God’s expressions of faithfulness toward His beloved are particular and purposeful. The divine ways He has reached into humanity are gifts of His abiding presence. Jesus is God in the flesh, piercing through our existence to live and die for us in His successful rescue mission to save sinners. The Holy Spirit is God in us, assuring us, comforting and teaching us. God’s provision of His inspired, infallible Holy Scriptures is yet another direct link to knowing who God is and the message He is committed to communicating. He has good news for us.
By God’s power, the gospel has been preserved through faith, convictions, blood, sweat, and tears of believers throughout history. The Reformation provided a clarifying and protective framework we continue to benefit from today. The five solas point away from fallible human authority, and toward a loving, glorious God who offers relentless grace to sinners, the gift of genuine faith, the truth of scripture, and assurance in Christ alone. The good news has reached our end of the earth.
Sola Scriptura is the doctrine that scripture is the supreme authority for faith and life. Scripture contains God’s direct revelation. The Bible contains the words of God himself and is a trustworthy authoritative text that reveals all we need for salvation. All other authorities, thoughts, and practices are subservient to scripture.
“His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.” 2 Peter 1:3-4
As Michael Horton notes “…a genuinely evangelical approach maintains that Scripture is sufficient, not just because it alone is divinely inspired (though that is true) but because these sixty-six books that form our Christian canon provide everything God has deemed sufficient for revealing his law and his gospel. Speculation will not help us find God, but will only lead us to some idol we have created in our own image. We may feel more secure in our autonomy (self-rule) when we pretend that our own inner voice of reason, spirituality, or experience is the voice of the Spirit.”
Sola Scriptura is important and through it God provides protective measures for our lives in Christ. Subjecting everything to scripture is not a confining, formulaic alternative to faith in God, nor does it silence the Spirit’s influence. Revering Scripture’s rightful place actually points us to the Truth that sets us free. Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, but we can’t invent who He is apart from the story being told to us. We find it all in Scripture and somehow the triune God does a miraculous work in our hearts, implants His word, gives new life, by grace, through faith. Even Jesus, although equal with God, didn’t act from His own authority. In wisdom and love Jesus yielded Himself to God and the scriptures.
God, through Sola Scriptura protects us from lesser human authorities trying to take the gospel narrative into false directions such as adding man made laws. We all have a theology, what we think to be true of God. We all have a creed, (whether written or unwritten) what we say to be true of God. If our theology isn’t informed by God’s actual words, it will be formed by something else entirely. When scripture is not upheld as the objective authority, we shift toward subjectivism where people, through experiences, and blends of world religions will put themselves in authority. This does not preserve the gospel, but instead peddles partial, nay false gospels.
Luther’s passion when he nailed the 95 Theses to the wooden Wittenberg door, exposing the false teaching where people believed they could pay money for a right standing with God, reminds us of God’s passion that also involved nailing down Truth to wood. Through the cross of Jesus, all has been paid in full. We hold the pages of promise in our very hands and can be certain of our salvation.