How do you know if you are going to heaven? If I were to ask you how do you know you are going to heaven what would you tell me? Would you tell me that you were baptized as an infant, are participating in the Mass daily, and give to the poor? You would be among many Catholics who believe that through their good deeds they would be going to heaven.
God has made a way into heaven through His Son. But the only way into heaven is by faith which is a gift of God. Ephesians 2:8-10 says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” This grace cannot be earned as it is a gift from God. A gift implies that there is nothing you can do to pay for it. The definition of grace is the free and unmerited favor of God toward sinners in salvation. When we attempt to do good works as means of grace for salvation it is no longer grace.
Salvation by works is not applicable to God’s salvation. If we think we can be saved by works Romans 4:4 says, “Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt.” These good works do not make us any more acceptable to God. Isaiah tells us that all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags. Our works in comparison to God’s work looks infinitely different. Any work next to Christ’s perfection can only look unholy and unclean unless they are done in God.
In John 6:28 some asked of Jesus what they could do to do the works of God. Jesus’ response to them was to believe in Him. Like so many people today, those following Jesus wanted to know how they could do the work of God. They wanted a religion of works. But the response he gave them was to believe in Him. It had nothing to do with outward actions. It had everything to do with faith.
You may be just like those people following Jesus. You’ve been given a religion that tells you must be baptized, take the Mass, do confessional, do the sacraments, and don’t commit mortal sins. But the Bible tells us that this is not how we are justified nor saved. The Bible tells us that we must come by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. We must come to Christ forsaking our works and trusting in the perfect work of Jesus Christ. We cannot bring the Mass, the sacraments, baptism, confessionals, rosaries, nor our financial offerings. We must come before Him empty handed and trusting completely in Him who saves us by His work.
Romans 3:23- 26 tells us, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”