Salvation By Grace Alone

In Catholic theology, are you willing to say that salvation is by grace alone, without adding any clauses whatsoever onto that?

Define salvation.

Good move.

Sounds like a ‘no’. :slight_smile:

Is there a way you are willing to state that salvation is by grace along, with a definition of what salvation is that narrows it?

I’ll just cut to the chase:

  1. Actual grace (prevenient grace) is given to all men, and enables them to seek faith, repentance and baptism.

  2. After receiving actual grace, men are free to cooperate with it or not to arrive at faith, repentance and baptism.

  3. Those who cooperate with actual grace receive sanctifying grace at baptism. Sanctifying grace infuses the virtues of faith, hope and charity into the soul.

  4. Those who persevere in sanctifying grace until the end of their lives will receive the Beatific Vision after their death.

Think of the parable of the talents.

The master gave each of his servants a certain amount of money and then went on a journey. Two of the servants doubled their talents. One hid it in a hole he dug in the ground. When the master came back, the servants who doubled the money entered into the joy of their master. The servant who didn’t was cast out into the darkness.

What does this parable mean? As Catholics, we believe that no one merits God’s grace. But we must cooperate with Him. For Catholics, salvation is a process and not a single event. One must stay in Christ and not sever Himself from the vine.


A succinct and fair question deserves a succinct and fair response.

The answer is yes.

Edit: What do you mean by alone? We are saved entirely by God’s grace, but man is not passive in that relationship. He is called upon for active cooperation, but man is not the primary cause of his own salvation. Yes… nothing but grace saves us. But again, what you mean by alone and what I mean by alone might differ.

Yes, we can say that. But I suspect there’s risk of understanding it differently, even so.

Great analogy from the Bible!~


It is by Grace alone, that the Church baptizes a person, granting them citizenship in the Kingdom of God, granting them new birth by giving the Holy Spirit.
This is salvation, being set apart from the world even though being in the world, by the activity of Jesus in the person Jesus sent (“whoever hears you, hears me”).

Further, it is also Grace alone that attracts a person to want to be joined to Jesus in being baptized (for example, the Holy Spirit brought Philip to the Ethiopian eunuch, explained the official news of the Kingdom to him (explained the Scripture and the News of Jesus to him) and then officially did what the Ethiopian could not do to himself - he gave the Ethiopian the new birth, citizenship in the Kingdom established by God - he baptized him. The Ethiopian went away rejoicing, because he was saved by Philip, who was Jesus’ servant doing what Jesus commanded him to do.

Now, as a citizen and an heir with Christ, it is necessary to reach the homeland to claim the inheritance of sonship and citizenship. We are aliens here in the United States, servants of our LORD among these people who are not. The inheritance is awaiting us if we attain to the homeland and if we are who we claim to be when we arrive. Remember, Jesus warns that he will say to some, “I do not know you.”

God gives us Grace for that journey also, the indwelling of his Spirit, infusing our soul with Grace, with the Virtues, so that we will walk virtuously during our sojourneying here together to our home. We must walk to the homeland, but we have the light of Grace showing us where to put our feet to walk ‘right’.

  1. Salvation: You are not saved until your nether regions are in heaven. To believe otherwise is to deny that God has judging power over you. Romans 11.
  2. Judgment: 100% of scriptural references to our judgment have to do with our works or deeds. Not a peep about faith. So, is faith required? Of course! So are hope and love. But love manifests itself in works of charity. James 2 gives great insight.
  3. No one can merit salvation by their own efforts. It is only in cooperation with God’s grace that His promises are brought to bear upon us. Our return on His investment. Matthew 25:14-30.

The totality of salvation is a seamless garment in which all aspects are related. You cannot separate a single factor out, then claim that it “alone” will save you, or even justify you. “Either-or” arguments are incorrect, (i.e. faith alone, works alone). It is “both-and.”

Absolutely - grace alone.:thumbsup:

Since the Church teaches that doing good works is a response to God’s grace, we can confidently say grace alone.

No dodging here:)

Yes. From the Council of Trent, session 6, chap 8:

"And whereas the Apostle saith, that man is justified by faith and freely, those words are to be understood in that sense which the perpetual consent of the Catholic Church hath held and expressed; to wit, that we are therefore said to be justified by faith, because faith is the beginning of human salvation, the foundation, and the root of all Justification; without which it is impossible to please God, and to come unto the fellowship of His sons: but we are therefore said to be justified freely, because that none of those things which precede justification-whether faith or works-merit the grace itself of justification. For, if it be a grace, it is not now by works, otherwise, as the same Apostle says, grace is no more grace."

Yes, I would say, when I was baptized as an infant, I was saved, without doing anything, just the saving grace from God thru my baptism.

But now I must work to keep my salvation.

Sola Gratia’ was one of the Big Five Solas of the Reformation, and here you are agreeing with it.

How is, I must work to keep my salvation, by grace alone? Then is would be grace and works.

Do you power your works, or are your works powered by grace?

If you say you power your works, it is one thing.

If you say any work you do is powered by grace, it is grace alone.

If you keep your salvation, isn’t it the gift of perseverance? A gift of grace, not a work of man?

“If anyone says that man’s free will moved and aroused by God, by assenting to God’s call and action, in no way cooperates toward disposing and preparing itself to obtain the grace of justification, that it cannot refuse its assent if it wishes, but that, as something inanimate, it does nothing whatever and is merely passive, let him be anathema.”

Canon 4 of the Council of Trent


But one cannot know whether he has this grace or not.

They weren’t wrong about everything. :slight_smile: But even then they at least acknowledged that our response, of fide, was a requirement. Of course they still differed with each other over whether or not grace, for either faith or for perseverance, was resistible.

And since they agreed that salvation isn’t universal, they then had to believe that either some were given the grace of faith which could yet be resisted and were therefore damned, as per Luther, or that said grace was withheld to begin with meaning they were predestined to damnation as per Calvin.

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