As I grow and study in my Christian faith, founded in the freedom of being led by the Spirit (1 John 2:27) and able to study sources and topics and come to my own conclusions rather than the conclusion of a Denomination, I have come to believe in many of the beautiful historical and orthodox streams of the Christian faith that came to us through the Reformation.
One of those beliefs is that it is as Scripture clearly states, faith alone, that brings us into the family of Christ. It is faith alone that grafts us into the genetic make-up of that heavenly body. It is faith alone that signs the adoption papers of becoming a child of Promise.
The five solae’s of the Protestant Reformation brought us away from the works-based and corrupted element of the Catholic religion that had changed the truth into a lie and worshiped the created more than the creator. (Romans 1) In fact, the Reformation was based entirely on a rejection of works-based theology and the corrupt nature of man that took works-based theology and turned it into a for-profit business with the selling of indulgences and other non-Scriptural practices.
Ironically, some time ago, I wrote an article titled The Similarities of Medieval Catholicism and Oneness Pentecostalism that spoke about the similarities of my background and how even to this day, corrupt practices take place in the name of faith to profit and gain power over others from misdirection and false teaching. This comes as no surprise, Christ himself warned that surely from the creation of His church this would happen.
So what does Solae Fide mean?
In the Latin – sola means alone, and fide means faith. As many Latin based languages often represent words in the opposite order than English does, this literally means alone faith. The representation of the Five Solas, or confirmations of the Christian beliefs from the Protestant Reformation, means purposefully, By Faith Alone and is one of five linked statements of how New Testament believers are justified or saved.
Altogether, the Five Sola’s are thus; We are saved by, Sola Fide (Faith Alone), Solus Gratia (through Grace Alone), Solus Christo (Through Christ Alone), Sola Scriptura (by Scripture Alone), Soli De Gloria (To the glory of God Alone).
If we were to put this in more modern terms, we could say that we are saved by the Grace of Jesus Christ, extended to us by our Faith in Him, and our authority on this is by Scripture alone and it (our salvation) is to and for the Glory of God Alone!
For it is by grace [God’s remarkable compassion and favor drawing you to Christ] that you have been saved [actually delivered from judgment and given eternal life] through faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [not through your own effort], but it is the [undeserved, gracious] gift of God; 9 not as a result of [your] works [nor your attempts to keep the Law], so that no one will [be able to] boast or take credit in any way [for his salvation]. 10 For we are His workmanship [His own master work, a work of art], created in Christ Jesus [reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, ready to be used] for good works, which God prepared [for us] beforehand [taking paths which He set], so that we would walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us]. ~ Ephesians 2:8-10, AMP
Isn’t that just Easy Believism?
Sure – if you want to call the fact that Christ died upon the cross of Calvary so that you and I might be saved by Faith Alone – and that you nor I didn’t have to suffer that shame and pain? Yes, it is much easier for you and I than it was for Christ.
Funny, and true story – my old pastor used to laugh at the software they used at the Church to track peoples attendance, giving/tithing, etc., calling it the Easy Beleivism Software, because you couldn’t permanently delete people from it. So if someone left the church, there was no way to permanently remove them from the software. You could inactivate them, but not delete them. And this spoke volumes of the theology, for they truly believed, that if you left their ‘church’ (denomination, faith, dogmas, Oneness Pentecostalism) you were completed ungrafted from the Promises of God until you again repented and came back to that ‘church’ (denomination, faith, dogmas, Oneness Pentecostalism)
This, in the Fundamental Christian community, is referred to as Easy Believism – that you can depart from Faith but never be deleted from the family, that the Father would never leave you or forsake you. And this was made fun of. Just let that sink in.
The contextual war between Arminianism and Calvinism is wrapped up in two distinct questions and Fundamentalism takes it a few steps further;
- Does it take the will and responsibility and action of the Sinful Human (me and you) in order to be made righteous (saved)?
- Can the acts and will of the human remove us from the family of Christ, ungraft us from the vine and elect us out of our family adoption?
If we stand on the aforementioned Sola of the Reformation, Solus Scriptura, we must turn to Scripture to answer both points;
1. Is it your obedience, or Christ’, that makes us/you Righteous?
“For as by the one man’s disobedience (Eve, non-perfect Humans) the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s (Christ, the only sinless Flesh) obedience the many will be made righteous.” ~ Romans 5:19
If we believe that it was the obedience of Christ that imputed righteousness to us, to later believe that it is our own behaviors and actions that make us holy, or righteous, is to quite literally say, “Sorry, but Jesus, you simply weren’t enough and I had to…”
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. ~ 2 Corinthians 12:9
There is an interesting and misused contrast in Scripture, where Jesus made statements that without understanding seem to contradict this, especially when the King James version of Scripture is your primary reading source.
Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith [in Me] has saved you; go in peace [free from the distress experienced because of sin].” Luke 7:50, AMP
And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace. Luke 7:50, KJV
The works-based mindset will say, See – it was the woman who did something in order to get saved!, but this is not the intent nor continued narrative of Scripture. The AMP adds two words that solidify the meaning that can be lost at a surface level reading of the KJV.
