Salvation and its Four Aspects:
The Four Aspects of Salvation are Justification, Sanctification, Redemption, and Forgiveness

Salvation is a process with many points of justification along each individual's faith journey to the gates of heaven and eternal salvation.

The Past, Present, and Future Dimensions of Salvation:




Ephesians 2:5

1 Peter 1:8-9

Romans 13:11

Ephesians 2:8

1 Corinthians 1:18

1 Corinthians 3:15


Philippians 2:12

1 Corinthians 5:5

CCC# 588; 1256-57; 1277; 1739-42; 1889;

1. Sanctification: Being made holy. The first sanctification takes place at baptism, by which the love of God is infused by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5). Newly baptized persons are holy because the Holy Trinity begins to dwell in their souls and they are pleasing to God. The second sanctification is a lifelong process in which a person already in the state of grace grows in the possession of grace and in likeness to God by faithfully corresponding with divine inspirations. The third sanctification takes place when a person enters heaven and becomes totally and irrevocably united with God in the beautific vision. (Etym. Latin sanctificare, 'to make holy'.) Catholic Dictionary p. 393

CCC# 703; 767; 819-827; 1540; 1989-99; 2001

Sanctification in its Three Dimensions:




1 Corinthians 6:11

1 Thessalonians 4:1, 3

Revelation 19:5-10

Hebrews 10:10

1 Thessalonians 5:23

1 Corinthians 1:8


Hebrews 2:11

Ephesians 1:4;


Hebrews 10:14

Philippians 1:10


1 Thessalonians 3:13

For additional references: CCC# 767; 824; 827; 1999; 2001; 2427

2. Redemption: The salvation of humanity by Jesus Christ. Literally, to redeem means to free or buy back. Humanity was held captive in that it was enslaved by sin. Since the devil overcame human beings by inducing them to sin, they were said to be in bondage to the devil. Moreover, the human race was held captive as to a debt of punishment, to the payment of which it was bound by divine justice. On all these counts, the Passion of Christ was sufficient and superabundant satisfaction for human guilt and the consequent debt of punishment. His Passion was a kind of price or ransom that paid the cost of freeing humanity from both obligations. Christ rendered satisfaction, not by giving money, but by spending what was of the highest value. He gave himself, and therefore his Passion is called humanity's Redemption. (Etym. Latin redemption, 'a buying back, ransoming, redemption.') Catholic Dictionary p. 361

Past, and Future Dimensions of Redemption

Past and Present


Ephesians 1:7

Romans 8:23

Colossians 1:13-14

Ephesians 1:14


Ephesians 4:30

For additional references: CCC# 573; 588; 613; 616; 634; 776

3. Forgiveness: "Pardon or remission of an offense. The Catholic Church believes that sins forgiven are actually removed from the soul (John 20) and not merely covered over by the merits of Christ. Only God can forgive sins, since he alone can restore sanctifying grace to a person who has sinned gravely and thereby lost the state of grace. God forgives sins to the truly repentant either immediately through an act of perfect contrition or mediately through a sacrament. The sacraments primarily directed to the forgiveness of sins are baptism and penance, and secondarily, under certain conditions, also the sacrament of anointing. Catholic Dictionary p. 152

Past, Present, and Future Dimensions of Forgiveness (Reconciliation)




Ephesians 1:7; 4:32

Matthew 6:12

2 Timothy 1:18

Romans 5:11

James 5:15

Matthew 6:14-15

Colossians 3:13

1 John 1:9

James 2:13

For additional references see CCC# 277; 536; 545; 610-13; 615; 981; 987; 1393; 1441; 1846; 2010; 2018

4. Justification: The process of a sinner becoming justified or made right with God. As defined by the Council of Trent, 'Justification is the change from the condition in which a person is born as a child of the first Adam into a state of grace and adoption among the children of God through the Second Adam, Jesus Christ our Savior' (Denzinger 1524).

On the negative side, justification is a true removal of sin, and not merely having one's sins ignored or no longer held against the sinner by God. On the positive side it is the supernatural sanctification and renewal of a person who thus becomes holy and pleasing to God and an heir of heaven. The Catholic Church identified five elements of justification, which collectively define its full meaning. The primary purpose of justification is the honor of God and of Christ; its secondary purpose is the eternal life of mankind. The main efficient cause or agent is the mercy of God; the main instrumental cause is the sacrament of baptism, which is called the 'sacrament of faith' to spell out the necessity of faith for salvation. And that which constitutes justification or its essence is the justice of God, 'not by which He is just Himself, but by which He makes us just,' namely sanctifying grace. Depending on the sins from which a person is to be delivered, there are different kinds of justification. An infant is justified by baptism and the faith of the one who requests for confers the sacrament. Adults are justified for the first time either by personal faith, sorrow for sin and baptism, or by the perfect love of God, which is at least an implicit baptism of desire. Adults who have sinned gravely after being justified can receive justification by sacramental absolution or perfect contrition for their sins.

Justifying grace: "The grace by which a person is restored to God's friendship, either for the first time, as in baptism, or after baptism, as in the sacrament of penance. (Etym. Latin justus, 'just' + facere, ' to make', ' do': justification.)" Catholic Dictionary p. 214-15.

The Past, Present, and Future Dimensions of Justification: Some Scripture passages that identify justification as a process:

Justification as a past event

Justification as a present event

Justification as a future event

Romans 5:1-2

James 2:24

Romans 2:13

Romans 5:9

Romans 3:28

Romans 3:20

1 Corinthians 6:11

Galatians 2:16, 17

Galatians 5:5

Scripture clearly teaches that Abraham was justified at least on 3 separate occasions:

  1. Genesis 12: when Abraham obeyed God and left his homeland for the Promised Land
  2. Genesis 15: when Abraham believed the promise of descendants
  3. Genesis 22: when Abraham offered the "son of promise" on the altar to God

Each of the 3 promises and Abraham's subsequent "justification" follows the 3-fold Abrahamic Covenant

Michal Hunt, Copyright 2010 Agape Bible Study. Permissions All Rights Reserved.