***This is a Catholic Response to the tracts being distributed by our Baptist friends to Catholics during All Saints Day in Baguio City, Philippines.***
When we Catholics encounter this question, many among us answer in an uncertain way. This however is different with Fundamentalists like Born Again and Baptists who will answer straight forward with a “Yes”. But what is the honest answer anyway?
THE HONEST ANSWER
Informed Catholics usually have the safest and most accurate answer especially when they say “I do hope so”. Read on and know why…
To be fair, let us use a Non-Catholic Bible (New International Version) to show us the Catholic stand.
Baptists and Born-Again Christians are certainly correct when they realize and acknowledge that…
“…all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)
“…the wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23)
“…Christ died for our sins…” (Romans 5:8, 1 Corinthians 15:3)
“…the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23,
John 3:16, 1John 5:11-13)
“…For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans
Simply said; to believe, repent, and accept Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior will lead you 100% towards heaven.
To a Catholic, that is just one-third (1/3) of the entire truth. Like any Baptists and Born-Again Christians, Catholics believe that we are once and for all redeemed by Jesus Christ our Lord, but the Bible will show us that mere believing, repenting, and accepting Jesus Christ does not justify our way to heaven.
GRACE WORKING IN LOVE
The Catholic formula of salvation is synonymous to the teachings of Christ and Paul: that we are saved by grace working in love. It is Faith together with good-works that we reach our goal heavenwards, and not just “faith alone” as presented above by our Non-Catholic brethren.
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 7:21)
“…The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” (Galatians 5:6)
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” (Ephesians 2:8)
“…continue to work out your salvation in fear and trembling.” (Phil 2:12-13)
“What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him?” (James 2:14)
“…faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” (James 2:17)
“…he who stands firm till the end will be saved.” (Matthew 24:13)
ST. PAUL AS AN EXAMPLE
Even St. Paul knew that he needs to work out his faith to achieve salvation, that’s why he wrote this portion down in his letter:
“I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.” (1 Corinthians 9:27)
St. Paul teaches us through his epistles that he still has to do his best to secure his way towards heaven by working out his faith, if not, he will be disqualified. Are any Baptists or Born-Again Christians far greater than Paul to believe they have heaven secured for themselves?
Therefore, a Catholic is correct not to answer a “Yes”. Because everybody, though redeemed by Christ, still needs to secure their way towards heaven, if not, they too will be cut off. (Romans 11:22)
Be it known that Catholics believe three things to granted the fullness salvation:
1. Like Baptists and Born-Again Christians, we have been saved by Christ
Rom 8:24 – for in hope we were saved
Eph 2:5, 8 – by grace you have been saved through faith
2Tim 1;9 – He saved us, called us according to his grace
Tit 3:5 – He saved us through bath of rebirth, renewal by Holy Spirit
2. We are being saved
Phil 2;12 – work out your salvation with fear and trembling
1Pet 1:9 – as you attain the goal of your faith, salvation
3. And we will be saved
Mt 10:22 – he who endures to the end will be saved
Mt 24:1 – he who perseveres to the end will be saved
Mk 8:35 – whoever loses his life for my sake will save it
Acts 15:11 – we shall be saved through the grace of Jesus
Rom 5:9-10 – since we are justified, we shall be saved
Rom 13:11 – salvation is nearer now than first believed
Cor 3:15 – he shall be saved, but only as through fire
1Cor 5:5 – deliver man to Satan so his spirit may be saved
Heb 9:28 – Jesus will appear a second time, to bring salvation
History can eventually show us that the Christian Fundamentalist formula was not the practice of early Christians. All early Christians evidently show us that they believed the Catholic stand concerning salvation. The formula of “once saved, always saved” was merely invented some time in the 1800s only.
Like Paul and the other apostles of Christ, Catholics will have to hope on and work out their faith to achieve Heaven once and for all. That is what the bible tells us to do.