2. Is it your Will, or His Will that adopts you, or can you be ungrafted?
I am reminded again of the words of Christ (in conjunction with Paul in Ephesians 2) whereby the statement is made, it has nothing to do with you and you can’t do anything or enough to be drawn/saved.
No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. ~ John 6:44
And further, I am reminded that by His Spirit we are sealed unto the day of promise (redemption) if we are in Him;
And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. ~ Ephesians 4:30, NIV
And finally, how we are promised that once sealed, there is NOTHING that can separate us from the Love of Christ, which is so often referred to in the forms of human relationship (parent to child, husband to wife) that it leaves no argument for what it means.
Who shall ever separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?
For I am convinced [and continue to be convinced—beyond any doubt] that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present and threatening, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the [unlimited] love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:35, 38, AMP
As a parent, I would NEVER separate my child from my family name, nor remove them from the inheritance (if there is one…) because they ate the cookies after I said ‘Don’t eat the cookies!’. Yet, this is the simplicity of the argument made by Arminianism and Fundamental sects within Christianity – that you will be eternally damned and lost for every offense you may make against your Heavenly Father.
But Scripture proves to us (Not just my human understanding as a Father) that our heavenly Father is much more wise, more understanding, and more compassionate, than that! I will conclude with the reverent example of the Prodigal son, who found himself eating Pigs food (to express the depth of depravity he had reached in his ‘backslidden’ state. And yet, never once had God condemned him. His Father never one time shut the door to him. And we have the same Father.
The Prodigal Son (Luke 15, 11-32, Amplified Bible)
11 Then He said, “A certain man had two sons. 12 The younger of them[inappropriately] said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the property that falls to me.’ So he divided the estate between them. 13 A few days later, the younger son gathered together everything [that he had] and traveled to a distant country, and there he wasted his fortune in reckless and immoral living. 14 Now when he had spent everything, a severe famine occurred in that country, and he began to do without andbe in need. 15 So he went and forced himself on one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to [a]feed pigs. 16 He would have gladly eaten the [carob] pods that the pigs were eating [but they could not satisfy his hunger], and no one was giving anything to him.17 But when he [finally] came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have more than enough food, while I am dying here of hunger! 18 I will get up and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; [just] treat me like one of your hired men.”’ 20 So he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was moved with compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 But the father said to his servants, ‘Quickly bring out the best robe [for the guest of honor] and put it on him; and give him a [b]ring for his hand, and sandals for his feet. 23 And bring the fattened calf and slaughter it, and let us [invite everyone and] feast and celebrate; 24 for this son of mine was [as good as] dead and is alive again; he was lost and has been found.’ So they began to celebrate.
25 “Now his older son was in the field; and when he returned and approached the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he summoned one of the servants and began asking what this [celebration] meant.27 And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has received him back safe and sound.’28 But the elder brother became angry and deeply resentful and was not willing to go in; and his father came out and began pleading with him.29 But he said to his father, ‘Look! These many years I have served you, and I have never neglected or disobeyed your command. Yet you have never given me [so much as] a young goat, so that I might celebrate with my friends; 30 but when this [other] son of yours arrived, who has devoured your estate with immoral women, you slaughtered that fattened calf for him!’ 31 The father said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. 32 But it was fitting to celebrate and rejoice, for this brother of yours was [as good as] dead and has begun to live. He was lost and has been found.’”
Great read! How would you describe James 2 when it explains that faith without works is dead “being alone”? And how the writer explains that it is basically not possible to say you have faith and not prove it but rather you show your faith by your works. It reminds me of Titus 1:16 when it said people profess that they know God but in works deny him. Now I know that was referring more to those that are reprobate, but how do you view works as it relates to faith? Thanks brother.
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I’ve always felt like the meaning behind ‘faith without works is dead’, at least from my Legalist background, has been twisted to mean ‘unsaved’, or that someone not showing works must not be saved. I don’t think that’s an accurate representation of what was being taught via Scripture.
Rather, a faith that isn’t replicating, producing, expanding, and growing, isn’t a live, because life requires replication. It is when the body stops producing more cells, and by result of that action, energy, it is pronounced dead. But, in the Spiritual realm, what are those works?
I can think of a few things. First, that ‘we will know them by their fruits.’ We know that the fruit of the spirit (production, works), is Love, Joy, Peace, Long-suffering, etc. And, we know Christ said by this (their love for one another) is how you will know they are my disciples.
As James said, pure Religion, undefiled before God is this: that you visit the widow and fatherless in times of distress, and keep yourself unspotted from the world.
Those are the works I believe we as Grace-Saved Christians should be concerned with. Is our faith producing love? Joy? Peace? Are we helping those in need? If not, our faith has lost its ability to produce and is dead, or dormant. But, it can be revived, and that soul, that was never separated from Christ can shine anew.