October, 1517 (Part 4)

This makes Jesus the guarantor of a better covenant. The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office, but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. 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. (Hebrews 7:22-25 ESV). Today we come to the fourth principle of the Reformation: Sola Christus. Unlike those principles we looked at yesterday, this tenet is one of the easiest to accept on its surface. The Christian community at large believes God has given the ultimate revelation of himself to us by sending Jesus Christ (cf. Colossians 1:15). No one denies that it is through God’s gracious self-revelation in Jesus that we come to a saving and transforming knowledge of God. The problem the Reformers faced in the sixteenth century is the same as we face today. There are many who would accept the Person and work of Christ but then add the works of men. The church in the day of the Reformers called those works “indulgences.” In the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church, an indulgence is “a way to reduce the amount of punishment one has to undergo for sins”. Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, Wycliffe, and Hus may have debated other points, but at this point they all agreed. The work of Christ was once for all. No other work needed to be done for the atoning of our sins. The Scripture is extremely clear at this point. Neither religious rituals nor good works mediate between us and God. Only the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ is necessary for a man to be saved. It is the name of Jesus and his sacrificial death alone that can atone for sin (Hebrews 7:23). It may be difficult for you to imagine anyone denying that truth today, especially in the evangelical community of faith; however, the denial is very subtle. Because of that subtlety there is an even greater danger to our faith. The truth is altered when we add anything to the work of Christ for our atonement. In addition to the misunderstanding that grows from the addition of a man’s action to the work of being born again, we also see an erosion in the assurance of our salvation. We are easily led into heresies that take us further and further away from our devotion and commitment to the Lordship of Christ in the sanctification of our lives. Ultimately the denial of the complete efficacy of the work of Christ robs us of our hope. All of us are acutely aware of our inability to live perfect lives. We all fail. That leads to the belief that we can lose our salvation and we no longer have hope. Take heart, the Scripture is very clear. Jesus has accomplished all that is necessary. We can know our eternal life is secure in Him – Sola...

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