Sola Fide

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, December 18, 2020 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

Third in the Five Solas is Sola Fide, or “Faith Alone.” We are saved by grace alone through faith alone. Grace is the gift; faith is the vehicle for how it is delivered and takes action. Now, many people have different ideas of about what faith is, so I am going to define what I am talking about here. Hebrews 11:1 gives the formal definition of faith. It is the substance of things hoped for and evidence for things unseen. Let’s break this down.

“Substance for things hoped for.” Faith is not wishful thinking. It is not blind. It has substance. Faith requires an object; it is trust in something or someone. If I promise to come and meet you at a certain place at a certain time and you come to the meeting place, you have put faith in my word that I will be there. You are trusting me that I will keep my word. You don’t know at the time if I will be there or not, but you have something to grab onto know if I will be there or not: my word.

“Evidence of things unseen.” This is just another way to say the same thing. But evidence is something concrete that you know it is trustworthy. This is usually expressed by experience. You have heard me give my word time and time again. While you do not have “proof” I will keep it this time, you have a reliable record that I do and will. There is evidence that you know and trust. That’s why we open up our computers, start our cars, sit on our chairs without wondering, “Will it work for me this time?” We don’t actually know if it will do it this time, but we’ve done it enough times to know it likely will. The less we trust it, the less faith we have it will work. But the more we trust it, the less we’ll question if we can use it.

Whole chapters and books have been written on this. If you want a good study on faith and what it looks like check out one of our books from former blogger Logan Ames, Heroes of the Faith. He did a full study on Hebrews 11 and what faith is and what it looks like. But now to our focus of study: our salvation, our hope is through faith alone.

It’s a “game of trust” if you could call it that. God isn’t asking us for works, good deeds, or great acts of heroism. All He really asks of us is to trust Him. Yes, it’s that simple. All God asks of us is to trust Him. That’s what faith is: trust. But there are works and deeds that come with it. James 2 is about demonstrating your faith through works. So, let me add this: faith requires action. Anyone can believe anything, but it’s not faith and I wouldn’t call it “belief” either until you take action that proves you believe it. You can mentally agree that an airplane can fly. You can sit at the airport watch every plane take off and land and know every detail about how a plane works. But you do not have faith in the airplane; you do not believe in the flight ability of an airplane until you get inside the airplane and go flying.

Christianity is like the airplane. Many people know all about God and they know about Jesus and they know the doctrines. It’s easy to play the intellectual game. Don’t get me wrong, you better know what it is you claim to believe. Many people claim the faith but don’t have the foggiest idea of what it is they have attached their name to. It shows not just on the intellectual side but also the practical side. You can know all about Jesus, but the only way it works is to “get in Him.”

Biblical faith requires complete reliance and dependence upon Jesus. It’s a child-like faith. As a child implicitly and naturally trusts his parents, so we are to trust God. This means you don’t pray for Plan A and then have Plan B in the back of your mind if Plan A fails. God does not honor back-up plans, because there’s no trust. There’s no dependance upon Him. God wants you to trust Him enough that you are putting your life on the line. That means you trust God so much that if He fails, you’re dead. That said, we are not to be presumptuous. God is only responsible for upholding the promises He made, not ones we proclaim “in His name.” That’s what Jesus addressed with Satan in the wilderness when He said, “Do not put the Lord thy God to the test.” You cannot force God’s hands. If you want to intentionally throw yourself off a cliff claiming God will save you or throw yourself into a pit of snakes and scorpions saying you’ll be safe from poison, God has no obligation to answer that. That doesn’t make God unfaithful; it makes you stupid. We should instead be as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, where we know full well God can save us, and we will take a position that even if He does not, we will still follow and trust Him.

Our salvation is acquired by believing Him. We may not have it in our hands just yet, but we are going to step forward, moving and acting and speaking as though it already is in our hands. Jehoshaphat demonstrates this. He was surrounded by three armies and cried to the Lord for help. A Levite, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, said that God would deliver them, and they would win without having to raise a sword. What did he actually have? Just a promise of victory. What did Jehoshaphat do? He brought his army out to the battle but led with singers and worshippers. He believed God. He had faith that the battle was already won, even though the three armies were still out there. He walked in faith that God’s word was true. And he got to see the three armies all defeat each other and never had to draw his sword.

Do we trust God? Is our faith truly in Jesus? Do our lives reflect such faith? It’s easy to claim, but here is how you can tell where your faith lies: by who you listen to. Is your faith in Jesus? Or is it in the scientists of our world? The media? The politicians? A pastor? Again, easy to claim. Whom do you trust to get you through Monday? What is your source of authority? What is your sustenance? Where does your energy come from? Your answer is where your faith lies. Do you have the right Jesus? The right God? Or is your faith in a figment of your own making?

The saving faith isn’t a mere, “I believe Jesus died for my sins.” It’s much more than that. It is complete submission to Christ. Now none of us are perfect, but are we in process? If Jesus is just Savior and not Lord, then you don’t trust Him. You only use Him as a “get-out-of-jail-free” card and that’s not Christianity. The faith that God wants us to have is wholly, completely, nothing held back, no reserves, no second-guessing, full confidence that He is who He said He is and He does what He says He does. There can be fear and trembling and “uncertainty” to a degree, but it’s stepping out, trusting God, asking Him to help our unbelief, and obeying Him. The great thing about God is that when we trust Him, He can take us where we never could go on our own. He’ll take us through the fog at times, but when He does, it is either to protect us from the enemy (because if we can’t see him, neither can he see us in that setting), or it’s to position ourselves to do the impossible. And to this day, I have never met, heard, or read of a single person who ever devoted themselves completely to God, walking in true Biblical faith, who ever regretted it. I never will hear of one such case and by the grace of God, I’ll be yet another example for other to follow.

Next week is Christmas Day, and then we’ll examine the centerpiece of it all: Christ Alone.

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