Read His Words Before Ours!
Last fall, I began reading a biography on Martin Luther (and friends, by “read” I mean “listen to” because I’m a single mama to three little girls and … multitasking). I read about Luther proclaiming “Sola” truths, contradicting the Roman Catholic Church, and igniting a movement that would change history.
The reformation was monumental in church history, shaping even our churches today. Likewise, we each have the opportunity to undergo our own “mini-reformation” as we study Scripture and build our lives on the Solas of biblical faith.
How do we approach our “reformations”?
We ask vital questions about each Sola and see where we stand.
We examine whether we reject or accept the teachings of Scripture.
Let’s check-in with one another.
I will be honest as I answer, and I ask you to give yourself permission for complete honesty as well. No condemnation. Let’s just recognize where our hearts still need reformation.
Sola Scriptura: By Scripture Alone
The Bible is the sole infallible source of authority and the Word of God, and shall not be added to or taken from. It was written by men, but inspired by the Holy Spirit, and all truths we need for our spiritual lives are found in the Bible alone.
Are we allowing the Bible to be our main source of wisdom and authority?
Do we seek wisdom elsewhere, first and most?
Whose words dictate what is right or wise?
Many books are written by Christians, but many who claim that title believe their own version of “God” rather than the God of the Bible, or they may twist truth just a bit so it makes us feel happier. Only by deeply knowing God’s Word are we able to discern genuine Scriptural truth.
So I ask, do we place more weight on Christian books or the Bible?
I’m in the middle of a wonderful book called “The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry.”
It’s phenomenal and I can’t recommend it enough!
But if I’m honest, some days, I’ve prioritized this book above the Bible.
How about you?
What’s your honest answer?
Sola Fide: By Faith Alone
We are saved through faith alone. We are neither covered by another’s faith, nor can we bargain our way to salvation. God will accept no bribe, because all we can offer are appearances of righteousness. The only acceptable offering to God is humble, honest faith, which is itself a gift from God.
If grace is God freely extending salvation by His hand, faith alone is our hand reaching out to touch His, accepting His gift.
Sola Fida enraged the Catholic church as it condemned their common practice of requiring penance and purchasing indulgences to reduce their punishment for sin.
Instead, Luther dared assert that even our very best efforts are sin-stained worthlessness before our utterly holy God. Only Jesus’ propitiatory death could pay the life-debt of our sins, and only our faith in Him connects us to the power of His resurrection to bring forgiveness for our sins.
So let’s do a little faith check-in, sisters.
Do you find yourself bargaining with God?
I’ve seen incredible growth in my faith over the last few years, but I’ve also been praying some big, hard, monumental prayers, and when it comes to these prayers? That faith waivers. I want to be sure my trust is in God alone, not in something feeble I try to offer Him as an exchange for what I want.
Have you ever attempted to manipulate God?
Sola Gratia: By Grace Alone
We are saved through God’s grace alone. There is nothing we could ever do to save ourselves.
Grace is God, who paid everything for our redemption, offering salvation to us for free. We cannot earn it.
Sometimes, we do “good things” because we are trying to earn God’s favor. We believe by praying a certain way, or giving a certain amount, we somehow earn the smile of God.
I most often get caught in this trap with people; I equate the number of people who like me to the amount of grace God extends. It sounds silly as I type, but I said I’d be honest.
How about you?
Solus Christus: Through Christ Alone
Salvation is through Jesus Christ alone. There is no one else who can save. Jesus is fully God and fully man.
Do you believe this?
The temptation is to give some authority to our own opinion or others in the Church? What if we modify the Jesus of the Bible to make Him more appealing or more tolerant? My temptation is to make Jesus less jealous for my heart than He actually is. I will choose to turn to books, music, or mind-numbing activities before turning to Christ.
How are you tempted to water down the Jesus of the Bible?
Soli Deo Gloria: For the Glory of God Alone
The work of salvation was done by God alone, therefore He alone receives glory. Any good fruit my life bears is due entirely to Christ’s lifeblood flowing within my veins.
But is it?
Or are we focused on our own glory?
When I lead worship, write Journey studies, or prepare a meal for friends, is it for my own glory, or for Him? Sometime last year, I did a heart-check on this topic and realized just how off I was. As I shared with a friend how part of me was engaging in these activities for self-glorifying reasons, she encouraged me to keep ministering, serving, and loving while asking God to transform my heart. Let’s ask for a heart like Jesus, who was focused completely on His Father receiving all glory.
How about you?
Sisters, it’s been a challenging three weeks on this study!
Let’s be encouraged by the growth we’ve experienced, but let’s also leave here challenged to live out the truths we’ve unpacked, allowing them to continue to reform our hearts just like they did Martin Luther and the Church of old.
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!