A few weeks ago I was speaking with a young man who showed an obvious hatred towards anything relating to Christianity. Out of all the things he said which blasphemed my religion, there was one particular thing that stood out that really made me sad for him. He said he doesn't like Christianity because it gives God all the power and glory while humans remain weak and less than noble. His heart was hardened towards the faith, and it was apparent through his lack of knowledge of the God I know and love. As a believer, I knew this was the epitome depravity…of someone who is pridefully living, trying to claw their way through life by means of their own doing and saving. My heart hurt for him in that moment and still hurts for him because Christianity is about God getting all the glory…and our sinful nature is the problem. Christianity is about dying to ourselves and living for the sole purpose of giving God the glory that is His and His alone. To non-believers this idea is absurdity…especially in a society that thrives on autonomy and individuality.
I also know plenty of Christians who have let pride reside in their hearts, believing that they—dead in their sin—were somehow able bring themselves to life…through good works, trying harder, doing more, and being good enough. I know many Christians, me included, who have sought to do right by God by idolizing our good works which make us feel like we are at a better standing with our Creator. As we continue to celebrate the Reformation (500 years later), we must remember the Sola that is the glue which holds all of the others together: Solus Christus.
The Latin phrase “Solus Christus” originated during the Protestant Reformation as one of the five points of Biblical truths that served as foundational pillars for many. The Christian faith rests completely on the atoning death of Jesus Christ, hence, this is where we get "through Christ alone.” The Scriptures tell us we are saved through faith alone in the finished work of Jesus (Acts 4:12 & 1 Peter 2:24). Christ alone is our Lord and Savior (Colossians 1:15 & 2 Timothy 1:10). No works or religious rituals can save us. This would nullify the all-atoning work of Jesus who died in place for our sins (Galatians 2:21). The Bible tells us that it is not through sacraments or our striving that causes us to be saved. We contribute nothing to our salvation except the sin that made it necessary, and this is good news! Our salvation rests in the hands of a perfect Savior, not in the fallible hands of man. I don’t know about you, but this brings me great comfort and joy. I am so extremely grateful that God sent His Son to die in our place so we might die to our sin and live to righteousness through Him (2 Corinthians 5:21). It is these Truths about the Christian faith that the early Reformers clearly saw stated in the Scriptures which contradicted the corrupt teachings of the Roman Catholic church in the 16th century.
Because the Bible tells us we are saved through Christ alone, this implies it is by Sola Gratia that we are justified. “Grace alone”…a merit undeserved, meaning we cannot earn it (Ephesians 1:5-6). This ties back to the fact we deserve absolutely no credit for anything in this life. Our sinful nature wants to take in all the glory and majesty for our good works because it makes us feel powerful and tells us we are good enough.
“If thou puttest one atom of trust in thyself, thou hast no faith; if thou dost place even a particle of reliance upon anything else but what Christ did, thou hast no faith. If thou dost trust in thy works, then thy works are antichrist, and Christ and antichrist can never go together. Christ will have all or nothing; he must be a whole Savior, or no Savior at all.” —Charles Spurgeon
Christians, as we thank God for His son, Jesus, let us remember it is through Christ alone that any of us are saved. Our eternal welfare rests on His sacrificial death. He alone deserves all the glory for what He has done…so instead of trusting in the merits of man, trust in Christ. The true Gospel of the Scriptures preaches that to God alone be the glory. Don’t let the snares of unrepentant people entrap you. Rejoice in Christ, humbly deny yourself, and stand firm in this true faith.
“The Law saith, Where is thy righteousness, goodness, and satisfaction? The Gospel saith, Christ is thy righteousness, goodness, and satisfaction.” —Patrick Hamilton