“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16,17).
On October 31, 2017, we Bible believers celebrate the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Protestant Reformation!
When Roman Catholic priest Martin Luther nailed his “95 Theses” to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany, he systematically outlined and protested ecclesiastical excesses and abuses (particularly the practice of selling indulgences—paying the pope to receive forgiveness of sins!). Church tradition had replaced Sacred Scripture, the written Word of God. Luther, whose original intention was to reform the Roman Catholic Church, actually started a revolution. A spiritually-dead church abounding with spiritually-dead people doing spiritually-dead works could not be improved. Apostasy was too widespread; Romanism was too corrupt.
Bible-believing Christians existed throughout church history, but organized religion (Roman Catholicism!) persecuted and suppressed them. Luther, walking in the light that he had, gave them a public voice and brought much attention to God’s truth to which they held! One such truth to be reemphasized—though not established for the first time—was “sola Scriptura” (Latin, “Scripture alone”). The authority was not in the Roman papacy or priesthood, but in the written Word of God alone. (Luther thus later spent a decade translating the Bible into German.)
Those who support a “Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition” view ask us for a Bible verse to defend our “sola Scriptura” position. Today’s Scripture clearly states that the Bible contains everything that God wants us to know. The Scriptures equip us to accomplish everything that God wants us to do. What are the inferences? If it is not in the Bible, then it not what God wants us to know! If it is not in Holy Writ, then it is notwhat God wants us to do! If it is not in the Scriptures, then it is not a good work! (So, if the Bible is sufficient, then what is the purpose of church tradition? Why, to challenge the Bible!)
Over 200 times the New Testament quotes the Old Testament. The New Testament writers appealed to Scripture for validation of truth instead of church leaders or religious tradition! Evidently, they preferred “sola Scriptura” too!
“Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus”(Romans 3:24).
“Sola gratia,” another Bible teaching the Reformers recovered (not invented!), is Latin for “grace alone.” How can we be justified—made right—before God? By God’s goodness alone? Or, because of God’s goodness and our goodness?
As per “sola Scriptura”—by Scripture alone—we see that Adam has caused man’s nature to be corrupt from conception. After committing his horrible sin with Bathsheba, King David confessed in Psalm 51:5: “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.” When David prayed, verse 1 has him saying: “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.” Why would God forgive David? Because of David’s “goodness?” Nay, evil David would be forgiven only because of God’s grace!
Jeremiah 17:9 says: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” The Lord Jesus affirmed in Mark chapter 7: “ And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man.  For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,  Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness:  All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.” No wonder Romans 3:23 says: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;….”
Frankly, God does not “owe” us a way to Heaven, as there is nothing in our nature that He accepts. In fact, His justice demands that His righteousness be enforced. Anything short of His holiness—including man’s sin nature—deserves His wrath. That fury is Hell and, ultimately, everlasting punishment in the Lake of Fire. No religious activity (water baptism, church membership, confession, prayer, et cetera) can abolish man’s sin nature or rescue him from his deserved eternal doom. As David realized, man, spiritually bankrupt, must look beyond himself and his feeble abilities to God’s grace, what God can do for him!
“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” (Ephesians 2:8,9).
The third Reformation principle, “sola fide” (Latin, “faith alone”), protests the well-known Roman Catholic mishandling of James 2:24. “A man is justified by faith and works” is clearly written to Israel (chapter 1, verse 1). Following God’s instructions to others is surely destructive. Lost people wake up in eternal hellfire quoting Scripture (including James 2:24!).
In this the Dispensation of God’s Grace, salvation is by grace through faith plus nothing. Romans chapter 3: “ To declare, I say, at this time [God’s] righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.  Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.  Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.”
Our Apostle Paul (Romans 11:13) continues in chapter 4: “ For what saith the scripture? [Sola Scriptura!] Abraham believed God [Sola Fide!], and it was counted unto him for righteousness.  Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace [Sola Gratia!], but of debt.  But to him that worketh not [Sola Fide!], but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly [Sola Fide!], his faith [Sola Fide!] is counted for righteousness.”Rather than having religious self-righteousness (Romans 10:1-3), remember that Heaven is gained by faith alone in Christ’s righteousness alone! “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3,4).
The Reformers, while lacking the more perfect Bible understanding we enjoy, nevertheless walked in the spiritual light they had. They understood justification by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone (Romans chapters 1-5). In the 500 years since, we have recovered the rest of the Book of Romans that religious tradition had stifled (chapters 6-16—victorious Christian identity and living, differences between Israel and the Body of Christ, and grace principles for various life situations). Brethren, let us walk in the light we have, further building on the Reformers’ efforts! source
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[…] he saw things in a whole new light. As Luther was reading Romans 1:17, where it states, “The just shall live by faith,” he paused a moment, and then it suddenly dawned on him that salvation was by faith. Up to […]