Reformation500: Sola Gratia

Aside from being a full-time medical student, I also serve our local church as a worship leader and head of publications in print and online. This year, Christendom will be celebrating the 500th year of the Reformation which was led by Martin Luther, giving way to reforms in the whole Christian church. Every week, I post some reflections on the events of the Reformation, writing about some points on it. This is our post for this Sunday:

The concepts of Sola Fide and Sola Gratia are intertwined in that the scriptural basis for these concepts lies in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians 2:8-9, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” God’s design for salvation is ‘by grace” and ‘through faith’, both of which we receive as gifts from God through Jesus Christ alone.
 
This concept of the true biblical gospel again stemmed from the previous practice of selling of indulgences during Martin Luther’s time. That practice promotes buying or paying for a person’s salvation, a total opposite to what Paul said in his letters.
 
Jeremiah 17:9 said that “The heart is deceitful above all things
and beyond cure…” and therefore does not desire to draw near to God. We are spiritually dead and therefore deprived of God’s glory. However, God sent His Son to the world to unite His children back to Him.
 
As Christians, it is important for us to understand Sola Gratia because otherwise would mean that we reject the Gospel on which Christianity stands upon, the Gospel that saves. Romans 5:8 says “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” This simplifies what God has in mind for us: that even though we are sinners, through His grace embodied by Jesus Christ we are saved.
 
Sola Gratia led John Newton to write his famous hymn ‘Amazing Grace’ which speaks about his amazement towards what God has given His people. That even though we are wretched, He did not hesitate to save us.
 
Luther said, “Yes, dear friend, you must first possess heaven and salvation before you can do good works. Works never merit heaven; heaven is conferred purely of grace.”
 
Finally, in John 6:39, Jesus said, “And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day.”

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