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Solus Christus & Soli Deo Gloria

5 Solas of the Reformation  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Last week we spoke about grace, and it’s intimate connection with faith. Today we are going to deal with the last two Solas, but also two of the biggest issues in Christianity. Namely,
Sin - Just about everybody knows how we should act. That’s our problem. Our problem is we lack the power to do it.
The Westminster Confession - “Man, by his fall…made himself uncapable of life by [the covenant of works].” (Westminster Confession VII.III.
We spoke about this a bit last week in our discussion of grace. We fail in our efforts to do the good we ought to do (remember ?)
“But God did not abandon us [in our sin]. Instead, the Confession tells us, He introduced a new covenant. We failed to do what the old covenant (the covenant of works) required, so God introduced a covenant of grace. But we must be careful to define our terms here. When we speak of a covenant of grace, many people think it means God has given up on expecting us to do what we ought to do. He has decided to be gracious and “let us off the hook.” But God’s Word makes it quite clear that He does not intend only to forgive us and overlook our sins. Rather the goal of this new covenant, the covenant of grace, is a people whoa re both willing and able to believe and to obey. God has no intenton of accepting failure and leaving the shards of His broken creation scattered across the landscape. He intends to make all things new!”
The key to this whole shabang is the person whom God has named as the mediator that guarantees its success. “What distinguishes Christianity from any other religion or philosophy at any time or place in history is the person of Jesus Christ! The unique role of Jesus Christ gives Christianity its distinctive power and makes it the only approach to life that can ultimately succeed.”
~ Smith, Paul. The Westminster Confession: Enjoying God Forever

Luther used his christological understanding of the whole Christian Bible, not as a formal principle, but as an authority which he derived from the living presence of God who was present in the text. The Bible was not a story about Jesus, but the very source of Christ’s actual presence.

Central to the reformation and to Reformed theology is the issue of Christ.

SOLUS CHRISTUS

God has given the ultimate revelation of himself to us by sending Jesus Christ, . Only through God’s gracious self-revelation in Jesus do we come to a saving and transforming knowledge of God.
. Because God is holy and all humans are sinful and sinners,  . Neither religious rituals nor good works mediate between us and God.  by which a person can be saved other than the name of Jesus. , and his sacrificial death alone can atone for sin.
Col 1:15-18
Colossians 1:15–18 ESV
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.
1 John 1:1 ESV
1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life—
Hebrews 7:25 ESV
25 Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.
1
Romans 8:34 ESV
34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.
Acts 4:12 ESV
12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
Hebrews 7:23 ESV
23 The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office,
Hebrews

SOLI DEO GLORIA

Glory belongs to God alone. God’s glory is the central motivation for salvation, not improving the lives of people—though that is a wonderful by product. God is not a means to an end—he is the means and the end.
The goal of all of life is to give glory to God alone: “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” ().  As The Westminster Catechism says, the chief purpose of human life is “to glorify God and enjoy him forever.”
1 Corinthians 10:31 ESV
31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

The TRINITY

The Trinity is a difficult concept, but not near as difficult when we begin to understand who Jesus is and his relation to and with God.
Christianity is founded on the person of Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ is unique in that He is fully God and fully man.
He is the only person in history about whom this claim can be made. Other religions have gods and great men or women, but
In Christ we combine “two whole perfect and distinct natures, the Godhead and the manhood…inseparable joined together in one person.” (Westminster Confession VIII.II).
John 1:1 ESV
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Jesus Christ is fully God.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. ~
The Gospel begins by introducing us to the concept of the “Word”, the fundamental principle of order and rationality in the universe. That Word, we are told, already was “in the beginning”; in other words, it is eternal.
and the Word was with God - this implies that the Word is distinct from God in some way. Nevertheless the Word was God.
What John is saying is that the Word can be completely identified with God. It shares in some way the very essence of the original being.
At this point John enters a personal pronoun - He is introduced.
John 1:2
John 1:2 ESV
2 He was in the beginning with God.
HE was with God in the beginning, this word is more than a force or an idea, it is a person, and we are told that he participated in creation itself and ultimately invested that creation with life.
In the climax of this passage we read:
John 1:14 ESV
14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John 1:10
Or in the Message translation
“The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood...” The Message
John 1:14 The Message
14 The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood. We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, like Son, Generous inside and out, true from start to finish.
Helpful verses:
Colossians 1:15–18 ESV
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.
Colossians 2:9 ESV
9 For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily,
Hebrews 1:3 ESV
3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,

