Christian Apologetic Index
David G. Nesbitt - Kelowna, British Columbia
Sola Gratia, Sola Fide... Sola Scriptura, Tota Scriptura... Solus Christus, Soli Deo GloriaHome / Definitions ...
† Definition of Terms
Sola Gratia - is Latin for "Grace Alone." The Reformers taught that salvation is solely by the grace of God, for this is the only way for a sinful man to be made right in his Creator's sight. Such salvation is the freely given gift of God that was made possible by the saving sacrificial death and subsequent resurrection to glory of God's only Son--Jesus Christ. The Bible uses words like "election" and "predestination," which magnify the free grace of God in salvation. God is indeed sovereign! "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works [self effort of any kind]" (Ephesians 2:8-9a). Thus, Sola Gratia.
Sola Fide - "Faith alone," a simple yet central Reformation doctrine, the means whereby a sinner is graciously justified before God -- not faith plus merit, nor faith plus works, but faith alone. The only way to be justified and receive God's grace is through the faith which has Jesus Christ as its object. "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith ... not by works, so that no one can boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9). "A man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ ... that we might be justified by faith in Christ" (Galatians 2:16).
Sola Scriptura - "Scripture alone" or "only scripture," an accountability doctrine that found its birth in the Reformation. This concept basically states that the scriptures alone are the final authority in doctrinal issues, not the clergy. For example, the Roman Church believes that scripture is inferior to the authority of the clergy who alone can define their extent and meaning, whereas Protestants believe that both the laymen congregation and the ecclesiastical institution are inferior to the Word of God, subject to the authority of scripture. "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 complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work" (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
Solus Christus - is Latin for "Christ Alone." This is the Reformation doctrine that proclaims Jesus Christ and Him alone as the proper object our faith. This is a simple yet profound truth. Christ alone is to be trusted for salvation--no one else. "Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). Thus, Solus Christus.
Soli Deo Gloria - is Latin for "The Glory of God Alone." The focus of the Reformers was God's glory, to focus and proclaim the greatness and grandeur of the God of the Bible. It is God, not man, who belongs at the center of our thoughts and view of the world. And it is God's glory alone that is to occupy first place in our motivations and desires as His children. He created us and the world for Himself, and He redeemed us for His pleasure. Our purpose then, is to glorify HIM!! This is our worship. "Give to the LORD the glory due His name; Bring an offering, and come before Him. Oh, worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness!" (1 Chronicles 16:29). Thus, Sola Deo Gloria.