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ON REFORMATION DAY

Samuel A CainOn October 31, 1517, a young monk in Wittenberg, Germany posted 95 Theses on the door of the Castle Church. His intention was to begin a discussion with other scholars in the Catholic Church over the abuse of Scriptures by the church. Little did Luther know that God had chosen him to hammer out the beginnings of what came to be known as the Reformation. Scripture (Sola Scriptura), not tradition, was to be lifted up once again as the true and only word of salvation provided by God.

As the Reformation spread over Europe, the Protestant reformers summarized their basic theological principles into five Latin phrases. These phrases or slogans are known as the Five Solas. They stand in direct contrast to some of the medieval teachings of the Catholic Church. The Five Solas are: “Sola Scriptura” (Scripture alone); “Sola Gratia” (Grace Alone); “Sola Fide” (Faith Alone); “Solus Christus” (Christ Alone); and “Soli Deo Gloria” (To God Alone Be Glory).

“Sola Scriptura” (Scripture alone) means that all the truth necessary for our salvation and spiritual life is taught in Scripture.

“Sola Gratia” (Grace Alone) means we are saved from the consequences of our sin by God’s grace alone. The supernatural work of the Holy Spirit brings us to Christ by freeing us from our bondage to sin and raising us from spiritual death to spiritual life.

“Sola Fide” (Faith Alone) means that salvation is through faith, not works, as Ephesians explains: “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV)” Martin Luther considered sola fide so important that he called it “The article with and by which the church stands.” “Sola fide” is an essential teaching of Scripture that was rediscovered by the Protestant Reformers.

Martin Luther Nailing His 95 Theses on the Wittenberg Door October 31, 1517“Solus Christus” (Christ Alone) emphasizes that salvation is “by Christ alone”. Christ is our only Savior from the consequences of sin. B.B. Warfield wrote, “The saving power of faith resides thus not in itself, but in the Almighty Savior on whom it rests.” The supremacy of Christ is the underpinning of the Protestant faith.

“Soli Deo Gloria” (To God Alone Be Glory) means that when God’s excellence and worth are declared and displayed, He is glorified. All glory is due to God alone because salvation is, from beginning to end, the result of His will. Any doctrine or system of salvation which gives credit to man for any part of his salvation must be rejected and declared false, because it steals glory from God and gives it to man.

Today is a great day to remember the reformers and how God used them to open the Scriptures to all men. Most of the reformers suffered hardships and some were killed for their faith. Let us remember men such as John Wycliffe, Jan Hus, Martin Luther, Ulrich Zwingli, John Calvin, John Knox, and the many others who were used by God to advance the light of the Reformation. Let us pray that God would continue to raise up men in the church who love the Scriptures and truth.

 

 

 

 

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3 Responses

  1. Reblogged this on Truth2Freedom's Blog.

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  2. Reblogged this on My Delight and My Counsellors.

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  3. Reblogged this on Your Heritage, Your People, O LORD and commented:
    It’s easy for October 31st to come and go as no more than a dress-up Halloween holiday, but it is far more important in the history of the church and the world than that. Almost five hundred years ago today, a watershed event brought Christians back to the foundation of their faith and changed the course of governments, culture, and human endeavor as any good history book will tell you. Samuel Cain gives a great summary of what October 31st, Reformation Day, means to us today.

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