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Romans and the Reformation 4: Solus Christus “Christ Alone”

Romans and the Reformation Day 4 – Solus Christus “Christ Alone”

If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:9-13, ESV)

No other phrase in the five solas is more important than the central phrase we will discuss today—solus Christus, “Christ alone.” When we proclaim that we can be made right with God in Christ alone, what we are actually saying is that absolutely no one else can serve as the mediator between us and our Creator. No one. In our pluralistic culture of tolerance, this is an offensively exclusive statement. “How can Jesus be the only way to salvation when there are so many good people who believe in other gods or religions?” they ask. Sure, it can be tempting to say, “Well, I believe in Jesus but I don’t expect anyone to share my beliefs. We are all just trying to find the faith tradition that works for us.” In today’s world, we tend to like the social capital that such an attitude gives us; we aren’t necessarily denying Christ, but we don’t want anyone to feel bad either or to make any unnecessary waves. Unfortunately, the Bible does not allow for such a cavalier approach to truth. Jesus said very clearly, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). 

We are not saved by faith in a pastor or a priest or a political pundit or even a philosophy; we are saved by faith in Jesus Christ, and only Him. As Peter states in Acts 4:12, “There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” In practical terms, this means Christ is first over everything. He is the object of our faith, His perfection and His work are the means by which we receive God’s grace, He is the central story of all Scripture, and He is the incarnate revelation of the glory of God. Without the person of Jesus Christ, without His sinlessness, His deity, His teachings, His atoning death, His triumphant resurrection, and His ascension to Heaven to sit at God’s right hand, the gospel we believe in and preach to others would be utterly meaningless. The good news of salvation is the story of our Redeemer—or it is a story that is not worth the paper it is printed on! 

To be honest, it feels a bit strange to be writing on this topic because, having trusted in Jesus for salvation as a child, I have heard these truths over and over so many times that I have taken them for granted. I find myself asking, Do I need to write in a devotional that Jesus really is God in the flesh? Do I need to affirm that His sacrificial death on the cross paid for our sins eternally and that His bodily resurrection really happened the way the Gospels say it did? Do I really need to tell even long-time believers that Jesus is the only way to God, that He is alive forever, and that He is coming back soon? I believe the answer is yes, and here is why: we will never outgrow our need for the good news of Jesus Christ. 

There will always be voices in our minds, in our media, in our broader culture, and in our social circles that vie for our attention with the promise of something new. There will be a hot-off-the-press book we need to read or a popular theory we need to consider or a viral media personality we need to listen to. There will always be a new perspective on something we were taught as a child in Sunday school or some new psychological tool that promises to unlock our potential in a fresh way. Our current generation is completely obsessed with novelty—and it is killing us. 

Now, hear me on this. I certainly like a new, fresh-smelling book as much as the next person, and I wholeheartedly believe being open to hearing differing perspectives is healthy and important. But in our quest for the new, we often forge ahead with no knowledge of the old. We forget the essentials, or worse, we callously disregard them as merely yesterday’s news. 

A focus on the essential gospel as seen through the five solas—grace alone, faith alone, Christ alone, Scripture alone, and the glory of God alone—will ground us in God’s reality daily. Hourly. Even moment by moment. Often, a reminder of the simple message that Jesus died for us is the only thing we need to keep on going. It reminds us to keep fighting temptation, to keep pursuing God in prayer, to keep investing our time and talents in the ministry of the local church, to keep walking in step with the Holy Spirit, and to keep holding on to our faith when the arrows are flying fast and close. 

I could write pages about how superior Jesus Christ is to every other religious figure or supposed deity in history. I could tell incredible stories about how faithful He is as a Friend and a Shepherd. I could spend hours going over the historical evidence for His birth, His life, His death, and His resurrection, and discuss the immense impact this Jewish rabbi has had on the whole of civilization in the past two millennia. Though these topics would take more time, space, and (certainly) expertise than I have, the real reason I don’t want to get into all of that is quite simple: when I see the words “Christ alone,” I am compelled to set everything else down and just worship. 

The simple fact that Jesus Christ is who He claimed to be is the reason I am alive to write anything. I am a sinner, the likes of which nobody but myself will ever know. I am in desperate need of a Saviour to take for me God’s wrath against my sin—otherwise, I would be consumed. And Jesus Christ is that Saviour; He took that wrath for me. I rest fully in His words on the cross, “It is finished.” I rejoice in His victory over death. Without Him, I could not bear to face my holy Creator without crumbling in shame. In Him, I can come before God, washed clean in the blood of His righteous Son (Romans 3:23-26). 

Not enough songs will ever be composed to sing the praise of Jesus. Not enough words will ever be written to tell the world how wonderful He is, how loving and gracious and merciful and true He is. May all that we have and all that we are be used to tell His story and to love Him more fully.

“In Christ Alone”  

In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song
This cornerstone, this solid ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My comforter, my all in all
Here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone, Who took on flesh,
Fullness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness,
Scorned by the ones He came to save.
‘Til on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied
For ev’ry sin on Him was laid
Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain
Then bursting forth in glorious day,
Up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory,
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me
For I am His and He is mine
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death
This is the pow’r of Christ in me
From life’s first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No pow’r of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand
‘Til He returns or calls me home
Here in the pow’r of Christ I’ll stand.

–Stuart Townend and Keith Getty

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