Pic courtesy of pixbay.com
I was left with a small tract with these words on them the other day: Are you 100% sure you will go to Heaven? Upon investigating further, I found it to be from a local Baptist Church. The tract contained information which was very familiar to me, a former Baptist boy myself. As well as being an invitation to their church, the booklet’s main concern was my salvation. According to the words on the inside cover, I could have complete assurance that when I die, no matter what happens, I would go to heaven.
If you have read my conversion story (found on the coming home network’s site), you know that the issue of salvation is one that plagued me for some time. My particular branch of the Southern Baptist faith clung to the belief known as “once saved always saved.” In short, once a person has a “born again” experience, and “accepts Christ as savior,” they are saved for all eternity. No possibility of damnation, no sin on my part can render my justification null. Sounds great, right? Well, it would have been great if I hadn’t been so skilled at the art of sinning (as we all are). My own personal experience and struggle forced me to take a look at this long held belief.
It sounds oxymoronic, but finding out the truth about salvation, namely that I cannot be 100% sure that I will go to Heaven when I die, was freeing. Catholics believe that baptism washes away original sin, but that afterward you and I are still free to choose evil over good. That is to say, I can still choose to reject God’s grace in favor of something contrary to it. That being the case, Catholics are encouraged to take those times of weakness and failure to the sacrament of reconciliation (confession). It was through discovering this system, one which recognized my proclivity to sin, that I eventually found the relief that my burning conscience longed for.
So, am I 100% sure I’ll reach Heaven when I die? Yes and no. I am sure that God will keep his promises if I am obedient and keep mine. In other words, I have to decide each day to love and follow him. As I heard it said once, God is the perfect genrleman; He will not force you into a relationship with him if that’s not what you want. In the end, the Lord will give us what we want the most. May we begin cultivating our love for Him now so as to be with Him for eternity!
Peace be with you!