Dear Catholic, do you know for sure if you are going to heaven?

by Matt Slick

If you're a Catholic, do you know for sure if you are going to heaven when you die?  As a Protestant, I can say that I know I am going to heaven.  This isn't arrogance.  It is confidence in the work of Christ and not my own work.  It is confidence in the ability of Jesus to save me completely, to have fulfilled all of the Law perfectly, and to have cleansed me from my sin totally.  Therefore, because all my hope and trust are in him and not what I can do, I know I am going to heaven.  If my salvation depended on my goodness and abilities in any way, then I can't have any confidence that I will make it to heaven because I am an imperfect sinner.  But God is perfect and requires holiness (1 Pet. 1:16).  This is why God provided Jesus who fulfilled the Law (Matt. 5:17), including loving God (Deut. 6:5) and loving your neighbor (Lev. 19:18).  In other words, Jesus did everything that is necessary for us to do.  This is why we should trust Jesus alone and not Jesus and our goodness or Jesus and our church or Jesus and our ability to love God and our neighbor.

But, what about you?  Do you have that confidence?  If not, perhaps it is because of the requirements that the Roman Catholic Church has stated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

  • “The Lord himself affirms that Baptism is necessary for salvation,” (CCC 1257).
  • “Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation,” (CCC 846).
  • “This sacrament of Penance is necessary for salvation for those who have fallen after Baptism, just as Baptism is necessary for salvation for those who have not yet been reborn,” (CCC 980).
  • “The Church affirms that for believers the sacraments of the New Covenant are necessary for salvation, (CCC 1129).
  • Service of and witness to the faith are necessary for salvation,” (CCC 1816).
  • “The authority of the Magisterium extends also to the specific precepts of the natural law [i.e., 10 Commandments, CCC 2070], because their observance, demanded by the Creator, is necessary for salvation,” (CCC 2036).

Are you as a Catholic able to keep all the requirements that the Roman Catholic Church says are necessary for salvation?  We both know you can't. 

Are you sincere, and do you go to confession?

If you go to confession, then that means you are not keeping the law perfectly; otherwise, you would not need to go to confession.  So, the very fact that you go to confession demonstrates you're not able to live up to the standard of God's requirement.  But since the Roman Catholic Church says you are to keep the Law to be saved, please consider this:

  • Gal. 3:10, "For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, 'Cursed is everyone who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law.'”
  • James 2:10, "For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all."

God's standard is perfect.  We are not.  This is why we need to trust Jesus alone, so that we are justified by faith.  What about you?  Are you doing that?  Or, are you trusting in Jesus and your ability to keep the Law?

  • Rom. 3:28, "For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law."
  • Rom. 4:1-5, "What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, has found? 2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about; but not before God. 3 For what does the Scripture say? “And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.” 4 Now to the one who works, his wage is not reckoned as a favor, but as what is due. 5 But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness."




About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.