It was on October 31, 1517 when Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses on the door of the All Saints’ Church, in Wittenberg, Germany. This marked the beginning of the Protestant Reformation.
By PASTOR DAVID MOENCH
The five solas reviewed in these articles, by the Bowman pastors over these few weeks, emphasize the distinction between the Reformers and the Church of Rome. My task in this article is to unpack the sola, solus Christus.
To be clear, the Reformers did not reject the Roman Catholic Church’s doctrine of the person of Christ. Both agreed that Jesus is fully God and fully man. The difference centered on the work of Christ, and on the sacramental system in which the grace of Christ was mediated through priests and sacramental works. In 1523 the Swiss Reformer Zwingli wrote, “Christ has borne all our pain and travail. Hence, whoever attributes to works of penance what is Christ’s alone, errs…” Jesus is clear, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (Jn. 14:6). And, “For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 2:5; also: Heb. 4:14-16; 7:25).
The Reformers cry, “Solus Christus!” or, “in and through Christ alone,” means that the sacrificial, and mediatorial work of Christ alone is sufficient for our salvation (2 Cor. 3:5; 9:8). Wrote the Apostle Paul, “This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all… are justified freely by His grace.” (Rm. 3:21, 23). For Luther and the Reformers, it is Christ alone in His life and death on the Cross, which fully satisfies the demand for the penalty of our sin. And it is Christ alone who justifies the sinner through faith in Him (Rm. 1:17).
When I was a boy, I remember how the thought of approaching God in prayer was fearful to me at times. Sadly, today many adults are afraid of God still. But these words of Jesus’ concerning prayer should help the fearful. As Jesus anticipated returning to His Heavenly Father He told His disciple that they could approach His Father personally “in My name.” Then He added, “I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf. No, the Father Himself loves you because you have loved Me and believed that I came from God” (Jn. 16:26-27).
Our Creator came from Heaven to this dark world in sympathy and pity for us, to save us (Jn. 1:1-3, Eze. 18:31). And because He did the door to God Himself has been opened to any who will come through Christ alone (Matt. 7:7; 11:28).
Dave Moench is the pastor of the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Bowman.