Would like Catholic perspective on ABC's of Salvation

Hello,
One of my denomination’s websites lists the following as a guidebook for receiving Christ as Savior. I would like the Catholic perspective on it to see what aspects are in line with Catholic doctrine and any that might be different. I have been courteous and respectful of Catholic beliefs in my previous posts and I hope that my Catholic friends will do the same on this thread. I have come to know some of you on this forum and know you love and follow the Lord and have good hearts. I appreciate your replies in advance.

**I]To know God and be ready for heaven,
follow these steps:

A. Admit you are a sinner.
“There is no one righteous, not even one … for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
Romans 3:10,23. (See Romans 5:8; 6:23.)

Ask God’s forgiveness.
“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Romans 10:13

B. Believe in Jesus
(put your trust in Him) as your only hope of salvation.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 (See John 14:6.)

Become a child of God by receiving Christ.
“To all who receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” John 1:12 (See Revelation 3:20.)

C. Confess that Jesus is your Lord.
“If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9 (See verse 10.) **%between%http://www.ag.org/pentecostal-evangel/Salvation.cfm contains the entire info.

contains the entire info.

So Baptism is not part of the road map to salvation?

Apparently not, if you listen to these people. Funny, since that’s basically the primary thing Christ himself points to throughout his ministry, as well as the ministries of the Apostles after his assumption. :shrug:

Hi wmscott,
Baptism wasn’t mentioned in the AOG doctrinal section on salvation but baptism is practiced in AOG. It’s believed by the denomination to be “an outward confession of an inward experience”. Is that significantly different than the Catholic position?

From another secion of the AOG doctrinal beliefs section:

Christian denominations differ widely on their teachings about baptism. Some believe baptism accomplishes the washing away of sin. Others consider baptism a form of exorcism from evil spirits. Still others teach that baptism is an important step of obedience in the believer’s life, yet only an acknowledgment of the salvation experience already accomplished - baptism itself has no power to cleanse or save from sin. The following takes a look at the latter perspective called "Believer’s Baptism:"

***•Water Baptism is an act of obedience for the believer. It should be preceded by repentance, which simply means “change.” It is turning from our sin and selfishness to serve the Lord. It means placing our pride, our past and all of our possessions before the Lord. It is giving the control of our lives over to Him.
"Peter replied, ‘Each of you must turn from your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’ Those who believed what Peter said were baptized and added to the church–about three thousand in all.” Acts 2:38, 41 (NLT)

•Water Baptism is a public testimony - the outward confession of an inward experience. In baptism, we stand before witnesses confessing our identification with the Lord.
•Water Baptism is a picture representing profound spiritual truth:***

Take from christianity.about.com/od/faqhelpdesk/f/whatisbaptism.htm

contains the entire info.

From a Catholic perspective, it’s not so much what is present here (which aren’t bad things) but what is missing.

As others have noted, the sacraments are missing from the equation, namely Baptism. Jesus commanded his disciples to go make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Baptism is necessarily part of the conversion process.

The other thing that is missing in the above formulation is the Church community. Christianity is not an individualistic faith. It’s not just about “me and Jesus.” Through faith in Christ, we are incorporated into the Body of Christ, the Church.

So, while those ABCs may be a good start, there is more to conversion than that.

EDIT: I’m sure you know this. But the danger with formulations like this can be that it leaves people with the impression that their faith is only personal. It certainly is personal. But it’s not only personal.

the following is a Catholic perspective:

Baptism (CCC 1213–1284)

Because of original sin, we are born without grace in our souls, so there is no way for us to have fellowship with God. Jesus became man to bring us into union with his Father. He said no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is first born of “water and the Spirit” (John 3:5)—this refers to baptism.

Through baptism we are born again, but this time on a spiritual level instead of a physical level. We are washed in the bath of rebirth (Titus 3:5). We are baptized into Christ’s death and therefore share in his Resurrection (Rom. 6:3–7).

