The Five Pillars of the Reformation
5.16.2021 – Week 4 – Sola Fide
Sola Fide – “Justification by Faith Alone” – The article by which the church stands or falls.
“We reaffirm that justification is by grace alone through faith alone because of Christ alone. In justification Christ’s righteousness is imputed to us as the only possible satisfaction of God’s perfect justice. We deny that justification rests on any merit to be found in us, or upon the grounds of an infusion of Christ’s righteousness in us, or that an institution claiming to be a church that denies or condemns sola fide can be recognized as a legitimate church.”
– The Cambridge Declaration, Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals
What it means:
- Justification – An act of God, where he pardons our sins and accepts us as righteous in His sight through the righteousness of Christ. This is received by faith alone. Gal 3:6-11; Rom 3:21-26
- Faith – More than just believing something to be true, faith is a resting and receiving, trust in something. Faith is the instrument of justification, not the ground of it. Faith is also a gift of God. Heb 11:1-12:1
- Imputed – to credit to another person; lay the responsibility or guilt upon a person, often falsely or unjustly. Jesus took credit for our sins and we take credit before God for His righteousness. Our guilt was laid at His cross. Phil 3:9
What it does not mean:
- Faith as a (or the) ground of our justification
- Confusion concerning the relationship between faith and works.
Application and Discussion Questions:
“The Reformation was a time when men went blind, staggering drunk because they had discovered, in the dusty basement of late medievalism a whole cellarful of fifteen-hundred-year-old, 200-proof grace – of bottle after bottle of pure distillate of Scripture, one sip of which would convince anyone that God saves us single-handedly. The word of the Gospel – after all those centuries of trying to lift yourself into heaven by worrying about the perfection of your bootstraps – suddenly turned out to be a flat announcement that the saved were home before they started…Grace has to be drunk straight: no water, no ice, and certainly no ginger ale; neither goodness, nor badness, nor the flowers that bloom in the spring of super spirituality could be allowed to enter into the case.” –Robert Capon
- In what ways do Christians often become discontent with this kind of Gospel?
- Churches often do ministry based on what people want to hear, rather than let the offensive gospel of Christ do its work. Give examples of this.
- How should this doctrine (by faith alone) shape our church’s ministry?
- How important are theological convictions to most Christians? How important should they be?