Sola Fides

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BY FAITH ALONE

In the famous blockbuster Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade, there is a poignant scene where Indiana Jones
1) reads there is a bridge,
2) hears that there is a bridge,
3) knows there is a bridge
4) cannot see the bridge.  He has to cross the bridge to get to the “Holy Grail.”

Abraham believed God.  And it was credited to him as righteousness. (Romans 4:3, Galatians 3:6, James 2:23)

But, it may surprise you–believing that “God is able to do what he has promised,” is NOT faith, –believing that God has spoken from beyond sight and beyond sense to give His Word is NOT faith.

Me? I do not believe in God.
I do not believe He made the world.
I do not believe Jesus died on the cross.
I do not believe he rose from the dead.

Why don’t I believe in these things? Because I reasoned them through. And I know they are true.

It is through REASON that I have come to KNOW that GOD IS. Through plain old common sense I can see the WORLD was created by His design. I don’t need to have some invisible faith to use my brain!

The death and resurrection of Jesus are also plain to an historian. Only approaching it as I approach any other event in history, I can see he died and he rose. I know He died for the sins of the world, because I approach it through reason. Evidence.

Natural Theology is how reason, the intellect, common sense and science work together to show us these things clear as day. I don’t need to hide behind the Bible.

There are only TWO WORDS I have to believe in.

These are the hardest words.

FOR ME.

We don’t have faith

    • that Salvation is in Jesus Christ.
    • that Christ’s perfect life, and dying on the cross satisfied God’s righteous requirement for us, or
  • that the Holy Spirit imputes righteousness to those who have been effectually called.

That is not faith. These there are also clear through reason.

If you take the time to think about it.

Let my FAVORITE TEACHER walk you through it, without requiring belief in the Bible…

otherwise, read a bit more.

Sola Fides

When we say we are saved by faith, Sola Fides, we mean…

It does not take WORKS.

We do not have to achieve perfection, or sinlessness before we can approach God. Not only that we do not have to, it means we couldn’t if we tried.  We could never meet the righteous requirements of God’s law.  Conscience and earthquakes prove that we’re broken and the world is broken.  It’s not the way it should be.

and we mean…

It does not take INTELLECT. 

If we could be saved through intellect, only the smart people would be saved.  So God evened the playing field by having salvation through faith alone.  A child or an adult.  A genius or a mentally handicapped person.  A reader or a non-reader. Salvation is free to all, based on faith alone.

But the phrase “Sola Fides” means that some volition is required. We must use our minds before it can reach our hearts.

“Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord:
though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red like crimson,
they shall become like wool.”  (Isaiah 1:18)

It does take thinking through a QUESTION: Was it FOR ME?

Objections to it being FOR ME:

It can’t be for me. What about Good People who never hear??

Many people deny that it was FOR THEM because they let go of reason when it comes to others. “If it is not FOR THEM too, I won’t have it,” they say. If God doesn’t let everyone in, he’s not fair.

Foolishly, they exchange REASON for an unproven faith in the inherent goodness of men. Do you really KNOW that mankind is inherently GOOD?? We WANT mankind to be good. But are we good at heart??

Everyone has conscience-pricks.

How do you explain conscience? Why did God put conscience into man? (If not God, where could such an immaterial alarm come from?) Why put a constant alarm when we cross the line? Why put an alarm unless there is a consequence for not obeying the requirements of God?

We are created equal. Very true. We all have equal access to Truth. Otherwise God’s judgment would not be fair or right. But unless persuaded by reason and common sense, people do not want the cross to have happened FOR THEM.

It’s a hard pill to swallow.

I want to live the way I want to live.

I want my goodness to be good enough. I’m as good as the next guy, so there you have it.  I don’t need anyone’s help.

If you think about it, only perfection could be allowed eternal access to God (or his presence would be tainted). And justice requires condemnation of all sin (or he would by his disregard be accomplice-before & after-the-fact).

If God is God, Judgment Day is coming. No one is good enough. Conscience tells us this. Reason tells us this.

Will you be one who thinks it through to the end?  Reason echoes it across time and space, and it so happens that the Bible agrees.

FOR ME holds in it the miracle of the incarnation,
the miracle of Christ’s death and resurrection.
FOR ME. To give me a way.

