Contend Earnestly: Five Solas of the Reformation - Solus Christus - Part 1

Monday, March 19, 2007

Five Solas of the Reformation - Solus Christus - Part 1

As we enter into our second of the Five Solas, this again, like we will probably find with most of the Solas, we will agree with the concept but must challenge ourselves to agree practically as well. Most confessing Christians, would agree with the second sola, Christ Alone.

If I just say Christ Alone what are some thoughts that are brought to your attention?

For me when we proclaim Christ Alone we stand here stating that we are closed minded, that we alone have the truth, that we alone are going to heaven, that we alone have access to the true God, Creator of all things.

By saying, “Christ Alone” we draw a line in the sand against all who disagree and to those Christ says:

“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it. ”
Matthew 7:13,14

We are called many things for this belief in Christ alone, but we must stand for this truth as it saves us from our sins and sets us apart to be sanctified.

Solus Christus states the belief that the Scriptures and Christ have been secularized and has gone away from a Christ centered faith. At the time of the reformation it was to return to Christ alone is our salvation and our only mediator between God and man. As we have come along we have also seen that Christ alone opposes those things which are built upon the belief of self esteem, feelings instead of belief, man’s wisdom instead of the wisdom found only in Christ, the so called, “What will Christ give me gospel?” It stands in the face of “God has a wonderful plan for your life” and instead states “serve Christ because He alone died for you.”

Solus Christus stands, only on, everything we do and exalt is Christ centered and on Him alone.

Hopefully we will be challenged through this study to understand what we state when we cry out “Solus Christus” but know that our voice is not in solitary, our voice is heard and our voice, because of Christ, reaches to the ears of our Father in heaven.

We are going to look at three aspects of this truth:

Christ Alone is our Salvation
Christ Alone is our Mediator
Christ Alone is to be Glorified

First: Christ Alone is our Salvation

Have you ever told anyone that if they don’t believe in Christ that they will go to hell? What was the reaction? Most of the time the first thing they will say is, "I am a good person and not as bad as ::enter name:: so God will allow me into heaven." Or, that there are many roads to heaven and if you believe in Jesus and someone else believes in Buddha that God will see the good that they have done and they will be accepted as a child of God.

Maybe you have run into a secular humanist, claiming that there is no God and we are the only ones that can save ourselves. Maybe you have run into a postmodernist that believes that there is no absolute truths so to believe that Jesus is the Messiah for all people of all time is a misunderstanding of truth.

Maybe you have run into a universalist that believes that all will be saved and that there is no hell but that we will all enjoy heaven together.

Whichever of these you have run into, they are all the same: none of them believes the Reformation doctrine of “Solus Christus” as our Saviour. But where did the reformers find this doctrine? Well because we have defended and illustrated Sola Scriptura we know where they find these truths: The Bible

Because of the vastness of this subject we must concentrate our time on John 14:6 from Christ’s own mouth in what He claimed.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life;
no one comes to the Father but through Me.

Notice why Jesus even came to this statement, look to Thomas’ question in verse 5:

Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?”

Thomas’ real question to Christ was, "where are you going?" But, Christ, knowing the eternal impact of the question answers perfectly, as He always does, not where He is going, because He could have just as easily said, “I am going to heaven” but in actuality He gives Thomas three answers to His question and then insight on His exclusivity. With His three prong answer Christ uses the emphatic article, “the” to denote singleness or inclusively of His statement.

Jesus says that He alone is the way, or for us here in our life as a Christian, this is the start of our walk with God, when we understand this, this is our justification: He is the way. As Jesus then puts it, He is the truth. As we live our Christian life we must understand that He alone is the truth and we find it no where else, this is our progressive sanctification. Lastly; He is the life. This is our glorification, this is when we see Him face to face and enjoy Him forever. Jesus’ answer to Thomas shows the entire embodiment of a believer’s new life. And Christ, making sure that His commands are understood, says it again by saying, “no one comes to the Father but through Me.” It is almost like when Paul says, “Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice!” in Phil 4:4 or when Paul says to “pray without ceasing” in 1 Thess 5:17. Paul could have just said, “Pray” because that is in the present tense and in the Greek would mean to never cease from doing so, but he follows it up with the repetitive, “without ceasing”

This is what Christ is doing here. He is displaying to His apostles that He alone is the way to God, He alone is the truth, He alone is the life. What does this mean? If He alone is the way, there are no other ways, if He alone is the truth, everything else is a lie, if He alone is the life, everything else is death. And in case you didn’t get it; no one can come to the Father but through Christ.

