In his Angelus address at St. Peter’s Square on Sunday December 6 2015, Pope Francis made the following statements about the most important topic any of us will ever deal with, the eternal salvation of our soul.
“The need for conversion applies to non-believers and believers alike. And salvation is offered to every man and every person without exception, to all of us. No one can say: ‘I am holy, I am perfect, I am already saved.’ No. We must always welcome this offer of salvation. And this for the Year of Mercy.” (Source: CNA)
The Pope explained the reason for the Year of Mercy is:
“…to go ever forward along this path of salvation, that path which Jesus taught us. God wants all men to be saved through Jesus Christ, the only Mediator.” (Source: CNA)
He then called on Mary’s intercession to break down the “barriers and obstacles which impede our conversion”. (Source: CNA)
So based on his statements, we should all continue to go forward along this path of salvation, but we can never know when we get there, which means we can never know we are saved. Therefore, he claims believers and unbelievers are in the same boat because neither of them have yet received salvation and both of them still need to.
His statements are consistent with every religion in the world, except Christianity, because every religion in the world teaches salvation comes through our good works, while Christianity teaches salvation through good works is impossible.
If the way to attain salvation was by our good works then Pope Francis would be correct because it would be impossible for us to know whether or not we are saved. We would have to wait until we stand before God so He can weigh our good deeds against our bad deeds to see if we pass the test. However according to the Bible, everyone who has received true salvation already knows they have it.
True salvation, according to the Bible, comes as a free gift given by the grace of God and received by faith, not by works. In direct contradiction to Pope Francis, Jesus said anyone who hears His word and believes God the Father sent His Son to bring salvation from the judgment to come can know they have already, in the PAST TENSE, passed out of death into life.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.” (John 5:24)
True believers already know they have received what God has promised and that they have passed out of death into life because they believe what Jesus said. Eternal life is not going to be given to them someday in the future, after they die. They have already received it and already know they have it now. It is not an uncertain hope of what might or might not happen.
The Apostle Paul confirms this by telling us exactly what we must do to be saved.
6 But the righteousness based on faith speaks as follows: “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven? ’ (that is, to bring Christ down),
7 or ‘ Who will descend into the abyss?’ (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).”
8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart”—that is, the word of faith which we are preaching,
9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;
10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. (Romans 10:9-10)
Notice in verse 6 Paul says righteousness, which is our right standing with God, is based on faith, not works. Where do we find this faith? We don’t have to go up into heaven or down into hell to find it because it is right here with us now, in our mouth and in our heart. Therefore, we can receive salvation right here and now by confessing from our mouth Jesus Christ as our Lord and believing in our heart that God raised Him from the dead. Anyone who does this is saved, which again is past tense.
Notice verse 10 says it is with the heart a person believes, which results in righteousness. This is a very important point because righteousness cannot be received through our mental agreement, but only by believing in with our heart. This is because our mind can only know what we perceive with our five senses, which only have access to this physical realm, but our heart can connect with another realm, which is the spiritual realm, which is the realm of God because God is a spirit being. So our heart can know things by faith that are impossible for our mind to know. That is why everyone who has received salvation, true salvation, already knows it in their heart.
Here is the ultimate test to know whether or not we are saved. Everyone who has already been saved is 100% sure they already have it while those who are not yet saved cannot possibly be 100% sure because they do not yet have faith in their heart. With their mind they might want to believe it, but the mind cannot possibly know for sure. Faith resides only in the heart.
The person who has no faith in their heart, but only mentally agrees with the words of Jesus, does not and cannot understand how anyone can claim to know they are saved because they themselves do not know if they are saved. The whole idea is a mystery to them because they are still on the outside looking in.
The person who has faith is so persuaded by what they believe they act on it by obeying God’s commandments while the person who only mentally agrees with the Bible continues doing whatever they please. They might actually try to obey God for a while, but they will not continue because they have no faith to endure. True faith changes the way a person acts even when no one else is watching, while mental agreement does not. Everyone who truly loves God obeys His commandments (1 John 5:3).
So our actions provide evidence of the faith in our heart, but we do not earn our salvation by our good works. None of us could ever be good enough to stand before God on that basis because if we make even one single mistake we are guilty of falling short of His requirements. None of us can meet that high standard, which is why Paul said, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
So what hope do we have to be saved? Our only hope is to receive it as a free gift from God, which He offers by His grace and which we receive by our faith. If it was something we earned by our works then we would have reason to boast about our good deeds, but none of us have anything to boast about before God.
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;
9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
So salvation is a free gift, bought and paid for by the shed blood of Jesus Christ. There is no other way.
Paul said we are to have no confidence in the flesh, which means no confidence in our ability to be made right with God by our own works (Philippians 3:3). If anyone had reason to put confidence in their flesh, Paul would have qualified, but he tells us he put no confidence in those things. Instead, he counts all of those things as loss so he can have the true knowledge of salvation that only comes by faith (Philippians 3:8-9).
