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Salvation - Are You Saved?

11/17/2002 - 4:30 PM PST

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By Katrina J. Zeno

Everyone knows this is an important questionóso how should Catholics answer it?

Many Catholics just donít know what to say when someone asks them whether they are saved. However, thereís really no reason to be confused, because the Catholic understanding of salvation in Christ gives the perfect answer, and Katrina Zeno is here to explain it.

As Catholics, weíre vaguely familiar with "saved" language. We donít usually ask someone, "Are you saved?" and when someone asks us this question, we often stutter and fumble for an answer. So how should we answer: "Are you saved?" Constantly. We are constantly being saved by the incarnation, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Why? Because salvation is dynamic, ongoing. Itís a past, present, and future reality. Let me explain.

Salvation is a past reality: We have been saved by the death of Jesus Christ. While we were still sinners, Jesusí death canceled the bond that stood against us (Col. 2:14). In other words, the guilt of original sin has been wiped away. God pardoned our sins. But being pardoned isnít the same as being holy. Being pardoned gives us back our freedom to choose the road to holiness, to walk the narrow path. Right now, today, we are being saved. Grace is wooing us down the narrow path. We are becoming holy. Salvation is an ongoing event.

We can easily verify salvation as an ongoing eventójust look at the world around us. If salvation was a past event, then Mother Theresa and Pope John Paul II would be a dime a dozen. Instead, they shine like stars in the darkness. The world is a cultural and spiritual battlegroundóa collision between the culture of life and the culture of death. This, however, is nothing new. St. Paul described manís predicament in these terms: "What happens is that I do, not the good I will to do, but the evil I do not intend. But if I do what is against my will, it is not I who do it, but sin which dwells in me" (Rom 7:19-20).

Whether youíre St. Paul, Pope John Paul II, or living in St. Paul, the reality is the same: We are being saved because grace has not yet fully transformed every area of our mind, emotions, desires, and will into the mind, emotions, desires, and will of Christ.

And when this transformation takes place, what will we be? The body of Christ. We will be one with Christ. Too often we think of salvation in terms of what weíre saved from. Itís absolutely critical to be saved from hell, damnation, and the stain of original sin, but what are we saved for? This is the ultimate question and the reason why salvation is a present and future reality. We are saved for union with Christ. Or, to put it in more poetic terms, we are saved so that the two may become one.

Wow, what a completely different view of salvation! Salvation is not only a legal event where the guilty prisoner is set free (hallelujah!), but a nuptial eventóthe two becoming one. God and man becoming one.

God and I becoming one.

If this is trueóif salvation means the two becoming oneóthen our view of what "saves" us needs to back up. Scripture is quite clear that we are saved by the cross of Christ, but what makes the cross possible? It is the Incarnation, God and man becoming one in the person of Jesus Christ. The Incarnation is the supreme nuptial event of salvation history and, therefore, it reveals what we are saved foróthe two becoming one.

This nuptial re-union of each person and God is only one dimension of salvation. The two becoming one also extends to the body and the spirit, to each person and his neighbor, to nation and nation. Salvation is a multi-layered affair because sin was a multi-layered affair. Original sin not only ruptured manís relationship with God (being cast out of the Garden), but it also ruptured Adam and Eveís relationship with each other and creation, and their inner harmony of body and spirit (i.e., St. Paulís lament).

Nuptial salvation, then, cannot simply mean being saved from Godís wrath or punishment. Nuptial salvation is the freedom to become successively and ever more profoundly one with the Trinity. It is the re-marriage of body and soul in love and harmony. It is the wedding of social and economic systems with Christ so as to restore human dignity and create "one new man from us who had been two" (Eph 2:15).

Finally, salvation is a future event. After the veil of this life is ripped in two, we shall be fully liberated to become one, but not all at once. In Godís mysterious and progressive plan, our nuptial salvation is completed only with the resurrection of the body. It is then that body and soul will return to perfect unity, and in this perfect unity, we will enter into perfect unity with the Trinity. The two will truly and definitively become oneóbody and soul, God and man, man and neighbor.

Then, when we confront that old question: "Are you saved?" we can answer "Finally!"

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Copyright © Katrina J. Zeno

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Katrina J. Zeno, a freelance writer and speaker on topics such as the nature of men and women, singles and romance, the culture of life, the new feminism, prayer, and parenting, is also co-foundress of Women of the Third Millennium, an organization that promotes the dignity and vocation of women through one-day retreats. Her articles and interviews have appeared numerous periodicals, including Our Sunday Visitor, New Covenant magazine, Catholic Parent, and Franciscan Way, and she has spoken in the U.S., Canada, England, and Trinidad.

