The Five Solas of the Reformation

October 31, 2004 ()

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I. SOLA SCRIPTURA ("The Scriptures Alone")

A. Meaning: Sola Scriptura means that the Scriptures are inerrant (without error) and the ONLY authority for the Christian in matters of doctrine and Christian living. The Scriptures are sufficient by themselves to impart all that God would have us know about salvation and the Christian life. The Christian’s conscience, therefore, is not to be governed by the traditions of men, nor by the rulings of popes or councils, nor by our personal experiences. Scripture alone is the authority for the church.

2Tim. 3:16-17 All Scripture ("the sacred writings") is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate (fully qualified), (completely) equipped for every good work.
2Pet. 1:20-21 But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture ("the sacred writings") is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.

B. Implications:

II. SOLUS CHRISTUS ("Christ Alone")

A. Meaning: There is no other Savior or Mediator between God and man than Jesus Christ, not Moses, not Mary, not the saints, not angels, nor any other being. All other religions are false roads that lead to hell not heaven. Only Jesus Christ was fully God and fully man and lived a sinless life, and thereby was able to take our place on the cross and pay the penalty for our sins. His righteousness alone merits our salvation.

John 14:6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.
Acts 4:12 "And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved."
1Tim. 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.

B. Implications:

III. SOLA GRATIA ("Grace Alone")

A. Meaning: Sola Gratia means that we are saved by God’s grace alone and not by our works. Any system that adds our works into the formula for salvation comes under Paul’s anathema as another gospel. God’s grace is also sovereign in salvation, meaning that He chooses from before the foundation of the world which sinners He will show mercy upon. These alone come to faith in Christ.

Eph. 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;
not as a result of works, that no one should boast.
Rom. 9:16 So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.
Rom. 11:5-6 In the same way then, there has also come to be at the present time a remnant according to God’s gracious choice. But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace.

B. Implications:
1) Salvation is by God’s grace and not by any merit in us (Eph. 2:8-9; Tit. 3:5; Rom. 4:5).
2) God chooses us first, then we choose Him (Rom. 9:6-29; Jn. 6:37, 39; 15:16; Acts 13:48; Eph. 1:4-6; 1 Thess. 1:4; 2 Thess. 2:13; 2 Tim. 1:9) .
3) Repentance and faith are gifts of God (Eph. 2:8-9; Acts 11:18; 13:48; 16:14; Phil. 1:29)

IV. SOLA FIDE ("Faith Alone")

A. Meaning: Sola Fide means that we are saved by faith alone and not by faith plus works. Faith alone justifies the sinner. We do not need to develop our own righteousness in order to be justified, or engage in any kind of good works. We are accepted before God by Christ’s righteousness alone and this gift is received by faith alone. Good works follow saving faith as evidence of salvation, not as a means to obtain it.

Rom. 3:28 For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.
Rom. 5:1 Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
Gal. 2:16 nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ

B. Implications:

V. SOLI DEO GLORIA ("The Glory of God Alone")

A. Meaning: Soli Deo Gloria means that the ultimate reason for all of God’s works of creation, providence and salvation is to manifest His own glory. The sinfulness of the human nature moves us to seek our glory, not God’s. Only those who have been born again can truly desire to live their life for God’s glory.

Psa. 19:1 The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.
1Cor. 10:31 Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
Eph. 1:5-6 He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.

B. Implications: