I am not talking about "salvation" or "grace". I am talking about "saving grace". I tried looking up on Google, and the Free Dictionary explained that in Christian theology, it meant a state of being sanctified. I looked at sanctification, and I got "made holy". Okay. So, it means something along the lines of being made holy or righteous with God or following God. Basically, what do American Christians mean when they use the term? A related question: how would people attain saving grace? What is the origin or etymology of this term, "saving grace"? These questions are closely related to each other. First, I would like to see an introduction to the etymology of this term. Second, I would like to see how this term is used in modern-day America. Third, I would like to see how this term plays a role in theology, or in other words, how people put this concept into practice.

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    Welcome to the site! A couple things here. 1) "American Christians" according to the vocabulary of this site include Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Protestants, Mormons, Jehoviah's Witnesses and many, many more faiths. If you want to include all of them in your question, it would be very difficult for anyone to answer. 2) This site doesn't deal with multiple questions per post. You may want to separate those out into separate posts to get better quality answers for each one. Yes, they are related but a great deal can be said about either one.
    – Jeff
    May 21, 2014 at 18:50
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    @Jeff: I agree with your comment, except that in this case, it's a simple matter of definition--and the entire English-speaking world has a pretty well established definition of this term.
    – Flimzy
    May 21, 2014 at 20:49
  • @Flimzy I guess my comment was more directed towards the later questions regarding usage and practice.
    – Jeff
    May 23, 2014 at 14:34

2 Answers 2


"Saving grace" is grace that saves. The relevant definition of 'grace' is:

mercy; clemency; pardon: He was saved by an act of grace from the governor. Synonyms: lenity, leniency, reprieve. Antonyms: harshness.

So "saving grace" is God's mercy, clemency, or pardon shown to us.


Here is an article in which Fr. Nnamdi Moneme specifically uses the term "saving grace" and clarifies it as the way in which imperfect human gratitude is joined with Christ's perfect contrition.

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