“For by grace you have been saved, through faith. And this not of yourself. It is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast”  Eph 2:8-9


Update (3/1/20)
I just came across this quote by Martin Luther where he says the same thing, in different and more eloquent words…

Who is this “me?” The beloved Son of God gave Himself for me, a most miserable and condemned sinner. If I could by means of any work or merit love the Son of God and come to Him, why should He given Himself as a sacrifice for me?
…because there was no price under heaven and earth for my release except that of Christ the Son of God. Thus it was supremely necessary that He gave Himself for me. What’s more, He did it all from His inestimable love, for Paul says, “Who loved me.”
Everyone who can say this word me and make it his with firm faith and confidence together with Paul will be a good lawyer against the law, for He did not give sheep, bulls, gold, or silver, but God Himself in all His divinity. He did it entirely and fully “for me.” Yes, this “me,” a miserable sinner under condemnation.

-Martin Luther, Commentary on Saint Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians (1535)

IN THE BOOK: TRUNK OF SCROLLS.

Marcellus and Byziana struggle with what God requires from us.  Does he want sacrificial acts, like standing on pillars?  Is this what pleases God?  In the story, they learn about faith, and how faith working with reason results in our actions and in our relationship with God. They learn this through the power of the Scrolls in their life.

Solus Christus

Solus Christus. This means “In Christ Alone.” Only by Christ’s intervention. Only by the Coming-Between of Christ can we even hope for salvation. We cannot come on our own. We need that High Priest who has the right to come into the holy place, not by the blood of bulls, but by His own holy blood.

As are the other “Solas,” this stands in juxtaposition to the teachings of the Medieval Catholic Church.The belief then was that the Church (and in particular the new priesthood of the Pope and those under him) is the go-between for Man and God–the way that Moses was a go-between.

Protestant Christians believe otherwise. Christ opened the way for believers to directly enter into the holy of holies (thus the tearing of the curtain from top to bottom ). Christ is our Mediator.

He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption.  Hebrews 9:12

For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, 1 Tim 2:5

What is it that Christ did?  He took my place.  His blood was shed for me.

1. I SINNED, and the consequence for that sin is swift, immediate DEATH.

Q-What is sin?  A-Sin is any want of conformity unto or transgression of the Law of God. (WSC #14) In other words, sins of omission and sins of comission.  Sins of forgetting to do right, and sins of doing wrong.

Jesus upped the ante by telling how detailed God is in viewing sin.  If you even CONSIDER doing it, it’s sin.

For the wages of sin is death. (Rom 6:23)

2.  JESUS TOOK MY PLACE.  

He lived a righteous life.  Knowing how detailed God is in judging even the motives and intentions of the heart, it is amazing to know he “was tempted in all ways, but without sin.”  (Heb 4:15)  He died for those “given to him” before the creation of the world.  He was resurrected, opening up the way to God.  (Rom 8:11 )  Wow!

3.  FAITH IN THAT ACT…

Faith alone brings about what is called “vicarious atonement,” which means “the death He died He died for me.”  And faith proves itself through works. (James 2:14) Anyone who believes that Christ died for them, cares to live in a way conformed to that life and death.  The Holy Spirit living in us brings about the holy life God desires.

He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. (2 Tim 1:9-10)

In Christ alone my hope is found;
He is my light, my strength, my song;
This cornerstone, this solid ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My comforter, my all in all—
Here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone, Who took on flesh,
Fullness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness,
Scorned by the ones He came to save.
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied;
For ev’ry sin on Him was laid—
Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain;
Then bursting forth in glorious day,
Up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory,
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me;
For I am His and He is mine—
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death—
This is the pow’r of Christ in me;
From life’s first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No pow’r of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home—
Here in the pow’r of Christ I’ll stand.

“In Christ Alone”
Words and Music by Keith Getty & Stuart Townend
Copyright © 2001 Kingsway Thankyou Music

 

IN THE BOOK: TRUNK OF SCROLLS

Marcellus and Byziana want to “please God.” Byziana soon comes to the dead end that “I cannot please Him,” and she acts accordingly.  Marcellus, meanwhile, struggles with the big question of “How do I live a consecrated life?”  He sees monks living on pillars, he sees vicious theological struggles between leaders of the church, he reads the Scrolls but sees the Church teaching things that do not match the simplicity of Scripture.  The book is a story of Marcellus and Byziana both learning what it means that Christ was our Mediator.  Why was it that he had to come to earth as man?

