The Protestant Reformation of the 16th century changed Christianity forever. Concerned by the corruption and abuses they saw in the church of the time, visionary pastors and leaders like Martin Luther and John Calvin spearheaded a movement that transformed Christianity and eventually led to the emergence of the Protestant denominations that exist today.
The Reformers were guided by the conviction that the church of their day had drifted away from the essential, original teachings of Christianity, especially in regard to what it was teaching about salvation—how people can be forgiven of sin through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and receive eternal life with God.
Below are the “Five Solas” that emerged during the Reformation to summarize the Reformers’ theological convictions about the essentials of Christianity.
1. Sola Scriptura (“Scripture alone”): The Bible alone is our highest authority.
2. Sola Fide (“faith alone”): We are saved through faith alone in Jesus Christ.
3. Sola Gratia (“grace alone”): We are saved by the grace of God alone.
4. Solus Christus (“Christ alone”): Jesus Christ alone is our Lord, Savior, and King.
5. Soli Deo Gloria (“to the glory of God alone”): We live for the glory of God alone.
Of particular focus during this time was “Sola Gratia,” the fact that we are saved by grace alone. Scripture teaches us that there is nothing we can do to insure our salvation. It is only by God’s amazing gracious gift that we may have eternal life.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” Ephesians 2:8 & 9
Why is God’s grace so important?
Today’s world is very performance focused and we are constantly thinking about how we “measure up.” Is our house as nice as our neighbor’s? Is our car too old? Did our kids learn to read before all their peers? How fit do our bodies look? How impressive was our last vacation? Is our child the star player on the soccer team? And the list goes on……… Social media has become a breeding ground for an out of control focus on performance, instead of what it should be - a positive place to connect friends.
The result of this achievement focus is exhaustion, anxiety, discouragement, and depression. You have either experienced it personally or seen it in a loved one. It is all around us. These negative patterns and emotions can be minimized when we focus on Gods’ Amazing Grace. When we truly grasp that there is nothing we have to do to receive God’s gift of love and acceptance and eternal life, what a peace and freedom that brings to our souls!
Then and only then are we full enough of God’s love to share His grace with others. Then we can be loving enough to not judge and criticize everyone around us. When we completely understand what God has done for us in our sinful wretched state, then we will stop standing in judgement of everyone else knowing that we are no better and can share God’s grace and unconditional love with others.
Wouldn’t that be a wonderful world to live in?!!!
May you have a grace-filled Reformation Month!!
In His service,