Part 9 of 12
The 2nd Sola - “SOLA FIDE”
Latin for “by
ALONE,” as it relates
to the very basis of the believer’s justification
before God unto salvation. In the Reformer’s theology FAITH
ALONE in CHRIST ALONE, without
reliance upon our good works, results in being “DECLARED”
and “COUNTED” as righteous by God,
not yet actually being changed
to be righteous. (That
“righteous change,” which is yet to mature in a believer’s life, is
called “sanctification of the soul.” It will be the result of the later
and continuing work of God in the life of the believer (Philippians 2:13,
was the first to say: “BUT
NOW the RIGHTEOUSNESS of God WITHOUT
(works of) THE
LAW is manifested… to DECLARE
HIS righteousness for the remission of sins” (Rom. 3:21, 25)…“upon
all them that BELIEVE” (Rom 3:22).
Such “believing,” is “the
faith,” by which we are “justified”
3:20-22, 24-26 … BY
THE DEEDS OF THE LAW THERE SHALL NO FLESH BE JUSTIFIED in his sight…
NOW the RIGHTEOUSNESS of (from) God WITHOUT THE LAW
is manifested…22 Even (that
is) the RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD WHICH
IS BY FAITH OF JESUS CHRIST UNTO
ALL and upon all THEM THAT
BELIEVE: for there is no difference…
JUSTIFIED FREELY BY HIS
GRACE through the redemption
that is in Christ Jesus: 25Whom God hath set forth to
be a propitiation THROUGH
FAITH in HIS BLOOD, to DECLARE
his righteousness for the
remission (the cancellation of the debt, charge, or penalty) of
sins that are
past, through the forbearance of God; 26 To
say, at this time his
righteousness: THAT HE (God) MIGHT BE JUST, AND THE
JUSTIFIER OF HIM which BELIEVETH IN JESUS.
In verse 21 above Paul indicates a change has occurred as noted by the words “BUT NOW.” In “time past,” under “the Law” with its works requirements, satisfactory faith and works under the Law’s animal sacrifice system were required for one’s sins to be “covered.” These obedient faithful believers had their sins “covered,” but they could not be “justified” by their works of “the Law” alone (3:20).
see, after Moses had given “the Law,” the nation of
though, this God-given system did not work for most of the Israelites
because the vast majority of
So could a true believer in the time of Moses ignore the sacrifices? No they could not because they were commanded to sacrifice. That’s because it was part of what God commanded them to do in obedience, trusting in God’s word to them as Abraham had. They might not have understood exactly what was going on, but in Hebrews 4 we are told that their obedience had to be mixed with faith for it to be effective. If they just killed the animal and said “Well, that’s done with,” then it would not have done any good. But if, when the animal was killed, they trusted that somehow God would provide a way, not because of anything that they had done but because they were casting themselves on Him, then their sins were “covered” (Rom 4:7) and they would be saved.
All this was only a picture of salvation to come in Jesus Christ and by His shed blood at the cross.
NOW,” today under Paul’s “gospel
of the grace of God” men
are justified, declared and
counted as righteous before God; they have “the
RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD WHICH
IS BY FAITH OF JESUS CHRIST…”
2:8-9 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.
4:5 But to
him that WORKETH NOT, BUT BELIEVETH
ON HIM (Christ) that justifieth the ungodly, his
(Abraham’s) FAITH IS COUNTED FOR righteousness.
that a man is NOT JUSTIFIED BY THE WORKS OF THE LAW, but
by the FAITH of Jesus Christ, even we
have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be JUSTIFIED BY THE FAITH
OF (ek, which is from and with) CHRIST, and NOT
by the works of the law: for BY THE WORKS OF THE LAW SHALL
NO FLESH BE JUSTIFIED.
way of FAITH
for one to be counted righteous
was long established, BEFORE the Law came.
Four hundred thirty years before “the Law”…“Abraham
(simply) BELIEVED God,
and IT (his
faith) was COUNTED unto him
for righteousness.” (Rom 4:5)
this and having this understanding, the Reformer’s conflict with
Reformers saw the doctrine of Sola
“by Faith Alone,” as being summarized by the formula:
“Faith ALONE yields justification,
and this is only then can be followed by genuine good works.”
Thus, it is God who justifies man, while man need only have faith, trusting
in Christ Alone.
was in contrast to the Roman Catholic formula: Faith
AND the GOOD
WORKS of the prospective recipient together yield
justification. That is that say; “Faith
PLUS man’s Good works” are required for justification.
