The Procedure of Salvation

In Tit. 3:4-7, Paul states the means of salvation. He gives a definition of salvation also. First, salvation is not based on the works we have done. “He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness” (Tit. 3:5). In the Greek, the words “not by works” (ouk ek ergon) are at the beginning of the sentence, indicating emphasis. It reads, “Not by works in righteousness that we had done.” Paul stresses that salvation is not on the basis of our works. “A person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified” (Gal. 3:16, emphasis added).

I grew up thinking that I must go to church so God will forgive me my sins. I committed many sins during the week. I wanted God to forgive me. So I went to church every Sunday. I followed all the motions of the mass. I thought that if I went to church and did good things, God will somehow forgive me.

I grew up in a religion that teaches that salvation from sin requires many things. It requires grace from God and faith. Then I must do good works. I must be baptized. I must take the sacraments. I must pay indulgences. I must obey the commandments. It doesn’t end there. After I die, I go to a place where my soul needs to be purged. I have to be cleansed there. To be cleansed, somebody has to pay masses for me.[1] It’s not free. You must pay for it. What if you are poor? You cannot afford to pay for more masses. It is really a tiring and costly process. It makes a man-made religious organization get richer and richer.

But thank God that the basis of our salvation is not on our works done “in righteousness.” Righteousness means the life that follows God’s law (Acts 10:35). Paul said that we are not saved by the works that we have done in doing what is right.

What works have you done in righteousness? “Pastor, I help the poor.” That’s good. But you cannot be saved by your righteous act of helping the poor. “Pastor, I go to church.” But you cannot be saved by your righteous act of going to church. “Pastor, I pray every day.” But you cannot be saved by your righteous act of praying every day. God saved us not by works done in righteousness.

[1] Matt Slick, “Attaining Salvation in Roman Catholicism,” Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry. Cited May 21, 2017. Online: https://carm.org/catholic-salvation-attain

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