This is the 4th post in the Sola series. Previous posts…
Grace Alone, Faith Alone, and Christ Alone are tightly connected. Notice the prepositions in the following sentence: Salvation is by Grace Alone through Faith Alone in Christ Alone. That is solid, biblical Christianity!
“Solus Christus” means 3 things…
1. Christ’s death is sufficient to atone for our sin.
One of the problems that Martin Luther faced and fought against was the vast number of way that the Roman Catholic Church said a person could find forgiveness of their sin. Pope Urban II said that any person who fought and died in the Crusades would be forgiven. Through the sale of indulgences, Pope Leo X put forgiveness of sin up for purchase like a commodity. And forgiveness was always available through confession to a priest and prayer. Luther responded to this with “Solus Christus” – in Christ alone can we find forgiveness and salvation.
But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God. – Hebrews 9:11-14
And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified. – Hebrews 10:11-14
Outside of Christ there is no other payment for our sins, and the death Christ suffered was a once-for-all payment for our sin. We cannot add anything to what Christ has done. His work on the cross is completely sufficient for our salvation.
2. The death and resurrection of Jesus is central to our faith.
Jesus is central to the life of the church. “And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.” – Colossians 1:18
Jesus is central to the life of the individual believer. “For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.” – Romans 6:5-8
3. The missionary task is absolutely necessary.
I think we (evangelicals) are quick to affirm that salvation is in Christ alone. We love Acts 4:12, “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” and John 14:6, “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me’.” And while we are quick to affirm this, we fail to recognize the demands that this belief places on our lives.
Look at the progression that the apostle Paul creates in Romans 10:13-15…
For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”
- Call on the Lord = being saved
- Don’t believe = won’t call on the Lord = not saved
- Don’t hear = can’t believe = won’t call on the Lord = not saved
- No preaching = don’t hear = can’t believe = won’t call on the Lord = not saved
- No missionaries sent = no preaching = don’t hear = can’t believe = won’t call on the name of the Lord = not saved
Those who have never heard of Christ will not be saved in their ignorance. Thus, we must go to them with the gospel.
If we believe that Christ is the only way to salvation then the Bible demands that we be committed to the missionary task, otherwise we are completely selfish and hypocritical. Being committed to the missionary task means you can be a person who goes or a person who sends and supports those who go. We simply don’t have the option to not participate.