Salvation and redemption are at the core of our Catholic Faith. You have probably read about salvation in the bible or heard the word redemption during mass. Are these two concepts interchangeable? What are their key differences?
What Redemption Means in the Catholic Faith
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Redemption is defined as the process of restoring man from the bondage of sin to the liberty of the children of God through the satisfactions and merits of Christ. The word redemption is derived from the Latin Vulgate word “redemptio,” is a rendering of the Hebrew word “kopher” and the Greek word “lytron” which means ransom price in the Old Testament.
Redemption involves both God and man. On God’s part, divine honour has been repaired and divine wrath has been appeased. On our part as sinners redemption means deliverance from the bondage of sin and the restoration of our relationship with God.
In our natural human states we are all sinful and unworthy of a life in heaven. Regardless of the good works we do on earth, we are unable to meet God’s divine standards and we are fated to face a final judgment that will determine where we will spend eternity, either in heaven or hell. However, Our Heavenly Father is a merciful and loving God and He wants us to be redeemed from a life of eternal damnation. He overlooked our faults and sinfulness and saved us through grace.
In him we have redemption by his blood, the forgiveness of transgressions, in accord with the riches of his grace.
The meaning of redemption in the Catholic Faith is the act by which Jesus saved us from the slavery of sin, this act is his sacrificial death on the cross. Redemption involves going from one state to another. In the Catholic context, it is Christ liberating us from an old life of sin to freedom of a new life in him.
What is the Difference Between Salvation and Redemption?
Salvation and redemption are both important concepts in the Catholic Faith and there are key differences that exist between the two. Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross is the act of redemption that forgave us from our sins and spared us from a life of eternal damnation. Redemption is just the first step of salvation and the first part of our life as a child of God.
The Process of Salvation
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.
Our lives as children of God does not begin and end in redemption. After we are redeemed from our sins and reconciled with God, we begin the process of salvation. In the Council of Trent, salvation from sin begins with the grace of God touching a sinner’s heart and calling him to repent. This grace is a product of the love and mercy of God and it is our choice whether to receive this grace or reject it. If we choose to receive grace, we choose a life aligned with the will of God but it we don’t receive it, we remain in a life of sin.
After receiving grace, we as sinners are disposed for salvation from sin. From this, we believe in the revelation and promises of God, we fear God’s justice, we hope in His mercy, we trust that God will be merciful to us for Christ’s sake, we begin to love God as the source of all justice and we begin to hate sin.
Justification comes after our disposition for salvation and this is not just simply the remission of our sins but the sanctification and renewal of our inner selves through our voluntary reception of God’s grace and gifts. This inner transformation will manifest in the way we live our lives and how we treat others.
How Do We Maintain Our Salvation?
Salvation therefore is not a one-time event. It is not simply accepting the grace of God, it involves constantly choosing a Christian way of life and following the teachings of the church. Here are some of the important principles that we need to constantly put at the center of our lives after we are saved:
- Love God. Loving God is said to be the first and greatest commandment. We should not allow anything to get in the way of our devotion to our Heavenly Father. We demonstrate our love for God by following His commands and by acknowledging Him as the source of everything.
- Love your neighbors. Our neighbors are the people around us, our family, friends and even people we don’t know. To love our neighbors means showing them respect, compassion and forgiveness regardless of their race and religion. God loves us all equally as His children.
- Live a righteous life. The Bible is a good source of wisdom as to how we should live a morally upright life. God wants us to experience lasting peace and this can only be achieved if we live according to His ways.
- Repent. When we choose the path of sin, we are isolated from God and we begin to feel a lack of peace and a sense of guilt. We can only return to our former state of grace if we repent and ask for forgiveness. Repentance is not simply confessing our sins, though. It is genuinely resolving not to commit the same mistakes.
When Christ died on the cross he did this to redeem ALL of mankind. To be redeemed by Christ is an invitation to salvation. Salvation is for each INDIVIDUAL to either accept of reject God's gifts.
Salvation and redemption are beautiful gifts that we are all very blessed to receive. How did you experience these two in your life? Did you notice any changes in our life since becoming redeemed and saved?