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Pastor Scott L. Harris
Grace Bible Church, NY
October 29, 2017
Our Reformation Heritage: Sola Fide – Faith Alone
Today is traditionally Reformation Sunday which this year marks the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther posting his 95 theses on the door of the castle church in Wittenberg, Germany. Today is our third Sunday in marking this historic event with special messages on the five solas of the Reformation in the morning and brief examinations of the lives of key leaders leading up to and during the Reformation. We have already looked the life of John Wycliffe and the life of John Huss. Tonight will be Martin Luther, and then in the weeks to follow will be John Calvin and John Knox. In the mornings I have already preached on Sola Scriptura – Scripture Alone, and Sola Gratia – Grace Alone. Today we will examine Sola Fide – Faith Alone. Next week will be Solus Christus – Christ Alone followed by Soli Deo Gloria – the grace of God alone on November 12.
Each sola is firmly connected to the others with the foundation being Sola Scriptura since each of the others arise from God’s word, and without the Bible being the final authority, each of the others would have continued to trampled down by the traditions of men as they had been for hundreds of years prior. For that reason Sola Scriptura is sometimes referred to as the material cause of the Reformation. I pointed out before that it was the changes in Martin Luther’s approach to scripture in 1516-1517 that began to remove the blinders to his mind and let him finally begin to understand the message of the revelation of God. Until that time he had followed the mystical, allegorical methods of interpretation taught in Roman Catholicism. In the years that followed, he would recognize the many truths of Scripture that has been lost and that fueled the Reformation. (See: Sola Scriptura)
Luther was a troubled man who could not find peace for his soul. He father wanted him to become a lawyer, but Luther vowed to enter monastic life in 1505 after a bolt of lightning knocked him from his horse. In 1510 he suffered another spiritual crises when he went on a pilgrimage to Rome and witnessed the desperation of people trying to find a means of forgiveness for their sins while also seeing the open corruption of the clergy. He questioned whether all of it was true. He summed up his trip to Rome as going there with onions and coming back with garlic.
Luther’s 95 theses was prompted by what he saw as the grossly insensitive crass hawking of indulgences by John Tetzel who was brazenly raising money for repairs to St. Peter’s Basilical in Rome by offering forgiveness of sins for living or the dead without confession or contrition in exchange for payment of money. The local Archbishop, Albert of Mainz, also got a cut of the funds which paid for his purchase of his position. In Thesis 27 Luther refers to Tetzel in saying, “They preach human folly who pretend that as soon as money in the coffer rings, a soul from purgatory springs.” At that time Luther was not against the sacraments, institutions, offices of the church or even indulgences per se. He wrote in Latin and sought to spark a debate among scholars about the abuses and corruption that he saw. However, things quickly got away from him. Against Luther’s wishes, his theses were copied, translated into German, printed and distributed across Germany within about two weeks. Reactions came quickly and in having to defend himself and his positions, Luther came to a greater and more accurate understanding of God’s revelation of Himself and His will in the Scriptures.
Luther explains in the Preface to the Complete Edition of Luther’s Latin Works (1545) [translated by Bro. Andrew Thorton, OSB (c) 1983 by Saint Anselm Abbey] that in 1519 he had a burning desire to understand the book of Romans, but the term “justice of God” stood in his way because he had been taught a philosophical interpretation that it meant “that justice by which God is just and by which he punishes sinners and the unjust.” Though a monk, Luther recognized his own utter sinfulness and “hated just God who punishes sinners.”
Luther then writes, ” I meditated night and day on those words until at last, by the mercy of God, I paid attention to their context: “The justice of God is revealed in it, as it is written: ‘The just person lives by faith.'” I began to understand that in this verse the justice of God is that by which the just person lives by a gift of God, that is by faith. I began to understand that this verse means that the justice of God is revealed through the Gospel, but it is a passive justice, i.e. that by which the merciful God justifies us by faith, as it is written: “The just person lives by faith.” All at once I felt that I had been born again and entered into paradise itself through open gates. Immediately I saw the whole of Scripture in a different light. I ran through the Scriptures from memory and found that other terms had analogous meanings, e.g., the work of God, that is, what God works in us; the power of God, by which he makes us powerful; the wisdom of God, by which he makes us wise; the strength of God, the salvation of God, the glory of God.
