’s message and sometimes it can be difficult because at any time, He can ask me to quit my job, end a relationship, or do something else that’s not comfortable.
-I do all these things out of faith and not because I feel that I need to do them to achieve salvation.

I do find it ironic that you call our acceptance of Jesus a “ritual,” considering that one of the reasons the Protestants broke away from the Catholic Church is the church’s emphasis on rituals and traditions. One of the main ways we accept Jesus is through the sinner’s prayer. This is only a requirement in that one must accept Jesus and have faith in Him alone to be saved and this is a common way to do so. If anyone finds another way to truly accept Jesus, then I don’t think any Protestant would object to it.

I do have to agree that Protestantism can be easier in that there is less emphasis on rules and tradition. Don’t get me wrong, we do follow rules and have traditions, but the emphasis is more on improving our relationship with God and others. Isn’t this what Jesus commanded in Matthew 22:36-40? So as a Protestant, I don’t have to worry about which diocese I’m in so that I can follow it’s specific rules or what day of the week to abstain from eating meat/performing penitential acts or if I’m supposed to attend mass today because it might be a holy day of obligation for the diocese.

Now I’m not saying that all Catholics just follow rules for no reason, but I do feel that these rules may get in the way of a true relationship with God. As a Protestant, I believe that faith in Jesus alone and the works that come from that faith are necessary for salvation, but I do question whether Catholics have faith in Jesus or in the Catholic Church (which in my opinion, may not be the true representative of God on earth). With all the rules of the Catholic Church, it’s starting to remind me of the Jewish Pharisees that Jesus rebuked in Matthew 15:3.

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