Sola Gratia – by grace alone, Sola Fide – by faith alone, Sola Scriptura – by Scripture alone, Solo Christo – through Christ alone, and Soli Deo gloria – glory to God alone.
Sola Gratia – By Grace Alone
Salvation is by grace alone, not by works. If you’ve been in a protestant church since the 1500s, you’ve heard this. If you’ve been to a Roman Catholic or Lutheran church since 2006, you’ve probably heard this. Do we really believe that? Do we believe that we can’t earn, keep, or improve our salvation by doing good things?
“…But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. …For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast…”
Ephesians 2:1-10 NIV
The Wittenberg 500
It’s been 500 years since Martin Luther put his 95 theses – complaints up on the door of the Wittenberg church. The Reformation is revolutionary – but have we forgotten what a big deal it is? Maybe we’ve forgotten that we are saved to be in communion with God by his free gift. Maybe we’ve lost sight of what “by grace alone and not by works” really means.
By Grace and Not by Works
Are we paying attention to this gift of grace alone? According to the surveys Pastor Ben shared on Sunday (listen to the sermon), it seems that we’re missing the point. It sounds like most of us are still caught in the trap of trying to earn our way out of Hell, or into Heaven.
“…when what you did or did not do on a Sunday is more important than how you treated your neighbor in His Name or spoke to an unbeliever about His Name… where Jesus has faded into the background, and thus, so has the Grace of God!”
– Pastor Ben
Not About You
The big take-away here is that it’s not about you. It’s not about what you do, or what you say. Likewise, you can’t improve your place in Heaven or reduce your time in Hell. It comes down to whose you are. There is nothing you can say or do to get Jesus to love you more, and there’s nothing you can say or do to make Jesus love you less. Sure, we do good things out of gratitude for who Christ is and what God has done. But, if we do good works for our own ego, to show what perfect Christians we are – then we’re boasting about something that has nothing to do with us. It’s difficult to keep our hearts in the right orientation – pointing to God instead of ourselves.
Lord, we pray that you make our hearts more like yours.