Luther went on, I exalted this sweetest word of mine, “the justice of God,” with as much love as before I had hated it with hate. This phrase of Paul was for me the very gate of paradise. He then later read Augustine’s “On the Spirit and the Letter” and rejoiced to discover that he had also interpreted “the justice of God” in a similar way.
From this point on nothing would be the same nor could they be the same. The doctrine of sola fide, faith alone, was firmly entrenched in Luther’s heart. He was converted from a man striving to earn God’s forgiveness to one that had received God’s forgiveness by simple faith in the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ and given to him by God’s grace without any merit of his own.
The Importance of Sola Fide – Faith Alone
The importance of this doctrine cannot be stressed enough. It is often referred to as the formal cause of the Reformation because it is the idea that forced a return to the gospel of Jesus Christ. As I pointed out last week, Roman Catholicism had redefined grace to be merited favor gained by participation in the sacraments administered by a Roman Catholic priest. It was the issue of sola fide, faith alone, that forced a return to the correct understanding of grace as unmerited favor received from God. The truth of sola gratia, grace alone, was regained because sola fide, faith alone, is the only means of receiving it. (See: Sola Gratia) Clarity in one doctrine can quickly force clarity in the other doctrines that surround it so that they become a unified whole truth. Such as been the development of the Reformed understanding of man’s salvation from sin as Biblical truth was regained. The Scriptures clearly teach that a man is justified before God, that is, he is saved from sin and its consequences, by God’s grace alone through the instrument of faith alone in the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ alone for the glory of God alone. The formula can be stated simply, but each element must be understood correctly.
Sola Fide was the watershed doctrine of the Reformation. Luther called it “the article upon which the church stands or falls.” Calvin called justification “the main hinge upon which religion turns,” and that justification comes only through the instrument of faith which joins the person to the Lord Jesus Christ to receive His righteousness. However, in the present the importance of this doctrine and many other critical doctrines have become fuzzy, confused or even lost among many Protestants including those claiming to be evangelical. It seems that Biblical ignorance reigns even among those claiming to be Bible believers. What should be clear to even to those who are young has become muddled even among church leaders as theological terms are used incorrectly, definitions are changed, wrong assumptions are made, misinformation is spread, critical differences are played down to foster a desired unity, and political correctness that demands tolerance for heresy. The 1994 Evangelicals and Catholics Together is an example of this kind of confusion. While I am glad that tolerance between Catholics and Evangelicals has stopped the active efforts to kill each other as had occurred for hundreds of years following the Reformation, at the same time, there must be clarity that our doctrines of salvation are contradictory to each other. Our understanding of what the Bible teaches about salvation demands that we evangelize Roman Catholics that they maybe justified before God and receive eternal life. Their doctrine as established at the Council of Trent, which has never been rescinded, proclaims anathemas upon us (especially Canons 24, 25 & 32).
We could spend many, many weeks on this topic of faith alone, but my purpose today is to only give you a brief, but I trust clear, overview of it. Now that there is some background history and some explanation of its importance, we turn to the Scriptures to let them declare the essentials of this doctrine.
We begin by defining faith. Both the Hebrew and the Greek words which we translate as faith in English express concepts of belief, trust, confidence and fidelity with the particular aspects of each word being set by their usage in their context. Belief is acceptance that something is true, genuine or real with a sense of conviction and not mere mental assent. Trust expresses an assured reliance on what is believed. This carries a sense of dependence upon what is trusted. Confidence is an expression of the certitude of what is believed and trusted. Fidelity and faithful expresses the trustworthiness of something. The interaction of these ideas can be seen in this statement, “I believe this chair is the work of a faithful carpenter therefore I trust it and sit down on it with confidence it will not break.”
Of particular interest in this study is the Hebrew hn(Oma60 / emunah in Habakkuk 2:4 and the Greek pivstiV / pistis in Paul’s quote of it in Romans 1:17 – “but the righteous will live by his faith.” This is the passage that opened the eyes of Martin Luther to the Biblical gospel. TDNT (Theological Dictionary of the New Testament) comments that this word in this passage embraces the whole attitude of a life lived through faith. The root idea of faith according to TWOT (Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament) is firmness or certainty. Faith here and in the other passages related to salvation refers to a certainty of trust in God and His promises. Hebrews 11:1 defines it as, “Now faith is the assurance (substance) of things hoped for (confident assurance), the conviction of things not seen.” The chapter follows with multiple examples of men and women who had such faith in God. The modern concept of faith as being something possible, but not certain, has confused the issue because this connotation changes the meaning of faith. The same is true for the word hope, which in Biblical usage actually means confidence of future good.
