Since there is no more important subject than where you will spend eternity, i.e., Heaven or Hell, then this is going to be one of our most important subjects. Remember, also, that each one of us will have only one try at obtaining eternal life in Heaven; there is no such thing as Reincarnation, no matter how hard the New Age crowd is attempting to convince us otherwise. Therefore, we must diligently study this issue and reach the right conclusions. Our eternal soul depends upon it! And, if the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church are in error on this point, this error must be shouted from the housetops! We are going to show you this error.
In this present study we are going to examine one of the most shocking teachings found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. There is a lot of confusion today as to how men can receive eternal life. Please don't misunderstand what I have just said. The confusion exists today not because the Bible is unclear but because men have refused God's way of salvation.
Does the Roman Catholic Church teach a salvation which is received by works? With the ecumenism [false unity] between Evangelicals and Catholics at an all time historic high, you will find many trying to paint the Roman Church as agreeing with the Bible's presentation of a salvation received through faith. With the question of whether or not we can merit eternal life before us, let us consider, "What saith Rome?" Let us listen to Rome's own words.
"No one can merit the initial grace which is at the origin of conversion. Moved by the Holy Spirit, we can then merit for ourselves and for others all the graces needed to attain eternal life, as well as necessary temporal goods." (Catechism page 490, para # 2027)
It is imperative that we fully understand what is being said here. This statement starts by saying, " No one can merit the initial grace which is at the origin of conversion...."
The Roman Catholic Church views conversion to be a process encompassing one's life, not as a moment in your life where all spiritual things change, as the Bible teaches. Baptism is believed by the Catholic Church to be the beginning, or origin, of conversion. Therefore, Rome believes that no one can merit or deserve the baptism he received, in most cases as an infant. They teach that the little baby receiving its baptism -- the origin of conversion -- does not deserve to receive it, but receives it by God's Grace.
What does the Catholic Church have to say about the rest of the conversion process? Remember, this rest of the conversion process encompasses all of one's life, according to the Catholic Catechism.
" ...we can then merit for ourselves... all the graces needed to attain eternal life..."
What is Rome trying to communicate here? It is believed by the Catholic Church that an individual can merit or earn eternal life by good works. When considering "What saith Rome?" as to whether or not eternal life can be earned by works the answer is: Yes, Catholicism teaches that men are saved by the good works they do! But, what saith the LORD?
Can an individual earn or deserve eternal life according to the Bible?
"For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works lest any man should boast." (Ephesians 2:8,9) The Bible tells us that eternal life is a free gift not merited by works. Notice carefully that salvation is described in the Bible as a "gift of God", i.e. a free gift. Scripture does not say anything about salvation being a reward for the good things we have done. To read such a statement you would have to open your Catechism to page 448 and read, "...and to obtain the joy of heaven, as God's eternal reward for the good works accomplished..." (Catechism para # 1821)
Notice, also, that the wording of Ephesians 2:8, 9 specifically states that each person is saved, " not of yourselves"; therefore, the Catechism teaching that " we can then merit for ourselves... all the graces needed to attain eternal life..." is Biblically false!! This is Counterfeit Christianity at its very worst, because it affects the destiny of your eternal soul!
Has Rome changed her stand concerning salvation? No. The Catholic Church teaches plainly that eternal life is something that you can earn or deserve by observing certain laws and ceremonies. In fact, this is THE issue that led to that Roman Catholic priest, Martin Luther, to realize that there was no Salvation through the Roman Catholic Church. That great verse, "The just shall live by faith" is repeated several times in both Old and New Testaments, so that we would permanently get this wonderful message. We have listed, following, several of the instances where this Scriptural teaching is made so plain no one can miss it [Romans 1:17 2:4; Galatians 3:11; Hebrews 10:38; Habakkuk 2:4].
This is one of THE major dividing points between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism, and is THE reason Rome martyred over 8 million Protestants from 1550-1850 Circa. In this modern Catechism, quoted above, this issue is confused by the sudden definition that, while we do not merit the initial grace needed for the origin of conversion, we can then merit for ourselves... all the graces needed to attain eternal life..." (Catechism page 490, para # 2027)
The Gospel of the Bible is in great contrast to the "gospel" of Rome. When considering "What saith the LORD?" as to whether or not eternal life can be earned by works, the answer is: Absolutely not! "For by grace are you saved through faith... it is the gift of God: Not of works lest any man should boast." (Ephesians 2:8,9)
Therefore, Roman Catholic teaching on Salvation is false, counterfeit teaching, on two Biblical issues:
1) The Bible teaches that we are saved in a brief moment of time, for eternity. Rome's teaching is that conversion is a process that begins at the moment of infant baptism and continues for a person's lifetime.
