All of Grace
Grace Chapel’s Five Essential Marks of the Christian Faith
The Protestant Reformation of the 16th century changed Christianity forever. Visionary pastors and theologians transformed Christianity which eventually led to the emergence of many Protestant denominations that exist today.
The Reformers were guided by the conviction that the church of their day had hidden the true Gospel, and the original teachings of Christianity found in Scripture, especially in regard to its core teaching about salvation and grace—how people can be forgiven of sin through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and receive eternal life with God. The Reformation sought revive the church and bring its people back to the original message of Jesus and the early church.
The Five Solas are five Latin phrases (or slogans) that were used during the Reformation to summarize the Reformers’ theological convictions about the essentials truths of the Christian faith.
The Revival of Essential Christian Truth
Scripture Alone: That Scripture alone (the 39 books of the OT and the 27 books of the NT) is the sole rule and standard for faith and practice before God. (Luke 16:29, 31; 24:27, 44; II Tim. 3:15-16; John 5:46-47) It teaches the Bible alone is the only authority for the elect-redeemed church of Jesus Christ. The supreme judge by which all controversies of religion are to be determined, and all decrees of councils, opinions of ancient writers, doctrines of men, and private spirits, are to be examined, and in whose sentence we are to rest, can be no other but the Holy Spirit speaking in the Scripture (WCF 1.10 and 1689 Confession 1.10; Acts 15:15; John 5:46; II Peter 1:19-21; Matt. 22:29-32; Acts 28:23-25; Eph. 2:20; I John 4:1-6; II Peter 1:19-20; II Tim. 3:16; I John 5:9; I Thess. 2:13; Rev. 1:1-2).
Christ Alone: That Jesus Christ is the only mediator between God and man. (Isa. 42:1; I Peter 1:19-20; Acts 3:22; Heb. 5:5-6; Psa. 2:6; Luke 1:33; Eph. 1:22-23; Heb. 1:2; Acts 17:31; Isa. 53:10; John 17:6; Rom. 8:30.) It is not through his own works or on his own merit, that one is saved. Jesus Christ alone is the only Savior of the World, and His work imputed to those men elected from the foundation of the world, and the means alone by which any man may be saved. (Psa. 40:7-8; Heb. 10:5-10; John 10:18; Gal. 4:4; Matt. 3:15; Gal. 3:13; Isa. 53:6; I Peter 3:18; II Cor. 5:21; Matt. 26:37-38; Luke 22:44; Matt. 27:46; Acts 13:37; I Cor. 15:3-4; John 20:25, 27; Mark 16:19; Acts 1:9-11; Rom. 8:34; Heb. 9:24; Acts 10:42; Rom. 14:9-10; Acts 1:11; II Peter 2:4.) To all those for whom Christ obtained eternal redemption, He effectually applies and communicates that work to them by His Holy Spirit. He also makes intercession for them uniting them to Himself by His Spirit, revealing to them, in and by the Word, the mystery of salvation, and persuades them to believe and obey the Gospel. (John 6:37; 10:15-16; 17:9; Rom. 5:10; John 17:6; Eph. 1:9; I John 5:20; Rom. 8:9, 14; Psa. 110:1; I Cor. 15:25-26; John 3:8; Eph. 1:8).
Grace Alone: That it is by the decrees of God and His good pleasure alone that some men are saved through the Salvation wrought in Christ, for the manifestation of His glory. These men are ordained to eternal life through Jesus Christ, to the praise of His glorious grace; others being left to act in their sin to their just condemnation, to the praise of His glorious justice. (I Tim. 5:21; Matt. 25:34; Eph. 1:5-6; Rom. 9:22-23; Jude 1:4). Those of mankind that are saved, God, before the foundation of the world was laid, according to His eternal and immutable purpose, and the secret counsel and good pleasure of His will, has chosen in Christ to everlasting glory, out of His mere free grace and love, without any other thing in the creature as a condition or cause moving Him to that end. (Eph. 1:4, 9, 11; Rom. 8:30; II Tim. 1:9; I Thess. 5:9; Rom. 9:13, 16; Eph. 2:5, 12)
Faith Alone: That grace of faith where people are enabled to believe to the saving of their souls, is the work of the Spirit of Christ in their hearts, and is ordinarily worked by the ministry of the preached Word; by which also, and by the administration of baptism and the Lord’s Supper, prayer, and other means appointed of God, it is increased and strengthened. (II Cor. 4:13; Eph. 2:8; Rom. 10:14, 17; Luke 17:5; I Peter 2:2; Acts 20:32) Salvation by faith alone shows the Biblical model of the need for a renewed heart which has the ability to exercise the faith that God gives men in order to believe the Gospel message. (Rom. 5:6; 8:7; Eph. 2:1, 5; Titus 3:3-5; John 6:44; Col. 1:13; John 8:36; Phil. 2:13; Rom. 7:15, 18-19, 21, 23)
To the Glory of God Alone: Knowing that Man’s chief and highest end is to glorify God, and fully to enjoy him forever, the Reformers stressed this vital element of accomplishing “all things for God’s Glory” since they knew that God decrees all things as a means whereby He may pursue His glory to the uttermost. (Rom. 11:36; I Cor. 10:31; Psa. 73:24-28) God is actively pursuing His own glory, and this active pursuit is seen in His decrees. The subsequent “Solas” are simply one means to that ultimate end. However, keeping this central doctrine upon the mind of the Christian believer is a most important aspect of daily Christian living. Everything the Christian achieves ought to be primarily for the glory of God alone. This “Sola” stressed God’s complete sovereignty over every aspect of the created order, as well of every aspect of salvation (Psa. 145:17; 104:24; Isa. 28:29; Heb. 1:8; Psa. 103:19; Matt. 10:29-31; Gen. 45:7; Rom. 11:86; Isa. 43:14).
Consider this sermon on, “The Five Marks of a Biblical Church” from 1 Tim. 3:14-16.