Justification & Faith
The primary issue in faith alone is answering the question, how can a man be right before God? What is necessary to gain forgiveness of sins and be welcomed into God’s presence? Faith alone is in direct contrast to Roman Catholic dogma which defines grace differently and insists that more than faith is required for salvation. The conclusions of the Council of Trent can be summed up as Grace + Merit of Christ + Good Works + Merit of Sacraments Justification + Increased Grace + Eternal Life. The Reformed position is that God’s grace + faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ Justification + Good Works. As interesting as it would be to examine what the various Reformers said and contrast that to Roman Catholic teaching, the only real question for us is, what do the Scriptures say?
Last week we examined Ephesians 2:1-10, so I will only summarize that passage this week in saying that man is totally depraved and helpless (vs. 1-4), but God is merciful and loving extending His unmerited favor to sinners (vs. 5-7). For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God’ not as a result of works, that no one should boast” (vs. 8-9) Works follow salvation (vs. 10). This passage declares that faith in the instrument by which God’s gift of grace is received and applied to the sinner resulting in salvation. All if it, including the faith, is a gift from God. Human works are not a means of salvation, but they necessarily follow since a purpose of it is to walk in the good works prepared beforehand. Many other Scripture text speak to these same issues.
The book of Romans is central in understanding faith in its relationship to justification since the book itself is Paul’s explanation of the gospel which is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, both Jew and Gentile, and the manifestation of His righteousness (1:16-17). In 1:18-3:23 Paul shows that all humans, the obviously immoral (1:21-32), the outwardly moral (2:1-16), and the religious (2:17-29) are all sinful and unrighteous before God and deserving of His wrath. There are none that are righteous or do good (3:10-12) and “by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight” (3:20). What then follows in verses 21-26 is an explanation of how a person can be justified in God’s sight.
21 But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; 25 whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; 26 for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
Let me make some quick observations about this passage. First, Paul is not saying anything new for this same truth was declared in the Old Testament (vs. 21). Second, this is a display of God’ righteousness and not man’s (vs. 21-22,25-26). Third, it is displayed through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe (vs. 21-22). Note that both the noun and verb forms are used in verse 22 – faith belongs to those who believe. Fourth, this is justification and it come as a gift from God by His grace (vs. 24). No human works are involved. Fifth, the basis of this is the redemption which is in Christ Jesus who satisfied God’s wrath with His own blood (vs. 25). Sixth, this justification is given to those that have faith in Jesus’ sacrifice (vs. 24-25). Seventh, God’s forbearance in the past was so that His righteousness could be displayed in the gospel of Jesus Christ (vs. 25-26). Eighth, this shows God to be just in the satisfaction of His law in Christ (vs. 26). Ninth, God is also the justifier by applying this to the one who has faith in Jesus (vs. 26). Paul then states forcefully that this excludes any boasting by man declaring in verse 28, “For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.”
This passage should strip away the confusion for anyone believing in the authority of the Scriptures. It removes the possibility of a person somehow becoming righteous before God by their own merit gained through anything they might do. It establishes that the needed justification comes only on the basis of the life and work of Jesus Christ which is then given as a gift to those who have faith in Him.
Paul speaks to this same issue in other passages. Paul battles the Judaizers in Galatians that are demanding that the Law, or at least aspects of it, must also be kept in order to be saved. Paul warns them of the very grave danger they faced while condemning those that would preach a different gospel by twice calling for them to be accursed. He states the heart of issue directly in 2:16, “nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified.” The issues of grace underlies this for he states in 2:21, “I do not nullify the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly.” Justification by faith alone ensures that salvation comes by God’s grace alone. If a man’s good works could bring him merit for salvation, then Jesus Christ did not need to go to the cross.
In Galatians 3 Paul argues that it is evident that no one is justified by the Law before God for everything written in the law would have to be kept, and worse, James 2:10 points out that stumbling in just one point of the law makes you guilty of all. Even if you could separate keeping the ceremonial aspects of the law from its moral aspects, no one can perfectly keep even the moral aspects – no lying, no stealing, no adultery, no coveting, honoring parents and loving God with all your heart, mind and strength. Romans 2 makes it clear that even apart from the written law, every man is condemned by the violation of the law of his own conscience. Paul points out in Galatians 3:24 that the purpose law the was to be a “tutor to lead us to Christ. So that we may be justified by faith.”
