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The Reformation Needed Today

The five "solas" aren't just the solas of the Reformation, they for all the church & Christian life!

This Sunday, October 31, 2021, we will, once again, as we do every Lord’s Day / Resurrection Day, gather to remember the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, from the dead (among many other reasons). For many, Sunday will also represent a reminder of what happened many Lord’s Days ago on 10-31-1517. 


Of course, on that so many years ago, Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses on the Castle Church door in Wittenberg. Church history, as well as secular history, changed drastically that day. 


One thing that came out of the Reformation was a focus on the “5 Solas” – a refocusing on the bedrock truths of our faith. 


And, truthfully: The five "solas" aren't just the solas of the Reformation, they are the solas of the Gospel and the entire Christian life.   The heart of the Reformation was sola Scriptura, from that flowed every other sola: sola gratia, sola fide, solus Christus, soli Deo gloria.


So, this week on Theology Tuesday, here is a 20,000-foot view / reminder of them. We will be going over Psalm 19 on Sunday in more depth. May God encourage you through them!

1.    Sola Scriptura (Scripture Alone)


It appears that American evangelicalism has, by and large, traded in sola scriptura for “sorta scriptura.”


The Word of God, though, is infallible and sufficient for all matters of faith and practice (2 Tim. 3:16-17; Psalm 19:7). This means the Bible is authoritative in the church, not pastors, priests, and popes (2 Pet. 1:20-21, 3:15-16; 1 Tim. 5:18; Luke 10:7). And, again, Scripture is the perfect rule and guide for church and the Christian life.


2.    Sola Gratia (Grace Alone)


If we throw sola gratia under the bus, Christianity loses its distinctiveness, its scandal, and its power


You are not saved by your good works or deeds on any level (Eph. 2:1-10; Isaiah 64:6; 2 Tim. 1:9; 1 Cor. 4:7; Titus 3:5, etc.). You are saved by God’s sovereign grace alone (Eph. 2:8-9; Rom. 3:24, 9:15).


3.    Sola Fide (Faith Alone)


Luther developed the phrase sola fide, or “faith alone” because Christ did everything necessary for salvation. Salvation is by grace alone, but the channel is through faith (Rom. 3:26b, 5:1, 10:14-17; Col. 2:8-23, etc). And some are so distorted that they complicate the simple Gospel message ( John 15:16; 1 Cor. 1:30; Gal. 1:6-8; Rom. 3:26, etc).


4.    Solus Christus (Christ alone)


We’re saved by the grace of God alone because of the substitutionary work of Christ alone through faith alone uniting us to Christ—forever. Your salvation was secured by the work of Christ (1 Tim. 2:5-6; Is. 53:4-5; 2 Cor. 5:21; Rom. 3:24-25, 5:9; Acts 4:12; John 14:6, etc.). Why? Because Christ alone is your great high priest (Eph. 2:18; Heb. 10:19-22; 1 Pet. 2:9; 1 Tim. 2:5, etc.).


5.    Sola Deo Gloria (God’s Glory Alone)


Soli Deo Gloria is the consequence of Sola Scriptura, Sola Gratia, Sola Fide, and Solus Christus. There is no room for boasting in our salvation (1 Cor. 10:31; Rom. 3:27, 4:5, etc.). We must give God the glory / praise / honor due his name (Dan. 4:30-37; Acts 12:23).


The only gospel: Saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone for God's glory alone.