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Thursday, June 10, 2010

True Confessions of a Reformed Catholic: Sola Fide

“25 And when they found Him on the other side of the sea, they said to Him, "Rabbi, when did You come here?" 26 Jesus answered them and said, "Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. 27 Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him." 28 Then they said to Him, "What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?" 29 Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent." 30 Therefore they said to Him, "What sign will You perform then, that we may see it and believe You? What work will You do? 31 Our fathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written, 'He gave them bread from heaven to eat.' " 32 Then Jesus said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” (John 6.25-33).
As I pointed out in the last few posts, there were 5 of the valuable family heirlooms that captured the hearts of several important Church leaders in the 1500s, which sparked the drive to reform the Church of Jesus Christ. These 5 Gems are called the 5 Solas. They are, Sola Scriptura, Solus Christus, Sola Gratia, Sola Fide, Soli Deo Gloria. In this post we will be looking into the 4th Sola, Sola Fide, and specifically what does it mean to say that we are saved thru faith alone.

Sola Fide: The Work of God. Follow along with the passage above to see what is going on and what Jesus Himself says about faith. (1) The aims of the people are mistaken aims-their hearts are in their bellies (26). (2) Labor and gift (27). Here Jesus starts out talking about laboring, but then turns the table. What He is offering is not earnable, it is a gift, a gift from Jesus Himself. (3) The unfortunate response of these people was to focus on themselves, their efforts [We do, we labor…28]. They showed they had misguided minds. (4) Jesus pulls them up short and corrects their mistaken notions. This “believing” is God’s Gift to them, it is God’s own work in them (29).

Pope Benedict XVI comments on this passage, on this play of “work“ and “gift“ and writes the following;

“Jesus’ listeners are ready to work, to do something, to perform “works,” in order to receive this bread. But it cannot be “earned” by human work, by one’s own achievement. It can only come to us as a gift from God, as God’s work. The whole Pauline theology is present in this dialogue” (Jesus of Nazareth, 268).

What would this God-given, God-worked faith look like? It is more than mere acceptance. True, living, genuine faith includes (a) Knowledge; (b) Conviction of the truth; (c) Trust, the outward facing, assured confidence in Jesus Christ: that He is who and what He says He is and does what He says He does. John 6.29.
“The specific character of faith is that it looks away from itself and finds its whole interest and object in Christ. He is the absorbing preoccupation of faith” (John Murray, Redemption Accomplished and Applied, 112. Emphasis mine-MWP).

Sola Fide: Lived and Loving. 1st- Sola Fide is the avenue by which we are right with God. In Romans 3.21-26, the Apostle Paul writes;

“But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, 26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus“.

Therefore, it is not faith that saves (that would be our work, our labor-intensive religious program!). It is the Lord Jesus Christ that rescues us, we simply entrust ourselves to Him. and when this happens we find that God has declared us holy, pure, forgiven by the grace of God alone because of Jesus Christ alone. In the comforting words of the Westminster Shorter Catechism # 33; “Justification is an act of God’s free grace, wherein he pardoneth all our sins, and accepteth us as righteous in His sight, only for the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, and received by faith alone“.

2nd-Sola Fide gives us rock-hard hope. Jesus goes on in John 6, and announces the following;

"I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. 36 But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe. 37 All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 39 This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. 40 And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6.35-40).

Jesus is saving us, Jesus will save us! No matter what we’re going through! Sola Fide!

To learn more about what it means to believe in Jesus, go here:


1 comment:

Michael Gormley said...

Sola Fide, Can It Work?

Many protestant sects teach that all that is needed for salvation of their souls is Faith Only...

Sola Fide, saved by faith alone.

All they need is to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and savoir and no matter what they do after; they are assured they will go straight to heaven.

Jesus Christ paid the price for all sins, past, present, and future. Jesus Christ took the test for us all and gave each of us a grade of 100%.

Now doesn't that sound good? Just think, you can do anything you want for the rest of your life and your irrevocable ticket to heaven was paid for with the blood of Christ almost 2000 years ago. What a gift! What a great blessing! What nonsense!!!