Paul was far from finished in arguing his case in the book of Romans in regards to faith and justification, and what he writes in chapter 4 clarifies another issue reclaimed by sola fide.
Paul points to Abraham in chapter 4 as the example of this law of faith. Three times Paul quotes Genesis 15:6 when after God declared His covenant with Abraham a second time, then Abraham “believed in the Lord; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness.” The words translated as reckoned in both Hebrew and Greek is the idea of considered, counted, imputed. Both are used in accounting for applying to an account. It means that by faith a sinner is justified before God because the righteousness of Christ is accounted to him. This is called imputed righteousness and it is forensic, that is, it is a declared legal standing of righteousness despite the individual’s continued stumbling in sin. The court room scene is that the devil is accusing you and you are guilty, but your advocate, your lawyer, Jesus Christ (1 John 2:1) pleads His own blood on your behalf. Because He has paid the sin price Himself, you are declared absolved. Or to put it another way, He takes off His perfectly clean robe and puts on your filthy one while you put on His. You are clean because He who knew no sin became sin for you so that you might become the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Note as well in Romans 4 that Paul specifically points out that Abraham was justified by faith before the command of circumcision was given as a sign of the covenant already made and ratified by God. Abraham’s actions were the result of his beliefs and faith in God.
Paul also quotes Genesis 15:6 in Galatians 3:6 where he argues that they had received the Spirit of God by hearing with faith and the Spirit would perfect them in the same way apart from works of the Law. It is those who are of faith that are true sons of Abraham and that would include the Gentiles included in the Abrahamic covenants’ promise, All the nations will be blessed in you,” and justified by faith.
All of this stands against the Roman Catholic idea that faith infuses or makes a person righteous, or at least righteous enough that their good works and the merits of the sacraments could gain them salvation. And what if the person was still deficient of good works and merit at death? RCC doctrine allows you to pay the price of penance by suffering in purgatory until you are finally righteousness enough to go to heaven.
What a contrast Paul makes to this in Romans 5:1-2 pointing out the great benefit that “having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand . . .” This is not the peace of a cease fire in which the shooting stops but the enmity remains. This peace is the tranquility and security that comes from a harmonious relationship with God. God’s perfect love given to man in the gospel casts out all fear (1 John 4:18). Paul comments further in verses 6-8 that God’s love is demonstrated in that Christ died for the ungodly while they were still sinners. He adds in verses 9-10 “Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.” Justification by faith alone results in reconciliation and peace with God while justification by faith plus other things leaves you hanging in the balance knowing you must suffer much before you earn the righteousness needed to have true peace with God.
The Object of Faith
At this point I must make certain that you understand that the idea of faith alone does not mean that you are saved by faith itself. Faith always has an object. If you say you believe, trust or have faith, the immediate questions are what is it you believe? What do you trust? In what do you have faith? To believe in belief, to trust in trust, or to have faith in faith is utter nonsense. Faith does not save you. It is the object of your faith that brings salvation, and that object is the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ.
While faith is often used without directly designating its object, the context is usually clear, and there plenty of verses that do that it should be clear. Examples: faith in Jesus, faith in Christ, faith in the Lord, faith in Him, faith in His blood. Then there are Jesus’ many statements offering salvation to those who believe in Him – John 1:12; 3:16, 36, 6:29, 40; 11:25. John wrote his gospel account specifically “so that you may believe in the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.” Throughout Acts and the Epistles the offer of salvation is often given as a call to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and those who are saved are described as those who believe in Him (Acts 9:42; 16:31; 18:8; 19:4; Romans 4:5; 10:9-11; Galatians 2:16; 1 Timothy 1:16; 1 Peter 2:6; 1 John 5:13; etc.).
How do you receive this faith? What is it you must believe to be saved? We have already seen that this faith comes as a gift from God’s grace (Ephesians 2:8), but there are instructions given to all men concerning it. First, start with Romans 10:17, “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.” Pick up a Bible and begin reading or listen to it on audio. Start listening to preachers who believe the Scriptures and faithfully explain it. You may not understand it and may find it contrary to what you currently believe, but you must start with gaining a knowledge of what God has said.
