Reformation and Christ Alone (Solus Christus)

In a big box world of dime-a-dozen gods that we can custom-build to our own specifications, Solus Christus (Christ Alone) remains the stone the builders reject and the capstone (Psalm 118:22) of the Christian faith, even among the 5 Solas of the Reformation.  Gospel Coalition writer Stephen Wellum states it this way in Lose Christ, Lose Christianity

Solus Christus stands at the center of the other four solas, connecting them into a coherent theological system by which the reformers declared the glory of God.” 

Christ Alone is perhaps the greatest reclamation of the Reformation.

Everything about Jesus Christ and His work stands apart.  He is the only True God.  His work—and His work alone—was completely finished when He died.  It was—and is—thoroughly sufficient to give us life.  He did it all.  It is already done.  There is no other way.  Not even one.  And what Christ Alone did, lasts forever … because He lives. 

Hebrews 7:24 But because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. 25 Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. 26 Such a high priest meets our need– one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. 27 Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself.

This truth revealed in Scripture, artfully repeated throughout the Book of Hebrews, reminds us of the supremacy, the sufficiency, and the self-disclosure of the Father in the sacrifice of Christ.

How can this possibly have any unintended consequences?

Well it does because human sin has a way of ruining just about everything. 

Martin Luther and other Reformers looked at the Roman Catholic Church and what it had become: an elaborate system of works and sacraments, hierarchies of pope, bishop, and priest, mediators and indulgences, all of which served to obscure the Person and work of Christ taught in Scripture.

In this regard, what Luther intended—a Reformation of the Roman Catholic Church of his day— was never achieved.  It resulted in no real renewal until centuries later. 

Reformation Day could easily be called Excommunication and Splinter from Catholicism Day which was an actual consequence.  In 1521, Luther was summoned before the Diet of Worms (and no one wants a diet of worms, but even that would be better than showing up at the Imperial Diet for excommunication, which is what happened.)

Then the “priesthood of believers”–a concept both Biblical and beautiful–kind of went their own way, too.  Sin, power, and politics, yup, it’s a nasty trifecta (trying to win, place, and show) and left Christ Alone at the altar.  They established Lutheranism as the state religion throughout much of Germany (also Scandinavia and the Baltics, and unofficially Minnesota).  It was supposed to be Christ Alone, not Luther’s namesake.

This great divorce within the Body of Christ, however, cannot diminish Christ Alone. 

No amount of sinful outcome can undo what Christ did!  His work of sacrifice (Solus Christus) reigns supreme and sufficient through all history and reminds us not to put our faith in any man beyond Christ Alone.  He alone is the capstone of our faith, the hub around Whom all true doctrine revolves, and the central figure of all history, revealing the Father’s love for us.  The Reformation reclaimed a bit of that and we can be grateful.

We can learn to be more faithful, too, whether Catholic or Reformed.  We can learn from the 5 Solas that Jesus belongs neither to Catholicism nor Protestantism.  Salvation is found nowhere else.  Nothing should obscure this fact: Jesus stands above and Jesus stands alone.  Solus Christus


The 5 Solas of the Reformation began on October 26, 2017 and can be found in the archives. 

  1. Sola Scriptura (Scripture Alone);
  2. Sola Gratia (Grace Alone);
  3. Sola Fide (Faith Alone);
  4. Solus Christus (Christ Alone); and
  5. Soli Deo Gloria (To God Alone Be Glory).

Categories Articles and Devotionals, Devotionals | Tags: | Posted on October 30, 2017

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