In this series, I am going to describe some close long personal friends of mine. They were close friends when I was a Roman Catholic and continue to be friends. I ask the Roman Catholic reader to closely pay attention and examine this carefully.
The first friend I will describe is Dan. Dan is one of the nicest, caring, hard working people you will ever meet. He has done everything and then some as described in Matthew 25. He has clothed the poor, visited those in prison, helped the hungry and sick, and has taken in strangers in need of shelter. Dan doesn’t curse nor lie, he is always honest, and he has had really no bad habits. His first wife left him for another man, but Dan took no revenge or had bitterness. He rather forgave her and helped her out through this when she needed him. He honors his parents like no other and loves his friends without condition. When I had some very low moments of my life, Dan was there offering his help. We called each other “brother” from the beginning of our friendship. From a human standpoint Dan is a morally great and honorable man in every respect.
Do you believe Dan is saved-going to heaven by what I described? Before you answer this, I hope you keep reading.
Dan is also an atheist. He doesn’t believe in the existence of God. He was raised this way, but it didn’t prevent him from doing what I said above.
If I compared my life to his as a Roman Catholic, I would definitely have been much worse as a sinner in so many ways. Sadly and ignorantly, I did not do so. Rather I thought by my church going and religious piousness, I had an edge on Dan because the standard was the church and my participation. However, that church involvement obviously was not working. I cursed, I lied, I was not honest, I was selfish, I was a habitual sinner in every respect. Compared to Dan, I was quite evil! But through my religion, I had really thought I was better because after all I believed there was a God. So THIS was the fatal and false comparison I was making for 43 years as a Catholic.
Am I better now than Dan now that I have been saved by Jesus Christ? From a human standpoint, I have made some great gains, however I am only better in the respect that now I am in Christ and that was NOT by my doing! It was ALL God, zero my involvement. Outside of Christ, I am worse! It is NOT church going which makes me better, it is not my works or repentance either, it is ONLY being in Christ which gained me an eternal life by the grace and mercy of God alone, not because of who I am, not because what I ever did, but because of what Christ did for me.
You see Roman Catholics, when I compare YOU as well to Dan, there is no comparison. Dan beats you hands down! He does ALL the things you could only hope to do, yet you aren’t. And he does it genuinely. But you believe you are somehow better than him because you are a church goer and Dan doesn’t believe God exists? I ask you to think about this! Roman Catholics love to cite Matt 25 and try to claim you are keeping the commandments, but are you? Dan does genuinely and easily, so is he saved, and are you on the way to heaven? Not according to the Gospel. In Dan’s case, he didn’t need a church to guilt him from right from wrong or how to live morally righteous.
There is just ONE way to eternal life, it is by faith alone in Jesus Christ. It is His perfect righteousness alone which saves a sinner. Once you start comparing yourself to an eternal holy God and not to other sinners, you may start to begin to understand WHY a Savior is needed. After this point, you will STOP comparing yourself to others and will be eternally grateful that God chose you for salvation. You will stop putting conditions on God as well such as He needs to do “x before you believe y”. Dan didn’t place a condition and yet does all those things you could only wish to do, yet he isn’t saved and you believe you will be?
Please pray for my friend Dan that God changes his heart so that Dan places his faith alone in Jesus Christ and enjoys eternal life with the rest of the redeemed.