Sunday, November 30, 2008

Sola Fide

Sola fide- By Faith alone.

Sola fide is better known historically as the doctrine of justification by faith, not by works. This doctrine also asserts that we are justified and forgiven solely by God's grace, through faith for our tansgression of the Law of God. This should be clear based on a verse everyone should be firmiliar with. Eph 2:8-9, "For by grace are you saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works lest anyone should boast. "NKJV

I will attempt to address the necessity of both faith and works in the process of salvation to the best of my ability. I will start with faith and then show how works plays an important, but not a requirement for ones salvation.

Frist, one passage we could look at would be the, "hall of faith" in Hebrews 11, where there is an extensive list of people and the events that took place in their lives due to their faith in God. If faith were not significant to our justification before God, why would there be an entire chapter completly devoted to showing just that very thing? Another thing that Hebrews 11 asserts is that all of these people in this list did all of these things without even having recieved the promise (vs 39)!

Another verse in Hebrews 11 that we should cosider is verse 6, "But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him." NKJV. This verse makes it plainly clear that if there is no faith exercised in God, that it is impossible to please Him.

There are a myriad of other verses we could consider on this issue, but to keep things simple and short let's now address how the issue of works plays out in the salvation of a believer. It should be already understood that it is not your works that save you but faith in Christ. However, once you have placed faith in Christ good works should therefore naturally follow in response to your faith. Matthew 7 addresses this issue in verses 15-23. "Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. You shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles? Even so every good tree brings forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree brings forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruits, nor can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that does not bring forth good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you shall know them. Not everyone who says to Me, Lord! Lord! shall enter the kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in Heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, Lord! Lord! Did we not prophesy in Your name, and through Your name throw out demons, and through Your name do many wonderful works? And then I will say to them I never knew you! Depart from Me, those working lawlessness!" NKJV.

Finally, one more thing that should be stressed, is just because you have excepted Christ as Lord does not mean that you will automatically never sin again, and if you do that you are not truly a believer! Just for one example out of many, we will use the example of Peter, who flatly denied that he even knew Christ just before he was crucified! Yet I don't think anyone would say that Peter is not among the saved! I think the main point to be understood here is that once we are saved we have a change of heart and the things that we once desired or were enslaved to no longer hold us in bondage. The Holy Spirit now endwells all who believe and has given them the ability to overcome temptations, past desires, and old sins. 1Cor 10:13 says, "No temptation has taken you but what is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted above what you are able, but with the temptation also will make a way to escape, so that you may be able to bear it." NKJV.

Sola Scriptura!
Sola Fide!
Soli Deo Gloria!

Psalm 51:1-17
Psalm 139:23-24
Titus 3:5-7

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sola Scriptura

Sola scriptura- By Scripture alone.

Sola scriptura was one of the main points of the Protestant Reformation. The Reformers believed that the Bible is God's word and is therefore, self authenticating, perspicuous (understandable and clear) to the rational person, that Scripture interprets itself, and also is sufficient of itself to be the final authority for Christian Doctrine. The Reformers also affirmed that the Church passively recognized and received the books that had already been widely accepted as canonical. Whereas the Roman Catholic church teaches that, "The Scripture is an important but not exclusive part of Sacred Tradition from which the Churches derive their doctrines." The Roman Catholics also believe that, "The Church has authority over the Scriptures because it actively selected which books would be in the Biblical cannon." We will look at both of the erroneous teachings of the Catholic Church and why they are so.

1st. "The Scripture is an important but not exclusive part of Sacred Tradition from which the Churches derive their doctrines."

The first of the two errors is basically straight up blasphemy against God, and the authority of His Holy Word. This is made very clear by Christ throughout the gospels of Matthew and Mark, as well as in Col 2:8 and 1 Peter 1:18. For example Jesus says in Mark 7:5-9:

"Then the Pharisees and scribes asked Him, Why do your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat loaves with unwashed hands? But He answered and said to them, Well has Isaiah prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, "This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. However, they worship Me in vain, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men, the dippings of pots and cups. And many other such things you do. And He said to them, Do you do well to set aside the commandment of God, so that you may keep your own tradition?" NKJV

Obviously this is not a new topic that we are discussing. Christ had to deal with the Pharisees and the scribes about this very issue over 2,000 years ago. It should be very perspicuous to anyone that, from just this one passage, let alone all the others, there is no tradition of men that is to be held higher than the authority of what God says in scripture. It should also be abundantly clear to us that man is sinful and fallible, and that God is completely holy and just, not at all fallible. Therefore whatever He says His word should be the final authority on any topic regardless of what men may think is or is not correct.

2nd "The Church has authority over the Scriptures because it actively selected which books would be in the biblical cannon."

This sentence is just simply not true whatsoever. It is widely known and accepted that the Bible was recognized in its entirety within 100 years of the death of all the apostles. In fact Paul at the end of Colossians told the church there to distribute his letter to the church at Laodecia and that the Laodecians were to share their letter with the Colossians. Affirming that the Scripture was being already being read, shared and established among the earliest of churches. Not by the Roman Catholic church which didn't even come into existence until at least 300 years after the death of Christ. Col 4:16 says:

"And when this letter is read before you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans, and that you also read the letter of Laodicea." NKJV

This passage clearly states that the churches were to pass around the letters between themselves and that they were to be read amongst all the people in the churches.

In short, nothing should be held as high or higher than the authority of Scripture in determining church practices and traditions. Especilly those extra Biblical traditions that the church establishes and scripture does not. Not that they are wrong or bad necessarily, but they should not be held as infallable, and should always come under the scrutinty and authority of the scripture to make sure they are not contrary to the teachings of the Bible before they are put into practice in any church.

2 Timothy 3:14-17

But continue in the things that you have learned and have been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from a babe you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfected, thoroughly furnished to every good work. NKJV

Sola Scriptura!
Soli Deo Gloria!

Psalm 51:1-17
Psalm 139:23-24
Titus 3:5-7

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The new blog

I got the idea for my new blog from the book I am currently reading, "The Bondage of the Will" by Martin Luther. At the end of the historical and theological introduction it says, "Sola fide, Sola gratia, SOLI DEO GLORIA!" Of course those are only 3 of the 5 solas of the reformation, the other 2 being, "Sola scriptura and Solus Christus." The meaning of each is as follows:

1. Sola scriptura- By Scripture alone

2. Sola Fide- By faith alone

3. Sola gratia- By grace alone

4. Solus Christus- By Christ alone

5. Soli Deo gloria- Glory to God alone

Instead of trying to do this daily like I did for my previous blog, this one is going to be weekly (mostly because I am waaayyy to busy right now to do a daily one anymore :)

I will start next week with a post on the first sola, "Sola Scriptura." Then the following week I will either continue on that subject or move on to the next sola, depending on how much studying/exposition time I get.

Finally, if anyone has any topics/verses/subjects or anything else they would like to submit for discussion I gladly welcome any and all ideas.

Soli Deo Gloria!!!

Psalm 51:1-17
Psalm 139:23-24
Titus 3:5-7