The 5 Solas: Grace Alone
The 5 Solas: Truths that Every Christian Must Know
Intro. How Does God Communicate His Love to Us?
- In Jesus Christ
- On the basis of grace - “the kindness of God freely given to the undeserving.”
Whenever this truth gets forgotten or diminished, whenever it loses its rightful place of being central to how God communicates his saving love to us, it needs to be restored. It needs retrieving.
This month marks the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. To celebrate the retrieval and restoration of these lost gospel truths, we will cover each of the 5 solas in a short 5 week series.
The 5 Solas:
The solas are five slogans that were coined to capture the truths that were restored to the church during the Reformation.
- Sola Gratia - Grace Alone – we are saved by the grace of God alone – no personal merit needed
- Sola Fide – faith alone – we are saved through faith alone in Jesus Christ – no works needed
- Sola Scriptura – Scripture alone – The Bible alone is our highest authority – not Church tradition
- Solus Christus – Christ alone – Jesus Christ alone is our Lord, Savior, and King – no Pope needed.
- Soli Deo Gloria – to the glory of God alone – we live for the glory of God alone – not for our own
We are saved by Grace Alone
The stated doctrine – we are saved by the grace of God alone. - Eph. 2:1-10
- Before grace, we were dead- vs. 1-3
- Sin: missing the mark; coming up short of the standard. A rebel and a failure.
- Bondage of the Will - the sin behind the choices. By “nature” we are bent toward sin.
- A heart turned away from God, in rebellion against God is dead and is destined to die.
Your will is the “decision-making” component but the heart is where all the criteria exist for the will to work with to make decisions. If your heart is without God’s Spirit and has yourself on the throne of your heart then this creates a kind of bondage of the will.
BUT GOD, BEING RICH IN MERCY... because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ.
- He Saved Us
He made us alive together in Christ, raised us up with him, and seated us with him in the heavenly places.
- How does God take people dead in sins and make them alive?
By sending his Son to take on that death himself and swallow it up and God raising him from the dead
- By grace you have been saved (vs. 5,8)
- Why “alone?”
The Solas – Latin for alone – It’s sufficient, nothing else required
“It is not an exaggeration to say that the eye of the Reformation tornado was this one little word.” R. C. Sproul
- “In the historical context of the Reformation, each one of the ‘alones’ is both a positive assertion of a key theological principle and the definite rejection of a perceived theological error of the medieval Catholic Church. While the focus of each may be distinguished, they all represent a certain perspective on the biblical way of salvation.” Goldsworthy
- It is all of grace and none of human merit – grace alone
How does God communicate his saving love to us? By grace alone and without anything based on our own merit.
- Luther’s Story
“Luther’s new insight was that the imputation of Christ’s alien righteousness (meaning a righteousness outside of ourselves) was based not on the gradual curing of sin but rather on the complete victory of Christ on the cross. The once-for-allness of justification was emphasized.”
He concluded from his study in Romans primarily that the righteousness of God is a gift from God given when we believe, not something that is achieved by good works.
“This is not your own doing; it is the gift of God” Eph. 2:8
Walk it Out:
- In what ways do you struggle, like Luther, with a burden of not being “good enough?”
- In which areas do you live under a fear of threat for past sins and failures or slow progress?
- How does understanding “the bondage of the will” help us in our decision-making?
- How is our joy related to our security in relationships? With God?
- What’s your motivation for obedience?
- Is the term “grace alone” a deterrence to obedience? Why or why not?
- How does understanding this sola help us in our Christian walk?