Have you been saved?

MATTHEW PINTO

How might we best respond to the question, "Have you been saved"?

First, let us be clear on how we are saved. We are saved by grace through faith in Christ (Eph 2:8–9; CCC 161), not by our own efforts. In this sense, works can not save us. But we must cooperate with grace; faith must be completed by our love and obedience in order to be living, saving faith (Gal 5:6; Rom 1:8; Jas 2:8–26). Here, works of Christian obedience, motivated by the love of God and neighbor, come into play. Without such works, our faith is dead and cannot save us (CCC 162).

So our cooperation -- our "work" in a very limited sense -- is necessary for salvation. Yet even our cooperation is a matter of grace. As St. Paul wrote, "Work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for God is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure" (Phil 2:12–13, my emphasis). Even when we cooperate with God by doing good, it is God who is inspiring, enabling and moving us to do so (Phil 4:13). Our part is to say "yes" and to love God with our whole heart, mind, and strength by active obedience.

One thing to keep in mind: Being saved is more than a "one-time event." It is a process. There are "three tenses" to salvation. If someone asks, "Are you saved?" you should answer: "I have been saved from my sins through Christ’s death and resurrection. I am being saved as I cooperate with God’s grace. And I will be saved so long as I do not reject God’s love and I die in His friendship (that is, in a state of grace)." Salvation is a past, present, and future reality.

 


ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

Matthew Pinto "Have you been saved?" Apologetics: "Question of the Week" Ascension Press.

Reprinted with permission of Matthew Pinto and Ascension Press.

THE AUTHOR

Matthew Pinto is a co-founder of CatholicExchange.com, a premiere Internet portal for Catholics. He is also a co-founder and former president of Envoy Magazine, which received the 1st Place award for General Interest Catholic magazines in 1998 and 1999 from the Catholic Press Association. The co-author of Amazing Grace for Those Who Suffer (Ascension Press, 2002) and Did Adam and Eve have Belly Buttons? and 199 other questions from Catholic Teenagers (Ascension Press, 1998) and creator and co-author of the Friendly Defenders Catholic Flash Cards, Matt is a well-known speaker whose work has focused primarily on youth and young adults.

Copyright © 2003 Ascension Press




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