Four hundred and ninety-nine years ago today, a man walked up to All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg, Germany. He held a piece of paper with one hand and pounded a nail into the paper and door with the other. He stood back and looked at the paper as the wind gently blew behind it causing the document to flap restlessly. “God, I know You will do what You will with this,” he prayed, “and whatever happens, help me to know that You were part of it.”
That simple paper started one of the biggest controversies of its time. A controversy that has ramifications today, almost 500 years after the fact. How important were the 95 theses Martin Luther presented that fateful day?
If it weren’t for the courage of Martin Luther, and those others who were part of the Reformation, we may all still be hearing sermons in Latin, and not truly understanding Sola Fide, Sola Scriptura, Solus Christus, Sola Gratia, and Soli Deo Gloria
The belief of “by faith alone” can be found in James 2:24 which states, “You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.” Salvation is through faith alone, not merely by works. Works are a result of our faith rather than the cause of our salvation.
This Latin phrase means by Scripture alone. Scripture is so full of spiritual truths, encouragement, and challenges. The reformation was based on this phrase. If the Bible were in a language all could understand, there was no need to get all of our Spiritual learning from the priest, we could get it from the Scriptures themselves and the Holy Spirit who is a better teacher than any man can be.
Our salvation can come through Christ alone. Christ is the only mediator we need: “For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time.” (1 Timothy 2:5-6)
I think most churched people are familiar with these verses from Ephesians:
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
By grace alone is the belief that God gives you the grace to be saved through faith without works.
Soli Deo Gloria
All the glory belongs to God alone. He is the One who does the work, He sent His only Son to die for our sins. He alone deserves the glory.
My prayer for you today is that you will reflect on the grace and gift God gave you in sending His son for you. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me or post it in the comments below.
May you truly understand God’s salvation.