- Sheldon Clowdus
Today I will be looking at the 4th of the Five Solas. To this point I have discussed Sola Scriptura (part 2), Solus Christus, and Sola Gratia. Today I will look at the doctrine of sola fide, or "by faith alone".
We learned that scripture teaches us that salvation comes through the grace of Christ alone. No other person, system, or mechanism can achieve for us eternal salvation. It is only available through the person of Jesus Christ and His grace. The question then becomes "How do we become partakers of Christ's grace?". What is the mechanism through which saving grace becomes accessible to us?
The biblical answer to that question is faith and only faith. Consider again Paul's words to the church in Ephesus.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. -- Ephesians 2:8-9Paul states very clearly in the beginning of this passage that access to God's saving grace is faith. Faith in Christ's work on the cross and His resurrection from the dead provide us access to God's grace. The following verses cement the doctrine of sola fide.
21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.27 Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. 28 For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. 29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, 30 since God is one. He will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. 31 Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law. -- Romans 3:21-31This passage clearly teaches that:
- righteousness is obtained through faith in Jesus (v. 22)
- we are justified by grace through faith in Jesus as our propitiation (v. 25)
- God justifies those who have faith in Jesus (v. 26)
- Works cannot justify us, only faith in Jesus (v. 28)
- God will justify the circumcised and uncircumcised through faith (v. 30)
Scripture, once again, is very clear here. Only through faith in Jesus Christ can one be justified by the grace of God, thereby obtaining right standing before Him. No work of the law can accomplish this for us. Only the sovereign grace of God operating through faith in Christ can save the sinner.