Sola Fide – Faith Alone
“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
– Romans 5:1
With only one life to live, one must ask himself or herself, “How can I please God with my life?” It may also be asked like this, “How can I be saved?” Religions across the world would agree that in order for one to “please God” or “be saved” he or she must be able earn it through the way they live their lives. Christianity, however, would disagree wholeheartedly with the notion that one can be saved on the basis of their life’s work. In other words, at the center of Christian teaching one comes to the awareness that they are sinners, who are unable to meet God’s standards because of their own wickedness. According to the Scriptures, if one is to be saved it must be by faith alone.
Having established the importance of faith in Salvation, one must now ask, “What is faith that saves?” Is saving faith simply belief? Is it agreeing with a set of facts? Is it an inward feeling? While saving faith may include aspects of belief, agreement, and emotion, it is best to understand saving faith as a faith that takes hold of Christ. The experience and possession of Salvation (right standing with God) comes when an individual takes hold of Christ and sees him as their ultimate treasure and reward. True Salvation requires intimate connection with Christ that is impossible apart from faith that takes treasures Christ above all things.
Think of a man lost at sea with only but a raft for a vessel; in order to be saved from the sea’s violent dangers, the man must hold fast to the raft. Faith that saves takes hold of Christ like the lost man at sea takes hold of his raft. Christ is the means by which we are saved, and he is accessed by faith, faith that takes hold of him and refuses to let go.
When one possesses saving faith he or she receives peace with God and is declared to be righteous in God’s sight (see Romans 1:17). If, by taking hold of Christ through faith, you have been saved, then the Scriptures are clear; you have peace with him. Nothing has the power to overcome the peace of God in the life of a believer. By faith, believers are privileged to rest in the favor of God through the work of Jesus Christ.
Upon the discovery of the importance of faith in Salvation, Martin exclaimed,
“At last meditating day and night, by the mercy of God, I … began to understand that the righteousness of God is that through which the righteous live by a gift of God, namely by faith… Here I felt as if I were entirely born again and had entered paradise itself through the gates that had been flung open.”
Like Luther, the believer today can rejoice! For it is by grace through faith in Christ that one is saved and counted as righteous.