How do i get to heaven

Status
Not open for further replies.
S

Socrates4Jesus

Guest
I think this is a really important question. Does anyone have an answer?
 
Ooops!

Sorry, i did not notice the post i left yesterday with the same question. I thought it was deleted somehow.
 
Salvation is for we who “confess with our lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in our hearts that God raised him from the dead” (Rom 10:9, John 3:16) while for sin we “bear fruits that befit repentance” (Rom 5:8, Luke 3:8, 1John 1:6-9). This salvation is by “grace through faith and not of works” (Eph 2:8-9, Rom 4:4-5; 5:10; 11:6, Gal 3:11). In this gift all our sins are forgiven (1John 1:6-9, 2Pet 1:9), we are made into a new creation (2Cor 5:17), we become adopted children of God (Rom 8:23, John 1:12, 1John 3:1; 5:1), and are promised the eternal inheritance (Mat 19:29, Heb 9:15). We receive all this upon being born again:
 
40.png
Socrates4Jesus:
I think this is a really important question. Does anyone have an answer?
Now having such a great salvation (Heb 2:3), we live in Jesus in the Lord’s Supper of thanksgiving remembrance (Mat 26:26-28, Luke 22:19-20, John 6:53-56, Col 2:6-7) and in “faith working through love” (Gal 5:6, 1Cor 13:2.13, Eph 2:10, 2Peter 1:3-11, 1Thess 5:15-23, John 15:4-12). Our works are not from ourselves, but are given to us by God (Philip 2:13) and preserve or increase the righteousness given to us as a gift (Mat 25:14-30, Rom 6:16, Rev 19:7-8, Jam 2:14-26, cf Gen 22:12, Psalm 106:30-31). We are also charged to “lead a life worthy” of God and Gospel (1Thess 2:12, Col 1:10, Philip 1:27) “knowing that we will receive the inheritance as our reward” (Col 3:23-24, Rom 2:6-7, Mat 5:7-12; 25:34-36, Luke 6:35; 18:18-22, Gal 6:8-9). Thus we “strive for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord” (Heb 12:14, 2Cor 7:1). Yet “if any one does sin” we repent and are consoled, “confessing our sins to one another” (Jam 5:16, John 20:22-23), knowing that “we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1John 1:9-2:1, Rev 2:5).

Thus saved by grace alone, the Gospel invites us to humbly confess: “We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty” (Luke 17:10). Yet it permits the hope (Rom 5:2-5) that Christ will say “Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a little, I will set you over much; enter into the joy of your master” (Mat 25:21).
 
Right, we must be born again, or “born from above” as Jesus says in the New American Bible (John 3, verse 3).

It seems to me this has something to do with a change in a person’s life (hence, the new creation, as St. Paul put it).

Will you elaborate on the requirement to get into heaven that we not rely on our own good deeds (or good works as St. Paul put it)?

Thanks, Sirach!
 
40.png
Socrates4Jesus:
Right, we must be born again, or “born from above” as Jesus says in the New American Bible (John 3, verse 3).

It seems to me this has something to do with a change in a person’s life (hence, the new creation, as St. Paul put it).

Will you elaborate on the requirement to get into heaven that we not rely on our own good deeds (or good works as St. Paul put it)?

Thanks, Sirach!
Creed of Salvation was taken from panoply.home.att.net
 
Allow me to quote Pillar of Fire-Pillar of Truth.

"The Catholic Church teaches what the apostles taught and what the Bible teaches: We are saved by grace alone, but not faith alone ( which is what ‘Bible Christians’ teach; see Jas. 2:24). When we first come to God and are justified ( that is, enter a right relationship with God), nothing preceding justification, whether faith or good works, earns grace. But then God plants his love in our hearts, and we must live out our faith by doing acts of love ( Gal. 6:2)
“Even though only God’s grace enables us to love others, these acts of love please him, and he promisis to reward them with eternal life ( Rom. 2:6-7, Gal. 6:6-10). Thus good works are meritorious…”

Pillar of Fire-Pillar of Truth
pg. 23, A Catholic Answer Booklet.

