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Wednesday: Christ Alone . . . Grace Alone — 9 Comments

  1. Martin Luther's two major contributions to the Reformation were:

    1. Challenging the Catholic Church's authority: His most famous act, posting the Ninety-Five Theses in 1517, directly questioned the practice of selling indulgences (pardons for sins). This sparked a wider debate about the Church's authority and teachings. Luther believed the Bible, not the Church hierarchy, should be the central source of religious truth.
    2. Salvation by faith alone: Luther argued that people are saved by faith in God's grace, not through good works or paying the Church. This challenged the Catholic concept of justification (achieving salvation) and emphasized personal faith as the key to redemption.

    We still live with the consequences of those two ideas. One of those consequences is that Christianity has split into thousands of churches as each one tries to prove that their interpretation of the Bible is the correct one. Many of them have fallen into the trap of definitions of beliefs. Even during Luther's lifetime, the Lutheran church defined what they believed and persecuted those who did not have the same beliefs.

    I also remember the shock when someone described me as a "True-blue Seventh-day Adventist". It made me feel as though my spiritual life had somehow conformed to a standard set by the church and I felt very uncomfortable with that portrait. I hope to be a rebel for Christ.

    • Sola Scriptura (“Scripture alone”): The Bible alone is our highest authority.
    • Sola Fide (“faith alone”): We are saved through faith alone in Jesus Christ.
    • Sola Gratia (“grace alone”): We are saved by the grace of God alone.
    • Solus Christus (“Christ alone”): Jesus Christ alone is our Lord, Savior, and King.
    • Soli Deo Gloria (“to the glory of God alone”): We live for the glory of God alone.
  2. We all know the basic answer to the matter of works. Works don't save me, but they naturally show themselves when I realize how much God has done for me. Am I in a loving relationship with Jesus, or is He simply a name (or institution) for which I call myself a worker?

  3. It's grace alone because even our best deeds are like filthy rags before God.Nevertheless, we should practice good deeds to show appreciation for the grace offered and also to show acceptance of this great gift.

  4. I learned that GOD, died & suffered, our death, because we sinned and that we can have his life. Life after death. He suffered and everything because of our sins, and he gives his GRACE. I like today message.

  5. Kind deeds flow from an unselfish, kind heart that is sensitive to other's needs. It is a self-sacrificing,sincere love. Not just a duty.

  6. Yes - Maurice - 2000 years plus and counting:

    Yes, “Scripture alone!” –
    How is it possible that many who believe in Christ still regard their specific creed and doctrine to be at par or even more important than the simple faith in the Word of God reduced to: “Love God with all your heart and love your fellow man”! Matt.22:36-40.

    Yes , “Faith alone!” –
    How is it possible that there are still misunderstandings or different interpretations by believers that 'excercising faith whiles being in Jesus Christ alone' can save?

    Yes, "Grace alone!” –
    How is it possible that many still hold that the believer has to live according to creeds or 'laws' before God’s Grace is considered ‘verified’ in the new convert's life?

    Yes, “Christ alone!” –
    How is it possible that we still do not fully appreciate the Truth that our new life is lived in Christ Jesus by FAITH in the same spirit which He provided us to be guided by, and not through 'doing good works by obedience'?

    Yes, “To the Glory of God alone!” –
    How is it possible that so many still do not recognize that the believer has been purchased with a price? We are not our own any longer; we are now considered children of God's family to love Him with all our heart and to live for His Glory!” 1Cor.6:19-20.

    God's providence swung the door of 'liberty of faith in Christ Jesus' wide open, and the reformers were ready to walk right through it. Though it appears there is still work needing to be done to come to the full knowledge and understanding of what 'Christ alone - Grace alone" means in each one's personal life, we know that 'Christ is all and in all': Col.3:1-11.

    • I think we need to be careful we don't dismiss "statements of belief" altogether. I will try and explain using an example from physics. (and yes, I know its not perfect)

      There are two parts to the discipline of physics; the knowledge, and the framework we use for adding or removing items from that body of knowledge. This provides a dynamic that allows growth in our understanding and application of physics.

      A statement of belief has the potential to provide a reference framework, provided it is based on the Bible. The danger of such statements is that they often become a measuring stick as to who is a heretic. It should provide the flexibility for our understanding to change. (Just to be clear, I reiterate that it is our understanding that changes, not truth itself.) Even the preamble to the Seventh-day Adventist statement of fundamentals talks about "our present understanding". Unfortunately during my lifetime, the statement has become more verbose.

      Statements of belief should be dynamic in the sense that we interact with one another - that's how the Holy Spirit works - in study, prayer, and application. Nailing it to the wall with the implication "by this shall we judge one another" should never even cross our mind.

      • We were sinners and he decided to redeem us from our sins.we share to his grace by doing good to ourselves and to others,believing in him and changing others

  7. So in answer to the final question, I think the problem we have is when we think of good works as "our" good works. The lesson didn't ask us to read Ephesians 2:10, but it's almost as important as the two verses that come before it. "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." John 15 also tells us that we will bear fruit as we abide in Christ and that "apart from me you can do nothing" (John 15:5)

    Good works are not "ours" - they come from God just as much as receiving salvation. Both justification and sanctification are God's works. I think we trip ourselves up when we think that now we've been saved and love God, we need to do good works. The problem is that no amount of love can change our heart. Imagine your 2 year old child and saying "If you love me you'll carry this 20 pound sack of potatoes". The child loves you and they'll try but they don't have the strength. The same is true with us. We can't do good works in our own power. We need a heart change and that comes by abiding or remaining in Christ and letting Him do His work.

    I also see this progression in the beatitudes which I recently studied. Blessed are the poor in spirit (those who recognize they have nothing good to give God) and blessed are those who mourn (those who realize they are full of sin, which is really selfishness). This leads to blessed are the meek (which I see as recognizing we can't do anything about the first two facts). And what does this lead to? Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. Since we can't do anything to become righteous, we must hunger for it and God promises to fill us. Then the good works follow as is seen in the following beatitudes but they are God's works, not our own. It's truly life-changing to realize this.


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