Read His Words Before Ours!
Five solas. Five convictions. Five foundational markers of our faith, each one mutually dependent upon the others and rooted in the nature of our triune God and the authority of Scripture.
But why do these five solas matter to the church today? Let’s break it down and work through this together.
Sola Scriptura: by Scripture alone.
The Word of God is His message to mankind. The Bible was transcribed by human authors, and inspired by the Holy Spirit. It is without error, serves as the final authority for believers, and is useful for all doctrine, correction, teaching, training and rebuking.
Sola Fide: by faith alone.
The faith of another person will not suffice for one’s individual faith. To put this more plainly, imagine there were two sisters who received the gospel. One sister accepted it, gave her life to God and found salvation through Jesus Christ in faith. The other sister rejected it and did not believe in God. If both sisters were to die on the same day and find themselves faced with Heaven or hell, the believing sister’s faith would not cover the sister who did not place her faith in Jesus and accept the gift of salvation. We are saved by faith alone, not by works, not by good standing in our local church, or by the generosity reflected in our bank statements. Faith alone; and we each must make this choice for ourselves.
Sola Gratia: by grace alone.
Sinners are saved only through the grace of God. It is solely, completely, only, the work of God. A claim that the grace of God requires any action beyond choice to place our faith in Christ Jesus to save us distorts the truth and delivers a false gospel. When we elevate the position and ability of mankind, we are taking the glory away from God.
Solus Christus: through Christ alone.
Salvation is obtained through Christ Jesus alone. There is no other name under Heaven by which we may be saved. Jesus said it best when He told his disciples He alone was the way, the truth and the life.
Soli Deo Gloria: for the glory of God alone.
We are saved not by any action or work of our own; all glory belongs to God. Paul’s words to the Ephesians are clear.
“For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift— not from works, so that no one can boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
The life we live in the body, we live for Christ, for God’s glory. It’s His work, His Spirit moving and breathing, all glory is His, and His alone. (Galatians 2:20)
So, what’s the bottom line?
Each of the five solas are completely, inextricably interwoven with the other four. If we were to add to, or take anything away from them, we would find ourselves walking in the dark and preaching a false gospel. A self gospel, rather than a saving gospel.
Friends, lean in.
We have to get this right, because this is the very foundation of what we believe.
We are absolutely incapable of cleansing ourselves of sin. We are incapable of making the sacrifice required as payment for sin. We cannot “find our own truth” or create our own path to salvation, because we have all sinned and fallen short of His glory.
It is only possible to enter right standing with God through a faith relationship with His Son, Jesus Christ. And we can take absolutely no credit for the transformative work of salvation; all glory belongs to God alone because salvation is a gift He extends to all who will receive it.
Throughout the Bible, we see countless examples of what transpired when mankind chose to add to God’s word with his own devices and intent.
David’s adultery and ensuing murder of an innocent man, fueled by his lust and desire to protect his own name and glory.
The Jewish people’s additions to the law and their religious spirits convinced them they could earn their way to right standing with God, but in fact, they missed the very Messiah God sent to save them.
Have you ever found yourself compromising when it comes to God’s Word? Can you recall a time when you found yourself softening Scriptural truth to an unbeliever . . . or a fellow believer? Or maybe even . . . yourself?
The truth is offensive.
We don’t like to believe we are sinners. We don’t like to hear we aren’t here to serve ourselves. It can feel uncomfortable to share those truths, even in love.
We’d each be lying if we said we’ve never fallen prey to the temptation to add to or “soften” the gospel message in our deep desire to avoid rejection. Do you remember that awful, sick feeling deep in your stomach?
Me, too. The feeling rushes back with nauseating clarity even as I type the words. Do you recall the result? I do. My witness was tarnished. In my need to be accepted, I traded big “T” Truth for the comforting lies of culture . . . and failed both my friend and my Savior.
Dear one, the ache of that grief hurts just as much today as it did when it was fresh. I am forgiven, but I pray I never forget the gravity of my mistake.
This is painfully uncomfortable, isn’t it? I’m with you. Same. This is a hard topic, but we must go here and hash it out. Because as a body of believers, if we don’t work through this here in our quiet places, we will venture into shaky ground out in the open, friend.
We must never allow ourselves to compromise what is true for the sake of cultural acceptance or the approval of man.
We serve an audience of One. We are called to share the reason for our hope here, in this day and age. And if we don’t have a firm grasp on what we believe and why we believe it, how can we expect to share the actual gospel message with anyone else, or even accept it for ourselves?
Father, I love and praise you. Thank You for being here with us as we wrestle through truth and recognize areas where You call us to repentance. I confess I have fallen short of delivering the truth about the gospel. Forgive me, and renew my mind and heart as You change me to be more like You. I believe the Bible is Your message to mankind, and to me, personally. I know I am a sinner, incapable of cleansing myself. I am saved through faith alone, by Your grace alone, through the saving sacrifice of Your son Jesus Christ alone, declared by Your Word alone, and for Your glory alone. My life belongs to you. Fill me with a desire to share the good news with those You send me. Everything I have is Yours alone.
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!