We have spent some time discussing “by scripture alone” (Sola Scriptura) and how we see the Bible as our ultimate authority of faith and practice. Let’s take time this week to look at the second sola. Sola Fide is the belief that salvation is received by faith in Jesus Christ alone, apart from any works or sacraments meant to merit our salvation by personal righteousness.
Also called Justificatio Sola Fide meaning justification by faith alone, is a soteriological doctrine (the study of salvation) in Christian theology that is commonly held to and a distinguishing belief of the protestant church. Sola Fide is rooted in several passages in the New Testament, which affirms that our salvation is received through faith alone. Romans 3:28 says; “Therefore we conclude [or maintain] that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.” This verse emphasizes that a person is made righteous (justified) through faith in Christ only. Entirely apart from any work they may do (cf. Galatians 2:16). Let us not forget Ephesians 2:8-9, which states; “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Paul emphasizes that our common salvation comes as a gift from God through faith, [trust/loyalty], not as a result of personal effort or sacrifice.
The concept of Sola Fide emerged during the Protestant Reformation as a reaction to the Roman Catholic Church’s emphasis on the value of deeds and sacraments, like baptism and the Eucharist, in obtaining salvation. The reformers believed that our salvation is a gift from God and can only be received through an individual’s faith in Jesus Christ and cannot be earned in any way.
However, a biblical balance is required. While Sola Fide teaches that salvation is received through faith alone, it does not negate the importance of good works. The reformers believed that good works result from salvation and are evidence of one’s faith, but they are not a requirement for salvation (See James 2:14ff).