October 31, 2017 marked the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther unintentionally sparking the Protestant Reformation by nailing 95 theses to the castle church door in Wittenberg, Germany. The results of that movement are many and we continue to benefit from them today.
Over these last three months we’ve learned about three of the five Solas of the Reformation. This month we continue by looking at the fourth Sola of the Reformation; Solo Christos (Christ Alone).
Last month I wrote about grace alone, and two months ago I wrote about faith alone. What we consider this month is the manifestation of God’s grace and the object of our faith. In other words, how has God shown us His grace, and who do we put our faith in?
First, consider how God’s grace has been revealed. In John 1:17 we read, “For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” There is no question from
this text how God’s grace was revealed; it came through Jesus Christ (i.e. Christ alone). Grace means getting something you don’t deserve. In other words, Jesus coming to live on this earth and dying for our sins is something no one deserved. But by God’s grace Jesus did come so that we could receive forgiveness and life in His name. So, in Christ alone God has revealed His grace to us.
Second, consider Christ as the only one we put our faith in. During the time of Martin Luther people were putting their faith in numerous people or objects. For example, some people put their faith in an indulgence, a piece of paper given by the pope that basically promised forgiveness and release from purgatory. Other people put their faith in their own ability to earn salvation by the good works they performed. Luther himself attempted this. However, what Luther came to discover was that faith alone in Christ alone is how we are saved from our sin. In other words, salvation isn’t about what we can do, but it’s about what Christ has done for us. By faith alone in Christ alone we are saved.
That problem that we face even today is the idea that it isn’t by faith alone in the gracious work of Christ alone that we are saved. Some will say that there are many ways to be saved. Others will say salvation is a matter of doing your best and hoping you are good enough in the end. The problem with these ideas is that there is no assurance or hope in them. However, God has given us great hope and assurance in the finished work of Christ. Therefore, we can put our faith in Him and we will be saved. Galatians 3:26 reminds us, “In Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.” It is by faith alone in Christ alone that we are saved. We praise God for using Martin Luther to remind us of this fundamental truth of God’s Word.
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