Friday, June 2, 2017

The Four (4) Solas

There are four (4) biblical solas:
  • Sola Scriptura, by Scripture alone.
  • Sola Gratia, by grace alone.
  • Solus Christus, through Christ alone.
  • Soli Deo Gloria, glory to God alone.

"Sola Fide (by faith alone)" is false and unbiblical. Period! Observe:
What use is it, my brethren, if a man says he has faith, but he has no works? Can that faith save him?  If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and be filled," and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself. But someone may well say, "You have faith, and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works." You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected; and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, "AND ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS," and he was called the friend of God. You see that a man is justified by works, and not by faith alone. And in the same way was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works, when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead. James 2:14-26
Sola Fide says "by faith alone." Scripture, the Bible, God's Word, says "not by faith alone." Which will you believe and hold as being true? Tradition or Scripture? This passage reveals four (4) facts that many Christians need to come to terms with:
  1. Faith alone, faith by itself, is dead! (vv. 17, 26)
  2. Faith alone, faith by itself, is useless! (v. 20)
  3. Faith alone, faith by itself, is imperfect/incomplete! (v. 22)
  4. Faith alone, faith by itself, cannot justify/save! (v. 14)
The demons believe (have faith) and it does nothing for them (v. 19). If you look up Sola Fide, it will always say something like, "Justification is by grace alone through faith alone because of Christ alone," or, "We are justified by faith alone without the need for works or anything else." According to Scripture, a man is justified by faith and works; together. Paul said, "A man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law" (Rom. 3:28). James said, "A man is justified by works and not by faith alone" (Jam. 2:24) Both Paul and James then quote from the Old Testament, using Abraham as an example of what they are talking about: "Then [Abraham] believed in the LORD; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness" (Gen 15:6). There is no contradiction here. Paul and James are in perfect agreement. They are addressing two completely different concepts of "works": works of the Law and what I like to call "faith in action."

In his Systematic Theology, John M. Frame writes, "Even though there are none to few definitions in the Bible, Scripture, not any theological definition, is our ultimate authority. Theological definitions must measure up to Scripture, not the other way around." [Emphasis mine.] Mr. Frame is exactly correct. This corresponds well with a favourite quote of mine from Don Fortner:
Our only rule of faith and practice is the Word of God. We have . . .
   no creed to defend,
   no denomination to maintain, and
   no confession to bind our minds.

"What do the Scriptures teach?" That is and must be our only concern. If the plain teachings of Holy Scripture appear to destroy or contradict our understanding of any doctrine, then let us relinquish the doctrine, or acknowledge the fact that our minds are both depraved and minuscule, and bow to the revelation of God.
—Don Fortner
Apply both of those quotes to the doctrine of Sola Fide and then compare what Scripture actually says against the definition and meaning of Sola Fide. If all we have is faith, then that faith is incomplete, useless, and dead. It cannot save us. Genuine faith needs to be acted out. When the bronze serpent was raised, it was not enough that people simply believe that looking at it would heal them. They had to actually look at it. If they merely looked at it without belief, it would do nothing for them either. The woman who had the issue of blood believed that if she simply touched Jesus' clothing she would be healed. She had to actually touch His clothes. If she merely believed it and then walked away, she would not have been healed. If she merely touched His clothes without believing, she would not have been healed. Faith and works (faith in action) had to be working simultaneously—together. When you truly believe what you claim to believe, it is witnessed in and by your actions. The two working together perfect and complete each other.

We are saved by God's grace alone (Eph. 2:5, 8-9). Nothing else!