But before we get into justification, however, let me share a little phrase with you - "Sola Fide."
Does that phrase ring a bell?
What does it mean?
Does it mean anything?
Does it matter what it means?
Well according to biblical Christianity and our heritage as Protestants it mean a great deal…
Sola Fide means - By faith alone, and it is one of the five Solas of the 16th century Protestant Reformation. This was Martin Luther's cry in reference to Justification, i.e. a person's "right-standing" before God.
For a person to be saved they must be justified – or made righteous – in the sight of God. And Justification, Luther declared, could only come by grace through faith in Christ alone – not faith plus anything else. This was and is no minor doctrinal issue. Luther, along with all of the Reformers believed this was a critical doctrine by which the church would either stand or fall.
The doctrine of justification by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone makes this important claim that we all must understand - namely, that righteousness before God is NOT something that human beings possess by nature nor is righteousness something that we can work towards and eventually achieve. Because this is true a person cannot ever be justified unless an “alien righteousness” - i.e. a righteousness not their own - is given to them.
The Gospel is good news because it tells us that this is exactly what God is willing to do for us by grace through faith. To all who believe, the righteousness of Christ is freely given. This means that a person's right standing before God is no longer based upon their own efforts but upon the perfect righteousness of Christ imputed to them by grace through faith.
Only in this way can a person be declared "just" or "righteous" before God, the judge of all. Only in this way can a person have any hope of heaven. Only by looking to the perfect righteousness of Christ and receiving it through faith as a gift.