It probably does not come as a surprise, with all the articles, banners, lectures, t.v. programs, messages and announcements, that this coming October 31st is the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. Throughout this year it has been a time of repentance, reflection, renewal, celebration and thanksgiving. A time to join in the refrain: “To God Be the Glory!”
This lifting up of the 500th anniversary can also be a reminder of the “Three Solas.” The “Three Solas,” you say? Yes! You may have seen something like this on a preservice slide one Sunday morning. Sola Fide – By Faith Alone; Sola Gratia – By Grace Alone; and Sola Scriptura – Scripture Alone. For Martin Luther and many of the reformers, this was a rallying cry which still echoes today. As Pastor Matthew Anderson brought this to mind in an essay a number of years ago: “If we are an evangelical and reforming church still, it will be in our upholding of the three solas.”
Sola Fide (By Faith Alone): “For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith.’” (Romans 1:17). Faith is much more than simple belief. It is trust and love, a relationship with Jesus. Luther’s explanation of the Third Article of the Apostles’ Creed points out: “I believe that by my own reason or strength I cannot believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to him. But the Holy Spirit has called me through the Gospel, enlightened me with his gifts, and sanctified and preserved me in true faith…”
Sola Gratia (By Grace Alone): “For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from ourselves; it is God’s gift…” (Ephesians 2:8). Grace is being reconciled with God and neighbor, not by what we have done, but by what God has done for all of us through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.
Sola Scriptura (Scripture Alone): “All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that all God’s people may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). The belief that the Bible contains what we need to be reconciled to God and live righteously was important to the reformers. Scripture is above all other authorities, including the Church and tradition. Ultimately, for Martin Luther, the Bible was the ‘cradle’ of Christ. This provides a brief insight into a significant gift for us, courtesy of the Reformation and our God who blesses us with God’s Word, God’s Grace and the Faith to carry on!
Sola Fide, Sola Gratia, Sola Scriptura
To God Be the Glory!