The Foundation of Christianity
It was the 16th Century Reformer, Martin Luther, who stated, “Is it not wonderful news to believe that salvation lies outside of ourselves?” During the Protestant Reformation of the 16th Century, theology (the study of God’s word) was being brought back to its biblical roots. It was during this epic and dangerous effort that the Reformer’s realized the necessity for a simplified understanding of authority, salvation, faith, practice and worship. This necessity led to the birth of the Five Solas, or five statement of foundational biblical truth. The Five Solas are five Latin phrases popularized during the Protestant Reformation that emphasized the distinctions between the early Reformers and the Roman Catholic Church. The word “sola” is the Latin word for “only” and was used in relation to five key teachings that defined the biblical justification of Protestants for the reforming of the Christian church. These five key teachings include:
1. Sola Scriptura: “Scripture Alone”
2. Sola Gratia: “Grace Alone”
3. Sola Fide: “Faith Alone”
4. Solo Christo: “Christ Alone”
5. Soli Deo Gloria: “To the Glory of God Alone”
Each of these solas can be understood as both a return to biblical truth and a foundational guide for Christian living. The five solas of the Protestant Reformation offered a strong biblical corrective to the contradictory religious practices and beliefs of the time, and they remain relevant today. Sadly though, many people today continue to allow themselves to be under the yolk of religiosity rather than the freedom of Christianity. Nevertheless, we are called to focus on and trust in Scripture, accept salvation by grace through faith, magnify Christ in our life and live for the God of glory.
Here is a short statement that if memorized can help you greatly in your own theological views and evangelism.
The Scriptures alone teach us that we are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone; to the glory of God alone.
May God bless you richly as you bask in the glory of His word, His Son and His salvation.
Monday – Sola Scriptura (By Scripture Alone)
By saying, “Scripture alone,” the Reformers rejected both the self-imposed superseding authority of the Roman Catholic Pope and ill-placed confidence in their sacred traditions. The Reformers rightly understood that only the Bible was “inspired by God” and “God-breathed”. Therefore, anything taught by Pope’s or in tradition that contradicted the Bible was to be rejected. The blessings of Sola scriptura prompted biblical literacy which was the vehicle used to strengthen Christ’s church universally. This biblical truth is alive and well today and continues to bless the Christians and churches that hold to it. Read 2 Peter 1:20,21 and 2 Timothy 3:16,17.
Tuesday – Sola Gratia (By Grace Alone)
Without the grace of God there is no salvation. It’s just that plain, it’s just that simple. The Bible teaches that salvation comes from what the Triune God has done rather than what we do. God the Father creates the plan of salvation, God the Son executes the plan of salvation and God the Holy Spirit applies the plan of salvation to our lives. Furthermore, grace teaches us that God is not obligated to give salvation to anyone. Rather, it is by God’s love and grace alone, that people are saved. Since this is the biblical case, no church, Priest, Pastor or person can confer salvation upon anyone. God alone does the saving though His grace alone. Read, Deut. 7:6-8, Isaiah 43:10-13 and Ephesians 2:1-8
Wednesday – Sola Fide (By Faith Alone)
By Faith Alone, emphasizes salvation as a free gift. The Roman Catholic Church of the 16th century emphasized the use of indulgences (donating money to the church) to buy status with God. Good works, including baptism, were seen as required for salvation. Sola fide stated that salvation is a free gift to all who accept it by faith. From the Old Testament to the New Testament, the Scriptures teach that salvation is not based on human effort or good deeds. Read Deut. 30:6, Jere. 31:31-34 and Ephesians 2:9
Thursday – Solo Christo (By Christ Alone)
Jesus Christ is our atonement for sins. Therefore, our salvation is only through Him alone. The Roman Catholic tradition had placed church leaders such as priests in the role of intercessor between the people and God. Furthermore, they taught and continue to teach that the faithfully departed saints can intercede for us in prayer to God. Nowhere do we find this teaching in the Bible. The Reformers therefore emphasized Jesus’ role as our sinless “high priest” who intercedes on our behalf before God the Father. Jesus is the One who offers us access to God, not any human spiritual leader. Read Hebrews 4:14,15 and Ch. 5
Friday – Soli Deo Gloria (To God Be the Glory)
The glory of the Triune God is the goal of life. Confessing believers in Christ understand this and seek this as the pinnacle of their existence. Rather than striving to ascribe glory to ourselves, spiritual leaders, or guard our own interests, our goal is to glorify God the Father for choosing us, God the Son for dying for us and God the Holy Spirit for applying the work of the Father and Son to us. Just like the other sola’s, the idea of Soli Deo Gloria is found in the Old and New Testaments over and over again. Read Isa. 42:8, 1 Cor. 10 and Romans 11:36.