This year is the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. One of the key teachings from the reformers was summarized in the doctrine of Solus Christus or Christ Alone. This means He alone is the source of our salvation and hope.
Martin Luther said that Jesus Christ is the “center and circumference of the Bible” — meaning that who He is and what He did on the cross is the fundamental teaching of Scripture. I love this teaching for many reasons.
First, Christ Alone reminds me of the great and infinite value of Christ
I have to be reminded often that He is greater in value than everything else in this world. Jesus teaches us how he is greater than all other things in this short story from Matthew 13:44:
“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.”
Jesus is compared to a treasure in a field. Many in those days would bury their valuables for safekeeping. It was therefore somewhat common to find forgotten treasure, and it would belong to the person who found it. In this story, Jesus points to something valuable that you or I didn’t earn but only found: Himself. He is valuable.
Jesus is also contrasted to all the man’s possessions. The man in the story placed the value of the treasure so high that he didn’t think twice about selling all that he had. Before we overlook this, let us remember the man sold “all” he had. I don’t think he was poor man; he had enough possessions to be able to buy a field. But the treasure was still of higher value. I have to be reminded that my toys here on earth are nothing in comparison to what I have in Christ. He is greater than all of our possessions.
The second reason I love Christ Alone is it points to the saving work of Christ
He alone is powerful enough to save us. No one else, including ourselves, can save us. Jonathan Edwards says it so succinctly:“You contribute nothing to your salvation except the sin that made it necessary.”
Jesus also makes it clear in John 14:6 saying, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” We gain access to the Father through Christ Alone. This means nothing can make us more or less deserving of the grace of God found in Christ.
Over the years, I have found that what keeps people away from God can be summed in two things: pride and guilt. But both extremes are removed through Christ’s saving work. The gospel humbles the proud and at the same time delivers sinners from their guilt. This is the beauty of Christ’s work. May the infinite worth and the saving work that is found in Christ Alone guide and encourage you every day.
God bless you.
Steve Choi serves as the lead pastor of Crossway, a multisite church (Irvine and Brea). Currently, Steve serves on the board for International Theological Seminary and JAMA and leads Synergy, a ministry for pastors and church leaders. Steve is happily married to Sharon and has two daughters.