1 Peter 4:17-19
The Hard Truth About Salvation…
We often do not like to admit it, but this verse tells us a truth we do not always like to hear:
“For it is time for the judgment to begin with the household of God; if it begins with us, how will it end for those who fail to obey the gospel of God? ‘And if the righteous one is barely saved, where will the godless and the sinner appear?’ As a result, those who suffer in accord with God’s will hand their souls over to a faithful creator as they do good.” -1 Peter 4:17-19, NAB
As Christians, we have the hope for eternal life in heaven with our Lord, but what about those who do not believe? First, notice that I said that we have the “hope” for salvation, because there are no guarantees. Many Protestants “assume” salvation simply by saying they believe in Jesus, but as Catholics, we do not assume anything. Today’s verse clearly tells us that even the righteous are “barely saved.”
In Matthew, Jesus tells His followers:
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name? Did we not drive out demons in your name? Did we not do mighty deeds in your name?’ Then I will declare to them solemnly, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers.'” -Matthew 7:21-23
Do not assume that salvation is yours. There is nothing that any of us will ever do that truly makes us worthy of salvation. It is only through God’s grace and mercy that we have any hope for a life in heaven.
Have you ever sat at a funeral or wake and wondered if God will accept this person into heaven? Are they in purgatory? Are they in hell? I have. We like to eulogize about all of the great things this person has done, and we talk about them being in a “better place.” No one likes to talk about the hard truth: that we do not know where they will go. If they were Catholic or Christian, we have a reasonable hope for the best, but in today’s society where people openly reject God, what happens to them? I do not like to admit it, but I have wondered this many times. I have sat at funerals for close family and friends, and I try to remember if I ever heard the name Jesus come off of their lips (other than in vain). For a few, I could not remember a single time.
I do not like to spread fear or scare people into faith in Christ. Listen, the truth is the truth, whether we like to admit it or not. As far as we know, based on readings like today’s, not all of us will be saved, and that is just the way it is. All we can do is stand firm in faith and follow our Lord. Only then can we find hope. Do you have hope?