Contact

Women of the Third Millennium
http://www.wttm.org  OH, US
Katrina J. Zeno - Co-Founder, 740 282-9062

Email

tangohio@aol.com

Keywords

Salvation

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1 - 10 of 15 Comments

  1. alan nadeau
    1 year ago

    we as humans should be able to understand and learn without memorizing scripture. a change in the mind and heart should take place after being born again in christ.now original sin is the curse which has been lifted, but now the old habits have to be broken in a new person who still lives in a broken world.I believe Jesus lived a sinless life but I'm most certain nobody has been able to do the same so at what ends then can a catholic be saved.a credit from the saints,mary,other members from the church ect. is rediculous and not biblical.all merit is in the life of christ alone,I hope we all believe that.we all should strive for holiness so the father can be glorified and to be more clear headed as we make disciples of christ in partnership with the holy spirit.

  2. Phil
    1 year ago

    Amanda (2 months ago) wanted to know where in the Bible says that salvation is in the future. In many places, but here are three references to begin with: Mt 10:22, Mt 24:13, Rom 5:9. Salvation is a process and, altough Jesus will never fail us, we can certainly turn our backs on Him. God bless you.

  3. Amanda
    1 year ago

    Roman Catholics sadly confuse justification and sanctification. You are justified by Christs work on the cross ALONE!!! You receive this gift of grace by faith. You then receive the Holy Spirit who begins to sanctify you (convicts you of your sin,changes your nature,your desires etc). The good works or good fruit we are supposed to bear do NOT come from ourselves,they come from the Holy Spirit who is changing us. You can not contribute ANYTHING towards your salvation;your righteousness,your "best behaviour" is like filthy rags to the Lord. It is all a gift,EVERYTHING! Thats why so many people have a problem with it,because there is nothing they can to. You have to swallow your pride and be very humble to accept that you are nothing and that it is all a gift of God,I believe that is the true problem. True Christianity differs from all religions because its not man working his way to God, its God coming down to man. Jesus wants you to know Him,to come to Him,to trust in Him. Trying to merit your own salvation is like spitting on the cross of Christ,its saying that Jesus work on the cross is not enough. He said "it is finished"!!!!!!!! salvation is not a future event,where in the bible does it say that? This is just the absolute proof that you do not know God and you would rather make your own rules because you prefer them to His. Thats actually satanic. Please everyone,read your bibles. The whole bible is about Jesus because He is the only way,the only truth and the only life. Jesus ALONE, not the pope, not your priest, no wafer and wine, not mary, not keeping rules, not being moral, NONE of that. Just Jesus. Look at the way He rebuked the Pharisees, they preferred their rules to Him. Sorry but its the same with the RC church. You search the scriptures because you think they will bring you eternal life, but you sadly dont see that they testify about Jesus and you dont come to Him for eternal life, you try on your own.

  4. John
    2 years ago

    The bible clearly states that your works can undo salvation. Your name can be blotted frim the book of life. That is thr very book tht contains the names of every saved person. If you can be blotted out then one would have to think you can lose it! Also, Jesus said not all who say lord lord will enter the kingdome but only tjose who do the will of my father. They will say to me on that day, Lord did we not preform miricals in your name, cast out demons? I will simply say to them i never knew you. He is speaking about christians!!!!!!! You cant be saved by works that was done on the cross for us. You can spit on Christs actions for you and trample on his blood by your works and as a result lose the gift. The bible says that once a man has the gift and experiances it then turns away, Christ sacrafice will not work a 2nd time. He is talking about brlievers! Non brlievers cant experiance the gift! Only those who do yet there works ruin it for them! They become blotted from the book of life! You do not have a free ticket. You were given the gift free and clear. It is up to you to respect it now. No one knows how much wrong needs to be done to lose it. Only God. So dont guess your too late. Just change now! He will forgive.

  5. MW
    2 years ago

    I am a RC that got involved with Born Agains about 6 years ago. They preach a Gospel of fear. I never doubted Jesus and my love for Him. Hell was not in my vocabulary. Now I am terrified I will go to hell. I cannot even read the 23rd Psalm anymore. I realize the Bible is the absolute truth and Word of God and that Jesus is the Word. I am afraid I have lost heaven because of the fear now in my heart. I used to love to read the Bible and pray the psalms and read all the Gospels. Now I am unable to do that anymore. It's like the Word has been ripped from my heart. Oh Jesus help me. I cannot stand the torment anymore. Some have told me that I cannot lose my Salvation that this is just in my thoughts and emotions. How I wish I had never met a "born again".

