Part 1 of 10
The “Five Solas” of the “Good News Gospel”
In this series we will explore and define the “Five Solas” of the Reformers that still are the foundational elements of “the faith” that Paul delivered to “the church, which is the body of Christ” (Eph 1:22b-23a). These “Five Solas” are absolute truths of the faith that will nourish the believer’s in their “present life and also for the life which is to come” (1Tim 4:7) Martin Luther and the Reformers labored to “re-form” the church back to having a Biblically and dispensationally based system of faith, against the unbiblical numerous traditions of Rome.
The Apostle Paul alerted his son in the faith, Timothy, to the deceptions of the “DELUDING AND SEDUCING SPIRITS AND DOCTRINES THAT DEMONS TEACH” such as would come “latter times” (1Tim 4:1b), as we see today. These demonic errors aren’t taught in taverns or baseball parks, but from the pulpits of church buildings, under the guise of a system that calls itself “Christianity.” These false teachings are usually mixed with bits and pieces of the Bible to make it seemingly Biblical, but still this serves to deceive and rob naive believers of their inheritance “in Christ” alone. The best defense for these lies and omissions of the truth is for one to actually KNOW “the truth” of “the gospel of the grace of God” (Act 20:24) for themselves. Interestingly, Paul uses the words “know” and “understand” 93 times in his 13 epistles. The Reformers “Five Solas” proclaim five core elements of the truth of the grace gospel for this age in which we live today.
The word “evangelical” originated in the 16th century to identify those who embraced the “message” of the Protestant Reformation. The word “evangelical” is taken from the Greek word “evangelion, which is translated “gospel” in the Bible. It literally means a “message of good news.” The word “message” is from a related Greek word, “epangelia.” The “Five Solas” listed below are five Latin phrases that summarized the “gospel message” of the Reformation. We will expand upon these later in the series.
The word “sola” is Latin for “alone,” or “only,” which indicates these truths as singular absolutes that are not to be adulterated with any caveat or stipulated requirement – they stand complete on their own as our basis of salvation. Therefore, in this series I’ve sometimes highlighted the words ONLY and ALONE.
Thus, “sola fide” is Latin for “by faith ALONE.” This refers to the central Christian doctrine known as “justification by FAITH ALONE.” In “justification” one is declared justified and righteous before God. Any person who by FAITH ALONE trusts in the shed blood, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ as the Son of God fully satisfies the righteous requirement of God. He is then declared justified and saved by God – through FAITH ALONE - “NOT BY WORKS of righteousness that we have done” (Titus 3:5a).
So, our faith in CHRIST ALONE, plus NOTHING, is the only basis of our justification to save us.
“24Being JUSTIFIED FREELY BY HIS GRACE through the REDEMPTION that is IN CHRIST JESUS… 28Therefore we conclude that a MAN IS JUSTIFIED BY FAITH WITHOUT THE DEEDS OF THE LAW. (Romans 3:24, 28)
The truth concerning “justification” is that it’s available to us ONLY by placing our faith in Jesus Christ’s sacrifice at
Calvary’s cross on our behalf – no good works or sacraments are necessary to be accomplished for salvation. The doctrine of “Justification by faith ALONE” most distinguished the Protestant Reformers from the Roman church. “Sola fide,” as the heart the Reformers “message,” was largely taken from the writings of “the Apostle to the Gentiles,” Paul, (Rom 11:13). Martin Luther’s life was changed by the revelation of the core truth of “justification by faith ALONE.”
From: Lectures on Galatians, in Luther’s Works, ed. Jaroslav Pelikan (St. Louis: Concordia, 1963) 26:9.)
“No doctrine is of greater importance throughout the history of mankind than the doctrine of justification. Since the opening pages of human history, man has had an insatiable hunger to know how to have his sins atoned for and how to propitiate (satisfy) the demands of a holy God (Job 9:2; 25:4). Furthermore, in the evangelical world, no doctrine has been of greater import and significance than ‘JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH ALONE’” — the Reformation principle of SOLA FIDE. Martin Luther rightly contends that “if the doctrine of justification is lost, the whole of Christian doctrine is lost.”
The “Five Solas” emerged during the Protestant Reformation in direct contradistinction with the teachings of the Roman church. The “Five Solas” became significant because the Roman church had muted and actually “twisted” the truth of Paul’s grace gospel message, just as Peter forewarned in his second epistle.
