Volume. XXV, No. 19
Sunday, 07 November 2010

The Five Solas of the Reformation Part 2


Having established the supremacy of the Scriptures as the divinely verbally inspired, infallible and inerrant authority for faith and practice, it therefore follows that the remaining four Solas of Reformation should flow from the first and be fully revealed in the Holy Scriptures. This becomes the essence of the issue; extra-biblical writings and church tradition were at odds with the accepted Scriptures and the Reformers attempted to return the theology of the church to its foundation. At the time of the Reformation, the Roman Catholic Church had formally established that there were seven sacraments—baptism, the eucharist (Lord’s Supper), penance, confirmation, marriage, ordination and extreme unction. The Reformers not only brought the number of sacraments into dispute to eventually two—baptism and The Lord’s Supper— but also introduced the theology of each and subjected the sacraments to intense scrutiny. This was, however, not the most crucial of the things needed to be reformed. The two primary points under dispute were the elements of the Mass (Communion) and the crucifixion of Christ. This is also called the doctrine of Transubstantiation. Based on the revelation of the infallible, inerrant Holy Scripture, the Reformers argued against the Catholic position that the bread and the wine, although they retained the outward appearance, actually became in substance the flesh and blood of Christ each time the priests administered the Lord’s Table. Even though some of the Reformers disagreed on the details of this issue, it was clear that the idolatry of showing reverence toward the wine and bread was refuted and abhorred without question. Therefore, there was a need for the Reformers to restore the foundation of Christian faith - Solus Christus: Christ Alone. For Christ alone is our only Mediator and Intercessor.
Solus Christus
Our Only Mediator
By the way, for one to believe in Christ alone does not demand that he does not believe in the God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. The Bible reveals to us that God the Father is the one who has called us before the foundation of the world (Eph 1). God the Son is the one who carried out the plan of salvation and accomplished the work of redemption and God the Holy Spirit is the one who applies the salvific grace unto those whom God has chosen by regenerating and renewing them. What the Reformers stood for and believed when they say “Christ alone” was what exactly Jesus had said, “No man, no man can come to the Father but by ME!” (John 14:6, paraphrased) – For He is the only mediator between God and Man. Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 2:5, “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” The Roman Pontiff is not the mediator. The Virgin Mary is not the Mediator. Jesus Christ is the Only Mediator between God and Man,for neither is there salvation in any other, except in JESUS CHRIST (Acts 4:12).   
Our Only Intercessor
Christ is not only our only mediator, but He is also our only intercessor. For Christ did not only save us, he also makes sure that we would never lose our salvation. Our Lord said in John 10:28, And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” Writing to the Christians in Rome, Apostle Paul wrote, “Christ…who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.” (Rom 8:34) By the way, why does Christ need to intercede for us? Apostle John explains to us in 1 John 2:1,2, “if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, the righteous…and he is the propitiation for our sins…” Christ needs to intercede for us the elect because of our need not just for an intercessor, but the Intercessor. This is why the writer of Hebrews says “he is able to save us to the uttermost that come unto God by him.” (Heb 7:25) In contrast to these biblical truths, the Church of Rome believes that "there is a purgatory and that the souls there detained are helped by the intercessions of the faithful" and that "Saints are to be venerated and invoked,""that their relics are to be venerated". The problem with these teachings is that nothing in the Scripture supports these fabrications of men. So the Reformers, including men like Martin Luther, taught that salvation was by Christ\'s Work alone. Neither is there such thing as purgatory, nor can the “faithful living” intercede on behalf of the dead. Christ alone is the intercessor for the atoning work was “finished” (John 19:30) or accomplished when he died for us on the Cross.   
Sola Gratia: Grace Alone
For Grace is our Only Method
Not only did the Reformers hold on to Scripture Alone and Christ Alone, but also Grace Alone. As mentioned before, the doctrine of grace alone also flows from the first of the Solas of Reformation, the supremacy of the divinely verbally inspired, infallible and inerrant Holy Scriptures. The reason we must stay with the Scriptures is because it is the only place where we are told that we are saved by the unprovoked and undeserved acceptance of God. This is in a nutshell what grace means: “unprovoked and undeserved acceptance of God” or some rather called it “unmerited favor of God.” This is another central cry of the Reformation: Salvation by Grace Alone. 
Though the Church of Rome taught that the Mass is a "sacrifice which is truly propitiatory" and that by the Mass "God...grant[s] us grace and the gift of penitence, remits our faults and even our enormous sins," the reformers returned to the biblical doctrine of salvation by grace through faith alone. Again, Rome has not changed since the day of Martin Luther. The Reformers understood that our righteous standing before God is imputed to us by grace because of the work of Christ Jesus our Lord, not infused to us through the accumulated merits of the dead saints as Rome arbitrarily claims. This is why Rome canonised people like Mary MacKillop. Once a dead Roman Catholic is officially canonised, this means that this “dead saint” has accumulated more than enough merit for himself or herself to secure a place in heaven. Not only that, but his or her extra-merits can also be transferred to other Christians at the Pope’s disposal. The Reformers recognized that grace alone is the only method whereby a person is saved, based on their understanding of the Scripture’s revelations. Apostle Paul says that we were, “justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” (Rom 3:24; cf. Titus 3:7) Paul also says “For if through the offence of one [ie. Adam] many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded many.” (Rom 5:15) Ephesians 2:8,9 says, that “by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.” Nothing can go further than the truth that is revealed in the Holy Scriptures. Man cannot be saved by observing the law, nor by keeping certain rites and rituals – one can only be saved by grace alone for that is the only method Reformers knew and the only method the Scripture so clearly revealed to us.
However, the reformers also re-discovered that it is not enough to say that we are saved by grace alone, for even many medieval scholars held that view, with a slight twist of course. The Reformers went one step further to define what the Scripture reveals to us as how one is saved—that is, through faith alone.
(to be continued…)
Ps Weng 

