Faith Alone

Rob Green September 29, 2017 Romans 3:28-4:25
Outline

Salvation is by grace alone (Sola Gratia), through faith alone (Sola Fide), in Christ alone (Solus Christus) to the Glory of God alone (Soli Deo Gloria) understood based on the Scriptures alone (Sola Scriptura).

“All, therefore, were glorified and magnified, not through themselves or their own works or the righteous actions which they did, but through his will in Christ Jesus, are not justified through ourselves or through our wisdom or understanding or piety or works, which we have done in holiness of heart, but through faith, by which the almighty God has justified all who have existed from the beginning, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen” (1 Clement 32:3-4, written AD 96)

“He did not hate us, or reject us, or bear a grudge against us; instead he was patient and forbearing; in his mercy, he took upon himself our sins; he himself gave up his own Son as a ransom for us, the holy one for the lawless, the guiltless for the guilty, ‘the just for the unjust,’ the incorruptible for the corruptible, the immortal for the moral. For what else but his righteousness could have covered our sins? In whom was it possible for us, the lawless and ungodly, to be justified, except in the Son of God alone? O the sweet exchange, O the incomprehensible work of God, O the unexpected blessings, that the sinfulness of many should be hidden in one righteous man, while the righteousness of one should justify many sinners!”

Sola fide means that salvation comes by looking to Christ in faith and being given the righteousness of Christ rather than looking to our own works of righteousness for rescue. Sola fide was a claim that justification came by faith.

2 truths about Sola Fide that encourage our faith and motivate us to faithful action

I. We are Justified by Sola Fide – Faith Alone (Romans 3:28-4:25)

Justification is the judicial act of God whereby He declares the sinner to be righteous.

A. Both Jews and Gentiles are justified by faith (Romans 3:28-31)

Romans 3:28-31 - For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law. Or is God the God of Jews only? Is He not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, since indeed God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith is one. Do we then nullify the Law through faith? May it never be! On the contrary, we establish the Law.

B. Abraham proves that justification was, is, and will be by faith (Romans 4:1-3)

Romans 4:1-3 - What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, has found? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”

Galatians 3:6-9 - Even so Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness. Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham. The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “All the nations will be blessed in you.” So then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer.

C. The joy of imputed righteousness (Romans 4:4-15)

Romans 4:4-15 - Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due. But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness, just as David also speaks of the blessing on the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds have been forgiven, And whose sins have been covered. “Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will not take into account.” Is this blessing then on the circumcised, or on the uncircumcised also? For we say, “Faith was credited to Abraham as righteousness.” How then was it credited? While he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised; and he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while uncircumcised, so that he might be the father of all who believe without being circumcised, that righteousness might be credited to them, and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also follow in the steps of the faith of our father Abraham which he had while uncircumcised. For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would be heir of the world was not through the Law, but through the righteousness of faith. For if those who are of the Law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise is nullified; for the Law brings about wrath, but where there is no law, there also is no violation.

Romans 5:18-19 - So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.

2 Corinthians 5:21 - He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

D. The proper understanding of faith (Romans 4:16-25)

Romans 4:16-25 - For this reason it is by faith, in order that it may be in accordance with grace, so that the promise will be guaranteed to all the descendants, not only to those who are of the Law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, (as it is written, “A father of many nations have I made you”) in the presence of Him whom he believed, even God, who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist. In hope against hope he believed, so that he might become a father of many nations according to that which had been spoken, “So shall your descendants be.” Without becoming weak in faith he contemplated his own body, now as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah’s womb; yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform. Therefore it was also credited to him as righteousness. Now not for his sake only was it written that it was credited to him, but for our sake also, to whom it will be credited, as those who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, He who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification.

Hebrews 11:1 - Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

Faith = the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things unseen

Justification = the judicial act whereby God declares a sinner to be righteous

Righteousness = God imputing the righteousness of Christ to us so that we are now seen through the righteousness of Christ rather than our sin.

II. Sola Fide – Faith Alone Shows it’s Real by Good Deeds (James 2:14-26)

Matthew 7:21-23 - Not everyone who says to Me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?” And then I will declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.”

A. Sola Fide is different than intellectual ascent (James 2:14-17)

James 2:14-17 - What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.

B. Sola Fide shows its genuineness in what it does (James 2:18-26)

James 2:18-26 - But someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected; and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,” and he was called the friend of God. You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. In the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.

Works = the actions I take in order to demonstrate that I trust Christ and I want to follow him.

Take Aways

#1. To give thanks for a great salvation.

#2. To remember that assurance of salvation comes from the Lord saving me.

#3. To actively pursue Christ in every aspect of life.