    You have my email address. I need some form of comfort. I want to trust in the Lord again.

  6. Gene Noel
    2 years ago

    I love your analogy of the Bride and Christ - understanding that the Book of Revelation of Jesus Christ mentions that that Bride has previous to the union 'made herself ready. Rev. 19:7 How then is this preparation accomplished? Look at the Gospel of St. John in chapter 3 where the final authority, Jesus Christ our Lord, explains to a religious but unrepentant sinner how to become born again: v. 16. Repentance, you see, is taught in John 3:16. A person cannot believe (trust) in Christ as taught in John 3:16 without repenting (changing his mind) in the process.
    Repentance is the translation of a Greek word (metanoia-metanoeo) meaning "to have another mind", "to change the mind", and is used in the New Testament to indicate a change of mind in respect of sin, of God and of self. This change of mind may, especially in the case of Christians who have fallen into sin, be preceded by sorrow (II Corinthians 7:8-11), but sorrow for sin, though it may "work" repentance, is not repentance. The son in Matthew 21:28,29 illustrate true repentance. Saving faith includes and implies that change of mind, which is called repentance. My concluding verse is then St. Paul to the Romans in Romans 10:9... After this one time - finite event in your life you are seen in God's eye as that spotless Bride.

  7. Miriam
    2 years ago

    To help those interested to understand, evangelical Christians do not believe that one is perfect, never to sin again after being "saved" but that Christ died for all sins of all people for all time. Those who believe in Him for forgiveness of their own sins are convicted and encouraged by the Holy Spirit and go forward to "works" as evidence of a living (genuine) faith.
    And we all struggle just like Paul in your quotation of him. Sanctification is ongoing.
    I challenge the writer's reference to Ephesians 2. Paul is here talking about Jews & gentiles.
    Formerly only Jews had access to God but through Christ all people gained access. He destroyed the barrier between the 2 groups(men) and made it possible for anyone who believes to become a member of His body,the church. And by the way that makes me one of those stars God pointed out to Abraham.

  8. Joe Mich
    2 years ago

    I was a Catholic for many years and reading these comments makes me sad. I am saddened that Catholic teachings elevate the acts of people as justification and make them worthy in God's eyes. Mother Theresa and Pope John Paul on their best days were never worthy of even being in the presence of God save for the death of Jesus on the cross. I submit to you that the Pope is no better than you, reader, because Christ died for all elect.
    Salvation is only achieved through Jesus, by confession of sin and believing in your heart Romans 10:9- and that's it. Remember the thief on the cross- all he did was believe Jesus was Lord and asked that He remember him- and Jesus saved him and assured him Paradise, on the very day. It's really that simple. I grieve for Catholic doctrine and pray that God would enlighten as many as possible before that final day.

  9. Diane
    3 years ago

    I was raised Catholic, but became an evangelical Christian at age 32 when I committed my life fully to Christ and trusted Him and Him alone as my Saviour. I say I trusted Him alone, because in my view, Catholic theology taught me that my works would be part of determining whether I would spend eternity in Heaven with God, or in hell with Satan Nothing in scripture indicates that we have any part in earning our way to Heaven. Paul said, "By grace are ye saved through faith, not of works lest man should boast." We are regenerated by the Holy Spirit - "born again" - when we believe and confess Christ as our LORD. A baby being baptized cannot believe, so cannot be "born again". I love the Catholic faith, but I cannot nail down the terms by which Catholics believe they are saved. I know for certain that when I realized I was not born again, and I asked Christ to come into my heart and be my Saviour, I changed. The bible became a living word to me - I began to experience the gifts of the Holy Spirit - I began living in communion with God in a way I never had before, sinful habits fell away and holy habits became my goal. I believe a lot of Catholics live a life not understanding God because they haven't trusted Christ for salvation and are not born again. I know most Catholics would take issue with that, but I have an honest fear that religeon keeps people from a living faith in Christ that ensures they will enter Heaven. My point? "Ye must be born again." It's an event - new birth is not "ongoing". Our continued walk with Christ proves our faith in Him is authentic, but the work of taking up our cross daily does not save us.

  10. Trevor Foran
    4 years ago

    Where in the Bible does it state that faith alone is necessary for salvation? Right here RB

    Ephesians 2.8 For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourself, it is the gift of God. 9.Not of works lest any man should boast.


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