Sola Scriptura

LIFE WITH NO BIBLE

What would the world be like with no Scripture?  Can you imagine, there actually was a time when God’s word was spoken into hearts only.  From the time of Adam until the giving of the law on Mount Sinai (sometime between 1600-1300 BC), there was no written record of God’s testimony to Man.

And it changed after God spoke audibly to the Children of Israel, and then took a stone and wrote with His own finger the Ten Commandments.  After this basis was written, Moses began writing the Penteteuch.  Then we have the History books and Poetry books, and the Prophetical writings of the Old Testament.

When the time was right, God sent His Word to earth in the flesh.

Once a Bible professor asked our class, which is more important:  Jesus or the Bible.  What do you think?

Consider this.  If Jesus is the Word of God, and the Bible is the Word of God, in a sense, they are equal.

It makes me cringe to think of the times I have put my Bible on the floor, or stacked things on top of it, or left it on the shelf gathering dust.

DIET OF WORMS

The year was 1521, Martin Luther, one of the lucky ones, knew Greek and Hebrew so he could read the Bible, and know what the Bible said.  He found that over the years a lot of Church leaders had neglected Scripture for the traditions of Popes and decisions of Councils before them.  His life was one big STOP SIGN held out to them.  He wanted them to know that Scripture was sufficient.  Scripture in its interaction with the common man’s intellect.

They took him to Worms, and held him on trial.  “Do you recant?” they asked him.  He looked at his books. They wanted him to deny that they were true. They wanted him to disown what he had written.  He apologized for the ones in which he was rude and disrespectful to others.  But regarding the rest he said,

“Unless I am convinced by Scripture and plain reason – I do not accept the authority of the popes and councils, for they have contradicted each other – my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. God help me. Amen.”

This site includes a primary account of the Diet of Worms.

In the same way, we need to trust the Bible to direct us how we may glorify God and enjoy Him forever.

WHAT RULE?

Catechism Q2:

Q. 2. What rule hath God given to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him?

A. The Word of God, which is contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, is the only rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him.

FINAL AUTHORITY

When we say Sola Scriptura, we are saying that the Bible is our final authority, and it is enough.  We don’t need other books, other people, other conferences, in order to KNOW truth.  Other books, people, conferences can help us grow in our relationship with God.  But our final authority and SOURCE for knowing God is the Bible Only.

What about the Creeds?  What about the foundational doctrines of the church, like the dual-nature of Christ, like the Trinity?  DId those not come from Councils?

Yes.  We also believe in church–the importance of going, of encouraging each other, of praying for one another.  We believe in the Preaching of the Word, that the pastor has a unique message for the church each time he preaches.  We are intimately aware of the need for others involved in our lives to teach and instruct.  But Sola Scriptura means that if it is not specifically taught in Scripture, it is not authoritative.  Trinity is a word that is not in Scripture. But the triune nature of God IS in Scripture.  The Councils that depended upon Scripture alone, through the reasonings of Biblical passages, are considered by Protestant Christians to be authoritative for our lives.  The others are not.  For example, if the evidence is extra-biblical–like some

IN THE BOOK: TRUNK OF SCROLLS

Marcellus, Byziana and his family are some of the rare common people who actually know how to read, and who actually have Scripture scrolls that they can read whenever they want.  When they depend upon the Scrolls, they find their relationship with God grows and their peace and joy in life grows.  When Byziana reads Leo’s Tome, she understands from Scripture that the nature of Christ was dual–God and man.

Soli Deo Gloria

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WHAT*S IT ABOUT?

Sola Deo Gloria means “All For the Glory of God.” It’s an attitude about life.

1) It’s not all about me.

2) It’s not all about mankind.

3) It’s not all about nature.

4) It’s not all about aliens, or something ‘out there’ that eludes us.

I exist for one purpose.  That is, “I” exist for a purpose that God determined.  As His creature, I am subservient to Him. So whatever He wants for me I can either DO or NOT DO.  If I figure it out, and DO it, I’m sure it will go well for me. If I decide to NOT DO.  Well, I would guess that if a creator makes something that “doesn’t work right” he’s going to decide to not use it.

What is my purpose?  Oh, the eternal question.  “WHY AM I HERE?”

Back to the Catechism questions:

Q1-What is the chief end of Man?

