Romans 3.19-26 – Sola Fide

When Martin Luther kick started the Protestant Reformation over 500 years ago, much of what he was arguing for was true Biblical Christianity, basically, that we should be turning to the Word of God alone to say what is what.

What came out of the Reformation, in terms of principles, can be summarised in five solas, one of which is sola fide, or, faith alone.

How important is sola fide? Well, Luther said that it is “the article with and by which the church stands.”

In this wonderful passage from Romans 3, Paul talks about sola fide for our salvation,

19 Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. 

20 For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.

21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

What else is there to say here aside from sola fide? Paul is so clear! 

…by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight…

…the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law…

…justified by his grace as a gift…

…the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe…

…all are justified bu his grace as a giftthrough the redemption that is in Christ Jesus whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith…

…of the one who has faith in Jesus…

We would certainly have to agree with Luther when he said that the church stands on this; we are saved by grace alone through faith alone.

Good works are never going to save us or get us closer to God – for sure, the good works come when we are saved, we feel compelled to do good, to serve others, to have our love come out in service to others (Hebrews 6.10) – but bottom line we are saved by sola gratia, sola fide.

Point to ponder – Am I doing things each day to try and earn God’s favour?

Prayer – Father we know we are able to confidently come to you in prayer only because Jesus stands between us as our perfect high priest, and it is by faith in Him alone, and through your unending grace alone that we are saved. Help us to know this for sure today, help us put no energy into being righteous by our own efforts and trust wholly in your provision for our justification, our ongoing sanctification, and our ultimate glorification. Amen. 

Romans; a window to all Scripture

Paul’s letter to the Romans was written around 53-58 A.D., most likely from Corinth (Acts 20.2-3, Romans 16.1, 23). Martin Luther, so often remembered in reference to the reformation of the 1500s called Romans the

‘…chief part of the New Testament…[the] epitome of the Gospel…’.

As we progress through Romans, then, we will talk about God, see about God, hear about God, and learn about God. 

Romans is, essentially, a book about God.

As we move through this wonderful letter maybe a verse at a time, maybe a paragraph at a time, but never less than a complete thought at a time, we will begin to see or to reinforce what we think about God, what we know about God, and what we believe about God. When this happens, when we see God in the right light, so to speak, when we see the truth about God, it is impossible to not start to see the truth about ourselves too.

For example, you may enjoy running in your free time. When you see Usain Bolt running, you realise you’re not that fast. 

You may enjoy cooking, but when you eat at a Michelin starred restaurant, you realise you’re not that great in the kitchen.

You may enjoy playing the piano, but when you listen to Chopin or Beethoven or Mozart play, you realise that you have much improvement to make!

Romans will answer the big questions we have about God, about ourselves, and about the world around us.

As we start to see the truth about God, we will also start to see the truth about ourselves. When these two things happen at the very same time, it will only drive us further and faster into the care of One who can reconcile the difference, One who has created this new covenant family we are all a part of through faith, and the One who provides a true window for us to look through and see God.

31.10.18 – Happy Reformation Day!

On this day, 501 years ago, a German monk named Martin Luther nailed 95 proposals for the Christian faith to the church door, better known as Luther’s 95 Theses. This wasn’t as radical as it sounds, nailing things to the door was a way to get a conversation going, to engage people in debate, and it wasn’t necessarily the grand protest-starting gesture we think it was! However, if you come to the church office and start nailing things to the door that you want me to read, we might have a problem, you could just call me! But, in the time of Luther, this was pretty normal.

He was a German monk who gave his life to God after being providentially saved from a terrible storm. Seeing that he was delivered, he came good on his word and joined a monastery wherein he lived a pretty austere life of prayer, confession, prayer, confession, prayer, learning, prayer…you get the picture.

It was his reading of the Bible that led him to the point of realising that God is good, we as people are not, and that through faith in Jesus Christ alone God would count us as righteous.

His coming back to the sole authority of the Word of God had profound impacts on his own life, on the life of the church, and on our lives too; we hold to the principle of sola scriptura due to men like Luther who passionately argued for the authority of the Word of God.

This two minute video from Ligonier Ministires is well worth a watch…