Baptism cleanses us of sins and brings the Holy Spirit and his grace into our souls (Acts 2:38, 22:16). And the apostle Peter is perhaps the most blunt of all: “Baptism now saves you” (1 Pet. 3:21). Baptism is the gateway into the Church.

Few truths are so clearly taught in the New Testament as the doctrine that in baptism God gives us grace. Again and again the sacred writers tell us that it is in baptism that we are saved, buried with Christ, incorporated into his body, washed of our sins, regenerated, cleansed

Acts 2:38, 22:16
Rom. 6:1–4
1 Cor. 6:11, 12:13
Gal. 3:26–27
Eph. 5:25-27
Col. 2:11–12
Titus 3:5
1 Pet. 3:18–22

They (the above references) are unanimous in speaking of baptism in invariably efficient terms, as really bringing about a spiritual effect.

Since the New Testament era, the Catholic Church has always understood baptism differently, teaching that it is a sacrament which accomplishes several things, the first of which is the remission of sin, both original sin and actual sin—only original sin in the case of infants and young children, since they are incapable of actual sin; and both original and actual sin in the case of older persons.

Peter explained what happens at baptism when he said,** “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38). **But he did not restrict this teaching to adults. He added, “For the promise is to you and to your children and to all that are far off, every one whom the Lord our God calls to him” (2:39). We also read: “Rise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on his name” (Acts 22:16). These commands are universal, not restricted to adults. Further, these commands make clear the necessary connection between baptism and salvation, a connection explicitly stated in 1 Peter 3:21: “Baptism . . . now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”

Thank you, Joe. By the way, I agree that Christianity shouldn’t be an individualistic “God and me only” kind of thing. I also realize the sacraments take on a much larger significance for Catholics. You make some good points. Thanks for doing so in a respectful manner. You’re not an “Average Joe” in my opinion.

Thanks for elaborating, wmscott. If I understand correctly, baptism plays a key part of a person’s salvation experience in Catholicism in addition to the other things previously mentioned. It is not considered to be just an outward confession of an inward experience. I think I am beginning to understand the difference more clearly now.

Tommy I am posting this to let you know what a Sacrament is to Catholics and the rationale behind it.

God constantly uses material things to show his love and power. After all, matter is not evil. When he created the physical universe, everything God created was “very good” (Gen. 1:31). He takes such delight in matter that he even dignified it through his own Incarnation (John 1:14).

During his earthly ministry Jesus healed, fed, and strengthened people through humble elements such as mud, water, bread, oil, and wine. He could have performed his miracles directly, but he preferred to use material things to bestow his grace.

In his first public miracle Jesus turned water into wine, at the request of his mother, Mary (John 2:1–11). He healed a blind man by rubbing mud on his eyes (John 9:1–7). He multiplied a few loaves and fish into a meal for thousands (John 6:5–13). He changed bread and wine into his own body and blood (Matt. 26:26– 28). Through the sacraments he continues to heal, feed, and strengthen us.

Jesus promised he would not leave us orphans (John 14:18) but would send the Holy Spirit to guide and protect us (John 15:26). He gave the sacraments to heal, feed, and strengthen us. The seven sacraments —baptism, the Eucharist, penance (also called reconciliation or confession), confirmation, holy orders, matrimony, and the anointing of the sick—are not just symbols. They are signs that actually convey God’s grace and love.

The sacraments were foreshadowed in the Old Testament by things that did not actually convey grace but merely symbolized it (circumcision, for example, prefigured baptism, and the Passover meal prefigured the Eucharist. When Christ came, he did not do away with symbols of God’s grace. He supernaturalized them, energizing them with grace. He made them more than symbols.

A sacrament is an outward sign of inward grace in that it bears its image and is its cause. It is a sacred and mysterious sign or ceremony, ordained by Christ, by which grace is conveyed to our souls.

