All Christians believe in the concept of being saved. The denomination we join is less important than being a true Christian. However, not all Catholics understand what “being saved” truly means.
Catholics believe that other Christians can be “saved,” but the definition of “saved” may be different throughout denominations. In general, Catholics believe that works are the way to heaven. This is contradictory to what the Bible says.
In John 3:16, we are told that: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whomever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.”
Ephesians 2:8-9 reinforces this by telling us that it is only God’s grace that we have been saved, and not through works. It reads: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- not by works, so that no one can boast.”
The entry to heaven is open to all Christians and Catholics are beginning to understand and embrace this belief. However, many Catholics still mistakenly believe that good works are the only way to heaven.
It would be to the benefit of Catholics to understand some of the key verses in the Bible concerning works and salvation. The essence of being saved is accepting Christ into our heart, believing in Him, and following His will. Good works have nothing to do with getting into heaven or the act of “being saved.” Good works are done as an extension of our acceptance of Christ and vow to follow Him.
For further understanding, read Romans 9:30-32 – “What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; but Israel, who pursued a law of righteousness, has not attained it. Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the “stumbling stone.” This passage further reminds us that being saved is not the same as doing works.
“Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works.” Pursuing God through righteousness is different than pursuing God by good works.
Being saved is the only way to heaven, and there are Catholics who teach and believe that and live by the grace of God. I have friends who are Catholic who completely understand the concept of being saved. I have other Catholic friends who believe that good works are the way to heaven. That being said, I know of people in Protestant denominations with the same set of beliefs.
The Bible is clear on the concept of salvation and that idea is being taught in both the Protestant and Catholic faiths.