More Lively Hope



*Kitchen Rosters: Team Leader: Bro Cong Pham. Next Lord’s Day: Team Leader: Bro Lucas Yiew
*Hope Bookstore - KJV Bible $40, English-Chinese Pinyin Bible $63; new stocks of cards for Christmas, Condolence, Greeting etc.. are available now.
*Greetings from Sis Marion Chan (Miyazaki)
*B-P National Youth Campers: please submit your camp forms & fees to Sis Sarah Carpenter ASAP.
Looking Ahead
*B-P National Youth Camp, 29 Nov - 3 Dec.
*Christmas Day Worship Service: Sat, 25 Dec.
*Watchnight Service: Fri, 31 Dec.
Praise & Thanksgiving
1. Journey mercies: Bro Joseph & Sis Chrisanthi Selvanayagam & Grace (Qld); Bro Lincoln Law (Syd); Sisters Margaret Hooper (Adl) & Peng Ha Yeo (Greece/Turkey); & others who have arrived safely at their destinations.
2. Church activities - over the past week.
3. Daily mercies & guidance in our lives.
Prayer Items
1. Health & God’s healing - Dr Gary Cohen (USA), Dr SH Tow; Rev & Mrs James White; Preacher Zhang, Dn Yaw Chiew Tan; Bros Colin Creaser, Dn Edwin D’Mello’s father (admitted to hospital); Makoto Kobayashi (JPN), Elton Law, Jonathan Liao (Melb), & Len Pearson; Mr Swee Liang Ng; Grandpa Ki (S’pore); Auntie Oei; Sisters Lynette Booth, Mabella Booth, Annie D’Mello & her mother (Mumbai), Lydia Fan, Myung Ki, Choon Fong Lee (KL), Nan van Buuren; Gillian Ong, Lehia Paauwe, Margaret Pearson, Julie Tan, Susan Veradi, Irena Kurek-Braden; & others in affliction.
2. Cambodia Missions - Rev Stephen Choi & Ministry (Phnom Phen & Kandal Province).
3. iSketch&Tell Studio - Pr H S Lim & his ministry.
4. IBPFM (USA) - Rev K Coleman, Board & Missionaries around the world.
5. Ministry in London - Ps & Sis Ki
6. Presbyterian Missionary Union - Missionaries.
7. Ps & Sis Weng - ministry in Hope BPC.
8. Hopefuls in S’pore; In Kuching: Teo family.
9. Journey mercies: Dns Purdee and Bro Simon Yeo; Bro Joseph & Sis Chrisanthi Selvanayagam & Grace, Mrs Siew Ling Teh & family (Adl); Bro Boong Atijatuporn (Thailand); & all others who are travelling.
10. Job - Sisters Judy Li & Corinne Teng. Jobs for our uni graduates next year.
11. Good health in pregnancy - Sis Myra Horenung (Mindanao).
12. Final weeks of pregnancy - Sis Monica Tan, for good labour & delivery. 
13. Interpreters of sermon into Mandarin.
14. Year 12 Exams: Sisters Jillian Chia & Shilsha Ninian.
15. Uni students - preparing for end-of-year exams.
16. God’s comfort for family, relatives & friends of the late Bro Colin Stock & late Mrs Doreen Dunning.
17. God’s guidance & help for Bro Richie Hornung as he works in Victoria.
18. B-P National Youth Camp - Speaker: Rev Tracy Minnick; organisers & participants.



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