God’s Word says that we are saved by grace through faith in Christ Jesus and not by our own efforts or works. In other words, it is grace alone. God’s grace is enough. God’s grace changes everything. We receive His grace when we put our faith in Christ as the One who died for our sins and rose from the dead on our behalf. We cannot work for our salvation nor earn it through any human merit. We receive salvation as a gift from God.
What I love about sola gratia is that God loves, forgives, and saves us not because of who we are or what we do, but because of the work of Christ. Christians are saved by the grace of God alone. The Reformers understood the power and the significance of God’s grace in the work of salvation. Grace itself is amazing. That God shows favor to sinners is astounding. But it’s the sola part that takes this Protestant Reformation theme to another stratosphere! The sinner is saved by the grace of God, His unmerited favor, alone. God is un-obligated to do anything for sinful man. Furthermore, man is justly deserving of the penalty of sin. Man is undeserving of God’s favor and mercy. This doctrine means that nothing the sinner does commends him or her to the grace of God. So, salvation, from beginning to end, is the sovereign work and gift of God to the unworthy and undeserving.
What this means is that there is no way that I can stand before God and say, “Look at me and at what I have done!” God owes us nothing. We are entitled to nothing. We can do nothing to save ourselves because salvation comes not from within us, but from outside of us. Salvation comes from God and it comes to us by His grace alone.
I love this doctrine of God’s grace alone because it brings confidence, assurance, and comfort to my soul. I know that I cannot make any contribution to salvation. But I know not to doubt or be afraid. I am set free knowing that I am saved by His grace alone. It is no longer about my merits because my merits are never enough. Free from sin, I am invited to live out my faith with a heart of gratitude and thanksgiving. God’s grace alone causes my heart to be filled with joy and motivates me to share the Gospel with others.
Justin Kim serves as the senior pastor of Bethel English Church in Irvine, CA and is on the SOLA Council.