The Solas of the Reformation
We celebrated the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation in 2017. The Reformation was a profound theological awakening, which called the church back to the primacy and supreme authority of Holy Scripture, as well as the proper, biblical understanding of the Gospel. The Solas of the Reformation convey basic, yet essential truths of God's revelation and the one, true Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Sola Scriptura proclaims that Scripture alone is the infallible standard for our lives and doctrine; and, as such, it is our ultimate authority. The character of Scripture (cf. Matt. 5:17-18; 2 Tim. 3:16) reveals that it has supreme authority over reason, tradition, and experience. While the latter are valued within the church, they are neither equal nor superior to Scripture, and thus must always be evaluated by the truth of God’s Word.
Sola gratia, or grace alone, emphasizes God’s unmerited and undeserved favor with respect to humanity. Since we are all, by nature, spiritually dead, God’s sovereign grace is necessary to make us alive together with Christ. Having a biblical view of our sinful and corrupt condition amplifies the character of God's grace upon grace (cf. Eph. 2:1-10; Titus 3:5-7).
Sola fide teaches that the means by which we are saved in Christ is faith alone. That is to say, by faith alone (rather than faith plus works of cooperation and contribution), we are united to Christ, forgiven of all our sins, reconciled with God, and declared righteous due to the free imputation of the righteousness of Christ (cf. Romans 4; 2 Cor. 5:17-21; Gal. 3:7-29).
Solus Christus reminds us that we are saved in Christ alone. Reconciliation with God the Father is procured only on the basis of Christ’s perfect life of obedience, substitutionary sacrifice, and bodily resurrection. We are saved by faith alone in Christ alone (Acts 4:12); and Christ is the one and only mediator between God and men (1 Tim. 2:5).
soli deo gloria
Soli Deo gloria underscores that God and God alone is to receive glory and praise for creation and redemption. Due to our fallen nature, we are unable to turn our hearts to Christ (cf. John 6:44, 65). God must sovereignly and effectually change our hearts through the power of the Holy Spirit, so that we are willing to believe and repent. God alone receives the glory and praise for bestowing such grace.