Have you been saved?
Do you know if you are going to heaven?
I’m sure many people reading this have seen or heard of this before.
A funny thing is this “assurance” of salvation.
I have seen and experienced many times when a Catholic Christian is conversing with some other Christians about their faith that they decide to not answer the questions the Catholic is posing to him or her, but instead asks, “does the Catholic Church guarantee you are going to heaven?”
The answer any Catholic should be able to say without fear is yes.
This is an enigma of sorts because what one encounters are 2 very different theologies – of course I’ll argue that one is a little further from the truth than the other.
There is nothing wrong with your church not guaranteeing your salvation instantaneously – there is something seriously wrong if you are told you are going to heaven for sure after saying a little prayer.
How can we actually know that we are going to heaven?
Well, in a sense, the Bible does guarantee salvation to those who want it bad enough, but on certain conditions.
It is not as simple as only believing in and proclaiming Jesus as the Savior.
Matthew 7:21 says:
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.”
From this we can gather that not only are we to call on the Lord, but we must also do what the Lord wants (doing his will).
For Jesus came to fulfill the Law and not to abolish it (Cf. Mt. 5:17-18). His healing people on the Sabbath brought up great debates about what the Mosaic Law meant. Jesus fulfills the Law with love.
Jesus says in Mark 2:27:
“The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”
The purpose of the Law was not to observe it just because it was prescribed, but the Law was designed to make access to God easier.
Jesus changed the focus of the Jewish-Christians from how they approach God to how God approaches them.
Jesus healed people on the Sabbath because he loves his people, good and bad (Cf. Mt. 5:44-48). We are given a commission to be perfect just as God is perfect meaning we are to love all.
We are to help others gain access to God, through his Son, Jesus.
So, in order to have a good relationship with God, we must also have a good relationship with the rest of humanity, else we are not doing the will of God.
Simply attempting to have a right relationship with God and neglecting our duty to the poor, sick and other people that need help is essentially a sin. It is the sin of formalism.
Through formalism we are killing ourselves (Cf. Mk. 7:15).
A simple act of accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior is not enough to assure anyone of going to heaven. There is much more to it and that is by doing the will of God.
It is essential to being a Christian to love those you hate and to help those that need your help. It is not enough to ”win souls” or prophesy or send Bibles to China.
As the Bible says in Matthew 7:22-23:
“Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name? Did we not drive out demons in our name?
Did we not do mighty deeds in your name?’ Then I will declare to them solemnly, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers.’”
Faith alone is not enough. For faith without works is dead (Cf. James 2:24, 26) and Jesus said that he will know people by their fruits (Cf. Mt. 7:20) and not just their tongues.
It is true that those who call upon the Lord will be saved (Cf. Romans 10:13), but the Scripture also says that we must also do the will of God; we are to love our fellow humans as God does by what we do, by our actions, by our deeds, by our works.
If we do all this, with the help of God’s grace, then we will be saved!