This use of “no one” is important to understand. The term literally means “nothing or not a thing; denying absolutely; particularly placing emphasis as not even one, not the least and differing from mēdeís (3367) which would be conditional on certain circumstances.

So, Jesus is stating that under no circumstance can anything or anyone come to the Father except through Him no matter the circumstance. This is an absolute statement and if Christ meant for their to be other ways He could have used the Greek term “medeis” instead of the term that He actually used, which was “oudeis.”

There are absolutes, and this is one and the most important one: No one can come to the Father but through Christ, Solus Christus.

Followed up with these is Acts 4:12 that states:

“And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be

Of course, as we know that Scripture is breathed out by God and perfect, the word for “no one” is again our term “oudeis” that we just discussed in John 14:6. There are many other important verses and statements by Christ affirming that He alone is our salvation but none more than His declaration in John 14:6


Anonymous said...

I am wondering what you mean by Jesus alone. You seem to support the proof of Jesus alone very well through scripture. But I still don't find a definition of what that means. You said it means, "We are close minded"; We alone have truth";"we alone are going to heaven";"we alone have access to God" These seem to be all things that would happen in result of living by "Christ alone." But I am still at a loss of what "Christ alone" means, or maybe the questions that need to be answered are How do I know truth? what is close minded? What is heaven? What is acess to God like? I would be interested to hear your thoughts on these questions.
Thank you,

Seth McBee said...

Anonymous...thanks for your inquiry and please ask again if I don't clarify clearly.

when speaking of Christ alone, it really comes down to three things. He alone is our salvation, our Mediator, and He alone is to be glorified. We only hit on the first part so far in this post.

The reason that I leaned so heavily on Scripture is based on my first post in this series...Sola Scriptura...and Christ tells us in John 17 to the Father: Your word is truth.

So when you ask, "How do I know truth?" It is only through Scripture when dealing with spiritual aspects. Close minded means that I am close minded to only the 66 books of the Bible. What is heaven? Heaven is where God "resides" and where we will worship and enjoy Him forever. What is access to God like? Access to God is being able to speak freely with our Creator because of His Mediator, Christ. I do not have to go to the pope or any other means, but I just need to life my voice to the heavens, and He hears me. Access to God is being able to ask the One who has all wisdom to impart some to this finite human. Access to God is being able to be completely honest with ourselves so that we can confess our sins and be cleansed.

All these things: Salvation, truth, mediation and glory are in Christ alone...

Hope this helps...if not...please ask again...

Anonymous said...

Yes it helps, thank you. And I appreciated the blog on legalism. That is something I struggle with very much. I think many youth struggle with this, especailly like me, who come from backgrounds of domestic abuse/neglect. I have strugled with church for a long time, because I thought that is sounded like a bunch of rules. I have many questions...
Another question I wanted to ask, about Jesus being the only way..
I think to myself..."What does Jesus stand for?" The way, the truth, the life... and I think of the verse about how the man said, "We did all these things in your name" and Jesus says, "depart from me I do not know you"... C.S. Lewis has talked about (and I agree with him) that perhaps the opposite could be true. Those who serve... and have still all the attributes of Christ, and not know they are serving him. Do you think that would still go under Christ alone? (I have a ot of questions) Doesn't it say, Faith hope and love will remain and the greatest of these is love. Is it possible to understand love and not know "specifically" it is you are serving Christ? "Would a rose by any other name still smell as sweet?" I have been thinking about these questions for a long time, and i am wondering if they fit in with the "Sola's" I often feel outcast because of my view and that i am looked at as condemned... So I guess, I am wondering what your thoughts are since you have a blog on the Sola's. Thank you.
and thank you for repying to my earlier blog.

Seth McBee said...

