Summary: This sermon was preached to mark the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation
Title: Sola Fide – Faith Alone Scripture: Gen. 15:6; Rom. 4:1-5
Type: Series on the Reformation Where: GNBC 10-8-17
Intro: Today we will examine the next main theme of the Protestant Reformation, Sola Fide. Sola Fide means “through faith alone” and has to do with the operational agency thru which the Christian is justified before God. Justification is one of the most important theological concepts. The late theologian John Gerstner once spoke to a group of business people on the subject of justification. There was a reporter from a local newspaper in attendance. Gerstner preached the great doctrine of justification as emphatically, clearly, and persuasively as he knew how. But he was a bit discouraged when he looked at the paper the next day and discovered that he had spoken the night before on the theme of “just a vacation by faith”! I don’t want anyone to think that I’m speaking today on how you can have a nice holiday by faith alone! Rather, I’m speaking on one of the most important truths in all of the Bible. You may not realize that this is so, but it is. You may a young person who thinks that the most important thing in your life is how to find the right marriage partner or how to know what career to pursue. You may be a married person who thinks that the most important matter is how to be happy in your marriage or how to raise your children properly. You may be a business person who is concerned about financial pressures and how to make wise business decisions. While each of these issues is important, none are nearly as significant as the issue which lies behind the biblical doctrine of justification by faith: How can I be right before a holy God? The answer to this matter of how to be right with God hinges on a proper understanding of the biblical doctrine of justification by faith alone.
Prop: As We Celebrate 500 years of Protestantism, let us exalt in the doctrine of Sola Fide.
BG: 1. The doct. of Justification by Faith was 1st clearly stated in Gen. 15:6 which says of Abram: “Then he believed the Lord and He reckoned it to him as righteousness.”
2. The Apostle Paul quotes this verse twice, in Rom. 4:3 and again in Gal. 3:6 as he explains how one can have a right standing with God.
3. This doctrine played a central role in the Protestant Reformation and it represents the fundamental difference between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism to this very day. IN fact, this is without a doubt the most important distinction between the two churches.
Prop: Today we will notice 3 Messages Sola Fide Proclaims to the Church today.
I. Sola Fide Declares the Guilty Sinner Righteous on the basis of Christ’s Death.
A. Sola fide Speaks to the Errant View Most People have on how God will Judge their Sin.
1. God will judge our sin.
a. Most people have the idea that when it comes time for the judgment, God, who they conceive of as a “nice” God will not be harsh as long as a person has been sincere and has tried his best to be a good person. In other words, people pull God down from His position of absolute righteousness as revealed in Scripture and make Him out to be tolerant of some sin, as long as it isn’t too bad (by human standards). ( Hitler, Stalin, Stephen Paddock!)And, they artificially lift sinful men up from their condition of hostility toward God as revealed in Scripture and make them out to be basically good folks who mean well. So they erroneously conclude that the “pretty good God” will be nice and let “pretty good people” into heaven in spite of their faults. Nothing could be further from the truth!
b. Illust: Hear me clearly: Biblical love does not keep silent when it comes to matters of life and death. If you love someone, you must speak the truth when they are in serious error. The apostle Paul wrote Galatians to warn the churches about some men called Judaizers who believed in Christ, but who taught that faith in Christ alone is not enough to make a person right with God, but that people also had to keep the Jewish law, especially circumcision. Paul didn’t reason, “Well, these men believe in Christ, and unity and love are more important than right doctrine.” Rather, he said that these men were accursed because they were preaching a false gospel (Gal. 1:6-9).
2. God has an immovable standard by which He judges sin.
a. The Bible says that God is absolutely holy. He cannot tolerate sin dwelling in His presence. And, He is absolutely just, which means that the penalty for all sin must be paid. He never just brushes sin aside by saying, “Hey, no big deal. Don’t worry about it!” Also, the Bible says that if a person keeps all of God’s law, but stumbles at one point, he is guilty of violating the whole thing (James 2:10). Jesus clearly said in the Sermon on the Mount, that keeping God’s holy law is not just an outward manner of not murdering anyone; it is an inward matter of never being angry with anyone! It is not just an outward matter of never committing adultery; it is an inward matter of never lusting after a woman in your heart (Matt. 5:21-22, 27-28)! He sums up His teaching by saying, “Therefore, you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matt. 5:48)! Here is the really scary part: HE MEANS IT! And He knows you cannot do it. Does that make you frustrated?