Is this the correct Catholic interpretation of how we are saved through faith?


I am trying to figure out how to explain to Protestant friends how, from a Catholic perspective, we are saved by our faith. I have got a notion that I believe to be Catholic but I would like to get some assurance that it is so, can you help me?

Coming to believe in the trinity and thus coming to faith allows the Holy Spirit to offer the gift actual grace in our lives. This actual grace causes us to seek holiness with God and thus leads us to sanctification through Baptism and the rest of the Sacraments. Of course with this sanctifying grace we are saved.

My notion is that faith is the reason for our salvation, however indirectly. I understand that Protestants think that faith is the direct cause of our salvation (i.e. it is the mere fact that you have faith that causes you to be saved). My goal is to be able to effectively counter Protestant scriptural arguments that say that we are saved through our faith.

As always, faith isn’t faith if it doesn’t manifest itself in our actions; thus we are saved by faith and works.



I like your concise presentation and agree with it. Basically, faith disposes us to receive grace, which sanctifies us, and gives us the hope of salvation.


I think you’ve got it down pretty succinctly.


Hi BC,

We are saved through faith and baptism. At our baptism we, or our sponsors, are called upon to make a profession of faith. This salvation is more properly called justification (through sanctifying grace), since our baptism makes us adopted children of God and heirs to heaven.

This is our ticket to heaven, but we must, with the help of God (actual grace) make our way there. We cannot, on our own, effect a good thought or a good deed. We need God’s help at every step. If we persevere to the end, we are saved.



In a discussion with a protestant you have to make the difference between living faith and dead faith.

Because there are places in the bible where you find salvation by faith.

The faith is living by charity (through habitual grace). The charity is visible by works. Without those works the faith is dead. A dead faith doesn’t save.

But pay attention:
Faith is NORMALLY living. You get living faith FIRST. Your faith gets dead by a mortal sin. Dead faith is pathologic.

Actual grace helps you to find the sacraments that give you habitual grace.
Actual grace can also help you to set an action inside habitual grace.

Habitual grace and sanctification and justification are the same.

You get it surely by baptism with water but perhaps even before. But you need ACTUAL grace to find baptism or to set other actions to prepare habitual grace.


From the CCC:
2022 The divine initiative in the work of grace precedes, prepares, and elicits the free response of man. Grace responds to the deepest yearnings of human freedom, calls freedom to cooperate with it, and perfects freedom.

The CC teaches that neither faith nor works merit the grace of justification -it is a gift of God.

In Catholic theology, the perfection of man is a prerequisite for entering heaven. We are saved by grace that was won by Jesus Christ. Faith, for an adult, is the beginning of justification but only one of several dispositions necessary for salvation since “even demons believe”. Other dispositions necessary are contrition for sin, hope, and love for God, among others. God has a plan for our salvation to make us just. This plan includes various works He gives us to do and the actual grace to do them. All of this can be resisted by us, however.

This life is the opportunity for our wills to become one with His, in both word and deed, undoing, in ourselves, the rebellion which Adam & Eve initiated mankind into. This is a process of molding and interior renewal, which, with our cooperation, progressively convinces us of the reality and love of God and so transforms us into beings who will believe in and love Him in return. If this life doesn’t finish the work of persuading us and transforming us, God has mercifully provided a state or condition we call purgatory where the job can be completed.


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