Salvation: "In biblical language the deliverance from straitened circumstances or oppression by some evil to a state of freedom and security. As sin is the greatest evil' salvation is mainly liberation from sin and its consequences. This can be deliverance by way of preservation, or by offering the means for being delivered, or by removing the oppressive evil or difficulty, or by rewarding the effort spent in co-operating with grace in order to be delivered. All four aspects of salvation are found in the Scriptures and are taught by the Church. [Etym. Latin salvare, 'to save']." Catholic Dictionary p. 391-2; CCC # 1256-59, 1261, 1277 [Baptism], 588 [all need], 776, 780, 816 [ and Church], 1811, 1949, 2448, etc.

The necessity of faith as the first step in the process of salvation: CCC # 161, "Believing in Jesus Christ and in the One who sent him for our salvation is necessary for obtaining that salvation. Since 'without faith it is impossible to please [God]' and to attain to the fellowship of his Son, therefore without faith no one has ever attained justification, nor will anyone obtain eternal life 'but he who endures to the end.'" [quoting Dei Filius 3; Matthew 10:22; 24:13; Hebrews 11:6; Council of Trent: DS 1532].

Salvation is a process with many points of justification along each individual's faith journey to the gates of heaven and eternal union with the Most Holy Trinity. The following charts provide examples of Scripture passages which support the past, present, and future dimensions of salvation and its four aspects.

The Past, Present, and Future Dimensions of Salvation

Past Present Future
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

The Four Different Aspects of Salvation

1. 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 Theology of Justification:
The Magisterium of the Catholic Church has taught us through the documents of the Council of Trent that when we are justified through the sacrifice of Christ there is a change from the condition in which a person was 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 [see Council of Trent, De iustificatione, chapter 6]. The Church also declared in the documents of Trent: "the only formal cause is 'justice of God, not the justice by which he is himself just, but the justice by which he makes us just' (Augustine, De Trinitaate, XIV, 12, 15), namely, the justice which we have as a gift from him and by which we are renewed in the spirit of our mind. And not only are we considered just, but we are truly said to be just, and we are just" [Council of Trent, De iustificatione, chapter 7]. Justification is both a true removal of sin, through the Sacraments of Baptism and Reconciliation/Confession [not merely having one's sins ignored or no longer held against the sinner] and is at the same time the supernatural sanctification and renewal of the believer who becomes holy and pleasing to God and by His grace an heir of eternal salvation in His Kingdom.

The Past, Present, and Future Dimensions of Justification

Past Present Future
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

The Council of Trent stated that this initial act of faith "moves the person to recognize God, to repent of his sins, to put his trust and faith in God's divine mercy and to love him above all things; and to desire the sacraments and resolve to live a holy life..."

2. 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

Holiness/Sanctification in its three dimensions

Past Present Future
1 Corinthians 6:11 1 Thessalonians 4:1, 3 Revelation 19:5-10; 1 Corinthians 1:8; Ephesians 1:4; Philippians 1:10; 1 Thessalonians 3:13
Hebrews 10:10 1 Thessalonians 5:23
  Heb 2:11;
  Heb 10:14

For additional references: CCC # 767, 824, 827, 1999, 2001, 2427.   
Michal Hunt, Copyright © 2006 Agape Bible Study. Permissions All Rights Reserved.

3. 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 Future
Ephesians 1:7 Romans 8:23
Colossians 1:13-14 Ephesians 1:14
  Ephesians 4:30

For additional references: CCC # 573, 613, 616, 776, 634.   
Michal Hunt, Copyright © 2006 Agape Bible Study. Permissions All Rights Reserved.

4. 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)

Past Present Future
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,