A1-Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.

The purpose of mankind is to glorify God.  More than that, there’s a bonus. We get to benefit from that as well.  We get to enjoy Him, and that eternally!  Pretty good deal, if I figure it out, and if I DO it.

But of course, we can only start down that road if God Himself calls us, so it’s up to Him in the first place.

BUT IF IT*S ALL ABOUT GOD

Then the reason I live today…the way I work…the way I talk to my family…the choices I make…need to fall in line with what honors God, with what brings Him that GLORY that is due Him.

If it’s all about God, we are required to look at the world through the perspective of God.  And so it’s essential that we read the Bible.  It’s essential that we live according to it.

IN THE BOOK: TRUNK OF SCROLLS

Marcellus and Byziana soon find out just how powerful God is, and how weak they are.  What can they do to get out from under–what seems to be–the wrath of God?  If all is for the glory of God, if it is all about God, then what role to the small insignificant people have on this earth?  How can we know?  These are some BIG QUESTIONS rattling the faith of our main characters in Trunk of Scrolls.

Beginnings

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IN THE BEGINNING…

God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and void, and darkness covered the face of the deep, and the Spirit of God hovered over the waters.  And God said, “Let there be Light.” Gen 1:1

Was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. All things were made through Him, without Him nothing was made that has been made. In Him was Life and that Life was the Light of men.  The Light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.  John 1:1

This is a beginning of a new phase in my life, a time when a dream of mine is close to fulfillment. Becoming an author of historical fiction books.  I have always had a love relationship with history, most particular ancient history. I know the exact moment I fell in love.

Second grade.  Teacher’s name escapes me (I’m sorry!) but she used to call me “darling Darlene” on my papers.  We learned Ben Franklin’s proverbs that year, we kept a daily diary and there was a boy named Dustin and a boy named Brian in the class. We had a class bunny, and I loved playing with Playschool people outside after school with my neighbor named Kirk.  The feelings of freedom, of play, of innocence, of joy at life.  I was in America again, after growing up in Japan. I could understand people and was finally learning to read.

Then the teacher read to us the story of Pompeii.  It was my first time time-traveling.

She read to us of the daily life of the people of Heraculum and Pompeii.  Of the earthquakes and the steaming volcano. Of the eruption of smoke, and the overflow of lava. Of the people running to the sea.  Of the ash that covered the people.  Then, she read of the archaeologists and anthropologists who uncovered those people.  Of how the ash had solidified around the poor people who could not escape Nature.  Of how they used plaster to fill in the cavities, and the faces of those people came to light again.

The awe at science, at history, at new knowledge started in me that day and has continued without ceasing.

Saint Augustine saidCredo ut intelligam.  This means, “I believe in order that I may understand.”  Knowledge is inextricably tied to faith.  Faith is the recognition that our senses do not completely tell us everything there is to know about the world.

QUESTION OF CONSCIOUSNESS

First of all, the whole question of consciousness is a mystery that no one has yet explained.  It is simply jumped to in explanations of how the mind works.

ConsciousnessFromNeurons

(Consciousness from Neurons)

Reason can explain to us three things related to this.

1) Creation  We look at creation, and common sense shows us that such an amazing variety and complexity had to originate from laws and rules. In our world, we would not think an iPad could appear out of nothing without reasons for its existence, so it takes less faith to believe in Creator than a random assemblage of molecules creating trees and planets and bacteria and DNA.

2) The Cause  The second thing reason explains to us is that either the Cause is personal or impersonal. If the Cause is personal, and we matter, it would communicate with us, since we have a consciousness of that dilemma in the first place.

3) Perfection  Reason also leads us to recognize that if there is a Cause and Creator, “IT” would have to be the SOURCE of perfection.  Logically “IT” could not be both good and evil, both truth and falsehood, both powerful and weak.  So is “IT” all evil, all falsehood, all weak?  Or is “IT” all good, all truth, all powerful?  We have in us the ideal that strives for the good, the value written into our human consciousness, REGARDLESS OF OUR CULTURE OR RELIGION, is that there is such a thing as PERFECT GOOD.  Of course, we strive for it with different standards and rules, but it is a commonly shared part of human consciousness.  We commend those who are “good” and shun those who are “evil.”

Without creation, we would see no cause, without the cause we could consider no perfection.

