"...if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10). (Council of Orange: Canon 6)


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  • « Expository Preaching (Roundtable Discussion) | Main | Book Review: My Almost for His Highest, by John Barber »

    The Five Solas of the Reformation by James Montgomery Boice

    gospelgrace-boice.jpg“1. Scripture alone. When the Reformers used the words sola Scriptura they were expressing their concern for the Bible’s authority, and what they meant is that the Bible alone is our ultimate authority—not the pope, not the church, not the traditions of the church or church councils, still less personal intimations or subjective feelings, but Scripture only. Other sources of authority may have an important role to play. Some are even established by God—such as the authority of church elders, the authority of the state, or the authority of parents over children. But Scripture alone is truly ultimate. Therefore, if any of these other authorities depart from Bible teaching, they are to be judged by the Bible and rejected.

    2. Christ alone. The church of the Middle Ages spoke about Christ. A church that failed to do that could hardly claim to be Christian. But the medieval church had added many human achievements to Christ’s work, so that it was no longer possible to say that salvation was entirely by Christ and his atonement. This was the most basic of all heresies, as the Reformers rightly perceived. It was the work of God plus our own righteousness. The Reformation motto solus Christus was formed to repudiate this error. It affirmed that salvation has been accomplished once for all by the mediatorial work of the historical Jesus Christ alone. His sinless life and substitutionary atonement alone are sufficient for our justification, and any ‘gospel’ that fails to acknowledge that or denies it is a false gospel that will save no one.

    3. Grace alone. The words sola gratia mean that human beings have no claim upon God. That is, God owes us nothing except just punishment for our many and very willful sins. Therefore, if he does save sinners, which he does in the case of some but not all, it is only because it pleases him to do it. Indeed, apart from this grace and the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit that flows from it, no one would be saved, since in our lost condition, human beings are not capable of winning, seeking out, or even cooperating with God’s grace. By insisting on ‘grace alone’ the Reformers were denying that human methods, techniques, or strategies in themselves could ever bring anyone to faith. It is grace alone expressed through the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit that brings us to Christ, releasing us from our bondage to sin and raising us from death to spiritual life.

    4. Faith alone. The Reformers never tired of saying that ‘justification is by grace alone through faith alone because of Christ alone.’ When put into theological shorthand the doctrine was expressed as “justification by faith alone,” the article by which the church stands or falls, according to Martin Luther. The Reformers called justification by faith Christianity’s “material principle,” because it involves the very matter or substance of what a person must understand and believe to be saved. Justification is a declaration of God based on the work of Christ. It flows from God’s grace and it comes to the individual not by anything he or she might do but by ‘faith alone’ (sola fide). We may state the full doctrine as: Justification is the act of God by which he declares sinners to be righteous because of Christ alone, by grace alone, through faith alone.

    5. Glory to God alone. Each of the great solas is summed up in the fifth Reformation motto: soli Deo gloria, meaning ‘to God alone be the glory.’ It is what the apostle Paul expressed in Romans 11:36 when he wrote, ‘to Him be the glory forever! Amen.’ These words follow naturally from the preceding words, “For from him and through him and to him are all things” (v. 36), since it is because all things really are from God, and to God, that we say, ‘to God alone be the glory.’”

    –James Montgomery Boice, Whatever Happened to the Gospel of Grace? (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway, 2001), pp. 65-149.

    Posted by John on September 9, 2010 04:42 PM


    the thief on the cross, Jesus made it clear on the cross salvation by grace plus nothing else. that's what the 5 Solas are all about, We know the bible was written By God through holy men, by the Holy Spirit guiding these men. There is no doubt God's hand was at work, using these men to put his Holy Word back on course for those who want and know the truth. There were plenty who already were following and obeying the truth. The word of God was received as far back as God made it available. It is so sad when you talk to people who think they are going to help get there self saved, we know are part is to repent because we are born sinners and put our faith and trust in Christ. Titus 3:5 John 1:12 Ephesians 2:8,9. Acts 15:11. The truth of this Gospel brings an ungodly rage from those who are Deceived. Some are willful and some are not, the only way is truly in Christ,John 14:6, the message that Jesus started with early in his earthly ministry, is some what a forgotten message today,Matthew 4:18-20.Jesus said i will MAKE you fishers of men. The bible says 1 Corinthians 3:5-8,9-11. We plant we water and God gets the credit. Jesus said enter in at the narrow gate,because wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction and many go there in,because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life and few be there that find it. Many have paid with there lives,and many have suffered for the truth of the Gospel,Galatians 2:21 makes it clear that the Gospel is a gift if you add ANY thing to it it is not a gift,it ruins it,it nullify it.Like the thief on the cross he could not go to church,could not tithe,could not get baptistised , do good works,take the Lords supper.He could only admit he was a sinner,and call upon The Lord Jesus Christ. If you follow the Lord down this path,put on Ephesians 6:10-18. Because you will surely become aware of Luke 6:22,this is the narrow road, the broad road the beaten path will get you Luke 6:26. I'm looking forward to the Judgement Seat Of Christ for Christians, i will see my mother who got up early on Sunday morning in early 1950's and got 4 children ready to go to Sunday School and Church,and my dad took us and dropped us off and picked us up. But all the while she was talking to him and wanting him to stay at church, but the best part is she would always turn on our little black and white zenith t.v. when Billy Graham was preaching, and over a period time my mom's faithful and the word of God on t.v. One sat. night he was invited by a phone call,and instead of dropping us off he came to church, and after a while, i don't remember the number of weeks are months, but his heart was prepared to receive the Gospel and i can just barely remember him going forward and accepting Christ. Nothing was ever the same in our family. Titus 3:5-7.

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