Second, seek God as stated in Hebrews 11:6, “And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” This is based on Old Testament commands and promises such as: Psalm 105:4, “Seek the Lord and His strength, Seek His face continually.” Isaiah 55:6–7, 6 “Seek the LORD while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near. 7 Let the wicked forsake his way And the unrighteous man his thoughts; And let him return to the LORD, And He will have compassion on him, And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon.” Lamentations 3:25, “The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, To the person who seeks Him.” Jeremiah 29:13, “you will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.” Seeking the true God is not what a human will normally do, so the very pursuit of Him demonstrates God is already working in you.
Third, be humble. A common theme in Scripture is God’s opposition to the proud and giving of grace to the humble as stated in James 4:6. Directly related to this is willingness to recognize your sin and the truth of God’s word so that you repent, that is to change your mind about what you believe so that you start going a different direction. The seriousness of this is expressed in James 4:8–9, 8 “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom.” A ministry of the Holy Spirit is to convict of sin, righteousness and judgment, so His work in you makes this very easy though it is contrary to man’s natural pride.
Fourth, call upon the name of the Lord. A recurring theme in Scripture is in Romans 10:13, “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.” No one will do this without the other steps taking place first, but this is putting into action the promises of God. Romans 10:9-10 states, “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.”
Notice again that righteousness is given based on faith, but notice as well that there are certain things that must be believed. These verses give broad statements. Let me give you some of the specific elements within them.
Jesus as Lord encompasses a correct understanding and faith in the Jesus of the Bible and not an imposter or caricature of Him. A false Jesus cannot save you. Essential aspects of His identity and work include that 1) He is fully God, a member of the triune Godhead. 2) He is fully man, born by the power of the Holy Spirit through the virgin Mary without human father. 3) He lived a sinless life fulfilling the Father’s will and keeping the Law perfectly. 4) He died of His own will as the atonement for man’s sin thereby securing for man a basis for redemption and forgiveness of sins. 5) He physically rose from the dead on the third day proving His claims and the trustworthiness of His promises. 6) He has ascended to the right hand of the Father in heaven and will one day return for all those that belong to Him that they will be in heaven with Him forever. These things being true, then He is also Lord of those who follow Him.
Faith & Works
I am out of time and I have not even started on the relationship of faith and works, but because I did talk a little about James 2 last week, let me just give a you a few summary statements this week.
First, there is not conflict between the writings of James and any other writer of Scripture including Paul. The context of James 2:18-26 is clear that he is talking about the characteristics of a living faith that saves verses faith that is dead, a faith void of any spirit. He is battling an antinomian idea that strips faith to an intellectual assent which cannot save because the claim of belief is false. Beliefs always have consequences and give evidence of themselves in the actions taken. A living faith will demonstrate itself in actions. It is in that sense that James joins works with faith as its evidence that it is alive and so includes the works of faith as part of justification.
Paul deals with the opposite problem of those who strive to add works as the basis of salvation. Paul is very adamant upon making sure that it is understood that justification is by God’s grace alone through the instrument of faith alone apart from works, but Paul is also adamant that works will follow such a faith as expressed in Ephesians 2:10. The same themes are found in other Biblical writers. Jesus pointed out that the true and false can be distinguished because they will be identified by their fruit just like a plant (Matthew 7:15-20). Calvin put it this way in responding to Trent cannon 11, “It is therefore faith alone which justifies, and yet the faith which justifies is not alone.”
The Scriptures are true and plainly reveal that a human can be justified before God only by His grace alone through faith alone in the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ alone for the glory of God alone.
