Sunday, October 29, 2017

The Five Solas of the Reformation

In preparation for Tuesday, it's time to sit down and discuss this little slogan thing we've got going on in certain Lutheran circles.  Some people just mention the three solas, some do five -- kind of just depends on how much space and time you're working with.

What are the five solas?  What in the world am I talking about?  What do they have to do with that cranky German monk nailing stuff on the church door?  Time to dig into it.

Sola Gratia -- Grace alone.
Sola Fide -- Faith alone.
Sola Scriptura -- Scripture alone.
Solus Christus -- Christ alone.
Soli Deo gloria -- To God alone be the glory.

Basically, these fit together in a little sentence really easily.  We are saved from our sins only by grace, which is ours only by faith in no one but Christ, who is revealed to us only in Scripture, and only God deserves the glory for this.

They're kind of an elegant way to remind us of Ephesians 2:8-9, which says "by grace you have been saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves -- it is a gift of God, not of works, so that no man can boast."  Those verses are a big part of what got Luther thinking.  He realized the people of his day were taught to rely on their own good works and the works of the saints to be saved from eternal damnation, but the Bible said the complete opposite.  The Bible said that people can't do anything at all to save themselves, only God can do that.  And that salvation is a gift of his, a gracious and undeserved gift, not something you can earn.

Okay, now you know.  If someone mentions the five solas (or the three), now you'll know what they're talking about!


  1. Heyyy the sermon was about that today in Church ;-)

    1. Naomi Sarah, how nifty! These were touched on at my church too :-)

  2. Love this! I'm curious what the three solas are, though? I have a Presbyterian background so the concepts are not foreign at all, haha, but if someone references just three do they mean the first three?

    1. Thanks, Miss Dashwood! Sorry it was a little unclear -- some people focus on the first three (Sola Gratia, Sola Fide, Sola Scriptura). Possibly because they are the ones that actually have the word "sola" and not "soli" or "solus."

    2. *headdesk* That is now incredibly obvious, haha. I missed the fact that those three were the only ones with "sola"! Duh. Well, thank you for explaining. :D

    3. Don't worry, Miss Dashwood, it took me a while to figure out why those three get grouped together too, the first time I thought about it.


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