Sola Fide - The Gift of Faith

October 8, 2023 Preacher: Gareth Franks Series: 5 Solas of the Reformation

Topic: The Gospel Scripture: Romans 3:19–28

Is salvation by faith alone, or is salvation by faith plus works? This is perhaps the most important question in all of Christian theology. This question was the cause of the Reformation, the split between Protestantism and Catholicism. This question is a key difference between biblical Christianity and most of the cults. Is salvation through faith alone or through faith plus human works? Stated another way, are we saved by trusting in Jesus, or do we have to believe in Jesus and, in addition, do certain things?

Here in Romans, Paul is writing to the church at Rome. His intention in writing this letter to them, is to explain the good news of Jesus Christ, that salvation comes to us as a gift received by faith, not by works, and in so doing gives a clear and accurate explanation of Sola Fide: 

  1. A Righteousness We Cannot Produce & Do Not Deserve (v.19-23)     
  2. Righteousness Without Which We Are Damned (v.24-25a) 
  3. Righteousness That Cannot Be Denied (v.25b-26) 
  4. Righteousness That We Dare Not Disregard (v.27-28)

The law of God is a great equalizer. The ground is level at the foot of the cross, because, since all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory (Rom. 3:23), all need Jesus. 

We wretched sinners stand before God’s unfathomable holiness with utter need, with nothing to offer except poverty of spirit, a depravity of such totality that God would be completely justified in pouring out an eternity of wrath upon us. But instead he pours out that wrath upon his Son, Jesus Christ, and thereby we are “justified by his grace as a gift.” In God’s grace, he justifies sinners and at the same time validates his own righteousness because he has punished us—in Christ!

The reason why our faith must be “in Jesus Christ” is because He alone has the righteousness we need. “For He [God] made Him [Christ] who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Martin Luther was correct in saying that this doctrine of “sola fide” the doctrine of justification by faith alone is “the article by which the church stands or falls.” If we abandon the doctrine of Sola fide (justification by faith alone), we abandon the only way of salvation.

Getting Started                          

  1. Were you that child whose parents always took your side over your sibling(s)? Did you feel righteous and justified? Or were you the child who was misunderstood? Share your story.  
  •  Read Romans 3:19-28
  1. What insight, principle, or observation from Sunday’s sermon did you find to be the most helpful, eye-opening, or troubling?

Digging Deeper

  1. What does Paul mean in v.21 when he says, "apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested?" 
  1. Read Romans 3:25-26. How can God be called just if he passes over sins?
  1. In v.28, Paul clearly teaches that we are justified by our faith. Does he mean that our faith is the ultimate cause of our justification?

 The Heart of the Matter

  1. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says “For our sake he [God] made him [Christ] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” Does this mean that Christ became a sinner for us? Explain your answer.
  1.  Sola Fide (justification by faith alone) does not draw attention to ourselves and our great faith but rather to Christ and God’s great work of redemption through him. What are some ways that a misunderstanding of this doctrine can draw attention to ourselves and rob God of all the glory?


  1. Our justification before God by faith results in the creation of a family of faith that includes all believers, Jewish or Gentile, slave or free. What implications does this mean for NLC?



More in 5 Solas of the Reformation

October 29, 2023

Soli Deo Gloria - To Him be Glory Forever

October 22, 2023

Sola Gratia - Amazing Grace

October 15, 2023

Solus Christus- The All Sufficient Saviour