Five Solas

The Five Solas of the Reformation by Rev. Rodney Kleyn

“sola” is the Latin word for “alone”

1. Sola Scriptura

a. Meaning: Scripture Alone

b. Prior to the reformation, other sources of revelation than the Scripture had become the foundation for doctrine.

c. The Reformation was a return to the Scriptures. The reformers said, truth is founded on what is in the Bible. The Bible not only gives us the final answer on truth, but it is the source of truth and gives the complete truth.

Revelation ceased at the close of the canon of Scripture.

d. So, the Bible, 39 Old Testament books and 27 New Testament books, is the only rule for faith and life.

Revelation 22:18-19:  “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”

2. Solo Christo

a. Meaning: Christ Alone

b. Prior to the reformation, and still today, the Roman Catholic church taught that we are saved, not only on the basis of the work of Christ, but Christ and others. They taught people to depend on the meritorious works of others, on their own good works, on the intercession of the saints, on the money (indulgences) they would give to the church, on the repeated sacrifices of Christ in the Mass, and much more.

c. The reformers, beginning with Luther, brought Christians to see that Christ has done everything we need for Salvation. He has paid the full price for our sins in his death. There is no more need for sacrifice to pay for sins, and there is nothing that can be added to the work of Christ to help us win favor with God. God forgives men and women, loves them, receives them as his friends, and takes them to heaven only because of what Christ has done on the cross for sinners.

Acts 4:12:  “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”

3. Sola Gratia

a. Meaning: Grace Alone

b. Grace is “the unmerited favor of God” for unworthy sinners.

c. In the teaching of the Roman Catholic church the idea had developed, prior to the reformation, of man earning God’s favor by what he did, so much so, that people afflicted themselves to gain the attention and favor of God.

d. The reformers returned the church to the truth of salvation as a free gift of God for unworthy sinners.

Romans 11:6:  “And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.”

4. Sola Fide

a. Meaning: Faith Alone

b. Faith is our activity of trusting in God and in His Son Jesus Christ for salvation.

c. The reformers taught that this is the only way to salvation. There is no way of earning salvation. Salvation is Christ’s work for sinners, and we are saved by trusting in Him. Faith lets go of self and trusts in Christ alone.

We can remember the meaning of Faith by the acronym “FAITH”:

Forsaking All I Trust Him”.

d. The reformers also taught that faith is not a good work that we do to merit God’s favor. Rather, faith includes repentance which relinquishes all my works as worthy and trusts in Christ’s work alone. Also, faith itself is a work of God in us, a gift from him to his chosen people.

Ephesians 2:8:  “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:”

5. Soli Deo Gloria

a. Meaning: Glory to God Alone

b. Why are we here on the earth? Why did God make us? Who is God, and what are we in comparison to him?

c. The reformers taught that God is sovereign. He owns all things, and governs or controls all things.

d. He has made everything to serve Himself. The fact that man is able to love and be loved of God is amazing, and should humble us to always think and live to serve him. We are not our own, and are not here in the earth for ourselves. We have done nothing ourselves that deserves self-honor and, in fact, our sinfulness and sin makes us worthy only of a place in Hell.

e. All glory must go to God.

1 Corinthians 10:31:  “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”


  1. God is sovereign and this truth is amazing! Glory and all praise be to The Lord our God!

    • Amen.

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