The term "Reformed" refers to the great revival that swept
through Europe five hundred years ago that is known as the Protestant
Reformation. This movement was a protest against the abuses of the
Roman Catholic church, abuses which arose from two principle tap roots.
The first was Rome's denial of the sole Headship of Jesus Christ over
His church. The second was the leaven of the false gospel of Roman
Catholicism, a "gospel" which taught (and still teaches)
that men are justified before God by their own merits, and not by
the free and Sovereign grace of God in Christ alone.
The Protestant recovery of the gospel of Christ and His Apostles finds
its best summation in the five "sola" statements of the
Reformation: Sola Scriptura, Sola Gratia, Sola Fide, Solus Christus,
and Soli Deo Gloria.
I. Sola Scriptura ("Scripture Alone"). The Lord Jesus
Christ alone is the unrivaled Head of His church, and He shares His
throne with no man; even if that man is a pastor, priest, or pope.
King Jesus exercises His rule over His church by His Holy Spirit through
His Holy Word. Therefore the Protestant Reformers insisted upon the
sole authority of Holy Scripture to bind the consciences of men. Although
God does empower a plurality of men known as "elders" to
shepherd each local church, their authority must always be exercised
under the authority of Christ and His Word, to which nothing may be
added or taken away.
II. Sola Gratia ("Grace Alone"). With the recovery
of the sufficiency of Holy Scripture came the recovery of Scripture's
message: the gospel of Christ and Him crucified. The Reformers believed and then preached that the only hope anyone has of being saved from
his sin and from the wrath that is to come is in the free grace (the
unmerited favor) of God alone. The Triune God alone saves sinners,
and He is absolutely Sovereign over when and to whom He dispenses
His effectual saving grace. Fallen man is powerless and helpless to
save himself or to contribute anything to his own salvation.
III. Sola Fide ("Faith Alone"). The saving grace
of Almighty God is received by sinners as they exercise faith in the
Living Christ alone for their salvation. Yet even this faith is a
gift of God's grace to sinful men, so that they have no room to boast.
By affirming this truth the Reformers were denying that men are justified
before God by their own merits or by an infusion of Christ's righteousness
that enabled them to keep God's Law unto salvation. Instead, the Protestants
taught that whenever a lost sinner ceases from his works and simply
believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted
to him for righteousness. From the moment a lost sinner truly believes
the righteousness of Jesus Christ Himself is imputed to him because
his sin was imputed to Christ upon the cross. Therefore, from that
time onward, the believing sinner is eternally justified before God
on the basis of Christ's perfect righteousness and finished work on
IV. Solus Christus ("Christ Alone"). The Reformers
affirmed that the only object of saving faith has always been and
evermore shall be the Lord Jesus Christ alone. He alone is the way,
the truth, and the life; no man can come to the Father except through
Him (John 14:6). The saints of the Old Testament were saved by faith
in the Messiah who was to come, and the saints of the New Testament
are saved by faith in the Messiah who has come and who is soon coming
again. There is no other Mediator between God and men, and there is
no other name given under heaven by which men must be saved, than
the man whose name is the Lord Jesus Christ.
V. Soli Deo Gloria ("To God Alone Be the Glory"). Because the Triune God alone is the Creator of all things, and because
the salvation of sinners is a loving work of His free grace alone;
all honor, praise, and glory is His alone. "But of Him you are
in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God-and righteousness
and sanctification and redemption-that, as it is written, 'He who
glories, let him glory in the Lord.'" (I Corinthians 1:30-31)
So, what is the Reformed faith? It is the acknowledgement of the
sole Headship of King Jesus over His church which He exercises by
His Holy Spirit through the sixty-six books of His Holy Word. It
is also the unashamed belief and proclamation of the message of
those sixty-six books, the gospel of Christ crucified. This gospel
teaches all men that sinners are saved by God's grace alone through
faith alone in Christ Jesus alone to the glory of God alone. To
the One True and Living God be all glory, honor, and praise in Christ
Jesus our Lord both now and forever. Amen.
Berean Baptist Church
Bellamy Funeral Home
3551 Jimmy Lee Smith Pkwy.
Hiram, GA 30141
2888 Old Lost Mtn. Rd.
Powder Springs, GA 30127