The Reformation Solas: Sola Scriptura (Scripture Alone)
“These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing, you may have life in his name” (John 20:31)
In 1545, the year before he died, Luther said, “Let the one who would hear God speak, read the Holy Scriptures.” Our Almighty God has chosen to communicate with us through simple, yet very powerful symbols called letters. These letters form words and sentences and paragraphs on a page. These words and sentences and paragraphs are also spoken through the air and touch not only our ears, but our hearts as well. God has given us the Holy Scriptures, the Bible, for our reading, learning, and understanding. But God’s Word is different than any other words written on a page or heard with the ear. God’s Word is powerful and effective. God’s Word called the world into being from nothing. It is that same powerful Word that we read and hear every day.
The ultimate goal is the word that we read with the eye or heard with the ear is to create and strengthen faith until faith carries us into eternal life. The Word alone tells us how God has preserved our life because his Son Jesus gave up his. The promised Messiah, Jesus Christ, fulfilled the Word of God when he entered this world and atoned for our lives with his suffering, death, and resurrection. Jesus sacrificed his life so that you may have life in his name. That’s the central message God wants you to grasp and hold dear in your heart as you grasp and hold dear your Bible. The only life-saving message is in the Scriptures alone.
Early in his life, Martin Luther tried everything to free his soul from fear and guilt. He confessed his sins to a priest. He became a monk. He tortured his body. He went into solitude for days. He did all of this because he misunderstood the Scriptures. He was trying to earn God’s mercy by what he did. But he could never find peace. His conscience tortured him. He lived in constant fear of God’s wrath.
But one thing changed the course of Luther’s life. The Holy Spirit led him to understand the Scriptures properly. He learned from the Scriptures that he stood righteous before God through faith in Christ’s saving work. The Word of God set Luther free from fear and guilt. The new life God had revealed to him was so amazing that he wrote, “I was altogether born again and had entered paradise itself through open gates.”
The Word does the same thing for you! It is God’s truth. It creates and strengthens faith. It removes your
guilt and fears. It promises and gives salvation and eternal life. We thank God that he used Luther to refocus the
church on the Scriptures alone. Treasure God’s Word as your great Lutheran heritage!
In Christ’s Service,
Rev. Peter Sulzle