This is the continuation of a series on the ‘solas’ of the Reformation. We have already looked at ‘Semper Reformanda’ (always reforming), ‘Sola Scriptura’(Scripture alone), and ‘Solus Christus’ (in Christ alone). We are now going to consider ‘Sola Gratia’ (by grace alone).
Essentially, Sola Gratia simply means we are saved by grace alone. We are saved by grace and grace alone. In other words, our salvation is not the result of our works. We do not now find ourselves in favour with God because we have earned this position or are somehow inherently favourable to Him. (Ephesians 2:1-10)
Beyond just our salvation, we recognise that everything we are, everything we have, everything we know/understand is all a result of God’s grace. We are who we are by the grace of God. If I understand anything of God’s Word, His character, His purposes, His works, His ways, it is entirely because of His grace. (Romans 8:28-32; James 1:17; 1 Corinthians 1:18-31)
So here’s the question of the hour, the practical conundrum, the all-to-common inconsistency…
Why are we so ungracious?
Seriously, I know I am not the only one to make this observation or to draw attention to this issue. Why are those who claim to believe in “Grace Alone” so ungracious to others?
Some of our churches, seminaries, colleges, pastors’ forums, home groups, etc. are about as stone cold as a morgue.
If we really believe there is nothing we have done to earn our position before a Holy God. If we really believe, it is only because of His sovereign grace we are who we are, know anything, and have been given any opportunities in life or ministry at all. If we really believe we owe everything to His lovingkindness. Then we ought, of all people, to be characterised as gracious.
So, when was the last time you:
- Spoke to someone before or after a Sunday service you don’t know?
- Spoke to someone before or after a Sunday service you don’t have something else (i.e. similar age, stage in life, common sport interest, common job, etc.) already in common?
- Sat next to someone in a home group who you didn’t know?
- Prayed with someone at church or in a home group you’ve never prayed with before?
- Phoned someone in the week just to see how they were doing so you could pray for them?
- Intentionally made contact with a pastor from another denomination just to build a friendship?
- Had someone or a family over for a meal who you barely know?
- Introduced yourself to someone who looks like they just don’t fit in, and asked them an open ended question genuinely desiring to know the answer?
The list could go on and on…
My heart is rebuked as I write this! I may claim to believe in Sola Gracia, but my actions will testify to the truth of my claim!