“Are you saved?” Has anyone ever asked you this? How would you respond?
We are saved from our sins through the death of Jesus on the cross. This is something on which all Christians would agree. However, what many Protestant denominations refer to as being “saved” is a personal acceptance of Jesus as Lord, God and Savior. They might describe it as inviting Jesus into your heart. Sometimes it is stated that we have to have faith in Jesus.
There really is no problem with looking at salvation in this manner as long as we don’t just stop there. Faith in Christ is wonderful and necessary for salvation. But if we do not put that faith into action and carry it out in good works then we are missing something. We have free will and each and every day we have to make a commitment (a choice) to love and serve Jesus and to direct our actions so that they reflect our faith in Christ. Being “saved” is not a one and done experience in which we make a choice for Christ at some point in our lives and we are now saved no matter what we do subsequently. No, Christ did His part (He saved us) but we have to do our part (cooperate with His saving Grace until the day we die). We have to make a daily decision to love Jesus and to conform our will and our actions to God’s will.
The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception showed us how God “saved” Mary from sin. God saved her by protecting her from it. She was conceived without original sin. Yet she retained her free will and she also chose to fully cooperate with the divine plan: “May it be done to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38b)
God “saves” most of us by drawing us out of our sinfulness by his saving Grace. We sin but God forgives us when we repent and seek out His mercy, forgiveness and love. We may not have been protected from sin but we are given the opportunity to be forgiven of our sins through sacraments such as Baptism and Penance (Reconciliation/Confession).
So when someone asks you if you have been “saved,” tell them that Jesus did His part by dying on the cross for you. Now it’s up to you to do your part every day--to cooperate with His saving Grace and to live out your faith in Jesus by your actions.
Fr. Ed NamiotkaPastor