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Solus Christus - Christ Alone

March 13 2018
March 13 2018
By

In our survey of the important biblical convictions of the Protestant Reformation, we come to a very great and important one. It is the sola about Jesus Christ - in Christ alone, or in Latin, solus Christus. Our life with God, our salvation and our hope in God are rooted in Christ alone.

The church at the time of the Reformation might not have spoken a direct word against the concept of solus Christus, but in practice in many ways Christ was not seen as sufficient. He was not viewed as a sufficient savior in that his death and resurrection may not fully save some believers - they might wind up in purgatory and need the extra righteousness of the saints to be credited to them by the leaders of the church. He was not viewed as a sufficient intermediary between God and humanity, as the church encouraged prayers to various pious believers (saints) of days gone by for help. The Reformation saw these things as out of accord with the teaching of scripture that Christ’s death paid for our sins (1 Peter 3:18, and many others), and that Jesus alone is our intermediary with the Father (Hebrews 7:25, and many others).

The Christ alone teaching is still as biblical and relevant today. Our temptations about the teaching of Christ alone today might be quite different. A first case: given that Christians are much more in the minority position in America than was once the case we may be tempted to imagine that there is a plan B for nice people we know. Perhaps Christ is just a way to God? Maybe if people are sincere in their beliefs, live out Christian ethics without believing in Jesus, or are generally nice people God’s love will “win” and they will get to enjoy salvation and forgiveness along with Jesus’ followers?

A familiar modern hymn restates the Bible’s teaching about Jesus:

In Christ alone who took on flesh
Fullness of God in helpless babe
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones He came to save
Till on that cross as Jesus died
The wrath of God was satisfied
For every sin on Him was laid
Here in the death of Christ I live

If the wrath of God was satisfied by Christ on the cross, then there is no plan B…there is Christ alone who is enough for our salvation.

A second area of temptation is to add requirements to the gospel, however well intentioned, which by their nature suggest that the cross of Christ is not enough. When think to ourselves, “Good Christians ALL do A, B, and C, and never do D, E and F,” we sometimes confuse wise choices with God’s laws. Whenever we add requirements to the gospel or to Christian living that are not demanded by Scripture itself, we run the risk of diminishing the work of Christ.

That might give you a few things to think about the next time we sing “In Christ Alone!”

For more on this see this excellent article at Ligonier Ministries website.

Don


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