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True Understanding of Salvation-Confessions from a Converted Catholic

September 29, 2009

Growing up, I have the fondest of memories of going to church and learning about God.  My family was and still is one deeply rooted in the Catholic faith.  So, in being a good son, I grew up in the Catholic church and learned as much as I could, starting at a very early age.  As I grew in my faith, my understanding of true salvation was based more in what I could do for God rather than what God did for me through Christ.

Listening to the various songs on my iPod, I came across one that has been one of my favorites from the time I first heard it about two years ago.  The words helped me begin to understand what true salvation was and the title said it all… In Christ Alone!

Growing up, I was taught to be in a constant state of confession, which was not a bad thing at all.  Unfortunately, if not properly governed, one’s constant awareness of sin, without the acknowledgment of salvation in Christ, can become an overwhelming barrier to true relationship with and acknowledgment of our Savior.  I still struggle with the whole concept of salvation in accepting Christ as my Savior, in large part due to this misconstrued idea that I had to earn God’s righteousness and approval.  I knew that I was a sinful person and the weight of falling short in the eyes of God created a pseudo spiritual glass ceiling.  Then I met Paul in Romans 3.

22For there is no distinction:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.  Romans 3

Looking over this passage, you could sum it up in Faith + Nothing.  Could it really be that simple?  I remember going to Christ in prayer and trying to argue salvation with all of the theology and rituals I had been taught, but it kept coming back to that simple phrase.  In Christ Alone.

We will continue to explore the subject of salvation in the next posts.  If you are Catholic or were raised Catholic, I’d love to hear your questions and comments.  If you have questions about grace, salvation, or any other Christian doctrine, I would love to have the opportunity to discuss them in future posts.

Finally, if you have never heard the song, I pasted a video with the song and the words set to images from The Passion.  I hope you enjoy.

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About the Writer:

Trent Cotton has spent a number of years in management and business consulting. After spending some time in the field, he joined the HR department, beginning in recruiting and eventually serving as the Department Head of HR for one of the major lines of business. With such a varied background, he works to bring all of these together to help churches and other Christian organizations incorporate some common business practices into their ministries to enable them to better serve the Kingdom. He currently works for SourcePointe, an HR Outsourcing Agency while continuing to own and operate Christian Management Consulting as a ministry.Technorati tags: , .

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7 comments

  1. You’ve made a mistake with the path of religion you’ve chosen.

    This is what Paul says in Romans

    (2:13) For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified.

    We need to love Christ in order to be justified; it is not enough simply to believe in Him, but we need to love Him as well, and if we love Him, then we will keep His commandments as He says in the gospel of John.

    God Bless,


    • Be sure to read the next post. I tell my conversion story there.


    • I think you are overlooking the structure of the book of Romans. Trent is quoting the capstone of the first 3 chapters – where Paul makes the case that everyone is lost. The verse you cite in Chapter 2 is part of making that case.

      Chapter 5 is where Paul really examines justification by grace alone. You are correct that our gratitude to and love of God should make us desire to do his will – but our actions do not justifify us with God


      • I believe you may have misread my intent. I was pointing out how my view was changed by Romans to understand better that justification is not by my effort but by God’s grace, given by Christ’s obedience to the cross. Thank you for your feedback.


  2. Trent,

    What a wonderful post! I will pass on to my friends who would benefit from this.

    God bless,
    Jerry Sinclair
    Marriage Missionary


  3. […] So, what is the Catholic view of justification?  Well, Justification and Sanctification are seen as one.  Justification is seen as being “infused” into us.  Example: pumping gas.  By the merits of Christ and grace obtained by obedience and adherence to the sacraments, by one’s own efforts, they can attain grace to “fill up their tank”.  This is the idea that we have to do things to earn grace and then still be imperfect.  True Catholics cannot believe or rest in the grace freely bought and given by Christ for those who believe. This is the most significant difference and in this case, it is very much like insurance.  You have to pay into it in order to “hopefully” have enough paid in to avoid eternal disaster.  In fact, this is one of the biggest aspects of Martin Luther’s challenging of the Catholic church.  In reading Scripture, he, along with most, read faith alone, nothing more, nothing less.  I too, struggled with the weight of this and wrote about it in my post on Salvation. […]


  4. As a catholic for the first 38 years of my life I struggled to please God that He may find me worthy to enter heaven. It was not until I read the Lord’s Word “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, no one comes to the Father but by Me.”, then I understood salvation. “,,not of works least any man should boast.”



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