Titus 3:5 and grace/works


A protestant argument I keep being confronted with is that this verse says “He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal of the Holy Spirit.”

They say that this proves that nothing we do affects our salvation. It’s all b/c of God’s grace, not works. Now, I know that RCC doesn’t believe we “earn” our salvation, but how do I respond to this? :confused:



We can’t “earn” our salvation.

but we can repay it, paying dividends on God’s investment in us.


Salvation for most persons is a process, lived out over one’s lifetime, and not a one time event.

There are warnings throughout scripture on the subject. Just as one verse cannot make the protestant point valid, the same goes for the Catholic(original) position.

The basic idea of the Grace, Faith Works salvation, is this.

One comes into the family of God, normatively through baptism, it was always this way and scripture makes it clear that they were added to the flock after baptism where they also received the Holy Spirit.

If one were to die at that moment, they would be saved, but that is the exception. Doctrines are not made on exceptions, but norms.

Most people live much longer after the date of their baptism.

The person was given the grace to come to faith, and so the faith in and of itself was a gift from God, and nothing of themselves.

The proof of their faith is revealed through the way they live their lives, for faith without works is dead.

God gives Christians good works, works of God, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to do. We are to be obedient to God by doing these God given works. These are not works of men, in any way shape or form. These also help us to grow in sanctification.(becoming more Holy). Along with the sacraments, we are given graces which help us to become more Holy, not to save us, but to lessen our time in purgatory on our way to heaven.

Grace, and nothing apart from it saves us, faith follows and good works fulfill that faith.


I’ve never known anyone, Protestant or Catholic, who really believes that we don’t have to 'do" anything to attain our salvation.

A preacher may want you to come forward for an altar call. An evangelist wants you to “accept Christ as your personal Savior.” Both of them want you to repent. That’s doing something. That’s an act of the human will. That’s not just God doing everything for me.

And none of them say that I can get by without doing something: if I don’t repent; if I don’t accept Jesus, I’m not saved. There was something I needed to do but didn’t.


I doubt one Christian on the entire planet actually believes this. Does confessing Christ affect one’s salvation? Does committing blasphemy against the Holy Spirit affect one’s salvation?

To put it another way, if a person really believes that nothing we do affects our salvation, then they believe e.g. non-Christian suicide bombers have the same chance at salvation as the most God-fearing, God-loving Christian.


The catholic church teaches that we are saved by God’s grace alone, and our response to this grace is a faith working in love.

But with that said, Titus 3:5 is speaking of baptism.


You can tell them that they are exactly right, our salvation is all because of God’s grace. Our works do not save us. There is not a good-works scoreboard in heaven with a “Congratulations! You are now Saved!” goal at the top. :smiley: What they can’t deny is that God has created works just for us, ways that we can express our faith with love. Jesus did not suggest we walk the Christian walk, He demanded it. We can’t earn salvation but we are fully capable of throwing the gift away. What the protestant sees as us trying to “earn” salvation is us “working out our salvation” and cooperating with God’s grace in an effort to not turn our backs on the gift God is offering us.



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