SOLA FIDE – FAITH ALONE
Many Christians believe that Christ’s death on the cross is God’s work, but faith in Christ is a work of their own. This follows the logic that God has done his part; it is now up to us to do our part. But the Bible speaks about a faith that is not produced by human capacity or reason. Faith is best described as confidence and trust in God. To trust someone is not something we can just choose, but rather something that is created and grows in us through knowledge and insight about the person, that this someone is worthy of our trust. We neither find faith inside ourselves, nor produce faith by ourselves; we rather confess the faith that has been given to us as a gift of grace. Like a blind man who has suddenly received his sight, we exclaim and
confess: ”I can see!” Faith is thus given and comes to us through the preaching of the Gospel in the power of the Spirit. Faith clings to Christ and trusts that His righteousness is accounted to us by grace alone.
This beautiful trust is faithfully expressed in the first article of the Heidelberg catechism:
”What is your only comfort in life and in death? That I am not my own, but belong- body and soul, in life and in death – to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ. He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood, and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil. He also watches over me in such a way that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my Father in heaven; in fact, all things must work together for my salvation. Because I belong to him, Christ, by his Holy Spirit, assures me of eternal life and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for him.”Heidelberg catechism
Martin Luther explains faith in his commentary on Romans:
”Faith, however, is a divine work in us. It changes us and makes us to be born anew of God; it kills the old Adam and makes altogether different men, in heart and spirit and in mind and powers, and it brings with it the Holy Spirit. Oh, it is a living, busy, active, mighty thing this faith; and so it is impossible for it not to do good works incessantly. It does not ask whether there are good works to do, but before the question rises; it has already done them, and is always at the doing of them. He who does
not do these works is a faithless man. He gropes and looks about after faith and good works, and knows neither what faith is nor what good works are, though he talks and talks, with many words, about faith and good works.”Martin Luther
”Faith is a living and daring confidence in God’s grace, so sure and certain that a man would stake his life on it a thousand times. This confidence in God’s grace and knowledge of it makes men bold and happy in dealing with God and all His creatures; and this is the work of the Holy Spirit in faith. Hence a man is ready and glad, without compulsion, to do good to everyone, to serve everyone, to suffer everything, in love and praise to God, who has shown him this Grace; and thus it is impossible to separate works from faith, quite as impossible as to separate heat from fire.”
SOLI DEO GLORIA – GOD’S GLORY ALONE
In Scripture alone, it is revealed that salvation is ours through Christ alone, by grace alone, through faith alone. All this naturally leads to the glory of one only: the Triune God alone. Christianity becomes poor and weak when it fails to lift our eyes in amazement of God’s glory and instead turn our focus on our selves. Whenever we are self-centered instead of God-centered, we get the wrong perspectives on things. There is nothing created that can satisfy our deepest needs and longings like being overwhelmed by the greatness and glory of God in Christ Jesus. And
”God is most glorified in us, when we are most satisfied in Him”John Piper
When we lose the vision of God’s greatness and sovereignty, we quickly retreat to the superficial and shallow. Our lives will always reflect our idea about God. All false doctrines make humans divine and decrease God to some degree. We therefore need a theology that magnifies God and diminishes our role and importance in life; a theology that makes much of God, founded on the biblical revelation of who God truly is.
For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.
“The faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people.”
“Church councils date back to the Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15). These councils have produced a rich heritage of significant documents over the centuries – confessions and creeds which have defined the theology of the Church.” Douglas Birdsall
THE APOSTLES’ CREED
I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.
And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord; Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. He descended into hell; The third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from there He shall come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit; the holy Christian Church, the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting.
THE NICENE CREED
I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth and of all things visible and invisible.
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of His Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, Very God of Very God, Begotten, not made, Being of one substance with the Father, by Whom all things were made; Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary and was made man; and was crucified also for us under
He suffered and was buried; and the third day He rose again according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father; and He shall come again with glory to judge both the living and the dead; Whose kingdom shall have no end.
And I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of life; Who proceeds from the Father and the Son, Who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified, Who spoke by the prophets. And I believe one holy Christian and Apostolic Church. I acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins, and I look for the resurrection of the dead and life of the world to come. Amen.
THE ATHANASIAN CREED
Whoever will be saved shall, above all else, hold the Christian faith. Which faith, except it be kept whole and undefiled, without doubt, one will perish eternally. And the true Christian faith is this, that we worship one God in Trinity and Trinity in Unity, neither confusing the Persons nor dividing the substance.
For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Spirit. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit is all one; the glory equal, the majesty coeternal.
Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Spirit. The Father uncreated, the Son uncreated, and the Holy Spirit uncreated. The Father infinite, the son infinite, and the Holy Spirit infinite. The Father eternal, the Son eternal, and the Holy Spirit eternal. And yet there are not three eternals, but one eternal; just as there are not three uncreated, nor three infinites, but one uncreated and one infinite.
Likewise the Father is almighty, the Son is almighty, and the Holy Spirit is almighty. And yet there are not three almighties, but one almighty. So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God. And yet there are not three gods, but one God. Likewise the Father is Lord, the Son is Lord, and the Holy Spirit is Lord. And yet there are not three lords, but one Lord. For as we are compelled by the Christian truth to acknowledge every Person by Himself to be both God and Lord, so we are forbidden by the true Christian faith to say that there are three gods or three lords.
The Father is made of none, neither created nor begotten. The Son is of the Father alone, not made nor created but begotten. The Holy Spirit is of the Father and of the Son, neither made nor created nor begotten but proceeding. So there is one Father, not three fathers, one Son, not three sons, one Holy Spirit, not three holy spirits.
And in this Trinity none is before or after another; none is greater or less than another; but all three Persons are coeternal together and coequal, so that in all things, as said before, the Unity in Trinity and the Trinity in Unity is to be worshiped. Whoever will be saved is compelled thus to think of the Holy Trinity.
Furthermore it is necessary for everlasting salvation that one also believes faithfully the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ. For the right faith is that we believe and confess that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and Man; God of the substance of the Father, begotten before the worlds; and Man of the substance of His mother, born in the world; Perfect God and perfect Man, of a rational soul and human flesh subsisting. Equal to the Father as touching His Godhead and inferior to the Father as touching His manhood. Who, although He is God and Man, yet He is not two but one Christ; One not by changing of the Godhead into flesh, but by taking the manhood into God; One indeed, not by confusion of substance, but by oneness of person.
For just as the rational soul and flesh is one man, so God and Man is one Christ; Who suffered for our salvation, descended into hell, rose again the third day from the dead. He ascended into heaven, He is seated at the right hand of the Father, God almighty, from there He shall come to judge the living and the dead. At whose coming all will rise again with their bodies and will give an account of their own works. And they that have done good will enter into life everlasting; and they that have done evil into everlasting fire. This is the Christian faith; whoever does not faithfully and firmly believe this cannot be saved.