Saturday, March 5, 2016

Who can be saved?

  "Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name".  John 20:30-31.
"And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved"- Acts 4:12
 "Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me". John 14:6
 Okay, so the Bible makes it pretty clear that we are only saved through Jesus Christ. Indeed, we Catholics affirm this basic Christian belief,  (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 442).  In fact, we hold the traditional belief, that it is only through the Church that man may be saved.  We Catholics do belong to the true Church. The Church in this world is the sacrament of salvation, the sign and the instrument of the communion of God and men. (CCC 780).  So what does this mean?  Only Catholics will be saved?  Not exactly.  Although the surest way to heaven is through the Church Christ founded, this does not mean only Catholics will be saved.  Indeed, even St. Paul recognised this.  "When Gentiles who have not the law do by nature what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law" (Romans 2:14).
So, what about those that do not know about Jesus?  Or those, such as a Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses and Muslims that know about Jesus but have an imperfect understanding of him?  Can they be saved.  Well, since we KNOW that Gentiles had the concept of Natural law, they did have the ability to respond to God's calling but may have never known about the creator whatsoever.  I think this is important because it means that these very people can respond to God's grace without knowing that it is God's grace.  The name "St. Josephine Bakhita"comes to mind.  My understanding about her is that she, when she was a pagan, would look up at the stars and wonder about their creator, as she did not believe they themselves were God.  She eventually became a slave, was forced to convert to Islam, and then was freed (slavery was illegal in Italy, if memory serves proper) and became a Catholic.  She knew God before becoming a Christian, and every time, she got a little closer to the truth.  Now, what does the Catechism say about this?  Well, it says, "Outside the Church, there is no salvation".  Note, however, this does NOT mean non Christians are absolutely damned (nor does it mean they will absolutely be saved), Indeed, the Catechism says the following "
This affirmation is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church:
"Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience - those too may achieve eternal salvation."  (CCC 847)

So then, who can be saved?  Well, technically speaking everyone CAN be saved (2 Peter 3:9), , but this does NOT mean that everyone will be saved.  Our Lord was quite clear on the reality of Hell, as were the Apostles.    (Matthew 5:22, 5:29, 2 Peter 2:4, Galatians 5:21 and many others).  So who will be saved.  Well, I leave that up to you and God.  

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