I believe that the Evangelical, or Fundamentalists interpretation of John 3:5 (" Born Again") is a change of heart, mind, or you can say character or life style.
In my opinion the Evangelical interpretation is a work. When one decides that they are going to make a change from a dishonest person to an honest person, or a drunk to a non-drinker this is a work.
Even telling yourself you are going to receive Christ as “personal Savior” is a work.
 
40.png
Sirach14:
I believe that the Evangelical, or Fundamentalists interpretation of John 3:5 (" Born Again") is a change of heart, mind, or you can say character or life style.
In my opinion the Evangelical interpretation is a work. When one decides that they are going to make a change from a dishonest person to an honest person, or a drunk to a non-drinker this is a work.
Even telling yourself you are going to receive Christ as “personal Savior” is a work.
I’d like to explore this idea. If you are correct, it would change my whole outlook on this.

I’m a little simple minded, so i often fall back on examples to help me understand new concepts. Let me try to use one, here, & see how your concept fits into it.

The example from Scripture i’ve heard given is from Luke, chapter 23. The two criminals crucified with Jesus began mocking Him (Mark 15, verse 32).

However, one of them had a change of heart, & perhaps realizing who Jesus was said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

Jesus’ reply: “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

What i see in this example is that the man had a change of mind about Jesus (repentance) & asked, in my opinion, to be resurrected from the dead & allowed to be with Jesus when He returns to earth. Jesus’ answer, i believe, was that the man would be with Him in heaven that very day.

This, to me, is an example of making it to heaven without doing any good works. The man could not be baptized or partake in Holy Communion. He did not even confess His sins & need to be forgiven (though in His mind he may have done so).

I think, then, that my concept to good works is narrower than your own. A good work, it seems to me, is something a person DOES. While confession & repentance are more something a person thinks. Hence, the criminal executed next to Jesus did no good work to reward him with Paradise.

However, if i’m wrong, i hope you will be able to help me see.
 
Since the thread is about getting into heaven, I’m surprised that no one has referenced Jesus words about the last judgment in Matthew 25:31ff, where the Lord separates the sheep from the goats, and the criteria he uses. That’s the one that always gives me pause.

JimG
 
Perhaps being on a death bed or hanging on a cross are reasons folks get in who don’t do good works. But to “convert” and then not perform any good works because the good thief Dismas didn’t would not justify failing to live out one’s life in Christ.
 
Jim:

Yeah, first time i heard Christ’s words from Matthew 25 i was a child in “church school” (i was in public school but attended once a week for an hour) & the nun showed a movie that quoted this chapter.

“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.”

I think most of the Protestants i’ve met would read those words of Jesus & agree those are things they should do. The difference, however, is that they would say those things would be done out of obligation or gratitude to their Savior, but not out of any hope that they would help them receive heaven as a reward.

Many would even say that those who refuse to do these good works are really fooling themselves if they think they have really repented & put their trust in Jesus Christ to save them from hell.

The good works, they would argue, are the result or (not the reason) for their redemption. The good things they do, they may explain, are the consequence (not the cause) of their being rescued from hell.

But what do you think?
 
40.png
Flounder:
Perhaps being on a death bed or hanging on a cross are reasons folks get in who don’t do good works. But to “convert” and then not perform any good works because the good thief Dismas didn’t would not justify failing to live out one’s life in Christ.
Good point, Flounder.
 
40.png
JimG:
Since the thread is about getting into heaven, I’m surprised that no one has referenced Jesus words about the last judgment in Matthew 25:31ff, where the Lord separates the sheep from the goats, and the criteria he uses. That’s the one that always gives me pause.

