The Fives Solas: Sola Fide
“…Nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified.” Galatians 2:16 NASB
Sola Fide–otherwise known as “justification by faith alone”–was notated by Martin Luther as, “The article with and by which the church stands." Rightfully so. For the Church is a body of those who have been declared righteous, and Scripture clearly states to us that “the just shall live by faith” (Romans 1:17).
Justification by faith alone is the act that God declares the sinner righteous before Him in a judicial manner. We are made righteous before Him based on the finished work of Jesus Christ. It is not based on the stained efforts to be holy by the sinner, but by that sinner placing their trust and hope in Christ. It is not the strength or size of the faith that saves a condemned person, but the One they place their faith or trust in. There are no merits, works, or offerings one can bring on their own accord to outweigh the offense he or she has committed against the Holy God that deserves anything but His eternal justice and wrath (Isaiah 64:6, Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23). It is only the belief, faith, and trust in Christ Jesus and His accomplished work that one can be truly saved. Salvation is not something man can obtain alone...it is given to us by grace through faith. It is not something we in ourselves can boast in.
Justified Apart from Works
Some argue that the works of a man performed before God are a means to earn favor from Him. They drink the deadly combination of a faith plus works salvation to earn a right standing before God. Sisters, this is a dangerous and damnable heresy. For what works can we bring before God and His holiness in our depravity to make amends with Him? In our spiritual deadness, how can we work to be made alive on our own? Scripture tells us that faith without works is dead (James 2:26), but works do not earn faith, and works do not earn us favor with God. We must be made alive first to do the good works that God has prepared in advance for us to do, so that He may be glorified (Ephesians 2:10). Works from faith in Christ and Him alone are an indication of a regenerated person. These works were prepared in advance, predestined for us much like the salvation He elected us for. And how does one receive this salvation? By grace, through faith in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:8-9). A man cannot boast in any of his works before God. We are only justified before God because He has made us holy through imputing the righteousness of Christ on us and our sinfulness upon His shoulders (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Standing with the Solas–Standing Firm on Scripture
There is a harmonious blend established between what we know as the Five Solas. They are distinct within themselves, and yet, they together bring a full force of truth that highlights the message of the Gospel in a summarized tidal wave of certainty. It crashes against the minds of believers, and thus, it dissolves away the preconceived notions of what may be true about the Bible...and only leaves what is, based on God’s Word and His Word alone. These slogans are attacked from outside of the Body of Christ, and at times, attacked from within. Sola Fide is the woven channel that holds together the tapestry of the Gospel. This is not to undermine the other four Solas or to say they are not of importance, but the basis of the Gospel message is believing and receiving. It is the great exchange. And that exchange is only on the premises of grace through faith. Attack this truth, or any truths of the Solas, and you attack the Biblical truth.
With the light that was sparked 500 years ago to reclaim Biblical truth by the Reformers, let us strive to keep the flame alive by the grace of our God. Let us be women who stand on the foundation of Scripture and the Gospel truth of our King. When the fallacies come to challenge the way of salvation and the channel through which we place the hope of our eternal security in Christ is attacked, may we declare “Sola Fide!"–for our hope and faith is in Christ, and through this, we are saved and justified before God.