Summary: A hiking-themed VBS message to explain the 5 Solas of salvation.
Our kids just finished “hiking” Sola Trail, and I thought it would be a good to share with you what they’ve learned. Over the course of five days we covered what are called the 5 Solas of salvation. The word “sola” is Latin and it means “alone.” Think of when someone sings a solo and you’ll get the main idea. Not two; only one. Essentially the 5 Solas come down to this:
Truth about God is revealed in SCRIPTURE ALONE.
What we learn through the Scripture is that man is given forgiveness by GRACE ALONE.
This promise is believed by FAITH ALONE.
Salvation is accomplished in CHRIST ALONE.
This is all for the GLORY OF GOD ALONE.
So you see that the 5 Solas outline the basics of what we believe about God and salvation.
Stop 1: SCRIPTURE ALONE reveals the truth about God
That’s not to say that truth isn’t found in other places or books, but anything that’s true about God is first revealed through Scripture. To illustrate this I want you to imagine that you’re on a long hike. What’s something you always see on hikers? Well, if it’s going to be a long hike then you might expect them to have a backpack for all their stuff.
Now, what kinds of things should they carry in it?
How about a flashlight? When the sun goes down the flashlight helps hikers stay on the right path. Did you know the Bible is like a flashlight? Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path (Psalm 119:105). The Bible tells us things that we can’t know any other way. For example, it tells us who God is and what God wants. It tells us about Jesus and what He did for us. Our ultimate goal is heaven where we’ll live with God forever. To get there we’re going to need a few supplies, and the Bible is one of them. It lights our path and shows us how to get there.
It’s able to do this because God is the one who wrote it; He told men what to say and they wrote it down for us. No other book can help us with this because no other book was written by God. Truth about God is found in SCRIPTURE ALONE.
Stop 2: Man is given forgiveness by GRACE ALONE because we can never be good enough to please God.
If you do something wrong and don’t get in trouble, that’s grace. We all need grace because we’ve all sinned. Some people think that praying more or going to church, following laws, being religious, or being a good person will make God happy with them, but they aren’t thinking about God’s justice. In fact, the Bible says that when we try to clean ourselves up it’s like trying to wash your face using a dirty rag!
We need God to clean us and give us what we don’t deserve. Look what the Bible says: For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9Not of works, lest any man should boast (Eph. 2:8-9). You’re saved because God doesn’t give you what you deserve; you’re not saved because you clean yourself up or make God happy. Salvation is a gift. We can’t earn it, so nobody can brag about it.
Stop 3: This promise is believed by FAITH ALONE; we must believe in Jesus.
Let’s go back to our bag and see what else we might bring with us on our hike. How about a compass and a map?
Faith is believing something you can’t see. You have to believe that the map will take you to the right place or that the compass points north. Faith is believing what God has said. He made promises to a man named Abraham. God told him that he would have a son and that he would get a lot of land. Scripture tells us that Abraham believed God and God took away his sin (made him righteous). God said this kind of belief is the way we are saved too.
We believe God’s promise that those who trust in Christ will be saved: To him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness (Rom. 4:5). In other words, “The one who doesn’t try to earn God’s grace, but just believes His promise to make us clean, he is counted righteous.”
There is nothing more we can do; we can only believe!
Stop 4: We learn from Scripture that this grace only works because of CHRIST ALONE; only He can take away sin and punishment.
Let’s look in our bag again and see what else we’ve got. Here’s a bottle of water, and it reminds me of something Jesus said: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. (Jn. 4:14)