This year we have been celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation as a part of our annual theme entitled In Christ Alone.

Even though I have not mentioned this anniversary every time I have had the privilege to speak, the theological accuracy of the reformation is part of my personal story.

My father did not grow up in a Christian home. It was not an atheist home nor did my grandparents dabble in satanic rituals. It was largely a secular home in a small town in Ohio made up almost entirely of the poor.

My mother on the other hand grew up in a very religious home. They were practicing Catholics through and through. My mother and all 6 of her siblings were faithful to mass, educated in Catholic schools, and my grandparents served in leadership positions for decades in their local parish.

  • Two of my great uncles (brothers to my grandfather) became priests and one studied in Clarks Summit PA when it was a Catholic Monastery. Today it is the location of Baptist Bible College (Pastor Viars is a graduate).
  • But despite my mother’s years of training, church involvement, and study of Catholic teaching something was missing.
  • Her crisis of faith came to a head when she was the mother of two young children. She opened a phone book and called a Baptist pastor asking how she could be saved.
  • They thought she had renounced the true faith and had subsequently lost her salvation.
  • They were angry that she was forsaking their years of training, hurt that their oldest daughter would betray the faith and them, and worried about her eternal condition all at the same time.
  • But the moment of my mother’s reformation set the direction of our family from that point forward.
  • These five Latin phrases are not for the purpose of sounding smart or educated. They are at the very core of what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ.
  • They cared more about their power and the writings of men then they cared about the Word of God.
  • That person would say that he looked in faith to Christ and it is Christ who justified him and gave him his righteousness.
  • So, there are three words you need to focus on in order to understand Sola Fide … Faith, justification, and righteousness. Please write them at the top of your sermon notes.
  • Grace emphasizes that salvation is a gift,
  • Christ emphasizes that there is no other name whereby a person can be saved.
  • Faith emphasizes justification.
  • If Faith emphasized justification then we need a basic understanding of it.
  • My favorite illustration of justification is there was a lawyer in Texas whose name was Racehorse Haines. A reporter interviewed him and at the time Racehorse had never lost a case. The reporter asked him if he ever asked his clients whether they committed the crime. He said, “No ma’am, it is my job as a defense attorney to present the facts of the case in the best possible light for my client.” Not satisfied the reporter said, “Is there ever a time that you found out?” He said, “Yes, the jury had just returned a not guilty verdict and the judge asked my client if there was anything he would like to say.” My client said, “Yes, sir. I want to thank the jury for declaring me innocent and I promise I will never do it again.”
  • Pastor Aucoin explained that we could not earn our salvation through the works of the law or on any merit of our own. It was not simply unlikely, it was impossible. That truth emphasizes grace. But it also explains justification.
  • Abraham was one of the most important and cherished persons.
  • He was the argument they used against almost everything.
  • Instead the connection to Abraham according to v. 13 is through the righteousness that comes by faith.
  • In hope against hope he believed (v. 18-19). When it was hard to understand how a childless man who was 90 years old could possibly be the father of nations, he believed.
  • He did not waver in God’s promise, but rather was convinced of it and gave God glory for that promise (v. 20).
  • He was convinced that God was capable of doing all that he promised and that God would do it in the proper time (v. 21)
  • I believe in Jesus but I don’t have much time for the church (which is why they do not serve, join, or make it an important part of their life).
  • I believe in Jesus but if you examined my life you would find that I behave very much like unbelievers. I have my fire insurance policy so now I can live how I want.
  • I believe in Jesus but I just live my life.
  • While you and I are not in the position to make pronouncements about who is and who is not saved, the warnings found in the Bible are strong enough that it is clear there is such a thing as a faith that does not save. Jesus himself said
  • Faith North launch team
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  • Meaningful weekly service and involvement

My father “became” a catholic to marry my mother, but it was just a hurdle to jump on the way to the alter and I was baptized in a Catholic church as a baby.

You can imagine my grandparents’ surprise when my mom called to tell them she had trusted in the finished work of Jesus Christ, apart from any works, for her salvation.

She had a reformation of her own and she was initially met with a similar response as Luther and Calvin albeit less violent.

For those of you who are new, saw the title, and wondered if the sermon was actually going to be in Latin or if you are wondering why we are using a dead language as the title of five sermons, then please here this:

Salvation is by Grace alone (Sola Gratia), through Faith alone (Sola Fide), in Christ alone (Solus Christus) to the Glory of God Alone (Soli Deo Gloria) understood based on the Scriptures alone (Sola Scriptura).

This is the heart of Christian Theology. This is what the reformers fought and died over.

