2. Salvation in Christ Alone

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The Bible teaches that we are justified by grace alone, through faith alone, because of Christ alone. The Catholic religion does not accept this. Catholicism adds human righteousness to the requirements, including that we must:

  • Love and worship God
  • Pray
  • Fast
  • Love one’s neighbor
  • Practice self-renunciation
  • Obey the commandments of God
  • Bear witness to the Catholic faith
  • Follow supernatural inspiration in deeds
  • Confess the major doctrines of the Church

But when it comes to salvation, the apostle Paul said of his own righteous works:

I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. —Philippians 3:8-9 (NIV)

Where justification by faith alone is not clearly understood and taught, “another gospel” is being proclaimed. Galatians includes a stern warning about those who proclaim “another gospel.”

I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed. —Galatians 1:6-9 (NKJV)

The Bible says that Christ is the only way of salvation. Biblical Protestant convictions have always been that no sinner can be saved apart from the saving work of Christ granted to him through faith. Christ’s word, “No one comes to the Father except through Me,” means that those only who are united to Christ will be saved; all others will die in their sins and suffer the wrath of God in hell forever.

The Catholic church teaches that only through faith in Christ plus Catholic baptism is salvation granted. There are exceptions; e.g., in the cases of martyrs for the faith (Catechism 1258), and infants dying without baptism (Catechism 1261).

The Second Vatican Council’s Decree on Ecumenism states:

“For it is through Christ's Catholic Church ALONE, which is the universal help toward salvation, that the fullness of the means of salvation can be obtained” (emphasis added).

Furthermore, Catholicism teaches that all mankind, whether they come to faith in Christ or not, if they have a desire to please God and to be right with Him, though ignorant of Jesus Christ, can be saved! Hosts of Protestants and many adherents of all other religions, may be saved because they receive the benefits of Catholic baptism through their ignorance and desire!

Every man who is ignorant of the Gospel of Christ and of his Church, but seeks the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it, can be saved. It may be supposed that such persons would have desired Baptism explicitly if they had known its necessity. —Catechism 1260)

This doctrine called “Rapprochement” makes Catholicism a kind of universal religion, placing all religions to some degree under its umbrella. All people are thus capable of being saved, even in their unbelief (see Catechism 1257-1261).

God’s Word says:

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. —John 14:6 (KJV)

See: Will all mankind eventually be saved? Answer

See: Am I good enough to go to Heaven? The true answer: No you’re not.

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Pages in this complete article about ways in which the Bible and the Roman Catholic Church differ

1. Salvation through Faith by Grace Alone | 2. Salvation in Christ Alone | 3. Mary | 4. Pope and Infallibility | 5. The Mass | 6. Purgatory | 7. The Priestly System and Other Differences | 8. Conclusion

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