2) The Bible teaches that no one can "merit" for themselves, and certainly not for others, eternal life. Salvation is totally, 100% a FREE Gift, so that no man can boast before God, for eternity, how great and good they are! No one will be able to boast that they are going to spend eternity in Heaven because they are there because of how great they are. Rather, we will be spending eternity praising God for how great and gracious He was in saving us through the blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ, even though we were the rotten scoundrels we are!
Let us finish our discussion by showing you that the Truth, as outlined above, is far more wonderful than the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church! No Roman Catholic is fully, completely, 100% sure that they are going to Heaven when they die. No Catholic can be 100% sure that they have done enough "good works" to enter Heaven. If you truly know your Roman Catholicism, and are 100% honest with yourself, you know this reality is true.
But the Truth of the Gospel of the Bible is much more wonderful than this! The True Gospel of Jesus Christ states that we can be as sure of Heaven as if we are already there! We can know with absolute certainty that, when we take our last breath on this earth, we WILL wake up in Heaven, guaranteed! Isn't that wonderful? Let us show you this wonderful truth from Scripture!
* "Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." [John 3:3] This is that instant moment of conversion about which we spoke earlier. We are 100% converted the moment we genuinely ask for forgiveness through the blood of Jesus Christ! Listen again: "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." [2 Corinthians 5:17] Instantly, we are made new creatures; all our old sin is forgiven and forgotten, and we are made new creatures in Jesus Christ!
* Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. [John 5:25] Did you hear this two-fold revelation? 1) He that hears Jesus' words of Truth, and believes on Him shall have everlasting life. Period. This is the "moment in time" conversion.
2) Then, look at the next wonderful truth; we pass from death unto life, without having to go through condemnation!! We are instantly saved; we are instantly purified from our sins. This is the meaning of the verb "is passed"; it is instantaneous!
We encourage you to read a perfect account of this instant transformation in Zechariah 3:1-5. The Angel of the Lord is Jesus Christ in His Pre-incarnate state, and He is depicted as instantly changing Joshua's filthy garments of personal righteousness, and clothing him with Divine garments of Salvation. The process works just this way for every single person who has ever lived! We are instantly saved, and for eternity!!
Finally, we have no condemnation through which to pass before we get to Heaven. In other words, we have no Purgatory about which to worry, a subject we treat far more completely in RC104, Purgatory. Suffice it to say here that Purgatory is a lie.
* "I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, he who believes in Me [who adheres to, trusts in, relies on, and has faith in Me] has (now possesses} eternal life." [John 6:47, Parallel Bible, KJV/Amplified Bible Commentary]
Listen to the words of the Catholic Living Bible, "How earnestly I tell you this -- anyone who believes in me already has eternal life." [The Living Bible: With Deuterocanonical Books, Tyndale House Publishers, Nihil Obstat: Rev Lawrence A. Gollner, Censor Librorum; Imprimatur: Leo A. Pursely, Bishop of Fort Wayne]
Again, Jesus teaches that the moment of conversion is instantaneous, not a life long process. And, you can see it from the Roman Catholic Bible!
Thus, because we are instantly saved through faith in Jesus Christ alone, independent of any "good works" we might do, then we can live and die with Joy in the absolute, 100% assurance that we are going to wake up in Heaven in the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ!! We have no doubt, and we further understand what the Apostle John was speaking of, when He said, "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. We love him, because he first loved us." [1 John 4:18-19] There is no fear at the point of death, or the contemplation of death, for the person who believes this simple truth -- that we are saved for eternity at the moment we pray for forgiveness solely in the blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ. We ARE going to Heaven; there is absolutely no doubt, if we firmly believe the Biblical Truth, not the Roman Catholic counterfeit.
What is in your heart of hearts today? Are you absolutely, completely, 100% sure that, if you were to die today, you would go to Heaven? Or, do you know that, as a Roman Catholic, you are never assured that you have done enough "good works" to "merit" eternal life?
The Good News, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, gives you this assurance. If you feel the tugging of the Holy Spirit in your heart, revealing to you the truth of what we have been saying about Salvation, then turn to our Salvation Page now, so you, too, can know the love and peace of eternal life offered so simply, and so beautifully, in Scripture.
Then you will understand the truth of the Scripture: "Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec." [Hebrews 6:19-20] Did you catch those wonderful words? "anchor of the soul", "both sure and stedfast" that enters into that Heavenly Place where Jesus has entered in for us immediately upon His ascension!
Praise God, for His simple, but deeply profound, Plan of Salvation!!
If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as Savior, but have come to realize His reality and want to accept His FREE Gift of Eternal Life, you can also do so now, in the privacy of your home. Once you accept Him as Savior, you are spiritually Born Again, and are as assured of Heaven as if you were already there. Then, you can rest assured that nothing will not hurt you spiritually. You will also know the greatest heart peace that the greatest God can give to one of His own children.
If you would like to become Born Again, and come to know this wonderful heart peace, turn to our Salvation Page now.
Return to What Saith Rome