Throwback Thursday: “Jesus did 99 percent of the work, but you must do the remaining 1 percent.” Huh?

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. Today, we’re going to revisit a post that was originally published back on March 5, 2016 and has been revised.


You won’t find it verbatim in the Roman Catholic church’s official catechism. Catholic congregants may not hear it said during a mass. But there is a saying used by Catholic religious instructors, past and present, that’s extremely popular within Catholicism and it goes something like this:

“Jesus did 99 percent of the work for your salvation, but you must do the remaining 1 percent.”

We students heard that admonition repeatedly from the nuns at our Catholic grammar school.

The Catholic church teaches Jesus only made it possible for people to be saved by His death on the cross, but that it’s then up to each individual Catholic to participate in the sacraments and obey the Ten Commandments (impossible!) and church rules as their part in meriting their salvation.

Born-again Christians know they cannot possibly obey the Law. Jesus Christ, God the Son, came to Earth, lived a perfect life, and offered Himself as a sacrifice for sin. He paid our sin debt as only He could. But He rose from the grave, defeating sin and death, and offers eternal life and fellowship with God to all those who trust in Him as their Savior by faith alone.

Catholics believe that, with the help of God’s grace, they can obey the Law and hopefully merit their way into Heaven, fulfilling their 1 percent. But God’s Word says the Law wasn’t given as a way to Heaven. The Law was given to show us just how sinful we are compared to a Holy God and that we desperately need the Savior He provided.

“Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.” – Romans 3:20

It’s only AFTER we accept Jesus as our Savior and are spiritually born-again that we can follow the Lord in obedience, albeit imperfectly.

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” – Ephesians 2:8-10

⚠️ Truth be told, since Catholics are instructed they must perfectly obey the Ten Commandments (impossible!) and church rules to be in a “state of grace” at the moment of their death in order to merit their salvation, they are actually required to do 99 percent of the work, not 1 percent!

“I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!” – Galatians 2:21

If you’re not counting on Jesus Christ 100 percent for your salvation, then you are lost and you will be judged for all of your sins. Say a prayer to Jesus Christ right now and ask Him to save you. Then find an evangelical church in your area that preaches the Word of God without compromise.

“On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the (self) righteous, but sinners.” – Mark 2:17

Christ Has Done His 99 Percent
By James McCarthy

24 thoughts on “Throwback Thursday: “Jesus did 99 percent of the work, but you must do the remaining 1 percent.” Huh?

  1. Another “ugh” when it comes to Catholic teaching. Of course, such 1 percent thinking infests the evangelical church as well. I love the way the founder of the ministry I work for put it: “Faith in Christ alone plus nothing equals salvation. Christ plus anything else does not.”

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks, David. All good points. When Catholics refer to “faith,” they’re generally referring to trust in their institutional church and its sacraments. Faith in Christ as the all-sufficient Savior and “faith” in the RC sacramental system are contradictory.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Mandy, and praise God for Jesus’ fully sufficient sacrifice! Yes, this 99% vs.1% sophistry is an attempt to sugarcoat the works-righteousness nature of the RC system. I heard this so often as a child. Also we heard, “Jesus opened the gates of heaven, but it’s up to us to walk through the gates” (by obeying the Law).

      Liked by 1 person

    1. RE: New Year’s Eve Plans
      My wife is at the grocery right now picking up a couple of steaks for dinner. The NY Knicks are on TV tonight so I’ll go to bed around 8:30 and watch the Knicks until 9:30-10 if I can stay awake that long. 🎉🎉🎉🛌🎉🎉🎉
      What do you have planned for 2nite? Happy New Year by the way! 🥳 🥳🥳

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Wow you will be up late tonight!!! My plan is to read and I’m reading a book on God’s attribute concerning his more abstract character and I’m enjoying it! Just went on a walk and going to get our annual New Years Donut with our family!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Enjoy your celebrations with your family!

        Yup, 10 is late for me. I couldn’t imagine staying up till midnight. My wife picked up lobster tails in addition to steaks so it’ll be a surf and turf feast in 30 minutes.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I ate only half of the steak and only one of the two small lobster tails (and still had stomach agita during the night) so it will be surf and turf again tonight!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I do remember being told “ you do your part and God does His”.
    So grateful to our triune God for opening our eyes to know His truth. So many people just can’t see it.
    Thank you Tom.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Crissy. Yes, works-righteousness salvation “makes sense” to the religious unsaved. Yes, I’m so grateful the Lord opened our eyes. It’s frustrating that many evangelicals believe Catholicism teaches the genuine Gospel.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I understand your frustration only too well.
        The true gospel has been tempered with so much that we have reached the very point you mention .
        Come Lord Jesus !
        Keep exposing the truth brother Tom.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow a most dangerous teaching. We are saved by grace through faith 100%. I think practically most Catholics believe it is more than 1 percent their work though, judgment from what lay Catholics believe. Which is sad as its a denial of the Gospel. Extremely sad. How did dinner go???

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, the 99%/1% is an attempt to attribute “most” of salvation to God and comply with the grace passages in Scripture while still holding to works-righteousness. As young Catholics, my classmates and I were taught and were very cognizant that we had to merit our salvation, that was the bottom line. As we’ve discussed previously, the word “merit” fell out of favor within the RCC, a pragmatic concession to evangelicals, but the concept is still the foundation of RC soteriology.
      Ach. In another comment I described having surf-and-turf agita during the night and I still have it at 6 a.m.
      How did your NYE celebrations go?

      Liked by 1 person

  4. If the RC would only read the Bible and believe what it says…

    Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The RCC must play this sophistic 99% & 1% game in deference to the grace passages in the Bible and evangelical witness, when the bottom line for Catholics is merited salvation. Many evangelicals are fooled by the 99% sophistry as being “close enough.”

      Liked by 1 person

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