Justification by grace alone may be the most famous sola of the Reformation. It creates the main barrier between Catholics and Protestants. Do we contribute good works to our justification? This is an essential question for our salvation. So, what does the Book say?
In this lab, Pastor John brings James and Paul into a discussion over justification. Catholics often try to refute faith alone by citing the only place in the Bible that the exact phrase is used — “You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone” (James 2:24). Protestants often cite texts from Paul like Romans 3:28, “We hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law” (Romans 3:28). Do these texts contradict each other?
In this lab, Pastor John wrestles with these and other texts to show that if people are justified, they are justified by faith alone.
Romans 4:4–5: “Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness.”
Galatians 2:16: “We know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.”
Romans 5:1: “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Ephesians 2:8–10: “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
Series: Are the Five Solas in the Bible?
This year marks the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. The Reformers were men and women shaped by a book. They looked at the book, studied the book, memorized the book, and their (re)discoveries of essential Christian truths in the book changed the course of history.
In this lab series, we aim to look at the book with them. We will take each of the five solas and judge for ourselves whether what we believe aligns with what God has said.
Martin Luther didn’t stand alone 500 years ago. Nor does he stand alone today.
To mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, we invite you to join us on a 31-day journey, beginning October 1, just 5–7 minutes each day, to meet the many heroes of the Reformation.