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Ryan Rouse wrote:

Dear Mike,

I have a question for you that hopefully you will be able to answer.

  • If we are saved through faith and works, how would we ever know if we have secured our place in Heaven; we wouldn't know whether what we did was good enough?
  • Didn't Jesus fulfill what we needed to do on the Cross?
  • Which is it:
    • A free gift of God, or
    • a gift that needs to be earned?

Sincerely,

Ryan

  { How do we know if our faith and good works are good enough to secure our place in Heaven? }

Mike replied:

Hi, Ryan —

Thanks for your question.

You are right; we could not be saved on our own and through our own works. These works would not be good enough, but the Catholic Christian, unlike most other non-Catholic Christians, believes that when we are in a state of grace and partake in the Eucharist, we are allowing Jesus to work through us. When Catholics receive the Eucharist, we receive the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ Himself.

We partake in His Divine nature, and allow His work to be done through us, His Body, based on our vocation or calling in life.

We can never have an absolute assurance of salvation, because all mankind has free will to turn away from God right up to the time of death. We can have a moral assurance of salvation, though, if we follow the teachings of the Catholic Church, and follow the teachings of the Holy Father, the successor to St. Peter; read Matthew 16:13-20 and 1 Timothy 3:15. New moral issues have arose that never existed at the time Our Lord walked the earth, like:

  • In Vitro Fertilization, and
  • cloning.

Salvation is a free gift of God but, because we have free will, it's a gift we can forfeit and lose.  We have to persevere to win the prize as St. Paul states in 2 Timothy 4:6-8

6 As for me, my life has already been poured out as an offering to God. The time of my death is near. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. 8 And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing.

Catholic Christians do believe in predestination, but this is something our finite minds will never know. Only the Lord knows who is in the Book of Life, except for the Saints of the Church.

You said:
Didn't Jesus fulfill what we needed to do on the Cross?

Yes, Jesus, the Head, did fulfill what was needed, but it was His choice to incorporate or incarnate mankind into His Mystical Body, the Church.

St. Paul re-affirms as much in Colossians.

24 It makes me happy to be suffering for you now, and in my own body to make up all the hardships that still have to be undergone by Christ for the sake of his Body, the Church.

Colossians 1:24

Note that St. Paul says,

"make up all the hardships that still have to be undergone by Christ for the sake of His Body, the Church".

I hope this helps,

Mike

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