Welcome to another Catholic Truth article. If you would like to watch the original video instead, just click here. This article does not cover the traditional notion of faith alone. As we know, in Protestantism, new theologies, beliefs, and spins offs are forming daily. One new church or group discovers their own perceived truth from the Bible and they begin to teach it to others and even condemn others who do not subscribe to it.
One recently invented Protestant belief that is catching traction is the notion that “Jesus + nothing = salvation.” In other words, you don’t have to do anything for salvation, “just accept Jesus.” The claim is that you don’t need baptism or the sacraments; you don’t need the church or doctrines; you just need Jesus. Only Jesus saves. That’s it!
Sounds nice, right? Of course, it is utterly erroneous. However, it’s a movement that is growing and we hear this kind of claim all the time in the comments section of our YouTube Channel. I would like to invite anyone who accepts this to reconsider based on what we are about to say. For Catholics, you can learn how to respond to the “simple” but false gospel that Jesus + nothing = salvation. It is not a Christian or biblical belief.
For starters, these (usually) non-denominational Protestants use the Bible, but this teaching is not found anywhere in Holy Scripture. In fact, it teaches the opposite. Even many Protestants reject this simplistic condensing of the Gospel. This teaching is only, perhaps 10 or 20 years old or so, and so it cannot be authentic Christian teaching coming from Christ.
Let us consider how illogical this is. Jesus + nothing.
The rest of the Protestant world would disagree with this understanding, rightly so, protesting that one must have faith in Jesus (which is something), repent of their sins (which is something), and confess Jesus as Lord (something), and probably say a sinner’s prayer. What’s more ironic is that the people pushing this new doctrine believe that one must have faith, confess, repent, and give their life to Jesus. That doesn’t sound like nothing to me. It’ sounds like they are contradicting themselves.
What is the difference between someone who is saved and not saved? A saved person repented and accepted Jesus and turned his life around while the other did not do any of that. Thus, there was a response from one party but not the other. In fact, one of the parties literally did nothing causing them to not be saved. Honestly and logically, it doesn’t make sense.
Now, if they mean that Jesus does all the saving work and we cannot save ourselves, we agree, but the terminology is bad. If they claim Christ is the only way to heaven and we cannot get there ourselves, we agree, but the terminology is bad. It’s still not nothing.
If they are touting that we don’t need to do anything or cooperate with God’s grace in any way, then we have a problem. We already stated at a minimum, we have to believe, repent, confess, turn away from sin, and say the sinners prayer (according to Protestants).
Moreover, if they claim someone doesn’t need to do anything after they accept Christ, or if tout that we don’t need baptism or the sacraments that Christ Himself commanded, then that is likewise problematic. Alongside faith, we need to be obedient to Christ and the will of God to get to heaven (Mt. 7:21). The Bible makes it abundantly clear that baptism is necessary, and part of the salvation process given to us by Christ.
In Acts chapter 2, after Peter preached the best sermon of all time, he had thousands of people asking how to be saved. He did not reply, “just accept Jesus.” He did not reply, “You don’t have to do anything, it’s all about Christ.” He could have, but he didn’t.
In Acts 2:38, 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.” Peter said they need to believe, repent, and be baptized in order to be saved and receive the Holy Spirit. Repenting is something you do. It’s a verb. It’s not nothing. Being baptized is something you do. It’s a verb. 1 Peter 3:21 confirms that baptism “saves you” while Mk. 16:16 says that he who believes and is baptized will be saved.
Similarly, Jesus said if you don’t receive his body and blood you are already damned and have no life in you (Jn 6:54). So, for those who are looking to dismiss Baptism as a “work” are dismissing commandments of Christ for a “simple” Gospel that doesn’t exist in the Bible or in the history of Christianity.
These verses clearly disprove the notion that Jesus + nothing is false. While it is impossible to save ourselves or work our way to heaven, there is always a response on our part, and we must cooperate with Christ and His grace. Note that it is Jesus who saves us IF we are obedient to him and his commandments, like being baptized. Jesus saves us through baptism, and it is how we are born again through water and the Spirit (Jn. 3:5).
We also have to live out our faith and be faithful to Christ and His commandments. 1 John 2:3-4 says, if you consider yourself a follower of Christ but you don’t obey His commandments, “then you are a liar, and the truth is not in you.” Jesus even said that we must follow the commandments to be saved (Mt. 19:16-17. Again, not nothing. Likewise, Jesus says in Mt. 25:31-46 that if we don’t serve others, we will go to hell. And that is for “saved” Christians.
Salvation is an eternal relationship with God. We must do our part and enter into that relationship now. So, Jesus plus nothing equals salvation is a false Gospel. This is one of the problems with Protestant religions is that people read the Bible their own way, and despite no one in Christian in history accepting their new man-made belief, they still teach it as if it’s biblical truth.
This is the importance of Tradition and the truth that has been handed down to us from Jesus and the Apostles. I want to invite any brothers and sisters who believe in this to come back to biblical Christianity and a true, orthodox understanding of salvation. Faith, Baptism, and following the commandments of God.
Sadly, there are thousands and thousands of denominations or individual Christian beliefs and interpretations of the Bible. It seems everyone is deriving their own version of the truth, except that often, it’s not truth. If you read the Bible or come up with a doctrine that was never heard of in the history of Christianity, then you can be sure that it is false and delusive.
Jesus plus nothing equals salvation is not biblical. If anyone disagrees, feel free to point out this doctrine in the Bible and show us the passages – in context – where it’s found. Most people have to choose one verse here or there while ignoring countless other verses that contradict it
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