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The 5 Solae of the Reformation were not created by the Reformers but rather rediscovered as they returned to the text of God’s Word and began to study with renewed vigor. From their studies emerged 5 foundational truths of the gospel.
They are: Sola Scriptura, Sola Gratia, Sola Fida, Solus Christus, and Soli Deo Gloria.
These 5 Solae do not stand separately, they are intertwined and interdependent upon each other. You can’t pick and choose, you can have some and not the others. Lose any one of these vital gospel elements and you lose the gospel. Misunderstand them, twist them, or fail to communicate them clearly and you will find a false gospel. You will find a gospel that may look and feel like Christianity but it will always fall short of true gospel if it does not line up with the 5 solae.
I want to talk to you about the 4th of the 5 solae today: Solus Christus
Of all the Solae this is probably the most controversial today. Our secular, post modern culture bristles at anything that claims exclusivity and that is exactly what this Sola does! It states a truth that is exclusive to the Christian faith and exclusive to the Bible:
“By Christ Alone”
This statement may sound simple and basic to you. But don’t dismiss it as something beneath you just yet. As with all basic truths of the Bible there is an importance contained with them, there is a depth in them that can not be fully tapped in this life time. We must never put aside these doctrines thinking that we have already learned them. As soon as we leave them behind there is a good chance that we will find that we are not holding on so tightly to them as we thought.
Furthermore inasmuch as this a is vital doctrine to the Gospel we can be sure that it will always be attacked, it will be attacked on every side, there will be new attacks, from sides and positions we didn’t’ know existed before. Satan is very crafty, very deceptive, and very imaginative. Just when you think you stamped out one attack there will be another.
So, you and I need to be faithful in our studies, we don’t have the luxury of growing apathetic.
We must also remember it is for this doctrine of Solus Christus that many have been persecuted and many have lost their lives. No one is willing to lose there life for an unthought out, unstudied, and unbelieved doctrine.
Unfortunately we live in a culture that is increasingly leaning into the idea that all major religions are fundamentally the same despite some superficial differences.
It is not uncommon to come across someone who truly believes that the major religions like Christian, Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, and Islam are have pretty much the same message at the core but different traditions that communicate that same message.
In response to this view Ravi Zacharias states:
“My premise is that the popular aphorism that ‘all religions are fundamentally the same and only superficially different’ simply is not true. It is more correct to say that all religions are, at best, superficially similar but fundamentally different.”
We must be bold in declaring the truth of by Christ alone because if we are not we will most certainly lose that truth in our pluralistic culture. We will lose a vital gospel truth and lose the very foundation upon which we stand. We will lose our identity as Christians, followers of Christ, and believers in the one and only way of salvation.
As Christians we are bearers of the name of Christ and we must bear that name exclusively, boldly, and truthfully!
I want to take you now to God’s Word where we will see together where the idea of Solus Christus comes from. In order to do this I think it is best to start in the Old Testament and move our way into the Gospels and then the epistles.
Solus Christus begins in the Old Testament
- Exo 3:14 God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’”
- With this simple and extraordinary statement God answer Moses’ question at the burning bush, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” Exo 3:13
- It was important for God it establish his exclusivity from the beginning.
- Moses’ questions was a good question
- He needed to be able to show the Israelites who this God was and how he was different from all the other gods.
- God’s simple statement in no unclear terms tells Moses and the Israelites that Yahweh God is a unique and exclusive God who doesn’t even fall into the same categories as the other so called Gods!
- How vital this would be be for Moses as he prepares to go before Pharaoh who was considered a god himself
- How important this would be for the children of Israel when they hear that Yahweh will bring them out of Egypt a land of many, many gods!
- They needed to know that the One and True God who would deliver them was Good of all time, independent of all other gods and powers!
- When we look at the exclusivity of God and Christ it is really a question of authority!
- God’s authority was important for 2 reasons
- 1. The Israelites must trust that he has the authority and power to bring them out of Egypt
- 2. God would later give them the Law and they must understand and believe that God has the authority to give them rules to live by.
- Exo 20:2-3 I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me.
- Notice how God prefaces the the 10 Commandments! He is the Saving God, he is unique, exclusive!
- Later he says that he is a jealous God! And that he is against all idol worship.
- But the most significant place in the Old Testament that emphasizes the exclusivity of God is:
- Deu 6:4 “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.
Solus Christus is based upon the Words of Christ Himself
- Why did the religious leaders of Jesus’ day take such offense to Jesus? It wasn’t just because they didn’t like his interpretation of the Law.
- The reason they opposed Jesus was because how he taught, he taught with authority. And probably more importantly because of what he taught about himself!
- Joh 8:58-59 Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple.
- Jesus uses here the same construction found in the Greek version of the Old Testament. “Ego Eime” Which is the literal translation of Exo 3:14.
- Jesus was saying, “I am Yahweh!” I am the exclusive, God that is above all other gods! I have always existed and I always will exist!
- Jesus is claiming for himself that one aspect of God’s essence that no one else can possibly ever possess; self existence.
- The self-existence of Jesus is vital to the understanding of “Solus Christus”
- If Jesus is self-existent
- He has no creator
- He has no beginning
- He has no end
- He is the source of all that exists
- He has rights over all creation
- He has power over all creation
- To be the self existent one is to have power over death. It is only because of his perfections and his self existence that Jesus could be crucified and then self-resurected.
- This statement was so powerful that it provoke a violent reaction from the Pharisees and Sadducees. It was a claim worthy of death.
- If we are faithful and bold in our communication of the gospel message you can be sure that there will be times when it will result in strong reactions from those we are speaking to.
- What I have found is that more often than not the strongest reactions against the Gospel come when we make the claim that Jesus is God, or Jesus is the only way.
- If you talk with Jehovah’s Witnesses or with Morman’s this is a good passage of Scripture to focus on.
- Later on Jesus talks just with his disciples and again he emphasizes his exclusivity. However this time it’s not in opposition of the Pharisees but rather in order to encourage the disciples.
- Joh 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
- The words of Jesus here are meant to be a comfort to the disciples who he would soon leave behind.
- Jesus prefaces these words with “Let not your hearts be troubled, believe in God believe also in me.”
- When we believe in Jesus this truth statement brings comfort to our souls.
- We are reassured that Jesus is the way!
- We are reassured that we do not need to help him!
- We are reassured that need to look no further!
- To know that Jesus is the One and only way puts us at quiet rest knowing that our eternal destiny, our life is safely in Jesus’ loving and capable hands.
The exclusivity of Christ is a sword that cuts both ways!
- We live in a much more multicultural enviroment than ever. Our society is integrated with thousands of different backgrounds, cultures, and religions.
- As a result many have come to believe in the philosophy of pluralism which says.
- Your truth is simply that, your personal take on things.
- Every religion is true for those who believe it.
The most important thing is not what or who you believe in but rather that you believe sincerely in your chosen faith.
Solus Christus was Preached in the early Church
Act 4:11-12 This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
Solus Christus was confirmed in the Epistles
1Ti 2:5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,
Solus Christus was show in Revelation
Rev 1:17-18 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.