November 17, 2018 | by: Chris Kiiskinen | 0 comments
IT’S NOW BEEN 501 years since the reformation and, as with many other things, we can sometimes tend to forget the importance of history. In the Old Testament, we see Israel forget many times over and we see how their forgetfulness led to trouble.
When I was growing up in church, I don’t remember hearing anything at all about the Reformation. It’s possible that I did, but if so, there certainly wasn’t any importance placed on it. And I’d never heard of the 5 Solas until I was in my 20’s and was at a church that taught much more deeply and valued church history and all that God has done for, in and through His people.
Sometimes though, you will hear people saying that we don’t need to worry about history for one reason or another. One well known Pastor has recently stated that Christians need to “unhitch from the Old Testament” in order to be more relevant to the culture and to stop speaking of Scripture as being authoritative (i.e.: using phrases like...”the Bible says ____”...). Some will just focus on the letters to the New Testament churches and hardly pay attention to the Gospel’s except around Christmas and Easter.
In remembering the Reformation, next to Martin Luther and his 95 theses, the “5 Solas” are probably what stand out the most. These five points...
Sola Scriptura - Scripture Alone
Sola Gratia - Grace Alone
Sola Fide - Faith Alone
Solo Christo - Christ Alone
Soli Deo Gloria - To God Alone the Glory
...are at the heart of what was recovered during the Protestant Reformation. All of these are important for us to remember and not lose sight of, especially in a world that often views itself as “progressive,” which sometimes means leaving old teachings like this in the past.
Sadly, that kind of thinking finds its way into some churches. Yet, the truths of God’s Word will not be silenced, nor will they be forgotten. He has stated clearly that His plans will be accomplished. His Word will be preached to the ends of the earth. His church will be built. He will prevail. No schemes of man nor the devil will ultimately defeat God and His Word.
Each of the 5 Solas has tremendous significance. In this article I’d like to focus on why “Sola Scriptura” is so important. Here are just five verses that teach us about the importance of Scripture being our only foundation and source of authority in our lives.
Matthew 4:4 - But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
Here, Jesus is answering Satan’s first temptation after fasting for 40 days in the wilderness. Satan tempted him to turn stones into bread, but Jesus responded by telling him that life is found in and through the word of God. Literally, life began as God spoke and created all things. He is the one Who forms life in the womb. He is the Author of life.
Spiritually, His word, specifically His Gospel, brings eternal life to the spiritually dead soul. Even beyond this though, Jesus also teaches us how to respond to temptations...with the Word of God! That is, in part, why it is so important to read, study and apply the Word of God to our lives. Then, when we are tempted, we can turn to it just as Jesus did to battle that temptation.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 - All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
In these verses, Paul teaches us that the Bible is God’s Word to us, helps us learn, grow, be corrected, and it completes us, making us equipped for every good work that He has laid out for us to do (Eph. 2:10). There is no inefficiencies in the Word, nothing missing, nothing more that we need. Many today are not content with this and seek some kind of “special revelation” from God in order to complete and equip them, but Paul teaches us that the Scriptures are fully adequate for that task.
2 Timothy 2:15 - Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.
Paul is instructing Timothy to work hard at studying God’s Word so that he will be able to teach it correctly. God approves of this! Granted, Timothy is a Pastor, but all of us should want to be able to rightly handle the Word of truth, shouldn’t we? I hope you think so.
Not that everyone ought to be a “seminary level theologian” per se, but that we should all want to study well enough so that we are able to speak correctly about what the Bible teaches. And if we aren’t sure about something, or haven’t studied it, we shouldn’t just fake it or go by our own thoughts or feelings about it. Unfortunately, that happens probably more than you realize!
Galatians 1:6-9 - I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel, not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.
In this passage, Paul is admonishing the church for falling away from the true Gospel and following false teaching and teachers. When we are committed to the authority and truthfulness of the word of God, it preserves the purity of the Gospel message and also serves to protect us from false teachers, of which the Bible says there will be many!
John 8:31-32 - So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my Word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Truth, biblical truth, when abided in, creates free disciples! Once being set free from the bondage of sin through the Gospel, a person becomes a true disciple of Jesus and begins to understand how the truth of God’s word affects them in every way and every area of their life. Nothing else...no other message, no other teaching...does this. Nothing! That is how precious and vitally important this is.
There are many other verses that speak of the importance of God’s word and the benefits and blessings that it brings. But it must be understood and applied correctly. Today there are many that either do not hold this view or are wandering away from this view, not seeing Scripture as important or as authoritative. There are many false teachers who twist what the Bible teaches to their own benefit.
Post-modernism teaches that there is no absolute truth that we can know and rest on. It holds that we can all have our own versions of “truth” even if those “truths” contradict each other. This is utterly false and must be rejected always. They reject Scripture as a foundation, as God’s words to us, though it is the very thing we need!
So let me ask you...what is your foundation for truth? Is it the scriptures and them alone? Or is it the scriptures plus something else, or maybe even just something else altogether? Some people have their feelings as the foundation that they live by. Some live by their friends, or by current trends, or politics, or some other thing.
If your foundation for truth is not the Bible, is it something else? If so, I urge you to examine yourself and see how much you love, rest on, study, live by, etc....the precious Word of God! If you already view the scriptures as your foundation for truth, praise God for that and continue to dig more and more deeply into His word and have it help you root more and more of your life in it.
If you are not there and you realize that you have other foundations for truth, or some that creep in and try to replace the Bible, turn from that and plunge yourself into the amazing word of God! Maybe start by studying the “5 Solas” and see why they were so important to the Reformation and why they still are for us today!
May God greatly encourage you as you plant yourself firmly on the truths of His word!
Chris Kiiskinen is a Pastor at Grace Bible Church
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