Are You Saved?

Are you Saved?

This is a question that can trip up a lot of Catholics. It usually comes from a Non-Catholic Christian who believes that literally the only thing needed to be saved is to believe in Jesus.

So, for them the question “Are you saved?” is the same as “Do you have faith in Jesus?”

But as Catholics, we believe there’s more to salvation than that.

We believe that we have to be in friendship with God in order to be saved. We also believe that it’s possible to go in and out of that friendship with God many times throughout our lives.

What do we have to do to be in friendship with God?

The first thing we need to do is put our faith in Jesus. Who He is, What He did, and His teachings.

The second thing we have to do is to turn from our sin. Sin is anything we do, or fail to do, that hurts our relationship with God and our neighbor. 

And then the third thing we need to do is get baptized.

So, why Baptism?

Let me give you an analogy.

Imagine NASA invited you to take a trip to the moon, and you wanted to go. You wouldn’t just show up at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida wearing flip flops, shorts, a T-shirt and sunglasses and expect to go as you are. 

You would need a spacesuit to provide you with oxygen, to keep you from getting too hot or too cold, and to protect you from radiation. Otherwise, you couldn’t survive.

It’s the same way with Heaven. God invites us into His Kingdom. The problem is that in our natural state, we don’t have what it takes to live there. We don’t love like God loves. We need special equipment to be able to do that, and that equipment is God Himself by way of Baptism. In Baptism, God washes away our sin, and infuses us with his very life — and that’s called “sanctifying grace.”

So it’s those 3 things — faith, repentance, Baptism, and boom!: we are in friendship with God, also known as “being in a state of grace.” We are saved from hell, for heaven.

Does that mean we’re good forever?

No, that just gets our foot in the door. 

This friendship has to be lived out every day, and it has to bear fruit.

What do I mean by that? What kind of fruit? Well, God is love, and so if we want to stay in God’s friendship we have to love. And I’m not talking about sentimentality. I’m talking about action. To love someone is to want what’s good for them, and to make sacrifices for them to get it.

A great way to show love to our neighbor is to perform works of mercy. There are corporal works which help people out with their bodily needs like feeding the poor, donating clothes, giving someone a place to stay if they have nowhere to lay their head, visiting the sick or imprisoned, and then there are spiritual works of mercy which are for our neighbor’s spiritual wellbeing. If you ask me, announcing the Gospel is the greatest act of charity because if we don’t have Jesus, we don’t have anything and can’t do anything (John 14:6, 15:5).

In order to continue and grow in our friendship with God, we need more grace. So, Jesus gave us 6 other sacraments including the Bread of Life that we can receive at every Mass, and Confession for the forgiveness and healing of our sin after Baptism. 

We have to make sure we put the grace we receive from God into action and get out there and love our neighbor. If we don’t, if we only worry about ourselves, we can lose our salvation.

Protestants often use St. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians to show that we are saved by faith alone, and not our good works. This is what they’re famous for quoting: 

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God— not because of works, lest any man should boast. 

Ephesians 2:8-9 RSVCE

Adding the following verse should be one of our go-to passages for illustrating how salvation truly works:

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God— not because of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Ephesians 2:8-10 RSVCE

And then, we can add more context by quoting another of Paul’s letters:

For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is of any avail, but faith working through love.

Galatians 5:6 RSVCE

And again, we can quote the Gospel:

The King will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’

Matthew 25:34-36 RSVCE

If the end of grace is not love, then we’re missing the point.

How is God calling you to love?

Author: Bob Wilson

Bob Wilson is a life long Metro Detroiter. He grew up Catholic but didn’t start living his faith until 2007. Struggles with panic and anxiety led him to seek the peace that only Jesus can give. He’s been evangelizing ever since. He first started evangelizing with St Paul Street Evangelization in 2012. He’s evangelized at parish functions, college campuses, sporting events, parks, downtown areas, and libraries. He’s also the team leader for the Archdiocese of Detroit Festival team. He has co-led several Basic Evangelization Training events, gives a ’10 Ways to be an Amazing Evangelist’ talk, and trains Sacred Heart Seminary seminarians how to evangelize college students. He worked in the shipping business for over 22 years before joining our staff.

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