There’s a particular question that our Protestant friends often use when they are evangelizing—the question, “Have you been saved?”
How should we respond to this?
The basic thing they are asking is whether you have a relationship with God and have received his saving grace.
If you’re a Catholic, you have, and so if you don’t have time to discuss the matter, you could simply say yes, and leave it at that.
But there’s more to the question, and that presents you with an opportunity to lead your evangelistic friend into a deeper understanding of the Bible’s teaching on salvation.
You see, asking the question, “Have you been saved?” envisions salvation as an accomplished event that lies in your past—as something that has already happened.
Sometimes, the Bible speaks of salvation this way. For example, in his letter to the Ephesians, St. Paul twice tells his Christian readers that “by grace you have been saved” (Ephesians 2:5, 8).
That speaks of salvation as something that occurred in the believers’ past.
But this is not the only way that the Bible speaks of salvation. For example, in his letter to the Philippians, Paul tells his readers to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12).
This speaks of salvation as something that is ongoing—something that is still being worked out.
The Bible also speaks of salvation as a future event. In his letter to the Romans, Paul tells the reader that “salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed” (Romans 13:11).
And in his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul talks about how some people “will be saved, but only as through fire” and how a certain type of believer needs to be disciplined now “that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus” (1 Corinthians 3:15, 5:5).
These passages all speak of salvation as a future event.
So while we can speak of salvation as something occurring in the past, the New Testament reveals that it is also something happening in our lives now—in the present—and that it is something that has yet to happen in the future.
If you want to lead your evangelistic friend into a deeper understanding of the Bible’s teaching on salvation, you might answer the question “Have you been saved?” by saying “I have been saved, I am being saved, and I hope to be saved.”
That should get an interesting discussion going!
Just be sure that you can get the verses you need to show him how the Bible backs up what you have to say.
If you like the information I’ve presented here, you should get my book, The Drama of Salvation. It provides more information about this and many other aspects of salvation—a subject that affects where you and I will spend eternity.