JimG
This is the sin of omission, doing nothing, when you should have reached out to do something.
Some non-Catholics will try to tell you that Matthew 25:31 was written for the Jews, and not Christians, because the idea of good works is so repugnant to them.
They even hate what St. Paul says: " God will repay everyone according to his works: eternal life for those who seek glory, honor, and immortality through perseverance in good works, but wrath and fury to those who selfishly disobey the truth and obey wickedness" ( Rom. 2:7-8).
A few more:
Matt.7:21
Mt.19:16-17
Jn. 14:21
Gal. 5:4-6
Eph 2:8-10
Phil 2:12-13
Jas 2:14-24
Code:
        Judged According to Deeds
Rom. 2:5-8
2 Cor 11:15
2 Cor 11:15
1 Pet 1:17
Rev 20:12-13 This verse dosen’t say anything about being " Born Again"–it tells us the dead will be judged according to their deeds.
Col 3:24-25
 
40.png
Socrates4Jesus:
I think most of the Protestants i’ve met would read those words of Jesus & agree those are things they should do. The difference, however, is that they would say those things would be done out of obligation or gratitude to their Savior, but not out of any hope that they would help them receive heaven as a reward.

Many would even say that those who refuse to do these good works are really fooling themselves if they think they have really repented & put their trust in Jesus Christ to save them from hell.
They may have some quite good theological points, and of course I would agree that we are saved by Grace of the Lord, freely given.

Nevertheless, when Jesus Himself in Scripture gives this picture of the last judgment and seems to make our entry into Heaven dependent on what we’ve done on earth, I don’t take it lightly.

JimG
 
Thanks, Sirach, i’ll check some of those out.

I’ve got to go, but maybe i should leave with a question & see, when i return, what others have to say. St. Paul writes:

“A worker’s wage is credited not as a gift, but as a something due. But when one does not work, yet believes in the one who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness.” (Romans 4, verses 4-5, New American Bible)

When i read his words to the Catholics at Rome, he really seems to be saying that heaven is a gift that is freely given to us, NOT a reward for which we work to earn. So, when someone tells me that the good things i do will help me merit heaven, i have trouble understanding how St. Paul would agree.

Does anyone have any ideas?
 
40.png
Socrates4Jesus:
I’d like to explore this idea. If you are correct, it would change my whole outlook on this.

I’m a little simple minded, so i often fall back on examples to help me understand new concepts. Let me try to use one, here, & see how your concept fits into it.

The example from Scripture i’ve heard given is from Luke, chapter 23. The two criminals crucified with Jesus began mocking Him (Mark 15, verse 32).

However, one of them had a change of heart, & perhaps realizing who Jesus was said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

Jesus’ reply: “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

What i see in this example is that the man had a change of mind about Jesus (repentance) & asked, in my opinion, to be resurrected from the dead & allowed to be with Jesus when He returns to earth. Jesus’ answer, i believe, was that the man would be with Him in heaven that very day.

This, to me, is an example of making it to heaven without doing any good works. The man could not be baptized or partake in Holy Communion. He did not even confess His sins & need to be forgiven (though in His mind he may have done so).

I think, then, that my concept to good works is narrower than your own. A good work, it seems to me, is something a person DOES. While confession & repentance are more something a person thinks. Hence, the criminal executed next to Jesus did no good work to reward him with Paradise.

However, if i’m wrong, i hope you will be able to help me see.
 
Question: " We Protestants are taught that when Christ said, ’ Ye must be born again,’ He meant a change of heart.

Answer: " That would be a most inadequate explanation. For a change of heart means conversion from unbelief to belief in Christ, and from morally evil ways to morally good conduct. It therefore means repentance. Now our Lord did insist on repentance or a change of heart in all who sought baptism, but He did not identify it with baptism. He said, ’ He that believeth and is baptised shall be saved.’ Mk. XV1., 16. When speaking of the rite of baptism itself, He said, ’ Unless one is born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter the kingdom of heaven.’ Jn 111., 3. You will notice here that, whilst conversion or change of heart is an interior change in our own dispositions, the new principle of life comes from forces outside us. It is something put in us, and signified by an external rite. The good preparatory dispositions are from us; but the new life is not from us, but from God. The washing with baptismal water signifies the cleansing of the soul from the disease of sin belonging to children of a guilty race; and the Spirit of the Living God is mentioned as infusing into our souls a principle of new birth to a spiritual life of grace far beyond and above the merely natural life secured by natural birth."
Radio Replies, Vol 11
 
Socrates,

I think that your last quote and question have already been answered by Sirach in previous some of his earlier posts.

