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Christ Alone

We’ve come to the point in our series where we consider that great Reformed tenet solus Christus—Christ alone. Just as with grace and faith, Rome believed in these things, they just didn’t like that “alone” qualifier. They believed in Christ, and they believed that Christ saved, but they did not believe the salvation rested solely upon the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus.

Just as with the other solas, the Reformers were not inventing this doctrine, but returning to foundational Scriptural truths. Acts 4:11-12 is a clear example of this teaching: “This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. 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.” No other name! That includes your name, that includes your pastor’s name, that includes your parents' names—no one can bring you eternal life but Jesus himself. The Belgic Confession (1561) puts it this way in Article 22 on “The Righteousness of Faith”:

For it must necessarily follow that either all that is required for our salvation is not in Christ or, if all is in him, then he who has Christ by faith has his salvation entirely. Therefore, to say that Christ is not enough but that something else is needed as well is a most enormous blasphemy against God—for it then would follow that Jesus Christ is only half a Savior.

Of course, a half Savior is no Savior. The math of the Christian faith works like this: add anything to Jesus and you’ve got nothing. Add nothing to Jesus and you have everything. The Confession goes on:

And therefore we justly say with Paul that we are justified "by faith alone" or by faith "apart from works.” However, we do not mean, properly speaking, that it is faith itself that justifies us—for faith is only the instrument by which we embrace Christ, our righteousness. But Jesus Christ is our righteousness in making available to us all his merits and all the holy works he has done for us and in our place. And faith is the instrument that keeps us in communion with him and with all his benefits.

We sometimes say that we are saved by faith. Technically, taken by itself that statement would be completely unbiblical. We are saved by Jesus (!) through faith. If it was the act of faith that justified, it could be argued that man had something to contribute to his salvation. On the contrary, we bring nothing to the table but our sin. Jesus brings everything necessary for life eternal. We have forgiveness through his atoning work: “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us” (Gal. 3:13).

Our brother Duane is in glory now because he looked to Jesus and found in Him everything. He is not in glory because he was a good man, a pastor, or because his faith was particularly strong. He is in glory because he had Jesus. “He who has Christ by faith has his salvation entirely.”

Can this be said of you?

 

Jonathan Cruse