2 Peter 3:15-16 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; 16 As also in all his (Paul’s) epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest (twist), as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.
According to Peter in his last years, Paul’s “wisdom” as seen “in all his epistles” was then and now still is twisted. Peter said ignoring Paul’s truth leads men to “destruction” (perdition, eternal loss).
“Grace” means “unearned favor.” The church’s twisting and forsaking of Paul’s “gospel of the grace (unearned favor) of God” is what led to the Reformation. Thanks to God’s grace, the Reformers recovered many of the truths of Paul’s “gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24). Though Paul had never followed Jesus of Nazareth on earth, Paul received his “gospel of the grace of God” directly from the ascended Lord Jesus. Paul then traveled widely to proclaim the grace message he had “received… by revelation of Jesus Christ” (Gal 1:12). Paul preached salvation by grace ALONE, through faith ALONE, in Christ ALONE.
The Bible says Jesus was opposed and killed by
’s religious leaders (Act 3:15). Likewise, the “gospel of the grace of God” that Paul, as Jesus’ “Apostle to the Gentiles,” delivered. Paul was opposed by Israel ’s religious leaders who had called for Jesus’ crucifixion; they went on to oppose Paul’s gospel vehemently, seeking to kill him also. Even the believing Messianic Judaizers of the church at Israel tried to undermine and subvert Paul’s grace gospel message wherever Paul had traveled, preached and established churches. Religion’s effort in every age is always directed against the essence and simplicity of the Paul’s grace message. Jerusalem
“We have… the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His GRACE” (Eph. 1:7).
The climax of Paul’s first recorded sermon is seen in Verses 38 and 39 of Acts 13, where he declares:
“Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this Man (Jesus) is preached unto you (for) the forgiveness of sins: And by Him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.”
When God forgives us He no longer sees us according to our poor selves, but He sees us clothed “in Christ.” Jesus Christ took our place, dying for our sins on
Calvary’s cross. There He hung in our place that we might now stand in His — “complete in Him” (Col. 2:10).
“For he (God) hath made him (Jesus) to be sin for us, who knew no sin; (so) that we might be made the righteousness of God “IN HIM.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)
God has long-endured in His love for mankind, while man has long rebelled against God in every age. God has desired to come to intimate union with each believer. Through their simple FAITH ALONE, He offers to freely cleanse every person of his sins by the shed blood of His dear Son, Jesus. Then He would also freely dispense the “Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” into their spirit to be their ALL sufficient eternal life.
Thankfully, religion’s efforts that would subvert God’s message of pure grace fails, whenever any person is willing to open his heart to simply believe, trusting in the truth of “the gospel of the grace of God.” Today, the good news is exactly as it was two thousand years ago; “…believe on (trust in) the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved…” (Acts 16:31) This message of God’s grace is still the most profoundly relevant message ever spoken to men.
Religion’s administrative misconduct has long hindered the message of God’s love and grace toward fallen mankind. Jesus warned
’s religious leaders of their “tradition” and manmade laws that they promoted, saying these serve to go against the instruction of God. Israel
“… Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by YOUR TRADITION. 7 Ye hypocrites… in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the COMMANDMENTS OF MEN. (Matt 15:6-9).
Paul wrote and foretold of a time when men would not tolerate proper “sound doctrine”; rather they would favor hearing religion’s offerings of philosophy, myths, traditions, and falsehood.
“PREACH THE WORD…and DOCTRINE (instruction). 3 For the TIME WILL COME WHEN THEY WILL NOT ENDURE SOUND DOCTRINE; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
4 THEY SHALL TURN AWAY THEIR EARS FROM THE TRUTH, AND SHALL BE TURNED UNTO FABLES.” (2Tim 4:2-4)
“Beware lest any man spoil you through PHILOSOPHY AND VAIN DECEIT, AFTER THE TRADITION OF MEN, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” (
Many Christian’s today sit under; the legalistic, or the organized hierarchical, or the neo-evangelical religious systems of Christianity. They are fed a diet of false doctrine, fables, traditions, manmade laws, pomp and spectacle, mixed with “out of context” parts of the Bible, to suit them.Sadly, most then are left lacking in sound doctrinal teachings of “the faith.” This robs them of God’s love and grace that is found only in union with Christ. They miss out on the blessings of knowing Jesus Christ personally and in the simplicity of a relationship afforded them in the truths of the “Five Solas” that we are studying.