In every sacrament three things are necessary: the outward sign, the inward grace, Divine institution. Sacraments do not naturally signify grace; they do so because they have been chosen by God to signify mysterious effects.

The seven sacraments are Baptism, Reconciliation, Communion, Confirmation, Marriage, Holy Orders, and the Anointing of the Sick.

contains the entire info.

First of all, Catholics believe we are saved by God’s grace through our faith in Jesus Christ. So for us you might say that this is where the “ABCs” begin for us.

A. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from you; it is the gift of God.”–Ephesians 2:8.

Second Catholics believe that salvation is a continuing process, one that begins with repentance and faith and baptism but continues even past the above steps you mentioned.

To illustrate, when St. Paul wrote to the Philippian congregation of believers, these Christians had already taken the steps you mention. Yet Paul mentioned this was only the start of the “process” of salvation. Catholics believe we must cooperate with Christ to “work out” our salvation and see it through to the end.

B. “So then, my beloved, obedient as you have always been, not only when I am present but all the more now when I am absent, **work out your salvation **with fear and trembling.”–Philippians 2:12.

From there our salvation depends upon an “advance to maturity,” one that involves living a life where we constantly let God’s grace remold us. For Catholics this means a participation in the sacramental life (i.e, participating in Mass and Holy Communion, Penance, etc.) and living a life of service to others (i.e., caring for the poor, the sick, praying for the world’s needs, preaching the Gospel, etc.). (Hebrews 6:1, 2) While we all have to start down the path of salvation, we must “attain to the unity of faith and knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the extent of the full stature of Christ.”–Ephesians 4:13.

And by doing so Catholics believe we will…

C: “Attain the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”–1 Peter 1:9.

While some may see the process of being saved a “done deal” once they complete the steps you mentioned above, Catholics believe in the words of Christ who said: “The one who *perseveres to the end *will be saved.” (Matthew 24:13) And Catholics live in accord with those words of Christ. As Peter said it is the “goal” that comes from having a lifetime of faith. Even though we have been “reconciled to God through the death of his Son, how much more, *once reconciled, will we be saved by his life.”–*Romans 5:9, 10.

Does this mean Catholics don’t view your steps as valid? Of course we do! It’s how we set off on our own path to salvation. The only difference is that it is where it all starts. (I’m sure you feel similar, that it is only the beginning, too.) In the end it is a process of cooperation with the grace of God through faith in Christ Jesus.

Thanks Delson and wmscott,
I agree there is more to it than just a simple formula. I suspect that ABC formula was meant as a quick guide to help remind folks about salvation and to use it help summarize it in an understandable way to the unchurched, if I had to guess.

A follow up question if you don’t mind:

Since baptism is integral to the salvation experience in Catholicism instead of an outward expression of an inward experience, was the thief on the cross exempted because he didn’t get baptized and Christ told him that he would be with him in paradise that day? I realize that was probably an exception and an exception doesn’t make the rule, but I was just curious about the Catholic take on that.

Also, does Catholicsm have a sacrament for when a person who is baptized as an infant experiences the faith experience described in the ABCs of Salvation listed in my post #1?

The reason I ask is that I suspect there are many Catholics (along with many Protestants too) who were baptized as infants and didn’t follow God or make a conscious choice to follow Christ in their life as they grew older. When they come to that place in their life when they do experience the occurrence listed in the ABC’s of Salvation in post #1, what do they do?

A Catholic perspective is what is known as “The Kerygma” and it can be summarized in 6 points (each drawn from the Bible). If interested check out:

The Kerygma. The Least Every Catholic Needs to Know.

A quick summary of those points would be:

  1. God loves everyone
  2. We all have sinned
  3. God became man and died for us in Jesus Christ
  4. We must repent and believe to accept God into our lives
  5. That’s not the end! We must abide in Christ and His Holy Church
  6. We do this by obeying Christ’s teachings and living a Sacramental life

Thanks, PietroPaolo. Much appreciated. I will read it.

