“For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12
This year, October 31, marks the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s posting of his 95 theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. On October 31, 1517, the posting of his theses sparked a revolution that initiated the Protestant Reformation. What were these 95 theses? They were Luther’s calling for a “disputation on the power and efficacy of indulgences out of love and zeal for truth and the desire to bring it to light.”
His initial purpose was not to separate from the Catholic Church, but to reform it. Luther’s strong stance in the Word of God led to him being labeled a heretic and condemned by the church. When asked why he had done what he did, he answered, “I never wanted to do it, but was forced into it when I had to become a Doctor of Holy Scripture against my will.”
From the Reformation came the Five Solas. These five statements from the early Reformers distinguish them from the Roman Catholic Church. The word “sola” is a Latin word that simply means “only” or “alone.”
• Sola Scriptura: “Scripture alone”
• Sola Fide: “Faith alone”
• Sola Gratia: “Grace alone”
• Solus Christus: “Christ alone”
• Soli Deo Gloria: “To the glory of God alone”
In light of this, the church where I serve is celebrating the Reformation by memorizing Scripture based on the Five Solas. This month’s memory verse just happens to be Hebrews 4:12. The other two were 2 Timothy 3:16-17 and 1 Thessalonians 2:13. These verses emphasize that the Bible alone is the only source of authority for Christians. By stating “Scripture alone,” the Reformers rejected any religious tradition or authority that claimed to have divine power as declared by the Roman Catholic Pope. Thus, anything or anyone who contradicts the Bible is to be rejected.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 reminds us that the only divine authority we have for the church is not found in man’s wisdom or declarations, but in the divinely inspired Word of God. For “All Scripture (Old Testament and New Testament only) is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”
These words are life to the Christian. They teach us about God, man, sin, Jesus, salvation, the church, eternal life, heaven, and the Christian’s walk. They are our counsel as the Holy Spirit guides and teaches us how to walk in a way that brings glory to God through Christ. Therefore, if you believe in Christ alone, you only need His Word alone to live and hope for eternal life.
Pastor of Community Groups & Caring
NorthCreek Church, Walnut Creek, CA