The second pillar of the Reformation is Sola Fide, by faith alone. God’s grace comes to us as our own personal possession through faith. Once again, Ephesians 2 and Romans 3 put forward this truth found throughout the entirety of Scripture in such a clear way. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For it is by grace you have been saved through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works so that no one can boast.” Romans 3:22 says, “This righteousness is given through faith to all who believe.”
Galatians 2:16-17 is another especially emphatic passage that brings out the truth that we are saved by faith alone. “A person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified.” The message is once again clear. We aren’t declared “not guilty” because of anything we do, and thanks be to God, because if it depended in any way on us, we’d be doomed! We are declared “not guilty” by trusting in the one who already did everything for us—Jesus Christ!
There are three basic components of faith: knowledge, assent, and trust. Knowledge knows the biblical truth of who Jesus is and what he has done. Assent agrees that this knowledge is true. And trust clings and holds to this truth as something that applies personally to me. Jesus died for me! Jesus forgave me! And last week’s phrase by grace alone reminds us that faith itself is a gift. The hand of faith which takes hold of all God’s gracious promises and forgiveness is something the Holy Spirit gives and creates through the gospel.
And there again is our confidence and comfort. Nothing depends on us at all. God does everything, and we simply put our faith in him. Faith is only as good as its object, and Jesus, the object of our faith, is rock-solid! As John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” By faith alone, we can boldly say, “Eternal life is mine because Jesus came for me!”