Sola Christus (Christ Alone) – What Exactly Does That Mean?
By Nick P.
A while back in church, our pastor introduced a phrase that I had not heard until that day. Since then, I have had echoing in my head the phrase, “Sola Christus”, which means “Christ Alone.”
I have felt some pulling on my heart and in my head as if some layers of understanding were being opened up to me to help me have a better relationship with Jesus.
What have I found through this strange, yet wonderful, journey that I have been on?
I have found that there is no other way to be saved or to have salvation other than through Christ alone. It was the sole reason and purpose for him coming to earth. It was to show us how to reach the kingdom of God and to fulfill scripture.
While there are others out there that would think that tradition within their particular denomination is important, I would contend that if that does not add to the glory of God, that it does not fulfill what Jesus came to earth to fulfill, then it is not vital at all. It is not based on Scripture, or on the teachings we get from Jesus through the Gospels.
It is particularly interesting to me that God would place me in a church that would go through a sermon series about the 500th anniversary of the Reformation as Martin Luther wrote his doctrine opposing the practice of indulgences happening at the time.
To help with understanding, the practice of indulgences that was happening at this time was being promoted by the Roman Catholic church, and they were saying if you gave an amount of money to the church, you could ‘buy’ you or a loved one out of purgatory for sins committed on earth. These funds eventually found their way to Rome and helped to fund the building of St. Peter’s Basilica. (In full disclosure, I have not fact checked this information, but found it prevalent enough to put it in here for opinion based content)
As we know now, there is no way that you can ‘buy’ your way out of purgatory. That price was already paid for by Jesus, shedding his blood on the cross, and ultimately dying for all our sins. It is not something we can purchase, it is not something we can earn, it is already paid for. It’s a gift that we can either accept or not, through the blessing and curse of free will.
So, it is only through Christ Alone that we can be saved. As Peter boldly declares in the Acts of the Apostles:
Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders, if we are questioned today because of a good deed done to someone who was sick and are asked how this man has been healed, let it be known to all of you, and to all the people of Israel, that this man is standing before you in good health by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead.
This Jesus is ‘the stone that was rejected by you, the builders; it has become the cornerstone.’
There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4: 8-12 NRSV)
In fact, to even back that up further, we hear in the Gospel of John,
“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6 NRSV)
I have to admit, that when I first converted and accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior, I also enjoyed the traditions and continuity of the mass of the Catholic church. In many ways, I feel that I allowed those ‘indulgences’ to cloud my own vision of what living as a true follower of Christ is about.
As I have written about previously, once I moved away from that comfortable view of the ‘church’, and found how other ‘churches’ out there were less than welcoming, I found that when you find the church that welcomes you with open arms, that is a true church, doing the work of Christ.
It also opened my eyes to realize that there are other denominations out there that are truly following the way of Christ as set down in the Scriptures, and when we erase all the trappings of tradition and get down to the core values of what each denomination is about, we can find that it equates to Jesus Christ.
For if it is about the traditions, or money, or what you wear, or how you look, then the point is lost. It is my belief that if you are not truly following in the footsteps of Christ, taking up your cross daily and following him, then you are not really a Christian.
So once God took me out of the trappings of tradition which made me comfortable, it allowed me to grow and open myself up to a deeper relationship with Him through Christ. I feel that I know more about Christ now than ever, and it continues to deepen even more as I walk with Him daily.
We cannot just sit and say, “I’m good” when it comes to our relationship with Christ. Yes, it is through Christ alone that we are saved, yet we must walk with him and carry our cross daily. That means doing his work here on earth. It doesn’t have to be so world changing as what he did in his time, but it can change the world of someone we know.
I know that through Christ Alone that I am a better husband for my wife, a better father for my children, and a better Christian overall because of my daily walk with Him.
Do I do it perfectly?
As we all do, I fall short.
However, it is because of the price he paid on the cross for me, and for each of us, that it allows me to continue to work towards getting it right.
All because of the actions of Christ Alone.