2000-02-22 - Sola Gratia
The Sola Series, Part 3
Romans 11:5,6 So also, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. And if by grace, then it is no longer by works. If it were, grace would no longer be grace.
This is the third of five devotionals on some of the popular Latin phrases used in the Christian church throughout history. Sola Gratia refers to salvation specifically and means grace alone. So when Sola Gratia is used as a phrase it means that salvation is only by grace through faith in the atonement of Christ.
This contrasts those who would add human achievement to the work of Christ either as a preparation for salvation or as a contributing factor in the work of salvation. Sola Gratia maintains that God is both the initiator and the accomplisher of the salvation of the sinner.
Grace can mean many things in Scripture. It can mean physical beauty (Proverbs 1:9, 3:22). It also can refer to Christian virtues, such as charity, liberality, and holiness (2 Corinthians 8:7, 2 Peter 3:18) Spiritual edification of others is called grace in Ephesians 4:29. In addition, "Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone." (Colossians 4:6) So we see that grace can mean many things in Scripture. However the primary meaning in Scripture regards salvation. One way to look at God's grace to us is His favor toward us, or His goodness toward us. (Genesis 6:8, 2 Timothy 1:9)
In particular when we consider salvation, we think of God's grace as His forgiving mercy. This mercy is based on His grace toward us and not upon any merit or worth that we have in ourselves. (Romans 11:6, Ephesians 2:10, Colossians 1:6)
Lastly, lest we not fully understand how much the grace of God is a gift from God and not something we work up in ourselves, In Galatians 1:6, Paul speaks of how God had "...called you (the Galatians) by the grace of Christ..." It was God who called those who once knew nothing of the grace of Christ into that grace. This is a grace the Christian can trust in because it depends upon God and not upon us. May we be able to rest fully in this grace.
"There is no reason to be given for grace but grace." Ralph Venning
"For what is grace by the beams of Christ, the Sun of Righteousness." Richard Sibbs