I will, nevertheless, offer my two cents worth as follows: In Romans 4, Paul is talking about our initial salvation. Refer to Sirach’s prior post that mentions the Council of Trent and its declarations as these are directly on point.

So what is the relationship of works. The good works we do are as Scott Hahn puts it “merely the works of the Father’s hands in our hearts.” But obviously, if these works are lacking our faith, as the apostle James says, “is dead” and we will not be saved.

So what exactly is a “work.” A work can be anything we do in cooperation with or against God. These things can be internal or external. Thus praying to God does not have to be seen nor does a sin of lust or hatred have to be seen to qualify as a work.

So ask yourself a simple question. Do you have to love God in order to be saved? Based on 1 Cor 16:22, Jam 1:12-15, James 2:5, Luke 10:25-37, 1 Cor 2:9, 1 Cor 13:1-2, and 1 Cor 13:13, the answer is an unequivocal “yes.” Loving God is something “we do.” Needless to say, the grace of God is what enables us to have faith and the supernatural gift of love that we need in order to love the Lord. But our love of God is, indeed, a work that we do.

You could ask the same question again but simply substitute the word “obedience” for the word “love.” Then research the scriptures for all the verses that talk about obedience and salvation. You will quickly discover that obedience is also necessary for salvation and that it is God’s grace that enables us to obey Him. You can do the same thing with the words "endure’ and “endurance.”

These are all necessary works that we do, but we do not and cannot do them without the grace of God. And that is why it is most proper to say that “We are saved by grace alone, through the merits of Jesus Christ, by faith and works, but not by faith alone.” That is why we are told James 2:24 “You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.”
 
I’m going to include here an exert from a post I made on another thread, because I think it’s relevent to what Socrates was saying (when I say ‘you’ I’m referring to another guy on that other thread):
We are certainly saved by grace alone…but not by faith alone. I assume you agree that we must accept Christ through repentance and faith to be saved. If so, then you agree that humans must do something to be saved. Obviously we are not saved because of what we did (faith, repentance, acceptance) but because of Christ’s grace; however, we must co-operate with God and be willing to receive this grace. So far I assume you agree with me. Thus, you already believe that humans must do something to be saved, and as accepting and believing in Chris take effort (of will, mind, even if it is for a moment), it is, in a certain sense, a work. However, we can not take credit for our salvation, even though we must do something to receive it, as the Spirit gives us the grace to accept it in the first place.
Likewise, in Catholic theology, the grace given to us, which leads to true faith, inevitably, if we are co-operating with God’s plan of salvation, leads to good works, as the natural produce (fruit) of our grace-empowered faith. You see, if you are to say that human work (even works that are only made possible because of Christ’s grace) can not be part of our justification, then you must believe that all men will automatically be saved…because even in your view we must exert a certain degree of effort to be saved (accepting Christ and repenting). The works that we do have nothing to do with earning salvation, but they are part of our justification process, when they flow from grace. Because we are brought into God’s grace, the works that are produced by this grace become pleasing to God, and are our way of co-operating with God as He brings us to perfection…Remember, we agree 100% that we are saved by grace alone, but rather than grace through faith, it is grace produces faith which produces works. Because of freewill, we must co-operate with God throughout the plan of salvation…in your view, freewill ceases to exist, in a sense, once you perform a single initial ‘work’ (the initial assent of faith).


Socrates: Why is mental effort not a work? Would you not agree that ‘good works’ include worshipping God through prayer and praise? These can often be limited to ‘mental effort’. Mental repentance and believe takes effort, just like working at a soup kitchen takes effort. In the grand scheme of things, why would there be a distinction?
 
