Sola fide (“by faith alone”). This doctrine, based on justification of faith and faith alone. A doctrine by the Lutheran and Reformers theology.
The Latin Word Sola
Sola is Latin meaning alone or single. Think of it when you sing a song by yourself it is called a solo.
Forms of this word are
Per the Latin Dictionary these are the forms of this word for Alone.
fide is Latin too. This Latin word means Faith.
Doctrine of Sola Fide
Sola Fide is one of the 5 Solas. This doctrine, based on justification of faith and faith alone. This doctrine held mostly by Lutherans and Reformers. God’s pardon done through faith alone. Works won’t save us! We cannot earn salvation! Only Jesus Christ earned true justification by His righteous life. His righteousness was imputed to us. It was what Christ did that we couldn’t do. When we see faith and works in the Bible together they are often contrasted.
Through Faith Alone is our only means.
Martin Luther and the Catholic Church
Martin Luther say this doctrine where the church would either stand or fall based on the belief or disbelief in sola fide. The Catholic Church doesn’t stand on this doctrine. As a matter of fact, Pope Benedict XVI made a startling proclamation: “Luther’s expression sola fide is true if faith is not opposed to charity, to love”. (Wednesday Audience, November 19, 2008). Catholics believe justification comes from sacraments of baptism and reconciliation. With these sacraments comes justification from God. However, in the sola fide doctrine, they would argue that both baptism and reconciliation are works.
Faith and Works?
On the other side, James is showing that true faith will bring forth godly works. Because we love Jesus, we will love the things of the Father. That will lead us to do good works. But those works don’t save us! It is the faith that saves us! Even a Philippian jailer asked Paul what he must do to be saved. The Apostle Paul replied with, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved” (Acts 16:31). That summed it up that we cannot do anything, works won’t save us. Paul didn’t say believe and do this or that. Just simply Believe in the Lord Jesus. It is not just faith in anything … but faith in Jesus!
Augsburg Confession – Article Four
Also they teach that men cannot be justified before God by their own strength, merits, or works, but are freely justified for Christ’s sake, through faith, when they believe that they are received into favor, and that their sins are forgiven for Christ’s sake, who, by His death, has made satisfaction for our sins. This faith God imputes for righteousness in His sight. Romans 3 and Romans 4.
The main scripture references comes from James 2:14-26 and Ephesians 2:1-10.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.
- Got Questions?
- Catholic Answers
- Lutheran Reformation
- Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry (CARM)
- Augsburg Confession – Article Four