Salvation Examples: a non-Christian soldier

A soldier from a non-Christian background rejects the Christian faith, let’s say, in this hypothetical, by an actual mortal sin. For a long time, he does not repent of that sin; he is in a state of unrepentant actual mortal sin.

One day, he is with his comrades in arms, for whom he has some filial affection. An enemy throws a grenade in their midst. If the soldier decides, in full cooperation with grace, to give up his life to save the life of his fellow soldiers, by throwing himself on the grenade, his act of love of neighbor implicitly includes perfect contrition for all his sins — even though he does not call each sin to mind and does not explicitly repent from each one. He therefore dies in the state of grace and is saved.

The Centurion

[Matthew]
{8:5} And when he had entered into Capernaum, a centurion approached, petitioning him,
{8:6} and saying, “Lord, my servant lies at home paralyzed and badly tormented.”
{8:7} And Jesus said to him, “I will come and heal him.”
{8:8} And responding, the centurion said: “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant shall be healed.
{8:9} For I, too, am a man placed under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
{8:10} And, hearing this, Jesus wondered. And he said to those following him: “Amen I say to you, I have not found so great a faith in Israel.
{8:11} For I say to you, that many shall come from the east and the west, and they shall sit at table with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.
{8:12} But the sons of the kingdom shall be cast into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

The sons of the kingdom, who are nevertheless thrown into Hell, include some Catholic Christians, those who die unrepentant from actual mortal sin. Jesus is saying that many non-Catholics and non-Christians will reach Heaven, just as many reached Heaven who lived before Christ. But some Catholics, who pride themselves on adhering to the true Faith, nevertheless end up in Hell, because they did not repent from actual mortal sin.

The Centurion was not a Christian; he was not a disciple of Christ. Neither was he a Jew. He most likely adhered to the false pagan religion of the Romans. Yet he had true love of neighbor for his servant, and true faith. Therefore, the Centurion was in the state of grace, and his love and faith were greater than some who had seen and heard Jesus in person.

Please consider reading my book: Forgiveness and Salvation for Everyone.

by
Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Roman Catholic theologian and translator of the Catholic Public Domain Version of the Bible.

Please take a look at this list of my books and booklets, and see if any topic interests you.

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