Q&A: On Salvation
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God -- not because of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:8-10
Question: How can it be that Catholics are saved when they can't even explain how we are saved simply? Christians know that by repenting of their sins and saying the sinners prayer we are saved.
Answer: This is a common question from Protestants. With all the Bible scholars out there telling us all sorts of different things, many non-Catholics are under the impression that in order to be 'saved' in the Catholic Church one must jump through a complex number of hurdels and do various works in order to appease God's wrath. This is just not the case though. Sure, as a student of theology I can attest to the fact that the theology of salvation is complex, whether in Catholic study or Protestant study. However, the message of salvation is simple enough that a child can understand it.
We are saved by faith in Jesus Christ through the grace of God. What does that mean for someone who wants to become a Christian that may now not be a Christian? The new covenant, as opposed to the old covenant, means that we cannot do works, such as holding to the Mosaic law in order to be saved. It means that it is faith, trust in God, rather than what we can do to pay the wages of our sin that counts. When we have faith in Jesus Christ for our salvation we are in effect, becoming members of God's family.
Steps to salvation for the non-baptized person:
1. Realize that you have fallen into sin and do not have a relationship with God.
2. Repent of your sins and recognize that Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation.
3. One must have faith in Jesus Christ and all that He did and taught.
4. This faith is realized in the sacraments, especially in the sacraments of initation.
5. Enter into a covenantal relationship with Christ by becoming a visible member of the Church through baptism.
6. Continue to frequent the sacraments, especially confession and the Eucharist until the race is won.