I thank you for your heart felt questions. I will tell you to check out our other website that answers some of your key questions on salvation:

But in a nutshell. Romans 10:9 tells us that we must confess specifically Jesus as Lord and believe in our heart that God raised Him from the dead...this is very specific in its venacular to make sure that we understand what John 14:6 is speaking of. It isn't a "good try" and your in, it is specific to knowing Christ.

Which would debunk C.S. Lewis' thoughts on salvation. When you ask of Christ saying depart from Me for I never knew you (Matthew 7) these are the people who felt as though they could earn salvation and did not have the love of Christ in them. They could also be those who have a dead faith, one that says all the "right" things but never understand inwardly that Christ is truly the only way by God's free grace. My pastor calls this "18 inches from heaven" all the head knowledge with no heart knowledge.

Also, you ask about faith, hope and love but the greatest is love. this love is because God first loved us (1 John 4). God demonstrates His love that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us (Rom 5:8). This love that is spoken of only comes from those who know Christ. Christ specifically speaks to this when He says,

I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another
John 13:34,35

This love comes about in different ways but always flows from the knowledge of Christ alone. Whether it is physically providing for someone (James 2)to making sure that those who are dying and going to hell that they can have salvation in Christ.

How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger who announces peace, who brings good news, who announces salvation, who says to Zion "Your divine being reigns"." (Isa. 52:7)

Hope all this helps...keep asking if you have more questions...but know that it is only through knowing and confessing Christ alone that brings salvation.

"Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also
confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies me be-
fore men, him I will also deny before My Father Who is in heaven." Matthew 10:32,33

Seth McBee said...

I also wanted to add that if other religions could get to heaven by doing deeds that "were of Christ" but just didn't know that it was of Christ...then why did the apostles die for their faith?

There would have been no reason for this. They died for the sole reason of Christ being the only way to God, knowing that without the knowledge of Christ, people would die in their sins.

We also have a pretty conclusive statement by Paul in Romans 10:1-4

Brethren, my heart's desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation.
For I testify about them that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge.

For not knowing about God's righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God.

For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

Notice that Paul is stating that the Jews have zeal for God but not in accordance with knowledge...So what is Paul praying for? That they would believe in Christ (v.4) for their salvation (v.1).

Anonymous said...

Thank you for replying. I read up on the other website. It does not sound very inviting to me in my understanding. It sounds like I should beleive because if I don't, God will send me to hell. He sounds very mean. But the part of forgiving sounded good. Why does God want to send people to hell? What about the people who never get to hear? I know I wouldn't punish my child for something he didn't know I expected of him. Maybe I am confused about the people God actually sends to hell. And can't people make wrong choices and not know the outcome? I don't think people, for the most part actually choose pain and suffering. My parents neglected me, because they were neglected. If you don't know how to take care of yourself you can't take care of people. If you don't know what love is, how can you love? I gues what I am saying is that "hurt people hurt people. My heart hurts for these people because they actually think that life is that horrible... but the truth will set you free right? I beleive that anyways. So, there is a question to me of "where does hope come from?" Is that a gift from God or do we all have hope? Do we not all hope for something?? Perhaps it just dies in some of us :( for people who have "failed" at things so many times they lose hope, because they beleive in "right" and "wrong". I guess another question I have is that do you think God can be working in the hearts of people who don't go to church, and no Christians know about it, and that individual does not understand what is happening but he knows it is something not of his own power?

And in response to your second reply. I am not saying by "deeds" however that is an outcome of love I beleive. When you understand love and live in it, then your cup overfloweth... I am unfamiliar of the apostles you are talking about, or perhaps what you mean by "dying for faith" I don't understand. If you could explain that further I would be interested to hear. Thank you.

Seth McBee said...

I can't thank you enough for your open dialogue about the things of God. It is my pleasure to be able to share with you the Scriptures, so please continue to ask if I am not clear or if you just have additional questions.

You said:

"Thank you for replying. I read up on the other website. It does not sound very inviting to me in my understanding. It sounds like I should beleive because if I don't, God will send me to hell. He sounds very mean."

