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Summary: The concept that we are saved by grace alone through faith alone is a solidly Biblical teaching. Last week, we looked at grace, this week we will examine the idea of faith alone. Both grace and faith are exclusive and must stand alone.

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Through Faith Alone

(Romans 3:23-28)

1. I had a good time visiting Dale and Katie Daniels and Mary Ann Bolinger in Warsaw/Winona Lake area. I went from there to Luke’s house. But the GPS had me go too far south and then took me back north. It got me there, but it was complicated and probably added 15 minutes to my trip.

Too much information can be worse than not enough; important things get buried.

The 5 Solas describe Biblical doctrines that had been piled over by accumulated traditions and church rulings. The Reformers brought them out of the mothballs, honed them and put the emphasis upon them. They still define much of what it means to be a Bible-oriented Christian, an evangelical believer.

2. Over the centuries, increment by increment, the church developed a belief that the benefits of Jesus death were deposited with church leaders. Grace would be rationed out through sacraments. Only the official priesthood could officiate such sacraments. This is called sacerdotalism, and results in a spiritual monopoly of sorts. This lead to the belief that there was no salvation outside the Catholic church.

3. Under such a system, the grace you accumulated through sacraments, religious deeds, good works, etc., was balanced against the sins you committed. Almost everyone was thought to have a deficit, and so you would pay off that deficit by suffering in purgatory until your debt was paid. Friends & relatives could purchase indulgences, religious objects, to help shorten your time in purgatory.

4. The difference between Rome and the Reformers was not so much the objective base for salvation — Jesus’ atoning death — but how salvation is activated for us.

Main Idea: The concept that we are saved by grace alone through faith alone is a solidly Biblical teaching. Last week, we looked at grace, this week we will examine the idea of faith alone. Both grace and faith are exclusive and must stand alone.

I. The WORDS We Need to Understand

A. Justification often means to be declared RIGHTEOUS (not guilty) by God.

1. We refer to this definition as forensic or legal righteousness.

2. Other terms: counted as righteous, vindicated.

3. Both Greek and Hebrew words (tzedek and dikaios) can be translated either as just or righteous.

4. “Just as if I never sinned.

5. Roughly equivalent to saved (when we are justified, we are also saved).

B. FAITH

1. In English, the word “faith” means many things. Narrowing for today.

2. Believe (NT same word), trust, rest, depend upon, take at one’s word.

3. I proposed to Marylu in a restaurant atop a skyscraper across from Lake Michigan, the pinnacle. When I asked her to marry me, she had to decide if she trusted me, if she love me enough to change her life for me.

4. It includes the idea of repentance (a change of mind, a turn or return to God)

5. Punctiliar — may build, but crosses threshold in a split second.

6. Durative results — genuine faith happens at a point in time, but has the lasting result of what we call “faithfulness.”

7. Genuine saving faith is distinguished from counterfeit faith by faithfulness.


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