We are former Roman Catholics who left the Catholic Church after discovering in the Bible that salvation is obtained through faith in Jesus Christ, and not through personal good works or membership in a church. This doctrine of salvation by faith in Jesus Christ alone means that no one can, through human effort, become "good enough" to merit eternal life. Only the merits of the God-Man, Jesus Christ, applied to a sinner's spiritually bankrupt account, will make that person worthy to stand before a holy God in the final Judgment. Christ paid the penalty for sin when He shed His blood on the Cross. Salvation is granted to those who place their faith in Jesus Christ alone rather than in their own merits.
This is the way of salvation that is set forth by God in Scripture, as opposed to the inadequate human methods of trying to be good through personal effort and/or obeying the manmade rules of a religious organization. The Bible states that God has made this way of salvation open to all who come to Christ in faith.
The doctrine of salvation by faith alone is sometimes misconstrued as permission to live as one pleases with a guarantee of heaven as long as one holds to a mental belief in Christ. This is not saving faith. Correctly understood, the Scriptures teach that through faith in Christ a person becomes a child of God with a new nature that enables him/her to live a holy life. Without the new birth, it is impossible to do the works that truly please God. For this reason, Jesus said, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3
To understand God's love and plan of salvation for lost sinners, please listen to “This Man Receives Sinners” by William Hughes.
For an excellent study of spiritual rebirth and growth in Christ, please see “The New Birth Explained” by Miles Stanford.
In Scripture, God's plan of salvation is presented in Paul's letter to the Romans, Chapters 3-5.
When I heard the Gospel, as a Catholic I thought I would be required to participate in some religious ritual to receive God's offer of salvation. However, salvation is not a matter of performing an outward religious act but rather a matter of inward repentance for sin and receiving by faith God's forgiveness and gift of eternal life. If you too will sincerely repent of your sins, you may trust that the blood of Jesus will cover all of your sins and that Christ's righteousness will imputed to you. God has promised in many places in the Bible that He will not refuse any who come to him in this way.
The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. Psalm 34:18
For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. Isaiah 57:15
All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. John 6:37
To illustrate God's way of salvation, the Lord Jesus told a parable about two men who approached God with very different mindsets:
“Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.’
“And the publican, standing afar off; would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, "God be merciful to me a sinner."
“I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other, for everyone that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” Luke 18:10-14
Bible expositor Matthew Henry wrote of the wonderful salvation that God has provided for sinners who thus humble themselves ~
“Our Lord Jesus is our Redeemer, our everlasting Redeemer; he looked with compassion on the deplorable state of fallen mankind... at a vast expense he redeemed the heavenly inheritance for us, which by sin was forfeited into the hands of Divine justice, and which we could never have been able to redeem. He purchased a peculiar people, whom he would espouse to himself, though strangers and foreigners...
“Though he was rich, yet for our sakes he became poor; but he was abundantly recompensed by his Father, who, because he thus humbled himself, hath highly exalted him, and given him a name above every name. To this union Christ invites the perishing sinner. This relation to the poor, despised believer, he avows and glories in.
“Let us then joyfully accept his salvation, look for all our happiness from him, and devote our selves to his service. Let us glorify him with our bodies and spirits, which are his; by obeying his commandments, following his example, recommending him and his salvation, by word and deed, to all around us.”
For further understanding of God's plan of salvation though faith in Jesus Christ, please read the New Testament, especially the Gospel of John. If you need a Bible or have questions, please don't hesitate to write Watch Unto Prayer.
May God bless you with the abundant life that is promised in Jesus Christ.
Barbara Aho & Janet Moser
This Man Receives Sinners
The New Birth Explained
The apostle Paul, who wrote letter to the Romans, gave a description of the human condition with all of its inherent sinfulness and guilt before God. It is essential that a person coming to God for salvation first recognize that he/she is among this sinful multitude, and therefore deserving of God's judgment.
THE BOOK OF ROMANS
9 What then? are we better than they [the Jews]? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin.
10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
13 Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips:
14 Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:
15 Their feet are swift to shed blood:
16 Destruction and misery are in their ways:
17 And the way of peace have they not known:
18 There is no fear of God before their eyes.
19 Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.
Paul then explained that, because no one is able to keep the law of God perfectly and all are guilty of breaking the law, God has provided another way of salvation through faith in Christ:
20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;
22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.
28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.
29 Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also:
30 Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith.
31 Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.
Paul gave examples from the Old Testament of Jewish patriarchs who were saved by faith and not through keeping the Mosaic law. Abraham lived before the law was given to Moses and even David, who was a man after God's own heart, could not obey the law perfectly. Rather, the Hebrew patriarchs had faith that a Messiah would come who would be the perfect Sacrifice offered to God for their sins:
1 What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?
2 For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.
3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.
4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.
5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.
6 Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works,
7 Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.
8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.
9 Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness.
10 How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision.
11 And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also:
12 And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised. 13 For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.
14 For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect:
15 Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression.
16 Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all,
17 (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.
18 Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be.
19 And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah's womb:
20 He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;
21 And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.
22 And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.
23 Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him;
24 But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;
25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.
In chapter 5 of this epistle, Paul described the benefits of the salvation which Christ has purchased for sinners who have been justified by faith in Him: peace with God, the state of grace, joy in the hope of future glory, joy in trials, the love of God in their hearts and salvation from God's wrath in the day of judgment.
1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope:
5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.
8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
11 And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.
Paul then described the history of sin from its entrance into the world to the final accomplishment of God's plan of salvation: That, as sin entered the world through one man, Adam, so salvation came through one man, Jesus Christ. And although it took only one sin to condemn all of mankind, Christ's death is sufficient to cover the transgressions of multitudes. This salvation is the gracious gift of God to those who repent and turn to Jesus Christ for forgiveness and deliverance from sin.
12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
13 (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.
14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.
15 But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.
16 And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.
17 For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)
18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.
19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:
21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.