The Five Solas or Solae of the Protestant Reformation summarize the Reformation beliefs that differed from the beliefs at that time. Sola is Latin for alone. The five solas are “grace alone”, “faith alone”, “Scripture alone”, “Christ alone”, and “to the glory of God alone”. The funny thing is the Five Solas were not put together as a group until the 20th century. Some people only count three solas, but I find all five to be important core theological truths. These beliefs are central to my faith.
“Scripture alone” says Scripture is the sole infallible source of authority for faith, doctrine, and practice. It is the final authority from which other authorities derive their authority. The 66 books of the Bible are God’s words (2 Peter 1:21), that tells us of God’s salvation for us (John 3:16) and how to live our lives to the glory of God (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
“Grace alone” tells us by our own merit we can not save ourselves from the judgment and condemnation of God, because we are not righteous or good (Romans 3:10-12). But God, by his goodness and grace through Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, restores us to a right relationship with him not because of anything we did but purely out of his mercy and grace (Ephesians 2:8-9). Salvation is his gift to us (Romans 6:23).
“Faith alone” reminds us that we are not saved by anything we do or by who we are, but it is through faith in God, who can justify us (Romans 4:4-5), that we are saved and are made righteous (Romans 5:8-9).
“Christ alone” points us to Jesus as the only way (John 14:6) to be reconciled with God. Salvation is found in no one else (Acts 4:23). Jesus is at the center of the entire story of Scripture (Luke 24:27).
Soli Deo Gloria
“To the glory of God alone” because he is the one who has saved us (Titus 3:4-5). Out of gratitude for his restoring us to himself and empowered by the Holy Spirit, we live our lives to his glory (1 Corinthians 10:31).
These five core beliefs help define my faith and the Christian faith of the Protestant Reformers, and yet many times we want to add or subtract from these core beliefs. We want to put reason, culture, and/or tradition at the same level as Scripture so to water it down. We want to make certain we have something to do for our salvation so we can feel good about ourselves, take credit, and/or feel better than those who do not have faith. We want Christ to be not the all in all but rather to be only a piece of our lives. We want him to be just a nice guy and not Lord and Savior. We want to do our own thing and not to worry if the action glorifies God or not. In all these cases, we are taking the truth found in Scripture and changing it because we think we know better than what God’s Word says. We do this because we are broken self-centered people. So we need to take care and not let these five core beliefs be added to, subtracted from, or minimized. These five solas are essential to my faith.
2 thoughts on “The Five Solas”
Nothing better than including ALL the Solas! Good job!
I did a sermon series on the Reformation when we had the 500th celebration a few years back…I included all the Solas as well. People were “astounded”…they didn’t know there were more than three!