We need to look at this from the other angle. We are told that if we sin, the penalty is death forever in hell (Gen 2:17; Rom 6:23). So, when God decided to save anyone, He showed His mercy, since we all deserve hell.

You also ask "what about the people who never hear?" this is the hardest for us to understand as humans, but God is the One who decides who hears and who doesn't. He has also shown all His invisible attributes through creation (Romans 1) and the law of the Lord is written on every man's heart (Rom 2:14-16) so that they are without excuse for their sin. But, in every case, that sin deserves hell. But in God's grace we are saved from hell.

You did say: "But the part of forgiving sounded good" That is the good news!!! You must relize your sin, repent, and follow Christ and you will be saved. You also asked of "hope" and you must know that all those who do not have Christ have "no hope" (Eph 2:12, 1 Thess 4:13) and will die in their sins.

I am choosing my words carefully and in no way do I want to downplay or ignore what has happened in your life, but know that Christ is the only one that can forgive and give the hope that never fades and never leaves you.

Christ equates this with "water that will never allow you to thirst again" John 4:7-26

I pray that you will look to the Scriptures for your answers to the only hope that is given to us by God the Father. This hope is one that no man can earn or give to you.

as far as the apostles dying for their faith, I was speaking of the apostles of Christ. We are told throughout history that all but John died for their faith, and he was boiled in oil and survived and then was sent to the Island of Patmos until his death. these were all men that were the closest to Christ and they knew that the message preached was that only through Him and belief in Him alone could someone be saved, and that is why they were willing to die for Him, because He first died for them.

May God bless you, and draw you into His presence.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm...I think I am seeing where you are comming from... God is actually giving me an invitation to life. However, my mind still struggles with the thought of why God would create hell for people. The best way I hve heard this put, and makes the most sense to me is, "God did not create hell for people but for Satan and his minions, but he will not stop you if you choose to go there" I guess maybe the hard thing to understand is the balance of election and free will, because like I said prior, "I don't think the majority of us actually choose suffering. But the question to the heart of each man, is "what are you truly looking for?"

In the reply about hope. I think we all have a desire for hope, that is what i am asking. But hope is only found in one place.
I think the most powerful tool for humans in relation to sharing hope, is sharing the hope that is in each of us. What I mean is that we both know the answer is "Jesus Christ" but how we got there is a little different for each of us. For someone to let me in on there life, has been the most inviting hopeful thing to me. It is just learning to stand on my own to feet, and that asking for help from people who will not look at me "condemned" for mistkes or misunderstandings I have had.

I see what you mean for dying for faith. I do not think they died in vain. They died for life, and to deny that, I beleive would have killed there soul/spirit. What are we if we have nothing to live for?

My mind and heart has still not tackled the thought of "Christ dying for me" because I still don't understand fully. I understand the thought of "God" forgiving me for things I have done wrong and accepting me with all my flaws and mistakes, is mind boggling and brings me to tears. And I accept his forgiveness and choose to pursue to let his love reign in me, and then out of that love, I have desired to share it with other people. But I am afriad I have become somewhat numb to the story of Christ's death having hearing it so much read as a text book, that I don't really understand. The only thing I have come to now, is to stop trying to make myself figure it out, and let it come to me. I beleive this is what God means when He says, "Be still, and know that I am God"
thank you.

Seth McBee said...


The great thing is that God isn't asking us to "tackle" the thought of Christ dying for us, but simply tells us to BELIEVE. The part that you have absolutely correct is your response to it:

that it is mind boggling and it brings you to tears and has you responding the way God intended; be still and know that I am God.

Because of Adam we choose to sin and love our sin, whether we will admit that or not. Becuase of that, if it weren't for God we would all go to hell alongside Satan and his demons.

All praise be to Him alone for the grace that He bestowed on us.

Thank you again for your honest questions and insight, I hope that you are blessed by the knowledge of God that only comes from above in the trusting of Him, and Him alone.

May we all live the way that John the Baptist confessed:

For He must increase and I must decrease.

Arthur Sido said...


Great responses. Someone who works for me commented the other day that she thought that all religions were basically the same. The big difference of course is that every other major religion asks what we can do for God to earn His favor, while Christianity tells us what God has done for us.

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