Four hundred and ninety seven years ago, on October 31, 1517 a young Catholic monk nailed a list of disputations on the church door in Wittenberg, Germany. The list came to be known as the 95 Theses, but was formally titled, “Disputation of Doctor Martin Luther on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences”. While Martin Luther only intended for an “in house” debate on the abuse of indulgences, the Lord used him to begin the Protestant Reformation.
Initially, Luther never intended to leave the Catholic church. Rather, he wanted to reform the church, to remove the corruption. While these were noble ideals, what emerged from the Reformation was the key question: what is the gospel?
Luther, and later Reformers, said that a person was saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, all to the glory of God alone. Their authority for saying this was Scripture alone. As a result of these views, the “five solas” of the Reformation were developed. These five solas are Sola Scriptura, Sola Gratia, Sola Fide, Solus Christus, Soli Deo Gloria.
Sadly, the official answer of the Catholic church was that salvation was faith plus works, that a person has to actually become righteous. They rejected the imputation of Christ’s righteousness, as clearly taught in Scripture. Their official declarations were made at the Council of Trent. These declarations have never been rejected by the Catholic church, and are considered by the church to be infallible. With these declarations, the Catholic church apostatized, became a false church, and remains that way to this day.
Understanding the five solas of the Reformation are important, because it forced believers at that time to know what they believed and why they believed it. God has often used persecution and false teachers to clarify the truth of Scripture.
Do you know what you believe and why you believe it? Can you explain why you believe the gospel is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone? To help you understand, we have articles about the five solas of the Reformation. We pray the Lord will use them to edify you, all to His glory.