However, I don’t want to give you the impression that it was 500 years ago before any true followers existed. Or that we have only 500 years of right theology. These same elements of theology are found in the writings of the church fathers.

“All, therefore, were glorified and magnified, not through themselves or their own works or the righteous actions which they did, but through his will in Christ Jesus, are not justified through ourselves or through our wisdom or understanding or piety or works, which we have done in holiness of heart, but through faith, by which the almighty God has justified all who have existed from the beginning, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen” (1 Clement 32:3-4, written AD 96)

Clement was a church father writing just 60 years after the death of Jesus, 30 years after Paul, and during the time when John wrote. It is clear that justification came by faith in his reading of Scripture.

Fifty years later in the Epistle to Diognetus we find …

“He did not hate us, or reject us, or bear a grudge against us; instead he was patient and forbearing; in his mercy, he took upon himself our sins; he himself gave up his own Son as a ransom for us, the holy one for the lawless, the guiltless for the guilty, “the just for the unjust,” the incorruptible for the corruptible, the immortal for the moral. For what else but his righteousness could have covered our sins? In whom was it possible for us, the lawless and ungodly, to be justified, except in the Son of God alone? O the sweet exchange, O the incomprehensible work of God, O the unexpected blessings, that the sinfulness of many should be hidden in one righteous man, while the righteousness of one should justify many sinners!

But issues of greed, power, authority, and mere religion rather than relationship slowly took the church leaders to commit the same mistakes that the religious leaders in Jesus’ time made:

Thus, the reformers stood their ground on 5 main points of theology … all of which can be found at the very beginnings of the church. Pastor Viars explained the importance of the Scriptures alone and Pastor Aucoin loving took us to the wonderful place of Grace. My task this morning is to explain Sola Fide – Faith Alone.

As a first step let’s start with a definition of Sola Fide – Faith Alone. Sola fide means that salvation comes by looking to Christ in faith and being given the righteousness of Christ rather than looking to our own works of righteousness for rescue. Sola fide was a claim that justification came by faith.

You could think of it like this … If you were to die today and stand before God and he asked, “Why should I let you into my heaven?” what would a person who believes in sola fide say?

Now, with that in mind please turn to Romans 3. That is on page ____ of the back section of the Bible in the chair in front of you.

As you are getting there … I am going to have our passage on the screen, but if you have a Bible please open it because we are covering so much ground today that I want you to be able to go back and read the text and follow the argument all the way through.

I would like us to consider 2 truths about Sola Fide that encourage our faith and motivate us to faithful action.

I. We are Justified by Sola Fide – Faith Alone (Romans 3:28-4:25)

Sola gratia, sola fide, and solus Christus are closely related.

Each of these ideas are different ways of looking at the salvation. It is similar to the way a newly engaged girl might inspect her ring. She looks at its beauty from each possible angle.

Justification is the judicial act of God whereby he declares the sinner to be righteous.

That does not mean that a person is innocent or that they have a righteousness in themselves. It means that God declares the sinner to be righteous. It is one of the most precious truths in all of Scripture.

Friends, that may make your skin crawl a bit, but it is also what the Lord has done for us … take sinners and declare them righteous. Let’s get to our text … 

A.      Both Jews and Gentiles are Justified by faith (Romans 3:28-31)

Romans 3:28-31 For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law. 29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is He not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, 30 since indeed God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith is one. 31 Do we then nullify the Law through faith? May it never be! On the contrary, we establish the Law.

Earlier in Romans Paul explained that the Jews were sinners and the gentiles (non-Jews) were also sinners and thus all were deserving of eternal punishment away from the Lord.

But regardless of their family tree and regardless of when they were born justification always came by faith rather than the works of the law.

The repetition of v. 30 makes that point even stronger. You and I are like Racehorse’s client. We were guilty and God declared us righteous. Praise the Lord!

In order to prove his point, he then reminds the nation of Abraham.

B.      Abraham proves that justification was, is, and will be by faith (Romans 4:1-3)

Romans 4:1-3 What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, has found? 2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. 3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”

Abraham is a pivotal man in the Bible’s storyline. He is promised land, seed, and blessing. Scripture makes it clear that the blessing was not that Abraham would be rich or successful, but that he would be the spiritual father of all nations through the blessing of Jesus Christ.

Those Jews who read Romans would immediately resonate with v. 1. They are children of Abraham (as Paul was) through blood line. They were one of the 12 tribes each of which came from a son of Jacob who was born to Isaac who was born to Abraham.

But Paul reminds them that even Abraham was justified by his faith. His faith in the promises of God which he could not see.

The quotation of v. 3 is from Genesis 15:6 where Abraham believed in the promise that God would give him land, seed, and blessing and inherent in this belief was the promise of a son despite the fact that Abraham and his wife Sarah were old.

