The Five Solas of the Reformation

By the end of the 15th Century, the church had become corrupted with traditions of popes and councils. Some men suffered trying to reform the church, including John Huss, William White and John Wycliffe, but all to no avail. These early Reformers denied the value of pilgrimages, refused to worship saints, insisted that people should be allowed to read the Scripture for themselves and did not believe that the Physical body of Christ was present in the Sacramental bread.

The Reformation

In the 16th Century, another Reformer arose. His name was Martin Luther, who was born in Eisleben, Saxony, in 1483. Luther would later be one of the leading Reformers who, by the grace of God, was successful in Reforming the church of God.

On the 31st of October 1517, Martin Luther nailed what became to be known as the 95 theses, condemning the sale of indulgences and other practices of the church. This became the torch that sparked the Reformation.

The Five Solas of the Reformation

The Five Solas were the cry of the people during this time. “Solas” simply means alone or one in Latin. Here are the Five Solas:

Solas Scriptura

Sola Scriptura is Latin for “˜Scripture alone”™. The Reformers argued that the Bible alone was the ultimate authority, not popes, not the church, not the traditions of the church or church councils, not personal intimations or subjective feeling, but the written word of God alone.

Solus Christus

Solus Christus is Latin for “˜Christ alone”™. The Reformers affirmed that salvation was only through the once for all mediatorial work of Jesus Christ alone. His sinless life and substitutionary atonement alone are the basis for our justification.

Solas Gratia

Sola Gratia is Latin for “˜Grace alone”™. The Reformers insisted that salvation was by grace alone, contrary to the Roman Catholic doctrine that salvation is by grace and works. The Reformers argued that we cannot be able to earn God”™s favour by our works, so He gives it freely to us as a gift.

Sola Fide

Sola Fide is Latin for  “˜Faith alone”™. What the Reformers meant by this was that we are justified by faith alone, not by our own works. Luther even said that this was the article by which the church stands or falls. It may be stated thus “Justification is the act of God by which He declares sinners to be righteous because of Christ alone, by grace alone and through faith alone.”

Soli Deo Gloria

Soli Deo Gloria is Latin for “˜Glory to God alone”™. This is the sum of all the four Solas that precede; Salvation is to the glory of God alone, we do not earn it. Glory must be to the Father for purposing and granting us salvation, to the Son for accomplishing it and to the Holy Spirit for applying it to us.

Soli Deo Gloria