Sermon Notes – 10/29/2017
Our Reformation Heritage: Sola Fide – Faith Alone: Selected Scriptures
Each sola is firmly connected together with the foundation of Sola ______________giving rise to the others
Luther could not find rest for his soul, and the _____________he witnessed in Rome caused him to question
Luther’s 95 theses of October 31, 1517 was prompted by the crass hawking of ____________by John Tetzel
In ___________ Luther finally recognized the true meaning of “the just shall live by faith”
The doctrine of sola fide was __________ in Luther’s heart and nothing would or could be the same again
The Importance of Sola Fide – Faith Alone
Sola fide forced a correct understanding of grace as God’s ______________ favor opposing the RCC
Sola fide was the watershed doctrine of the reformation, but it has become ___________for most Christians
Biblical doctrine of salvation demands we evangelize others while RCC dogma proclaim ___________on us
The Hebrew & Greek words for faith express concepts of belief, ________ , confidence and fidelity
What is believed can be trusted with ________________
Hebrews 11:1 defines faith – _______________________________________________________________
Justification & Faith
Trent: Grace + Merit of Christ + Good Works + Sacraments Justification + Increased Grace + ________________
Reformed view: God’s grace + ______in the person and work of Jesus Christ Justification + Good Works
Ephesians 2:1-10 – Man is __________& helpless, but God is merciful and loving to save by grace thru faith
Faith is the instrument by which God’s gift of grace is _______& applied to the sinner resulting in salvation
Romans explains the gospel as the power of God for salvation & manifestation of His ______________
Romans 1:18-3:23 – all humans are __________and by the works of the law no flesh will be justified to God
Romans 3:21-26 – the explanation of how a person can be ___________in God’s sight
Romans 3:28 – “For we maintain that a man is justified by ___________apart from works of the Law.”
Galatians 2:16, 21 – If man could merit salvation by his works, then Jesus did not need to go to the _______
James 2:10 – stumbling on any point of the law makes you ___________ of all
Imputed righteousness is _______- a legal declaration of absolution because Jesus has already paid the price
2 Corinthians 5:21 – Jesus ____________His righteousness for our sin and we are given His righteousness
Faith in RCC doctrine only makes you righteousness enough to earn the rest – or pay for it in ____________
Romans 5:1-10 – Justification gives __________with God because His love has reconciled us through Jesus
The Object of Faith
Faith in faith is utter nonsense – salvation comes by the __________of faith, not the faith itself
____________ is the object of the faith that brings justification
__________on the name of the Lord – Romans 10:13 – to put into action the promises of God
Be sure your faith is in the _____________Jesus and not an imposter or caricature of Him
Faith & Works
There is no conflict between James 2:18-26 in its ____________vand the rest of Scripture
Paul is clear that justification is by faith apart from works, but also clear that works will ___________ it
Calvin – “It is therefore faith alone which justifies, and yet the faith which justifies is _______________.”
Parents, you are responsible to apply God’s Word to your children’s lives. Here is some help. Young Children – draw a picture about something you hear during the sermon. Explain your picture(s) to your parents at lunch. Older Children – Do one or more of the following: 1) Count how many times the word “faith” is used. 2) Discuss with your parents the meaning and importance of justification coming by faith alone.
THINK ABOUT IT!
Questions to consider in discussing the sermon with others. Why is sola scriptura the material cause of the Reformation? What was Luther’s purpose in his 95 Theses? When did Luther finally understand the Biblical meaning of “the just shall live by faith”? How did Sola Fide force the development of the other Reformation doctrines? Why has this crucial doctrine become so confused to most Christians in this time? Define the root meanings of the Hebrew & Greek words for faith. What is the meaning of faith in Habakkuk 2:4 and Romans 1:17? What is the definition of faith according to Hebrews 11:1? How is salvation attained according to the Council of Trent? Outline Paul’s arguments in Ephesians 2:1-10. What is the relationship of grace, faith, salvation and works in that passage? What is the purpose of the book of Romans? According to Romans 1:18-3:23, is there any righteous human? According to Romans 3:21-26 how can a human be justified before God? Explain Paul’s flow of thought. Why is Paul so harsh in Galatians toward those that preach a different gospel? Summarize Paul’s statements about justification and faith in Galatians 2. Why can’t someone be justified by works of the Law (Galatians 3; James 2:10)? Why is Genesis 15:6 so important and why does Paul quote it so often? What does “reckon” mean in those passages? What is imputed righteousness? What does it mean that it is forensic? What is the Roman Catholic doctrine of infused righteousness? Why is that both inadequate and unbiblical? Explain from Romans 5:1-10 why justification by faith alone results in peace with God. Why must faith have an object? What is the object of faith in salvation? What must be believed in order to be saved? What do each of the following verse say about what a human can do in pursuit of saving faith: Romans 10:17; Hebrews 11:6; Isaiah 55:6–7; Jeremiah 29:13; James 4:6, 8-9; Romans 10:13; Romans 10:9-10. What is the proper context of James 2:18-26? How does that resolve the apparent conflict of this passage with the rest of the Scriptures? Works do not save, but what does Paul say about their necessary relationship to salvation?
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