Yesterday was the 499th anniversary of the Reformation which makes today the first day of the 500th year. I thought it would be fun to focus on a Sola a day to drive the heresies away!
Salvation comes by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, for the Glory of God alone. And all this we know by the Word of God, the Bible, alone.
The five Solas of the Protestant Reformation are biblically grounded theological principles that guided the Reformers as they sought to restore the Word of God to its rightful place in the life of the church. They were also concerned that Christ be restored to His rightful place as Savior alone and that people understand that salvation comes by grace alone through faith alone. Each Sola corresponded to a teaching of the church at the time that contradicted the truth expressed by the Solas.
So, the Bible alone Sola addressed the creeping of church tradition onto a par with the Apostle’s teachings.
Salvation through Christ alone addressed the veneration of Mary and other saints and the use of indulgences as if the eternal disposition of a soul could be affected by anything other than the finished work of Christ upon the Cross.
By grace alone through faith alone was the strong rejection of a theology of works righteousness that had developed in Roman Catholicism over a 1,000 years.
So, today’s Sola is Scriptura.
This is really the basis of the Reformation and, I am ready to argue, is the foundation that has been eroded out from under the church in America over the past 100 plus years. The Reformation calling to the Church was always a calling to be reformed according to the Word of God. That’s a call we need as much today as the church in 1517.
The Bible alone as the ultimate authority was the “Formal Principle” of the Reformation. In 1521, Martin Luther was interrogated in a famous trial at the Diet of Worms. It was during that interrogation that he famously declared his conscience to be captive to the Word of God saying, “Unless I am overcome with testimonies from Scripture or with evident reasons — for I believe neither the Pope nor the Councils, since they have often erred and contradicted one another — I am overcome by the Scripture texts which I have adduced, and my conscience is bound by God’s Word.”
The Belgic Confession stated, “We believe that [the] holy Scriptures fully contain the will of God, and that whatsoever man ought to believe unto salvation is sufficiently taught therein … Neither may we consider any writings of men, however holy these men may have been, of equal value with those divine Scriptures nor ought we to consider custom or the great multitude, or antiquity, or succession of times and persons, or councils, decrees or statutes, as of equal value with the truth of God … Therefore, we reject with all our hearts whatsoever does not agree with this infallible rule” (VII).
But these, in the end, are also the words of men. So, what does the Bible declare about itself?
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. (II Tim. 3:14-17)
And the early church understood, received and preached it as such.
My husband, Jim, often observes that until the Word of God is restored to its rightful place in the life of the Church, the Church will not be able to have a rightful witness in the life of the culture. The same holds true in the lives of every believer. If the Word of God does not hold a sacred place of authority in your life — if your mind is not being transformed through the renewing that comes from God’s Word — then you are not adequately equipped to enter the world as a representative of Christ, nor an ambassador of His Kingdom.
If our lives are not literally saturated with the Scriptures, then we’re squeezed or hard pressed, what comes out is not His Word but our own. The world doesn’t need a piece of our minds, it needs the very peace of the mind of Christ.
So, today’s Sola is Sola Scriptura. In celebration of the 500th year of the Reformation, immerse yourself today in the Word of God that you might in turn speak God’s word to a world desperately in need of it.
Listen to Carmen on The Reconnect as she celebrates the Reformation this week by focusing on “A Sola A Day to Drive the Heresies Away!”