Paul then explains we have not yet received the resurrection from the dead, which makes sense because we have not yet died. Even though we have received the gift of eternal life in our heart by faith, we must continue standing in faith and walking in obedience until the end of our life so that we are not disqualified from receiving our resurrection from the dead (Philippians 3:10-14). Our obedience is the proof of the faith in our heart because faith without works is dead (James 2:17).
The same gift of eternal life that we receive by faith can also be lost if we abandon our faith. For more on this topic, please see my previous post, Exposing the False Doctrine of Once Saved Always Saved.
Ironically, Islam teaches a very similar message of salvation as the one taught by Pope Francis. Muslims believe it is impossible to know they are saved until after they die and stand before Allah. In fact, they believe it is blaspheme to claim to know they are saved because even the false prophet Muhammad did not know whether or not he was saved.
Say, “I am not something original among the messengers, nor do I know what will be done with me or with you. I only follow that which is revealed to me, and I am not but a clear warner.” (Quran 46:9).
Any Muslim who claims to know they are saved is claiming to be greater than Muhammad, which is why they consider it blaspheme, which is punishable by death.
The reason why Muhammad did not know whether or not he was saved is the same reason Muslims today do not know if they are saved, which is because they believe they are made acceptable to Allah by their good deeds, which include prayer, almsgiving, fasting, and living according to the Quran. Therefore, they have no way of knowing whether or not they have done enough good deeds to be accepted by Allah.
And the weighing [of deeds] that Day will be the truth. So those whose scales are heavy – it is they who will be the successful. And those whose scales are light – they are the ones who will lose themselves for what injustice they were doing toward our verses. (Quran 7:8–9)
Rise of the False Prophet:
Salvation is the most important issue of our life and the foundation of our relationship with God, yet the leader of one of the world’s largest religions, Pope Francis, just revealed he knows nothing about salvation. If he knew he was saved, he would not be telling others they cannot know if they are saved because everyone who knows wants others to know too. Everyone who has received the life of God living on the inside of them has received the heart of God for other people and He is not willing that anyone should perish (2 Peter 3:9).
Only God knows the heart of Pope Francis, but Jesus said we could know people by their fruit, “Every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit” (Matthew 7:17). So it sounds like Pope Francis has not received salvation, which would mean he is not even a Christian.
If the leader is lost, what does that say for his 1.25 billion followers? Jesus said, “A blind man cannot guide a blind man, can he? Will they not both fall into a pit?” (Luke 6:39)
On the all important issue of eternal salvation, Pope Francis is more closely aligned with Muslims than with Christians. He is more closely aligned with the children of wrath than with the children of God. His teachings contradict the teachings of Jesus, which makes him more of an adversary of God than a friend. This is not someone to follow.
We must examine these things because the whole world is now embracing this man and his teachings almost like some kind of rock star. But popularity with the world is not necessarily a good thing because most of the world is heading for destruction.
The Bible tells us a false prophet will arise in the end-times who will lead the world in worshiping the first beast (Revelation 13:12). This man will seek to unite all the world’s religions into one global religion. If Pope Francis wanted to do this, his statements about salvation would help him achieve it. Muslims would agree with him and also with his statements about Mary, the mother of Jesus. Uniting 1.25 million Catholics with 1.6 million Muslims would already encompass almost half of the world’s population. Anyone seeking to establish a global religion would surely be thinking along these lines.
Regardless of the identity of the false prophet, the Bible warns us he is coming, so we must be watching and on the alert to avoid being deceived by him. To get the whole world to follow him, his powers of deception must be very great. To avoid being deceived ourselves, we must know the scriptures so we can properly discern truth from error.
The false prophet will come with the appearance of a lamb, yet he will speak like a dragon (Revelation 13:11). He will come under cover of darkness, crafty and clever, to deceive those who do not know the truth. He does not come openly cursing God, but speaking about the blessings of God with all the appearances of a man of God so he can persuade people to follow him. He can even talk openly about Jesus as long as he misleads everyone about how they can know Jesus. Let everyone beware because we are very close to the time when the false prophet will arise.
We should avoid following anyone who is not who they claim to be, but especially someone telling us about our eternal salvation. Pope Francis is clearly deceived and deceiving others because he contradicts the Bible.
The difference between lies and truth can be subtle so we must be on guard. Our best defense against deception is our knowledge of the Bible and a close relationship with the Lord. If you want to make sure you are saved, click here.
Author: James Bailey
James Bailey is a blogger, business owner, husband and father of two grown children. In 1982, he surrendered his life to the Lord Jesus Christ. In 2012, he founded Z3news.com to broadcast the message of salvation by reporting end time news before it happens.