The "Sola" Principles of the Reformation


The Scriptures alone...


(Scripture Alone)

I affirm the inerrant Scripture to be the sole source of written divine revelation, which alone can bind the conscience. The Bible alone teaches all that is necessary for our salvation from sin and is the standard by which all Christian behavior must be measured.

I deny that any creed, council or individual may bind a Christian's conscience, that the Holy Spirit speaks independently of or contrary to what is set forth in the Bible, or that personal spiritual experience can ever be a vehicle of revelation.

Teach us that salvation is by....

( Grace Alone )

I affirm that in salvation we are rescued from God's wrath by his grace alone. It is the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit that brings us to Christ by releasing us from our bondage to sin and raising us from spiritual death to spiritual life.

I deny that salvation is in any sense a human work. Human methods, techniques or strategies by themselves cannot accomplish this transformation. Faith is not produced by our unregenerated human nature.



( Faith Alone)

I affirm that justification is by grace alone through faith alone because of Christ alone. In justification Christ's righteousness is imputed to us as the only possible satisfaction of God's perfect justice.

I deny that justification rests on any merit to be found in us, or upon the grounds of an infusion of Christ's righteousness in us, or that an institution claiming to be a church that denies or condemns sola fide can be recognized as a legitimate church.



( Christ Alone)

I affirm that our salvation is accomplished by the mediatorial work of the historical Christ alone. His sinless life and substitutionary atonement alone are sufficient for our justification and reconciliation to the Father.

 I deny that the gospel is preached if Christ's substitutionary work is not declared and faith in Christ and his work is not solicited.

 To the...


( Glory Of God Alone)

I affirm that because salvation is of God and has been accomplished by God, it is for God's glory and that we must glorify him always. We must live our entire lives before the face of God, under the authority of God and for his glory alone.

I deny that we can properly glorify God if our worship is confused with entertainment, if we neglect either Law or Gospel in our preaching, or if self-improvement, self-esteem or self-fulfillment are allowed to become alternatives to the gospel.


The Reformation insisted on five restrictive principles that define the gospel: Scripture alone, grace alone, faith alone, Christ alone, and to God alone be the Glory. These five principles were stated in the form of Latin slogans.

Sola Scriptura:(Scripture Alone) This principle asserts the supreme sufficiency of God's written Word. No other words are adequate and no other words are divine. Popes, creeds, councils and tradition have no authority when they contradict the Holy Scriptures. Mystical impressions, emotions, and sensations coming from the heart of man are never authoritative. The Bible is complete and the canon is closed. No further revelation is given. "In these last days He has spoken to us in His Son" (Hebrews 1:2). Jesus Christ has spoken all that is necessary through His apostles in the Bible. The Bible alone is sufficient: 2 Tim. 3:17; Ps. 119:1; Deut. 4:2; 12:30; 29:29; Ps. 30:5-6; Rev. 22:18-19.

Sola Gratia: (Grace Alone) Salvation is by grace alone. The definition of "grace" is unmerited favor. God is never under any obligation to grant salvation. If God's justice required that He give grace to all men, then salvation would not be a gift but an act of justice. If men could earn the grace of God, grace would by definition no longer be grace- it would be merit. "But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace" (Romans 11:6). God bestows His grace freely and sovereignly upon those whom He chooses to save (Rom. 11:5-7). The elect are saved by grace alone: Eph. 1:3-11; 2:8-9; Rom. 9:10-16; 2 Tim. 1:9; 2 Thes. 2:13.

Sola Fide:(Faith Alone) Salvation is through faith alone. Faith is itself a gift of God (Eph. 2:8; Phil. 1:29). Rather than being declared righteous on the basis of our faith plus our deeds, we are declared righteous solely on the basis of our faith in Jesus Christ. "Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have have believed in Christ Jesus, that we may be justified by faith, and not by the works of the law; since by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified" (Gal. 2:16). By faith, Christ's righteousness is imputed to the sinner not infused or imparted. The sinner does not become righteous at salvation but is judicially declared righteous on account of Christ's righteousness. "Justification is an act of God's free grace whereby He pardons all our sins and accepts us a righteous in His sight only for the rigteousness of Christ imputed to us and received by faith alone" (Spurgeon's Catechism, 32). The Roman Catholic system teaches that FAITH + WORKS = JUSTIFICATION. The Biblical perspective is that FAITH = JUSTIFICATION + WORKS. We are justified by faith alone but not by faith that is alone. Genuine faith is accompanied by the fruit of works (Jas. 2:14-18). We are not declared righteous on the basis of any work, but only on the basis of our faith in Jesus: Rom. 3:20, 28; 4:2-13; Gal. 2:16; 3:24-25.

Solus Christus: (Christ Alone) Salvation is because of Christ alone. Jesus Christ alone paid the full penalty for the sins of His people and presents them as righteous before the Father, restoring their fellowship with Him. His death was substitutionary in that He offered Himself as a sacrifice to satisfy Divine justice as the sins of His people were imputed to Him on the cross. "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled we shall be saved by His life (Rom. 5:8-10). We are saved only because of Christ and not because of ourselves: Gal. 3:13; 2 Cor. 5:21; Rom. 3:25; 4:25; 8:3; Rom. 1:17; 3:21; 1 Cor. 1:30; 1 Pet. 2:24.

Soli Deo Gloria:(To God Alone be the Glory) In salvation, God alone receives credit and glory. We are saved for His glory, not for our own. His whole purpose in saving us and in all He does is to magnify the glory of His own great name, to have a people that would sing His praises, live in a way that reflects His character, and call the world to bow down and worship Him alongside themselves. "For My own sake, for My own sake, I will act; for how can My Name be profaned? And My glory I will not give to another" (Is. 48:11). God alone gets the credit for our salvation, because we did not contribute one thing to it (Rom. 3:10-11). God alone, therefore, receives glory: Is. 42:8; 43:7; 48:11; Ez. 38:23; Ps. 115:1; Jn. 12:28; Rom. 11:36; 16:27; Eph. 3:21; Phil. 4:20; 1 Tim. 1:17; 2 Tim. 4:1.


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