Galatians 3:6-9 makes the connection to Abraham and justification even more clear.

Galatians 3:6-9 Even so Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness. 7 Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham. 8 The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “All the nations will be blessed in you.” 9 So then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer.

You are I are children of Abraham through our common relationship with Jesus Christ through faith. It is our belief in the Word and the promises of God that unites us to Abraham. We share the title of believer because we listen to God’s word and then we accept it as true.

The concepts of faith and justification are closely connected. But Galatians introduced a third term that is also a crucial aspect of Sola Fide and that term is righteousness. Let us go back to Romans 4.

C.      The joy of imputed righteousness (Romans 4:4-15)

Romans 4:4-15 Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due. 5 But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness, 6 just as David also speaks of the blessing on the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: 7 “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds have been forgiven, And whose sins have been covered. 8 “Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will not take into account.” 9 Is this blessing then on athe circumcised, or on the uncircumcised also? For we say, “Faith was credited to Abraham as righteousness.” 10 How then was it credited? While he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised; 11 and he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while uncircumcised, so that he might be the father of all who believe without being circumcised, that righteousness might be credited to them, 12 and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also follow in the steps of the faith of our father Abraham which he had while uncircumcised. 13 For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would be heir of the world was not through the Law, but through the righteousness of faith. 14 For if those who are of the Law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise is nullified; 15 for the Law brings about wrath, but where there is no law, there also is no violation.

In our definition of justification we said that it is a judicial (legal) act of God whereby the sinner is declared righteous. Our story about Racehorse breaks down a bit here. Because justification does not simply take a guilty person, declare them innocent, and then have them leave to go on their own.

Justification includes a notion of righteousness. We saw in Galatians and now we see it in Romans. Here was one of the major issues of the reformation. Were you righteous or were you given the righteousness of Jesus.

We call that issue imputed righteousness.

Paul references both Abraham and David to show that blessed was the person who was not looking to a righteousness of his own, but instead was relying on the righteousness of someone else.

This crediting or imputing of righteousness occurred before circumcision (which was the sign of the covenant between Israel and God). This makes it clear that you and I are justified and given the same righteousness as Abraham … being a national Jew is not a requirement.  It was before the law which means we did not have to be under the law first in order to receive this righteousness.

Romans 4 is very good news for you and me!

This same truth is taught in

Romans 5:18-19 So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. 19 For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.

2 Corinthians 5:21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

You see Sola Fide reminds you and me that when we place our faith in Jesus Christ and in his work for our salvation was are justified … declared innocent and given the righteousness that belongs to Christ.

What that means practically is that God sees you through the filter of the righteousness of Christ. I am so thankful for this truth. Just as a pair of sunglasses changes the way the world looks to my eyes, so does the glorious righteousness of Christ (the perfect and spotless lamb of God who was sacrificed in my place) change the way the Father sees me.

That is a reason for joy and celebration.

D.     The proper understanding of faith (Romans 4:16-25)

One definition that I have left out to this point in the sermon is faith. But the following verses explain Abraham’s faith and by extension the faith that you and I are supposed to exercise.

Romans 4:16-25 For this reason it is by faith, in order that it may be in accordance with grace, so that the promise will be guaranteed to all the descendants, not only to those who are of the Law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, 17 (as it is written, “A father of many nations have I made you”) in the presence of Him whom he believed, even God, who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist. 18 In hope against hope he believed, so that he might become a father of many nations according to that which had been spoken, “So shall your descendants be.” 19 Without becoming weak in faith he contemplated his own body, now as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah’s womb; 20 yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, 21 and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform. 22 Therefore it was also credited to him as righteousness. 23 Now not for his sake only was it written that it was credited to him, 24but for our sake also, to whom it will be credited, as those who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, 25 He who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification.

Notice the following elements.

This was the faith that honored the Lord, it was the faith that resulted in God imputing the righteousness of Christ on him and it is this same faith that you and I must exercise.

The more concise version of Romans 4:16-25 is Hebrews 11:1 which says, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

If you took my advice to write the three key words associated with Sola Fide at the top of your page now you have definitions for each …

Faith = the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things unseen

Justification = the judicial act whereby God declares a sinner to be righteous

Righteousness = God imputing the righteousness of Christ to us so that we are now seen through the righteousness of Christ rather than our sin.

I think it is fair to say that those are key tenants of the faith. During the reformation 500 years ago, it was about calling the church to a proper understanding of Scripture. Men and women died for those convictions. Today, those truths are still worth knowing and fighting for.

But this raises one more truth about Sola Fide that we need to consider.

