At first it seems a little odd to speak in terms of 5 “Solas”. After all, sola comes from Latin and basically means “alone”. But during the Reformation, 5 “Solas” emerged that have come to be considered basic points of Protestant theology. So what are they?
Sola Scriptura – Scripture Alone
The Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments (the Bible) are the only infallible and inerrant authority for Christian faith, and that the Bible contains all knowledge necessary for salvation. There may be wisdom in many other places – you won’t find a manual on maintaining a 1940 “knucklehead” Harley in the Bible for example. But the sole authority on matters of Christian faith and practice is the Bible. The apostle Paul puts it this way in 2 Timothy 3:16 – “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be equipped for every good work.”
Sola Fide – Through Faith Alone
Justification (“salvation” or “being declared right with God”) comes only through faith and not by works. Good works in the Christian life are a result of justification, and by no means the other way around. We can do nothing to merit favor from God. As Christ himself said, at best we are unprofitable servants. So where do our good works come in? Our works flow from thankful hearts. As Romans 3:28 says “For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from the works of the law.”
Sola Gratia – By Grace Alone
Salvation (or “justification”) comes to us by God’s grace alone. It is the unearned gift of God, given for Jesus’ sake. In Ephesians, Paul says of our saving faith, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.”
Solo Christus – Christ Alone
Christ Jesus is the only mediator between God and Man. Salvation can come through no other. It is through the perfect obedience and submission of Christ that we are made right with God. As Peter proclaimed to the council of Jerusalem elders in Acts 4:12 “.. there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
Soli Deo gloria – Glory to God Alone
This point flows from the four previous Solas. Because Scripture alone shows us that salvation is through faith alone, by God’s grace alone, on account of Christ alone, it follows that God deserves all the glory! We add nothing to our salvation – unless you count the need! God glorifies himself through the salvation of sinners. And it is to this end that we gather and worship. Please join us!