What we mean when we say "By Faith Alone"
Being made right with God through faith alone was the first reason for rejoicing on October 31. Today we will briefly look at the four other doctrines that came out of The Reformation. It is not by any faith alone, but by a specific faith, the biblical gifting of faith alone, that a person is made right with God. The core doctrine that characterizes “faith alone” is what we call “justification by faith”. The Bible tells us in Romans 4:3 that the Old Testament figure Abraham “believed God, and it was counted unto Him as righteousness”.
Another way of understand justification is by noting that it is God’s legal declaration of my innocence at the moment I believe the Gospel. Quite literally, when I am justified by faith, its “just-as-if-I” never sinned. Four other truths flow from this central feature of the gospel. Below we will briefly summarize them, since each of them answer a particular question about how a human being is made right with God.
1. How is a man made right with God? Faith Alone. Romans 3:4 “For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.”
2. What leads a man to see his need to be made right? Grace Alone. Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
3. Whose righteousness is counted to me for righteousness the moment I believe? Christ Alone. 2 Corinthians 5:21 “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”
4. Where do I find out about being saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone? The Bible alone. 2 Timothy 3:15 “And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus”
5. What is the purpose of being saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone of the Bible alone? For the Glory of God alone. Ephesians 1:12 “that we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.”
Like five mountain peaks do these five truths stand to make visible God’s saving glory. What is clearly in the Bible, what was re-discovered by Martin Luther and what is perhaps the clearest summary of the gospel are five reasons for rejoicing on October 31st, and every day. Have you received God’s gift of salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone of the Bible alone for the glory of God alone?