Sola Fide: Faith Alone
Sunday, March 26, 2017
We often try to live our lives on our own strength and wisdom putting God in a box and pulling Him out only as a last resort.
This is not living by faith but by sight; this “natural” tendency does not lead to abundant life but to a cold spiritually lifeless existence.
When we discover what “faith” really is and the reality of “saving faith” then we can begin to live with meaning, purpose and power.
The Apostle Paul says, “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.
But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:1-10, p. 827)
Sola Fide is from the Latin: sola having the idea of “alone,” “only” and the word fide meaning “faith” —Faith Alone.
Sola Fide means that Faith alone is by God’s grace through “faith” in Christ alone and not by our “works” is a key truth of the Bible that distinguishes Biblical Christianity from most cults.
Most other religions and cults teach that you salvation is through your “works” but the Bible clearly states that your salvation is by God’s Grace through your living saving “faith.”
But… but… but… what about James 2:24? (p. 855) Some of my Catholic friends may ask:
“You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.”
Context is everything
In James 2:1 through 12, James is dealing with the problem of some in his church showing favouritism and the importance of loving everyone; then James addresses the issue of “dead” faith verses “living” or “saving” faith in verses 13 through to 24.
James is qualifying the type of “faith” Paul is referring to in his Ephesians’ letter.
Four Works of God for Us
- God loves us (v. 4)
- Love is one of God’s intrinsic attributes (1 John 4:8, “God is love,” p. 863)
- We are saved by God’s mercy (God does not give us what we deserve) and God’s grace (God gives us what we do not deserve – Salvation is a gift not reward) result of God’s love for us
- At the cross at Calvary God displayed His hatred for sin and His love for sinners (Romans 5:8, p.798; John 3:16, p. 752)
- God resurrects us (v.5)
- God made us alive even when we were dead in our sins
- Power to resurrect through His Holy Spirit by His Word
- Examples in the New Testament: widow’s son (Luke 7:11-17, p. 730); Jairus’ daughter (Luke 8:49-56, p. 732); Lazarus (John 11, p. 760)
- God exults us (vs. 6)
- Our physical position is currently on earth but our spiritual position is “in heavenly places in Christ Jesus”
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going… I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:1-6, p. 763)
- God keeps us (vv. 7-9)
- God’s purpose in our salvation and redemption is not just to rescue us from hell
- God’s ultimate purpose is for our salvation for all eternity as Christ’s church glorifies God through His Grace
The completed work of Christ on the cross: “It is finished” (John 19:30, p. 768)
Penal Substitution Atonement (Expiation: cover our sins)
- Jesus died in your place
- Took your sin upon Himself and became sin for you
- Endured your punishment for your sins
- Christ becomes our substitute and assumes our obligations
- Expiated our guilt
Hebrews 2:17, p. 847
“For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people.”
Be part of God’s Faith Family of Followers
“Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
(Hebrews 10:19-25, p. 851)