“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, It is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:8-10)”
When I think of the Reformation and Martin Luther, I think of this Bible verse. The reformation that we officially say started Oct. 31, 1517 when Luther nailed 95 theses or statements to the church door in Wittenberg, Germany, started a process where theologians and ordinary people began to articulate the premises, the foundations, of their faith. Four or five “solae (only)” became central to the understanding of Protestantism and how it varied from Catholicism. I want to look at these “Solae” this week and to reflect on the core of our faith.
Before we delve into these foundation beliefs, it might do us well to think about what is foundational as we think about our faith. Is there something about my faith that I would be willing to die for? Our military people are willing to put their lives on the line for the freedoms we cherish dearly as written in the Declaration of Independence: all should have the freedom to pursue life, liberty and happiness. The spiritual revolution of the 1500s we call the Reformation said all people have the rights of: scripture, faith, grace, and Christ. These led to an individualism and belief in the value of each person regardless of race, creed, or intelligence. We cherish our rights to become, to think for ourselves, and to thrive. Many of our social tensions right now are wrapped up in how we understand these rights and how we balance the needs of the many with the rights of the individual.
So take a moment and write down one freedom that you value and then the implications that come from that value for your life and the choices you make. Spend a moment to offer a prayer of thanksgiving for that freedom. Which “sola” would you trace that freedom to: Scripture, grace, faith or Christ? Blessings.