Part of the awesome responsibility I have in teaching our young people the Word of God includes helping them to recognize key elements of God’s redemptive storyline throughout Scripture. It is great thing to be able to recount details of Bible stories and to have basic Bible knowledge. But in our teaching of these things sometimes we can zoom in so closely to Scripture that we fail to connect our topic to God’s larger redemptive story. When we do this, we accidentally “lose the forest for the trees” and forget that all of Scripture is about Christ and God’s plan of rescue through Him. For this reason, our current series in Credo focuses on five central truths which summarize the emphases of the Protestant Reformation against the medieval Roman Catholic Church. By teaching these truths, we hope to help our students understand the things that are most important about their faith, and in turn help them to be better readers of God’s Word.
The five truths we’re focusing on are known by their Latin phrases: sola Scriptura (Scripture alone), solus Christus (Christ alone), sola gratia (grace alone), sola fide (faith alone), and soli Deo Gloria (for God’s glory alone). Collectively known as “solas,” these central truths serve as non-negotiables for the Christian faith. To give you a taste of what they’re learning, let me unpack the first two briefly.
Sola scriptura means that Scripture stands alone as the supreme standard by which all human behavior, beliefs, and opinions should be judged. This is true because Scripture is the inspired and error-free Word of God, which alone is authoritative and sufficient for the Christian life (2 Tim 3:16; 2 Pet 1:20–21). The perfection and sole authority of God’s Word mean that the sermons Mike or I preach, the opinions we have, and the traditions we have as a church all bow to the authority of Holy Scripture. We would do well to emulate the practice of the Berean Christians in Acts 17:10–11, who not only eagerly received Paul’s message, but searched the Scriptures to confirm his teaching.
Solus Christus reflects the central value of Jesus Christ and His cross, and the fact that Jesus Christ is the only mediator between God and humanity (1 Tim 2:5). Jesus’ atoning sacrifice for sins on the cross is at the very heart of the gospel—the Apostle Paul states clearly that it is of first importance for our faith (1 Cor 15:3–4). As believers we must never think that we can move beyond the cross to more advanced topics; the cross is essential both for salvation and daily Christian living (Gal 2:20). Salvation comes by no other means than Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross.
In a future post, I’ll delve into the remaining “solas.” Until then, let’s rejoice in these precious truths about God’s Word and our Savior!