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.