Five Principles of the Protestant Reformation
(the Five Solas)
Scripture Alone (Sola Scriptura) - God alone is the final authority and standard of truth. He alone is completely trustworthy because He is perfect, while humans are prone to error and sin. Because Scripture is God’s revealed Word, it stands without error as our final and infallible authority for faith and practice. Only God’s Word deserves and demands our total allegiance. Scripture shines as a light on our path, so that we may truly know God and live rightly. Psalm 1:1-2; Psalm 119:18; Psalm 138:2; 2 Timothy 3:14-17; 2 Timothy 2:15; Ephesians 2:19-21; 2 Peter 3:16; 1 Corinthians 14:37; John 14:6.
Grace Alone (Sola Gratia) - “Grace” is central to the Bible’s message of redemption, showing that our salvation is God's accomplishment, from beginning to end. Apart from God’s initiative to save us, we are hopeless, helpless, and wanting nothing but our own rebellious ways. In light of our sins against God, there is nothing we can do to merit forgiveness before the perfectly holy and just God of the universe. But, God has chosen to act in undeserved favor toward us to bring about our salvation. He has taken the initiative to redeem us, to meet His own demand for righteousness in His Son, and to raise us from spiritual death to life by the Spirit. Our hope, therefore, is not found in us but solely in the grace of our God. Ephesians 1:3-8; Ephesians 2:1-10; Romans 11:35; 1 Corinthians 4:7; John 1:16.
Christ Alone (Solus Christus) - All of the Christian life finds its rationale in Jesus Christ. All that God speaks to us in Scripture is revealed in order to save us by faith alone, in our Lord Jesus Christ alone as the object of our faith, which we receive by grace alone. We cannot know God, the grace extended by God, the faith given by God, or the glory possessed and promised by God, apart from God the Son who became a man for our salvation. In Christ alone, God’s righteous demand for punishment against sin is definitively and completely satisfied, so that we might be free from guilt. Christ’s obedient life, death, and resurrection is sufficient for our salvation, and there is nothing that we or anyone else can add to His perfect work. 1 Timothy 2:5-6; Colossians 1:13-18; John 14:6-7; Hebrews 4:15-5:10; 1 Peter 2:9.
Faith Alone (Sola Fide) - Before the holy and just Judge, we have no standing in ourselves. It is only where God acts in grace to extend to us the perfect righteousness of His own Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, that we can be declared not guilty. We become the beneficiaries of Christ's righteousness by simply raising the empty hands of faith and receiving all that Christ has won for us. Only faith accords with the free grace of God's salvation. Romans 4:1-24; Galatians 3:1-11; Ephesians 2:8-10; Romans 10:5-13; Luke 23:39-43; Acts 11:13; Acts 16:30-32.
Glory to God Alone (Soli Deo Gloria) - God is the highest object of praise, worship, and devotion. The universe is His, and we are made for Him. This tells us why God created us, what our purpose is, what life is all about, and what our chief end is. Every area of life is to be lived for God’s glory, so that by every word and deed all glory and honor is God’s alone. Each individual flourishes and finds satisfaction in a life lived for God's glory. Revelation 4:11; 1 Corinthians 10:31; 1 Peter 4:11; Revelation 1:6; 2 Peter 3:18; Ephesians 3:21; Revelation 7:12; Romans 11:36.