Dear Catholic friend, How good is “good enough”?

Dear Catholic friend, I have a question about one of your church’s teachings that I’m veryge curious about. But I need to flesh this out a bit before I get to my question.

First of all, we recognize that Roman Catholicism teaches that baptism is absolutely essential for salvation.

“Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament” (CCC 1257).

The church then says after a person is baptized a Catholic they must regularly participate in the church’s sacraments in order to receive grace so that they can successfully obey the Ten Commandments and church rules so they are able to merit Heaven.

“Moved by the Holy Spirit and by charity, we can then merit for ourselves and for others the graces needed for our sanctification, for the increase of grace and charity, and for the attainment of eternal life” (CCC 2010).

In previous centuries, Rome insisted that only baptized Catholics could merit Heaven but then widened its restrictions after Vatican II and recognized as valid the baptisms of approved Protestant “ecclesial communities” (Rome will not call them churches) as well.

At this point some people might say, “Wait! Doesn’t the Catholic church also now teach that everyone on Earth can merit Heaven?” Yes, it does. We know that since Vatican II, Rome teaches that people of all non-Catholic religions and even atheists can merit Heaven if they “follow the light they’ve been given,” although they have never been baptized. If someone has never heard or understood the Catholic gospel – salvation by sacramental grace and merit (aka “cooperation with grace”) – through no fault of their own, Rome says God will judge them according to how well they obeyed the estimable portions of their religion or conscience.

I think we can at least agree everyone is a sinner and follows their religion or conscience only imperfectly. So here’s my question about this philosophy: At what point will a non-Catholic or atheist be able to merit Heaven? Do they have to follow the precepts of their religion or the dictates of their conscience at least 50% of the time? No, that seems too low. Is it 75% of the time? 90%? What is the cutoff? At what point exactly will God say, “Good enough”?

Okay, it’s a rhetorical question. I don’t expect an answer because there is none. Yes, we are all sinners and because we are sinners none of us can possibly merit Heaven. I break God’s commandments in thought, word, deed, or by omission every single day. But God loves us so much He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to pay the debt for our sins. Jesus conquered sin and death on the cross and offers eternal life and fellowship with God as a free gift to all who repent of their sins and accept Him as Savior by faith. Once you have accepted Christ as Savior, then you can follow Him, albeit imperfectly.

When are you going to accept Him? A church that teaches people can earn salvation by being “good” is a false church. God’s Word says no one is good. Accept Christ and ask the Lord to lead you to an evangelical church in your area that preaches and teaches God’s Word without compromise.

“But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” – Romans 3:21-24

Am I good enough to go to heaven?

10 thoughts on “Dear Catholic friend, How good is “good enough”?

  1. “Am I good enough to go to heaven?”

    I cannot answer that for you. Can everyone be saved? Yes. But, does that mean that everyone is – or will be – saved? Probably not. Many sinners do not repent of their sins.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks but your comments aren’t clear. “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”
      Jesus is the only way. I’m definitely not good enough to merit Heaven – no one is – but I repented of my sins and accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior. Everyone needs to accept Christ. He is the only way of salvation.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I struggle to relate to how unbelievers think because it’s so far from my thinking/being. I get angry and impatient with them and then I stop (or He stops me) and it occurs to me, “Ah yes, I was EXACTLY like that!” I pray for your friend that she heeds your witness and softens her heart and turns to Christ!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. We’re definitely not good enough at all! I remember when I was 15 before I got saved when I thought it was by works…the more I tried the more I failed…the more I saw my shortcoming! I’m so thankful that God has saved us by God’s grace alone, through faith alone in Christ person and righteous work alone!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Jim. Yes, what a relief to know Christ is my righteousness. I can remember knowing the Gospel but I resisted accepting Jesus for several months because I didn’t want to be one of THOSE people. It’s laughable to me now.

      Liked by 1 person

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