Here both God AND MAN
MUST PERFORM, thus negating Faith
ALONE in Christ ALONE as the way of justification and
contrast here above is startling. This might be better understood and
contrasted when we consider what is meant by the term “justification.”
Both the Roman church and the Protestant Reformers would agree that justification
invokes the transmission of Christ’s merits of righteousness to sinners.
Yet, there’s a difference.
Roman church position of God “transforming
a believer all at once” defies reality. This position fails to see
believers according to the Apostle Paul’s words regarding sanctification
and transformation unto
righteousness as a
further ongoing work of God. By
God’s justification and salvation a believer
and “hid with Christ in
fact is that after justification and salvation God begins a subsequent work
to change the believer’s DISPOSITION.
God then continues to work within the lives of His children to transform
of their soul’s
emotion, and will. God does this “inner work” by using the
events His children encounter in the course of their “day
by day” walk on earth (2Cor 4:16). The Lord teaches believers to now trust
Christ within them as their new paradigm for living by use of the
circumstances and situations of life. This transformation is the further
work of God’s grace in the life of the believer.
is GOD WHICH WORKETH IN
YOU both TO WILL AND TO DO of his
4:16 … though our
outward (flesh) man perish, yet the
inward MAN (soul) IS
RENEWED DAY BY DAY.
renewal of the believer’s soul is the further work of God to change them
in their disposition and expression of His life living in and through them.
As we become changed, little by little we grow from one level of glory
(expression) to another level of glory. This occurs as our mind becomes
renewed to a new paradigm of understanding – spiritual
understanding. Christ in us is our only “hope
of glory” (
1:27 To whom God would make
known what is the riches of
the glory of this mystery among the
Gentiles; which is CHRIST IN YOU, THE HOPE OF GLORY:
Cor 3:18 But WE
all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, ARE
CHANGED (Greek, metamorphoo) into
the same image FROM GLORY TO GLORY, even
as BY THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD.
12:2 And be not conformed to
this world: but BE YE TRANSFORMED
BY THE RENEWING OF YOUR MIND, that ye may prove what is
that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Alone” as the
basis of one’s justification
is sometimes called the material
cause or principle of the Reformation because it was the central
doctrinal issue for Martin
Luther and the other reformers. Luther called this the “doctrine
by which the church stands or falls.” The doctrine of “Faith
Alone,” bringing justification and salvation, excludes
works of righteousness to justify and save the sinner.
the believer has believed Christ’s cross-work on their behalf, by which
they are justified and saved, how then is the believer to live? Are good
works required of the believer?
gives us the answer to this
ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so
walk you in him: (Colossians
ALONE in Christ
ALONE after salvation then
excludes our self-effort toward righteousness for sanctification.
The believer never graduates from being a recipient
of God’s love, grace, and His gift of faith
in Christ. Since we
received Him “by grace through
faith ALONE,” so we also conduct our daily walk by trusting in His
continuing grace. Nevertheless,
we were saved “unto
good works” (Eph 2:10). Our new righteous obedience then
springs from His
life working within us (Philipp 2:13).
having received Christ’s righteousness by
grace through FAITH ALONE, our daily walk on earth is to be
conducted in the very same manner of faith
in Him alone. Now He leads,
guides, and lives through us. Paul confirms this by writing; “For
we walk BY FAITH, not by
sight.” (2 Cor 5:7)
Our works never replace our faith, which is expressed by trusting the Lord. Our ongoing trust is our faith in action. All God’s grace blessings that come to us “in Christ” are never counted to us of debt as though we could earn God’s salvation and blessings by our good works. Romans 4:4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of GRACE, but of DEBT? 5But to him that worketh NOT…” Our proper good works are a response to having received His love and grace. We are then constrained by the bands of His unconditional love toward us as we grow to see and understand the depth and riches of His love and grace.
Does this free “gift” of God’s love, grace, faith, and justification unto salvation foster loose, careless conduct? By no means! When our Lord had given a blind man his sight, He said to him: “Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole,” but the record hastens to add that he “followed Jesus in the way” (Mark 10:52). And could anything be more naturally spontaneous than a redeemed and liberated sinner longing to please and serve his divine Benefactor? The Apostle Paul expressed this well when he wrote 2 Cor. 5:14.
LOVE OF CHRIST CONSTRAINETH (impels) US…he
died for all, (so) that they which live should NOT henceforth live unto
themselves, but unto him (2