Four ‘Alones’

by Rev. William Weedon

Sola is the Latin word for “alone.” For the Reformers, four solas rang through Sacred Scripture: grace alone, faith alone, Scripture alone, Christ alone. With the help of the Hymn of the Day for Reformation, “Salvation unto Us Has Come” (LSB 555), let’s examine what Scripture says about each sola.

If a Lutheran Service Book is available, sing or recite stanza 1 of “Salvation unto Us Has Come.” (LSB will enhance this study, but you can proceed without it.)

Salvation unto us has come
By God’s free grace and favor;
Good works cannot avert our doom,
They help and save us never.
Faith looks to Jesus Christ alone,
Who did for all the world atone;
He is our one Redeemer.

Grace Alone!

Read Eph. 2:4–10. How did God show His great love for us? What was OUR condition when this love was given us? Cf. Rom. 5:8.

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What did God do for us in Christ? (For another way of describing this, see 2 Cor. 5:19.)

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Discuss: Why did God do this? What does “by grace” mean? Do good works come before, or follow after, grace?

Now sing or recite stanza 6 of LSB 555.

Faith Alone!

Read Rom. 3:19–28. What does the Law do to all people? Is it possible for anyone to be justified by “works of the Law”? Why? Cf. Matt. 5:48.

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How did God “manifest” His righteousness apart from Law? Why is there no distinction?

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Discuss: What did God set our Lord Jesus before us as? How is He to be received? How is God “just” and the “justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus”?

What does St. Paul conclude about justification? What does “apart from works of the Law” end up excluding?

Sing or recite stanza 9.

Scripture Alone!

Read John 8:31–36. What did our Lord say to the Jews who had believed in Him?

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How do we do that? Cf. Col. 3:16.

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What does His Word teach us? Cf. Jesus’ prayer in John 17:17.

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What does the Word teach us about our bondage to sin? Cf. Ps. 51:5; Eph. 2:1–3.

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Discuss: What does the Word teach us about the freedom we have in Christ? How does the Son set us free? Cf. Eph. 1:13, 14; Col. 2:13, 14.

Sing or recite stanza 7.

Christ Alone!

Read Acts 4:1–12. Why were the apostles in jail, and what did the officials want to know from them? How did St. Peter answer their question?

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Discuss: What does St. Peter proclaim about Jesus? Why is there salvation in no other name? Cf. John 14:6. What is the unique gift that comes only through Jesus’ name? Cf. Acts 12:43.

Sing or recite stanza 8.

Sola, then: grace, faith, Scripture, and all because there’s only one Lord Jesus in whom we can be saved! On Reformation Day, we thank God for bringing such joyful truths to light again through the work of Martin Luther and the other reformers. A blessed Reformation festival to all!

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