Random thoughts on Sola Fide

In no particular order – just wanted to get these down somewhere.

  • From my conception to my last breath I will never do one work that can stand before the judgment throne of God.
  • If I was given a glass of water that only had a little poison in it, I would still refuse it. There is no such thing as “sort of pure”. If there is even one drop of sin in what I do, it isn’t holy. Holy is clean, pure, with no admixture of uncleanness. All that I do, though, is mixed with sin. If I reject that, then my works are also mixed with pride. God hates pride.
  • Think about this (not directions on how to live, but what it says about Christ:
  • 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her;
    26 that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,
    27 that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she should be holy and blameless. (Eph 5:25-27 NAS)

    Do you see that? Sanctification is a promise of God, given to the bride of Christ out of love. Sanctification is not a duty we perform, it is a promise we receive, long for, and trust in.

    It is Christ who does it. He cleanses, he purifies, he covers. He prepares his bride for the consummation.

  • Christ sanctifies his people through the means of grace: the word, the sacrament, the local body of believers, prayer.
  • If my sanctification depended on me, I would either be in continual despair, or become an expert in self-deception.
  • Those in despair seek out gurus to tell them how to live, how to act, how to use their money. They will give all that they have to assure themselves that they will be OK come the judgment day. But they will always know that it isn’t enough. They will never desire God enough. They will never submit enough. They will never be clean enough.
  • This is why Jesus said, “The truth will set you free”. “Take my yoke upon you and learn of me. My yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
  • The reason that God strictly commands us to keep his commandments is to remind us continually of our sinful nature, so that we will never rely upon our own works for our salvation, but that we instead will continually cry out for the gift of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said, “Abide in me, and I in you. Without me, you can do nothing.”
  • And how do you abide in Christ? Faith alone. Sola fide. If you add even one work as the ground or hope of your salvation, you will be in continual despair or hardened in pride.
  • The desire to add works to our salvation is called by Paul “the flesh”. And the result is always the same:

19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality,
20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions,
21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you just as I have forewarned you that those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
(Gal 5:19-21 NAS)

  • This is crucial: If you seek to sanctify yourself by your works of holiness, you will never get what you think you will get. Is there a connection between #metoo and the rejection of faith alone? I believe so.


Filed under sanctification, sola fide

12 responses to “Random thoughts on Sola Fide

  1. Apparently there is a sentence in the Heidelberg Catechism, a reference I snagged from Rachel Miller, that says “It is impossible for those grafted into Christ through true faith not to produce fruits of gratitude.”

    That one sentence sums up the whole nature of the problem for me. We seem to a have a lot of believers (and some pastors) who are more about fear and control as a way of manipulating behavior, rather than trusting in and letting grace do it’s job. In marriage,much like in faith, it is grace and gratitude that motivates me, that creates a desire to be pleasing.

    • It comes from a refusal to hear sound doctrine. It happens when building ministries is more important than obeying God. Identifying and driving away wolves is costly and ambitious men don’t want to pay the price.

    • And she was quoting question 64. It’s wonderful. I memorized it as a child and it has been a tremendous comfort for me. My blog title comes from the first question

  2. Sam, you believe there is a connection between #MeToo and the rejection of faith alone.
    I agree. And I’d love you to amplify that connection more!

    Tess Holgate, at Eternity News, an Australian Christian magazine and website ( eternitynews.com.au ) is soon to publish a numbers of testimonies from women who have been sexually assaulted by Christians.
    I should restate that. “… women been sexually assaulted by ‘c’hristians.”

    The prevalence of sexual abuse and sexual assault in the visible evangelical church is high in my experience and observation. A substantial minority of so-called evangelical christian men sexually abuse other people. They do this to women in the church, to women and children in their homes and extended families, to kids at youth groups and church camps and Christian schools.

    Only an unbeliever could be so unbridled in their sin as to sexually assault someone else.

    People who have #MeToo stories (whether or not they have publicly stated their stories) are everywhere. And they are in the visible evangelical churches. #InChurchToo

    Who are the perpetrators and enablers who gave rise to those #MeToo stories which Christians are testifying? Here’s the truth. Many of their perps and enablers have been passing themselves off as Christians.

    Piper and Desiring God’s whacko doctrine of salvation seems to be (unwittingly) aiming at pseudo-christians. Pseudo-christians have never been born again, so they are not bringing forth good works as fruits of gratitude. They have to work really hard, interminably, at trying to mortify their sins solely by their own efforts (their “works”).

    And they never *can* mortify them because the are not in Christ, not indwelt by and led by the Spirit. They have no upwelling gratitude to God, they only have fear and control as a way of manipulating behaviour. (as InsanityBytes said)

    Such people need to hear about (and tremble at) the wrath of God for sinners. The do not need to hear that they must kill their sins in order to be ‘finally saved’.

    But Piper and his acolytes seem to be unable or unwilling to discern pseudo-christians.

    They seem even less able to give pseudo-christians the gospel message.
    Instead, they direct these people to kill their pet sins and to work hard at their sanctification and they promise that if you do that … enough… (and what is ‘enough’?) you will be finally saved.

    But no one can be sanctified unless he or she has been born again. And if you have been born again, sanctification follows…. unless like the thief on the cross you very quickly depart from this temporal world and are taken into Paradise where you will meet the LORD.

  3. Robert C. Davis

    God also sanctifies through discipline. 1Ti 5:20 Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.

  4. Sister

    “This is crucial: If you seek to sanctify yourself by your works of holiness, you will never get what you think you will get. Is there a connection between #metoo and the rejection of faith alone? I believe so.” ?????

    How are you seeing a connection between sexual harassment/assault victims of predators worldwide bringing visibility to the magnitude of this violence and the rejection of faith alone? (It’s not a faith movement. There isn’t a connection. I am trying to fathom what connection you think there is. What am I missing?)

    • I am going to clarify that in a post I’m working on now. I’ll have it up shortly. The key is Galatians 5. Read the book. It only takes a few minutes. I’ll post when I can

    • And one more thing. The connection is not between the women speaking out and denial of Sola fide. It’s between the denial of Sola fide and the prevalence of assault, even in churches.

      • Sister

        Thanks. I read Galatians again. I still don’t see the connection, but perhaps I will with your upcoming post. Thanks again.

  5. Pingback: The connection between #MeToo and the rejection of ‘salvation by faith alone’ (Sola Fide) | A Cry For Justice

  6. “Abiding in Christ”–sanctification by faith alone–was like a mini-Reformation for me in my own life. Thank you for this.

  7. John King

    Beautifully put! Amen.

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