Are the Five _Solas_ Still Important for the Church Today?

The five solas (Latin for “alone”) of the Reformation—Scripture alone, grace alone, faith alone, Christ alone, to the glory of God alone—are indispensable for the church in any era. They will always be relevant because they summarize the biblical gospel, which is the church’s lifeblood in every age. They are particularly significant today because even professing evangelicals, to say nothing of the culture around us, are being tempted to abandon the gospel. Therefore, the church must recognize the dire need of not only defending the five solas but also celebrating them.

The five solas are important for us today for at least three reasons. First, they set apart the true gospel from every other religion, worldview, or philosophy. Every day, the world calls out its siren song of spiritual compromise. Satan loves to negotiate the nonnegotiables of biblical truth. He whispers the lie that we don’t need to have strong convictions about the Bible as our only standard of truth or hold firm to the teaching that only those who trust Christ alone for salvation are right with God. The temptation to downplay doctrine is unceasing. A winsome but unyielding grasp of the five solas can help us resist these attractive lies.

Second, the five solas provide us with unspeakable comfort in a chaotic world. The pace of modern life is unsustainable. It colors our understanding of “the normal Christian life.” We tend to equate busyness in ministry with productiveness for Jesus. But the two must not be confused. Knowing that we are saved by God’s grace alone through faith alone gives us rest from an exhausting world. We leave behind a performance mindset in our relationship with God and embrace a life of trusting, resting grace. Safe in the arms of our Savior, we are set free to let go of trying to earn what God freely gives us—Christ Himself.

Finally, the five solas remind us that our salvation is secure. Only when we are assured of the love of God will we live out the commands of God. The five solas enable us to say with David, “Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day” (Ps. 119:97). Following Jesus, obeying Him by the Spirit, and killing sin become our joy. So many Christians drift, unconsciously most of the time, to the belief that God loves them when they obey.

But the true gospel of the five solas pulls us back to the bedrock scriptural truth that God loves us and therefore we obey. The difference is subtle, but it makes all the difference in our daily lives. Your Father loves you! He is pleased with you in Christ. When those realities come home, John’s words become our delightful creed: “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3).

In sum, nothing is more urgent for the church than protecting, propagating, and passing on the true gospel encapsulated by the five solas. It is our only hope, our greatest comfort, and our supreme joy. Most of all, these biblical teachings will always be important because they bring us to Christ, who is our life.

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Ligonier Ministries