Wednesday, May 9, 2007

A Word about the question, "Are you Saved?"

As a devout, not shy to claim it either, Roman Catholic, living in the south, I have been declared many times not saved by my protestant peers. My salvation is of great concern to those that feel more inclined to make judgement upon me and my family with their religious convictions and roots than to know who I am as a fellow human being. But here I must ask the question: Who still living IS saved?

Last Sunday, during the homily, the priest began with a note about the question of being 'saved," commenting that we Catholics get this question all the time. At the beginning of his discussion, I got excited and waited for him to give a concrete answer for us to use. Drat! It didn't happen, he just told us to be kind, patient, and don't get offended. Wow, was I disappointed, but then it gave me a great self discussion! Please, I know you all have self-discussions....you just don't tell others you have them. What would I say, better yet, what DO I say when I am asked, "Are you saved?" I know what I used to say, "Well, I pray and talk to Jesus all the time, why would He turn his back on me now?" Then, however, I would get this "But, have you accepted Him as your personal saviour?"

Well, let's talk about what salvation means for a moment. Salvation, as defined in the Merriam-Webster dictionary is the "deliverance from the power and effects of sin" and "The liberation of ignorance and illusion," and still, "the preservation from destruction or failure." The Catholic Encyclopedia states salvation as in "Scriptural language the general meaning of liberation from straitened circumstances or from other evils, and of a translation into a state of freedom and security." So, essentially one that desires to be saved and enjoy eternal salvation must do something in order to obtain it...avoid sin, temptation, and all that is evil. To protect ones self from harm we need tools, the tool for salvation is Faith. Without faith we can do nothing, we feel nothing, and have nothing to do with God.....who is our source of salvation. To have faith, we need to be self-determined, prayerful, and knowledgeable to and about God and His gifts, especially, and most centrally, the gift of His son, Jesus Christ. Throughout our lives, we have decisions to make, growing up to do, and experiences to....well, experience, all of which is unknown to us at the threshold of the next event. With this unknown, we are to have faith in God that He will provide us with the capacity to rise to the occasion and persevere righteously. As the human we are, that is playing tug-of-war with our other Godly gift which is our "freewill." To say that we can be saved on a certain date is (I'm sorry, but) absurd. With the pending unknown at each corner of our lives, we can only say that being saved is an ongoing process that can only be completed at our earthly death. Matthew 10:22 states that "and you will be hated by all for my name's sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved." Then again it is stated in Mt 24:13 "Whoever endures to the end will be saved." In 1 Timothy 1:18-19, St. Paul indicates to "Wage the good warfare, holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting conscience, certain persons have made shipwreck of their faith." So, shipwreck/backsliding IS possible!

So, my hope is that for those who read this and believe in "saved once, saved forever" just humor me and research the bible for this concept. It is my belief and the Church I come from that salvation is a continuous process throughout our life and that no one is saved, but by the Father. No one has the right to determine who is or who is not saved, frankly it is not any one's job for this judgement. So, to bottom line this post, my answer to the age old question I am sure to face again and again, will be: "Hum, I didn't know I was finished yet?"

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am also a proud Roman Catholic, but my mother's family is Mennonite Brethern and I have often been told by them that Catholics aren't Christians, or that we are idol worshipers. Your post was of great comfort to me ......... thankyou! As well, my oldest son was born to me out of wedlock and I went on to marry someone other than his father - my knight in shining armor. Together we have three more children. He is only twelve but already we have seen that there are challenges with a blended family. Often I feel as though we are looked at with a certain amount of judgement by other Catholics. Did you ever feel this too, and how did you deal with it?

Ebeth said...

Oh, my yes...To this day! I get little comments like: "Well, you remarried didn't you?" or "Your son isn't your husband's is he?" You know, I got to thinking about it and my husband has been more of a dad to my son than his biological father and for the past 15 years, my husband has put braces on his teeth, handed down cars, taken him to work or picked him up in the wee hours for retail jobs while I nursed an infant, and played mediator between us that I simply ignore the comments and tell them that my husband is his daddy. Don't let others judge you, you and God are the only ones that need to know your business. May God bless you and your knight-in-shining-armour and those babies with everlasting love, life, and Christian joy as holy Catholic people that live more a biblically sound foundation than any religious denomination could possibly claim!
Drop by anytime, I will leave the porch light on for you.
Ebeth
Climbing the Pillars of fire and truth that is the Catholic Church!

Anonymous said...

Thank-you

Laura said...

Well, I am glad that someone is finally talking about the ever posed "Are you saved?" question. I am also from the south, I've gone to Catholic schools all my life and it wasn't until my early 20's that I was asked that inevitable question. And well, being naive to the Protestant faith as a whole - I totally blundered the answer! I'm thinking "Duh! Of course I'm saved- what are you talking about?" Then like you I was given the "Have you accepted Him as your personal Lord and Savior?" I said well, I've never said the exact words (what they thought I should have said) -"Jesus come into my heart....etc." Then it was "Oh My! You're gonna burn" talk - fire and brimstone.
That has been several years ago, and since then I have married and had our 1st beautiful daughter. I married a southern baptist who went through RCIA on his own, after we got married. I learned a lot going to those classes. His family is from a very small town, I felt like the spokesperson for all catholics down there!I will admit, I was not as well versed in the Bible as his family. I have since then joined a Bible Study (at a Christian mega church, none-the-less)- some of my family goes there. They are Evangelical Protestants. What I have come to learn is that the Catholic Church as a whole is completely misunderstood! Misconception after misconception comes out in the class and it drives me crazy! They think we worship Mary, to why do we have statues, why do we baptize babies, and the list goes on. I guess my whole point (besides giving a little personal background on myself)is thanks for posting about the "saved" question. And my hope for all Catholics is to open up your Bibles! Combat all of the misconceptions- educate the lost, and the other faiths about the Real Catholicism (don't let the next person who asks you a question about your faith leave your sight with their misconstrued information)! Find out the Biblical basis for the Catholic Faith "Ignorance of Scripture is Ignorance of Christ". I also believe that Satan is very much alive in todays worldly culture. I know that there are major differences between the Catholics and non-Catholics, but I believe that it is satans way to make us argue over our differences instead of unite together in Christ Jesus. It is easy to get angry with the Protestants, but let us shine our light as Catholics who are truly here to do God's will on earth and model our lives after Jesus, His beloved Son! Praise God and thank you again, Ebeth, for your input! I have wrestled with this question and what to say for 6 years now!
Laura

PBXVI said...

This was an excellent explanation! Maybe you can suggest having your priest read this and give another homily soon on the subject! God Bless!

Ebeth said...

Thanks pbxvi!! Coming from you that is a high compliment! It is my hope that we Catholics could put a good answer to this darn question once and for all....but alas, that and the socialization issue we deal with as homeschoolers will probably never go away.
Ebeth

Esther said...

Ebeth, I've just tagged you for a meme.

RNW said...

Loved it!!

Amy Caroline said...

AMEN!
I was asked this once and I said simply what you said. I will be saved in the end when I am faced with the Father. It is then that I will be held accountable for all my transgressions and only then can I truly be "saved."