I’ll repost my response from Socretes’ other thread as well.
First:
  1. We are all sinners
  2. Sin is any offence against God, and since God is just and holy, the penalty of sin is death (seperation from God…both spiritually and physically)
  3. There is nothing we can do to save ourselves. If Christ had not become Man and died on the cross for our sakes, in atonement for our sins, we would all be damned! :eek:
However, since God values freewill so highly, and since he wants us to freely choose Him and His ways, the work that Christ has done is not automatically applied to all men. We must actively accept this free gift. Salvation is not something we can earn, but God gives us the grace to believe and to repent, initially, to lead us to be baptized (this doesn’t apply to you as you have already been baptized) and as we progress in our relationship with God (a relationship that begins at baptism, when we ‘put on Christ’ and die to our old sinful selves) we must continue to seek God and He will continue to provide us with the grace to ‘work out our salvation with fear and trembling’ (Phil. 2:12). (Notice that it says work out, not work for!).
The grace God gives us will allow us to exhibit real faith, and this real faith will lead to good works. These good works, when done within God’s grace, and because of God’s grace, play an important role in the salvation process. They are all steps along the road towards eternal salvation. The works themselves do not save us, but they become worthy of merit once we have accepted Christ’s grace—these works are the fruit of the grace Christ gave us, by virtue of His work on the cross. (See James 2:14-26, Matthew 18:23-35, Matthew 25:14-46, Luke 13:6-9, and John 15:1-8, among others) Prayer is one of the most important ‘works’ we can do…it helps us, and others, come into an intimate relationship with Christ. We can never underestimate the power of prayer (and intercession…our Blessed Mother is always there for us as well). At times along the way, we may lapse into serious sin, times where we fall from the grace of God. Scripture warns us of this possibility so many times. (Please see scripturecatholic.com/salvation.html#salvation-VIII for a whole pile of verses relating to this sort of thing). When this happens, we must repent and go to confession. Many times each day, in all likelihood, we will sin, and often may not even notice it (as we grow in Christ, our conscience will also develop and we should be increasingly aware of our shortcomings)…these sins need only be confessed to God, though going to confession for venial (non-deadly) sins is also helpful.

Besides the sacraments of baptism and reconciliation (confession), people have been missing the holiest sacrament of all! The Eucharist! Our Lord gives us life through the Eucharist. Read John 6. The Eucharist is one God’s most important means of conveying grace. It is possible, I would say, to be saved without partaking of the Eucharist (ex. A devout follower of Christ outside of the visible Catholic Church, who is ignorant of the life-giving grace conveyed to us through the Blessed Sacrament), but it is vital to our spiritual growth. Regular reverenced participation in the body and blood of Christ is essential to our spiritual well-being. Even just spending time in the presence of Christ in the Eucharist, in Eucharistic adoration is very edifying.

So I would say the following are normatively the important steps in the plan of salvation (I say normatively, because out of His grace, Christ allows others to come to Him through unorthodox means in extraordinary situations):
  1. Believe
  2. Repent
  3. Baptism
  4. Confirmation (not necessarily necessary for salvation, but still a very important step, we are here sealed with a greater fullness of the Spirit which will be of immeasurable help in keeping us on the straight and narrow throughout our spiritual journey…this is another important venue of grace)
  5. Partaking of the Bread of Life in the Eucharist! (Again read Jn.6)
    *I am the living bread which came down out of heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: yea and the bread which I will give is my flesh, for the life of the world. * (Jn 6:51)
    Jesus therefore said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, ye have not life in yourselves.
    He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood hath eternal life: and I will raise him up at the last day.
    (Jn 6:53-54)
    He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood abideth in me, and I in him. (Jn. 6:56).
    And Christ emphasizes it even more in the full passage!
  6. Obeying the commands of God, and when we fall into mortal sin by grave violation of these commands
    6b) Confession (more grace!)
  7. Regular prayer and good works, flowing from an intimate relationship with God and regular reception of His grace
  8. Eternal life!
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Back
Top