Summary: You cannot earn your salvation. You cannot buy it. Nobody can do it for you. Salvation is by God’s grace, through faith alone in Jesus Christ. That is the truth that liberates your soul.
We’re in the 3rd week of a 4 week series called stories to tell. My purpose in this series is to tell you 4 stories of 4 great heroes of the faith, to stir your soul to stand for Christ. I want you to have new stories of the faith to tell your children and your children’s children. (please turn to Romans 1)
I start there, because each of these stories are rooted in a biblical truth, essential to our faith, but challenged in the past, and almost lost, if God had not raised up heroes of the faith to contend for them. The biblical truth we’re going to examine today is…
Sola Fide (sola feeday)
Sola fide means faith alone. It’s the teaching that justification and salvation of the soul is by faith alone, and not earned by good works. Scripture teaches that "faith yields justification and good works" not "faith and good works yield justification." In other words, salvation is not earned by the doing of good works. But the saved person gladly does good works in response to salvation. The apostle Paul put it this way…
Ephesians 2:8-10… 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. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Do you see how clear this is…you are saved by God’s grace through faith, it’s not the meritorious reward for doing good works. But, now that we’ve been saved, we gladly want to please our Savior by doing good.
This is not a matter of semantics, it’s foundational to how you understand your relationship with God. Martin Luther called sola fide the "doctrine by which the church stands or falls.” Luther grew up under a works based salvation that tormented his soul. It was this passage of Scripture God used in his life to set him free…
The gospel, the good news about Jesus, is the power of God for salvation. Biblical salvation means to be transferred from the kingdom of darkness and into the kingdom of God, to become a child of God, to become an heir to an eternal inheritance, and to be rescued from the wrath to come. That’s biblical salvation.
But how does a person get this salvation? The answer is clear, by faith. You’re not born into it, you don’t get it by ethnicity, it doesn’t happen to you by means of baptism, it’s received by faith, and faith alone. Sola fide.
The formula is not 75% faith plus 25% works = salvation. It’s by faith from first to last, from beginning to end. Your faith doesn’t carry you to the 2 yard line, where you punch it in by your human effort of works. It’s 100% by faith. To whatever degree you add works to the gospel as a requirement for salvation, you destroy the gospel. It’s like going up to a Van Gough with a can of spray paint, thinking you’re going to improve on it. No you’re not, you effort will only destroy the masterpiece.