What Every Roman Catholic Needs to Know
Salvation, Part 1
The Truth About Salvation In Holy Scriptures
By Anthony Pezzotta
In this book we will consider what the Bible teaches about salvation – how a person receives forgiveness of sins, is put right with God, and is given eternal life. We will compare the teachings of God’s Word with the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.
THE TEACHING OF GOD’S WORD CONCERNING SALVATION
1. God created us all to enjoy life with Him. Life with God was lost because of sin.
“Sin came into the world through one man, and his sin brought death with it. As a result, death has spread to the whole human race because everyone has sinned” (Romans 5.12).
– Sin has separated us from God.
“But your iniquities have separated you from your God …” (Isaiah 59.2).
– Sin brings God’s judgment.
“8 He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the Gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord …” (2 Thessalonians 1:8, 9).
2. Good works and obedience to God’s commandments cannot restore what was lost.
– Good works cannot take away sin.
“8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – 9 not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8, 9).
– Obeying the Ten Commandments cannot make a person right with God.
“A person is put right with God only through faith in Jesus Christ, never by doing what the Law requires … no one is put right with God by doing what the Law requires” (Galatians 2.16).
3. Only Jesus can take away our sin and make us right with God.
‘Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”‘ (John 14:6).
‘The next day John saw Jesus … and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”‘ (John 1:29).
In order to take away our sins, Jesus suffered as the Iamb of God. This idea needs some explanation.
Sin is viewed by God as a debt. The payment due for sin is death. Because God is just, the sinner cannot be released from punishment until the debt to sin is paid. Jesus came to give His life a “ransom” for many (Matthew 20:28). He paid the price of our freedom by paying our debt to sin.
In the Old Testament God established a system of sacrifices to reinforce this idea in the minds of His people. He required that animals be sacrificed as payment for sins. These animals were viewed as substitutes who died in the place of the sinner. Before the animal was slain, the sinner symbolically transferred his sin to the animal by laying his hands on its head. The animal, then, bearing the sin of another in his body, suffered the penalty due for that sin. Every sacrifice was a reminder that the penalty for sin is death, and that the only remedy for sin is the death of a substitute.
These sacrifices could not take away sin, but they portrayed perfectly what Jesus would do as the Lamb of God (Hebrews 10:11). He died as our substitute, bearing our sin in His body, and paying the debt we owed for sin.
– Jesus paid the penalty for sin by His death on the cross.
“5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him … 6 The LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:5, 6).
– Jesus rose again and gives life to those who believe in Him.
’25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; 26 and whoever lives and believes in me will never die”‘ (John 11:25, 26).
– Jesus will come again to take His own to their eternal home.
“Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him” (Hebrews 9:28).
4. We can be saved only by faith in the Lord Jesus.
True faith involves trusting Christ alone for salvation. Many who say they believe in Jesus are not trusting Him completely to save them. They do not believe that Jesus alone makes them worthy of heaven, but rather that observing the sacraments and obeying the commandments of God are also necessary. They trust Christ also, but they do not trust Christ alone.
– We must trust Christ alone, not Christ also. To people who said they believed in Christ but trusted also in the Law for salvation, Paul writes:
“2 … Christ is of no use to you at all … 4 Those of you who try to be put right with God by obeying the Law have cut yourselves off from Christ (Galatians 5:2,4 TEV).
– We must turn from sin.
“Repent, then, and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out” (Acts 3:19).
– We must believe that Jesus died for our sins and rose again.
“Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved …” (Acts 16:31).
– We must call upon the name of the Lord Jesus, trusting Him to save us.
“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13).
True faith is more than knowing the facts about Jesus. It is trusting Him completely and receiving Him personally as Lord and Savior:
“To all who received Him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12).
– If you have not already done so, you may receive Christ today by putting your trust in Him, and calling upon Him to save you. You may want to pray something like this:
“Oh God, I am a sinner. I am separated from you because of my sin. I know that you sent Jesus to save me. Right now I trust Him alone to save me, and receive Him by faith as my Savior and Lord. Please take away my sin, and make me your child, and help me to live in a way that pleases you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
In summary, we would like to highlight some of the Biblical teachings on salvation:
+ Our iniquities have separated us from our God … (Isaiah 59:2).
+ We cannot demand God’s forgiveness on the basis of our religiosity, obeying the Law, or by doing good works. We can only appeal to God’s mercy.
+ Good works and obedience to God’s Law cannot absolve our guilt or balance the scale of justice.
+ Jesus paid the penalty for our sin. We need to repent and believe in Him, and He will pardon us.
+ We cannot pay for our sins ourselves, and accept God’s gift of forgiveness in Christ.
+ By rejecting God’s offer of salvation in Christ, we reject God’s mercy.