Tommy if I remember correctly the thief on the cross next to Jesus was baptized by desire

Baptism of desire is a teaching of the Roman Catholic Church explaining that those who desire baptism, but are not baptized with water through the Christian ritual because of death, nevertheless receive the fruits of Baptism if their grace of conversion included an internal act of perfect love and contrition by which their soul was cleansed of all sin. Hence, the Catechism of the Catholic Church observes, “For catechumens who die before their Baptism, their explicit desire to receive it, together with repentance for their sins, and charity, assures them the salvation that they were not able to receive through the sacrament” (CCC 1259).

contains the entire info.

Well…you are forgetting what Jesus said in john 6:

54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. 56 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them.

I would say this are part, and not just the path…they are part of one’s growth…to grow in holiness.

You may find them in various times in our life…explained more here:newadvent.org/cathen/14254a.htm

State or Way:

The word is also used in the classification of the degrees or stages of Christian perfection, or the advancement of souls in the supernatural life of grace during their sojourn in the world. This has reference to the practice of all the virtues, both theological and moral, and to all their acts both external and internal. It includes two elements, namely our own efforts and the grace of God assisting us. This grace is never wanting for those acts which are positively commanded or inspired by God, and the work of perfection will proceed according to the energy and fidelity with which souls correspond with its aids.

From my very brief article on my blog.
** How Is A Catholic Saved? **

Repentance and baptism (Acts 2:38 & 22:16 and John 3:1-21) and then following Christ, (John 14:15, Matthew 10:38, 16:24, & 25:31-46, Mark 8:34, Luke 9:23 and Revelation 3:5) which is a lifelong journey and not the oversimplified “plan of salvation” as presented by some non-Catholic communities.

From my very brief article on my blog.
**
How Is A Catholic Saved? **

Repentance and baptism (Acts 2:38 & 22:16 and John 3:1-21) and then following Christ, (John 14:15, Matthew 10:38, 16:24, & 25:31-46, Mark 8:34, Luke 9:23 and Revelation 3:5) which is a lifelong journey and not the oversimplified “plan of salvation” as presented by some non-Catholic communities.

Thanks, wmscott. I had not heard that term 'Baptism of Desire" before. I think I need to take a Catholicsm 101 course of some type. I will also look at what PietroPaolo sent as well as possibly reading the Catechism.

And yet, if the Catholic position is true, the formula is drastically lacking, leading people away from the truth and placing their souls in jeopardy. As has been said before, it is not so much what the formula contains but rather what the formula is missing. In other words, this is not a good summary for the “unchurched” because it implies that nothing else is necessary for one’s salvation, when, in fact, there is much more.

Baptism is the normal means, instituted by Christ, for salvation. God is not subject to anything and saves whom he chooses to save. We believe in two other forms of Baptism in addition to water Baptism; Baptism by Blood (Martyrs) and Baptism of Desire. It is quite likely that the thief hanging along side Christ had never had an opportunity for Baptism. By his confession of his sin and recognition of Christ as our Savior he displayed a desire for Baptism. Only God reads our hearts and knows who would desire Baptism if the opportunity were presented.

Baptism is necessary, but that is not the end of the story. All of us, whether Baptized as infants or as adults must persist in following the commandments of God. For one who has basically ignored his or her faith, or has fallen into serious sin, the sacrament to which he or she should run is the sacrament of Reconciliation. We must repent and the Church provides the means for that repentance. We must return to our Father’s arms and we do that by confessing our sins and asking for forgiveness. This can be one of the greatest conversion experiences a person can undergo. This sacrament is available to us always, each and every time we sin and is an incredible way to experience the love and mercy of God. It gives us the strength, through grace, to avoid sin in the future and leaves us with a grateful heart. We are then ready to receive Jesus completely in the sacrament of the Eucharist, the most intimate relationship possible with God on this earth.

God bless.

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