Part 10 of 12
The 3rd Sola - “SOLA GRATIA”
“SOLA GRATIA” is Latin for “BY GRACE ALONE.”
GRACE Defined – Vine’s Expository Bible Dictionary
“GRACE”, on the part of God as the bestower, is the friendly disposition from which the kindly act proceeds, graciousness, loving-kindness, goodwill generally; especially with reference to the Divine favor, called “grace.” In this respect there is stress on its freeness and universality, its spontaneous character, as in the case of God’s redemptive mercy, and the pleasure or joy He designs for the recipient; thus it is set IN CONTRAST…WITH DEBT.”
Paul says God’s “grace” is unmerited favor… and man’s works for salvation… are mutually exclusive.
And if BY GRACE, then is it NO MORE OF WORKS…if it be of works, then is it no more grace… (Rom 11:6)
“Now to him that worketh [i.e., for salvation] is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of DEBT.
“Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the (works of) law; YE ARE FALLEN FROM GRACE.” (Galatians 5:4)
God’s grace is His unearned and unmerited favor that is gifted to all who would simply receive it. Notice the word “gift” in the verses below. God’s salvation for man is gifted “by grace through faith ALONE” as the “Gift of God.” God’s “gift… unto justification” results in the “gift of righteousness”
“For BY GRACE are ye saved THROUGH FAITH; AND THAT NOT OF YOURSELVES: IT IS THE GIFT OF GOD: 9 NOT OF WORKS, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
“But not as the offence, so also is the FREE GIFT. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the GIFT BY GRACE, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.” (Romans 5:15)
“For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the GIFT OF RIGHTEOUSNESS shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) 18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the FREE GIFT came upon all men unto justification of life.” (Romans 5:17-18)
Sola Gratia is the teaching that salvation comes by God‘s grace ALONE or God’s “unmerited favor only” — This means that salvation is an unearned GIFT from God.
By contrast, under Old Testament Law one had to obey “the Law” and make the prescribed animal sacrifices in order to be “blessed,” if one disobeyed they were “cursed.” “The Law” contains God-given contingencies noted by use of the phrase “if thou…”
Deut. 28:1-2 IF THOU (Israel) shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to OBSERVE AND TO DO ALL HIS COMMANDMENTS which I command, that the Lord thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth: all these BLESSINGS SHALL COME ON THEE, and overtake thee, IF THOU (Israel) shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God.
Deut. 28:15-16 But it shall come to pass, IF THOU wilt not hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe to DO ALL HIS COMMANDMENTS AND HIS STATUTES which I command thee this day; that all these CURSES SHALL COME UPON THEE, and overtake thee: Cursed shalt thou be in the city, and cursed shalt thou be in the field.
These “if thou” requirements are of “the Law” dispensation and for another people (
). These were not addressed to the members of “the body of Christ” under grace. Thankfully, while “… the LAW was given BY MOSES… GRACE and truth came BY JESUS CHRIST. Israel
Paul was called by the ascended Lord Jesus to declare the “gospel of the grace of God” for us today. “The Law” relationship does not apply to the grace believers of the “body of Christ.” Romans 6:14 …YE ARE NOT UNDER THE LAW (of the old dispensation), but UNDER GRACE. Paul is the dispenser of the truth of the “dispensation of the grace of God” that he received directly from the ascended Lord Jesus.
Eph 3:2 …the DISPENSATION OF THE GRACE OF GOD WHICH IS GIVEN ME (PAUL) TO YOUWARD
Gal. 1:12 I (Paul) neither received it (the gospel of grace) of (from) man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of (from) Jesus Christ.
The doctrine of “Sola Gratia” (Grace Alone) declares divine “monergism” at work in our salvation. What does “monergism” actually mean?
Theologically, “monergism” means “God acts ALONE” to save the sinner by His GRACE. It is the opposite of “synergism” (i.e., two working in concert), which requires man’s works added to God’s works.
“Monergism: The view that God by the Holy Spirit is the ONLY agent who affects salvation and regeneration of Christians. It is in contrast with “synergism,” the view that there is cooperation between the divine and the human in the regeneration process.” (
Dictionary of Theological Terms) Westminster
With fallen man in an utter hopeless and helpless fallen condition, it requires the work of God to gift man with His “grace.” God’s “grace” imparts the gift of the faith of Christ to men, saving them with God’s gift of justification (right standing). This “right standing,” based upon Christ’s sacrifice at the cross, is gifted and counted to believers as their righteousness. This is “justification” gifted “by grace through faith” unto salvation (Eph 2:8-9).
Ephesians 2:8 For BY GRACE are ye saved THROUGH FAITH; and that not of yourselves: it is the GIFT OF GOD: Ephes. 1:6 To the praise of the glory of his GRACE, wherein HE (God the Father) hath MADE US ACCEPTED IN THE BELOVED (in CHRIST).
Romans 3:24 Being JUSTIFIED FREELY (apart from works) BY HIS GRACE through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
Monergism strips us of all hope in ourselves, revealing our spiritual bankruptcy apart from Christ, and thus leads us to give all glory to God ALONE for our salvation. As long as we think we contributed something, even a little bit (like “our” good intentions) then we still think deep down that God saves us for something good he sees in us over our neighbor. But this is clearly not the case. Only Jesus, who died for all mankind, and Christ’s Spirit of life in us, makes us to differ from anyone else. We all were sinners and can boast in nothing before God, including the desire for faith in Christ. Philippians 1:29 For unto you it is GIVEN … TO BELIEVE ON HIM… 2Tim 2:25b …God peradventure will GIVE THEM REPENTANCE to the acknowledging of the truth
Why do we have faith and perhaps not our neighbor? Did we make better use of God’s grace than our neighbor did? Were we smarter? More sensitive? Do some naturally love God? The answer is “no” to all. It’s God’s grace ALONE in Christ that makes us to differ from our neighbor. God’s grace alone that gave rise to our faith, not because we were better or had more insight - no other element but His GRACE.
Though God “foreknew” (Rom 8:29) we would respond favorably to His love and grace, the responsibility for the believer’s salvation does not rest on the sinner to any degree as in synergism between God and man. The problem of conversion is not with God but with man’s prideful heart. The humility required to submit to the gospel, which is beyond man’s natural capacity, is therefore not prompted by man’s will but by God’s mercy (John 1:13; Rom 9:16). No one can believe the gospel unless God grants it. “…the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. (John 6:63b) “… I (Jesus) say unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.” (John 6:65)
The Spirit of God is always working to intervene in the lives of all men to humble them and turn their hearts to Him. Thus we see the “why” of the sufferings of this life. Every circumstance and situation of life is designed and intended to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves; these are to turn us to call upon and trust the Lord. Therefore it is the Lord who works to give us to see the truth; that our hearts will be opened, to respond to Christ in faith. Our turned and inclined heart then is a reasonable response to His grace working in our lives. We are thus constrained and seized by His love and grace.
1 Cor. 15:10 …by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: YET NOT I, but THE GRACE OF GOD which WAS with me.