II. Sola Fide – Faith Alone shows its real by good deeds (James 2:14-26)

There are some who would then use what I have said so far to come to some very unhelpful and untrue conclusions about what it means to be a Christian. That is why we have some people who say

The question is whether these attitudes are consistent with the proper understanding of Sola Fide. Is it just Faith alone? Is it just a prayer your pray when you are 6 and the rest of your life is set? Should we expect fruit from the life of a genuine believer?

I believe that Sola Fide, in the reformers understanding, was not an excuse for “easy believeism.” It was not an excuse for pray a prayer and live however you want.

Matthew 7:21-23 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’

His half-brother James discusses the same issue in chapter 2:14-26. Please turn in your Bibles there … it is on page _____ of the back section.

A.      Sola Fide is different than intellectual ascent (James 2:14-17)

James 2:14-17 What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? 17 Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.

James combats this notion that a person can just say they believe and have nothing that goes with it. Faith, if it is not evidenced by what it does, then it does not exist.

Imagine you asked someone to do something … let’s say clean their room. You give them various reasons why this is important and they say they agree. But time after time they do not clean their room. What good is that agreement? It makes no difference in how they live.

Friends, it may be that you are here today and you have always said that you believe, but now you are wondering whether your faith has been nothing but talk. If you look at your schedule, Jesus is not there. If you look at the things that are important to you, Jesus is not there. If you look at your checkbook, Jesus is not there. If you look at where you use your skills, Jesus is there THEN … maybe your faith has been nothing more than intellectual ascent.

Jesus impacts your life about as much as Abraham Lincoln. Maybe what needs to happen is that you trust Christ. You see that faith is not merely intellectual ascent, but also involves the matter of trust.

Jonathan Edwards once wrote that we are sinners walking over the pit of hell on rotten boards. It is powerful imagery reminding us that if Jesus is not enough, we are in serious trouble.

For those of you who would admit that you have never placed your faith in Christ I want to encourage you to do that today. [Develop based on time]

For all of us …

B.      Sola Fide shows its genuineness in what it does (James 2:18-26)

James 2:18-26 But someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” 19 You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. 20 But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? 22 You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,” and he was called the friend of God. 24 You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 In the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26 For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.

Friends, we rejoice in God’s work in justifying us. We rejoice that God sees us through the righteousness of Christ. But the genuine faith that unites us to Christ is also an active faith. It is a faith that is living and that impacts everything about us.

It was true for Abraham, it was true for Rahab and it needs to be true for you and me. My faith should influence everything.

Based on James 2 we could add a fourth important word to our list of key words associated with Sola Fide – works.

Works = the actions I take in order to demonstrate that I trust Christ and I want to follow him.

I realize that this sermon was loaded with content. Some of you have minds about ready to explode with all this truth. Let me say first that all of the notes and recordings are available on the website. Print them off and listen to the sermon again with the notes.

But this sermon is not solely for the purpose of exercising our intellectual muscle. It is also very influential for our daily lives so I have included a few take aways.

Take Aways

Sola Fide encourages us …

#1. To give thanks for a great salvation. Justification and righteousness come from the Lord because faith unites us with Christ. Salvation is something we should never get over.

#2. To remember that assurance of salvation comes from the Lord saving me … Some believers struggle with assurance more than others.

If you are one of those persons who struggles with assurance then it may be that you are wrestling with the fact that you are not good enough for God. You keep looking to your own righteousness rather than the righteousness of Christ that is given to you. Then Sola Fide reminds you that salvation is start to finish a work of the Lord. Even faith is not a work in the sense of earning salvation because faith itself requires the Lord’s work in your life.

Struggling with assurance can be crippling. But remembering that Salvation is by Grace alone (Sola Gratia), through Faith alone (Sola Fide), in Christ alone (Solus Christus) to the Glory of God Alone (Soli Deo Gloria) understood based on the Scriptures alone (Sola Scriptura) sets you free from the fear and doubt and lets you rest in the strong arms of Christ.

#3. To actively pursue Christ in every aspect of life

Faith does not sit on the sidelines. Genuine faith works. Here are a few ways we are asking your faith to work.

Rob Green

B.S. - Engineering Physics, Ohio State University
M.Div. - Baptist Bible Seminary
Ph.D. - New Testament, Baptist Bible Seminary

Pastor Rob Green and his wife, Stephanie, joined the Faith staff in August, 2005.  Rob’s responsibilities include oversight of the Faith Biblical Counseling Ministry and teaching New Testament at the Faith Bible Seminary. He serves on the council board of the Biblical Counseling Coalition and as a fellow at the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors.

Read Rob Green's Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Green to Faith Church.