Understanding the Trinity

To understand the Trinity, we need to understand two basic terms that are regularly used to describe it.
nature and person.
Christianity consistently describes God as “one God in three persons.” that is, one divine nature, but three individual persons all of whom share that nature. The Three persons are Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Philippians 2:6–7 NIV
6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
The totally unique thing about Jesus Christ is that though he was by nature God, sharing the entire essence of God, he nevertheless took upon Himself as well the nature of a human. Notice it does not say that he quit being God when He became man.
Jesus was not God disguised as a man - as a sort of costume.
Jesus did not become two persons.
Now He is fully God and fully man at one and the same time.
The princess and the Frog.
We’re all familiar with these kinds of stories. Through some kind of spell a human prince is turned into a Frog. Now we know that he is still the prince in his person, but now he is only able to act through the nature of the frog. To be true to his frog nature he has to eat flies, hop, ribbit. The trick for him is ow to accomplish whatever task is necessary to end the curse all while living according to his frog nature.
Jesus and the curse that doomed the human race.
This works as a great picture of the challenge that Jesus faced, retaining His divine nature and His distinct personhood, while taking on the far more limited human nature in order to deal with the curse that lies upon the whole human race.
Three aspects of this curse need to be addressed:
Satan, who was our primary tempter.
Sin, which had left us with true guilt and separated us from a holy God.
Death, which was the natural and eternal consequence of our sin.
Hebrews 2:14–15 ESV
14 Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.
Hebrews 2:17 ESV
17 Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.
Jesus death is intended to release us from the bondage to Satan, sin, and death. That is His whole purpose. Satan uses the fear of death and our desire for security to tempt us to lie, to cheat, to steal, to seek personal pleasure while it is at hand and ignore the call of God to higher things. Sin becomes for us an addiction.
But Jesus, according to the unfolding story becomes for us a High Priest. You may remember that in the OT the High Priest always brought the sacrifice for sin to the holy place, where he interceded on behalf of the people. He would plead for God’s mercy in spit fo the fact that the people had sinned.
Jesus, as wholly God and wholly man, became our unique mediator.
Jesus took all our sins upon himself and offerend himself as a sacrifice to pay the penalty of death incurred by our guilt.
As a man, Jesus could identify with our sins and offer the penalty required of a human being, namely death. As God, that penalty could be multiplied infinitely to cover the sins of the whole human race. Se how important Jesus is?
Death could not contain him, he rose from the dead and was exalted to the right hand of God. And what does he do there for us? He intercedes for us - right there at the right hand of God.
Hebrews 7:24–27 ESV
24 but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. 25 Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. 26 For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. 27 He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself.
Now our sin has become His sin and His death has become our death on behalf of our sin. His resurrection to new life has become our resurrection to new life. His power flows through us. All this comes about because we are in union with Jesus Christ.
2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
Now wait a minute. What is it about being in Christ that changes us, how do we take on the qualities of Christ?
Steel and fire
Think of how a sword is made.
Steel is cold
Fire is hot
Yet when the steel is placed into the fire it begins to take on characteristics of the fire. With sufficient heat it will begin to glow, if you placed it into water it would cause the water to boil, and you may even light a piece of wood on fire with a white hot sword.
Is it the qualities of the sword, or the qualities of the fire that cause that reaction?
Obviously it is the qualities of the fire. Now the sword has taken on the qualities of the fire and to accomplish what only the fire could accomplish before. The reason is that it never left the fire.
That is the challenge for you and me. to abid in Christ
John 15:7 ESV
7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
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