Big Questions:  So do we matter?  Has the Cause communicated?  Is the Cause personal? Is “IT” a “HE”?

QUESTION OF PERCEPTION

The second question to consider, is: can our senses be trusted to guide us into all knowledge?

Watch this video, which shows us just how amazingly accurate our senses are (not)

Back to St. Augustine’s saying, “I believe in order that I may understand.”  If we limit ourselves to our own perception of the world, we limit our ability to understand the world of unseen things.

ANSWERS

If this CAUSE is personal, if mankind MATTERS, the Creator Cause would communicate to us in a way that defines Himself with all the perfection that Reason proves he must be.  So, is there such a communication?

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.  In the beginning was the Word.  The Word became flesh.

Yes.

By what name does HE call Himself?  This in itself shows us that He encompasses all of what reason says He must be.

I AM.    Exodus 3:14

So complete, so thorough, so infinite, any other attributive would diminish him.

This is my philosophy of reason, knowledge and faith. This is my philosophy behind all of my books and stories.  May the words I write strengthen your belief and your understanding.  Soli Deo Gloria.

Hollow and Deceptive American Way

superman3 Hollow and Deceptive American Way

June 4, 2013 at 12:13am

by Darlene N. Bocek

I have lived in Turkey for more than a fifteen years, and just get back to America every-so-often. Because of this, I get a sampling of the changes that other Americans are experiencing even more slowly. For me, the changes are sharp, because I wasn’t a part of the whole societal change.  For people living in America, the changes might not be as noticeable.

I have noticed a general pattern of the church giving way to the world, bending to these ideas, and forsaking Biblical Christianity.

firecracker-801902_1920Here are the principles of this world to beware of:

Moral Relativism

The belief system that claims that individuals determine personal morals and there is no absolute morality to refer to.  A particular culture, social location, or political climate dictates what is moral about a certain situation. “It may be wrong for you, but it’s right for me.” This belief is inconsistent with Biblical Christianity.  It is also illogical.  God is the definition of morality, The Bible is the revealed plumbline.

Narcissistic Hedonism

In this belief system, pleasing oneself is the highest pursuit, and personal fulfillment takes priority over any other standard of life.  “I did it my way.” This belief is inconsistent with Biblical Christianity. Pleasing God and enjoying Him is the highest pursuit.

Autonomous Individualism

“I can do what I want.” This is belief system that considers the individual the ultimate authority. “There is no objective truth or value before which one’s will, one’s liberty, must yield in obedience.” This belief is inconsistent withBiblical Christianity. God is the only one worthy of worship, He is the Truth to whom we submit.

Reductive Naturalism

“Prove it.” Only those things that can be proven empirically, through experience or science, are true. Knowledge is limited to the natural world, and if it cannot be put to a scientific test to be proven or disproven, it cannot exist or be true.  This belief is inconsistent with Biblical Christianity.  Without faith it is impossible to please God, and God is spirit, by definition not bound to empirical proofs.


The four philosophical approaches to life listed above reflect the American way of life. None of them are based on Scriptural teaching, and a person cannot reasonably believe in both Biblical Christianity and any of those ideologies.

Biblical Christianity

Who is God?  A Creator-God made the world, for His own glory.  “God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal and unchangeable in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth.”  He is the source of truth, goodness, and right.

What is Man? 

The purpose of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. Man’s sinfulness, which is abhorrent to God, separates all sinners eternally from Him, and leads them to hate God and hate the righteousness he represents. (See this passage).  All people are called to repentance, but only some people are effectively called to be children of God.  The blood of Christ is the means by which these people are forgiven of their sins, justified by their faith in that sacrifice.

How We Know Right from Wrong

While general revelation both in nature and in conscience reveals to mankind that there is a God, it is insufficient to relay details of this salvation.  These details can be found only and exclusively through God’s written Word in The Bible.  All of those whose sins have been forgiven by faith in the blood of Christ will produce fruit of godliness that proves their faith.

While the Bible does not teach them, it refers to the general overview of them all, as referred to in Judges 17 and 21:  “And everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”  The context of these verses show consequences due to divine displeasure at those who follow their own dictates instead of the ones God has revealed to man.

“See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.” Colossians 2:8

ACTION POINT: Do you object to my criticism of any of these ideas? Do you have examples of how you’ve seen them? Please share your ideas with other readers by COMMENTING below…