God's love... "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (Joh 3:16)

Why is
 sola gratia important?

Sola gratia is important because it is one of the distinguishing characteristics or key points that separate the true biblical Gospel from false gospels that cannot save. As one of the five solas that came to define the key issues of the Protestant Reformation, this doctrine is as important today as it was then. The Latin word sola means “alone” or “only,” and the essential Christian doctrines represented by these five Latin phrases accurately summarize the biblical teaching on these crucial subjects: sola scriptura—Scripture alone, sola fide—faith alone, sola gratia—grace alone, sola Christus—Christ alone, and sola Deo gloria—for the glory of God alone. Each one is vitally important, and they are all closely tied together. Deviation from one will lead to error in another essential doctrine, and the result will almost always be a false gospel which is powerless to save.

Sola gratia is simply acknowledging that the Bible teaches that the totality of our salvation is a gift of grace from God. As it says in Ephesians 2:8-9, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” It is the acknowledgement that salvation from the wrath of God is based on God’s grace and mercy and not on anything good in us. One reason so many want to reject this important doctrine is that they do not want to accept what the Bible clearly teaches about the basic condition of human nature since the fall of Adam. The Bible says that our hearts are “deceitful” and “desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9, NKJV) and that “there is none righteous, no not one; there is none that understands, there is none that seeks after God" (Romans 3:10-11). Rather than acknowledge our total helplessness and hopelessness apart from the grace of God, most people want to believe that they have a role to play in their salvation. Western culture is so saturated with the idea that we are “masters of our own destiny” and “captains of our souls” that the idea we are without any hope apart from—and based solely on—the grace of God is foreign to our way of thinking. Sadly, it is also foreign to the way the gospel is often presented—as a plea to man to make a “decision for Christ” rather than a command to “repent and believe.” Such a presentation is based on the flawed and unbiblical idea that can be summarized by the saying, “Satan votes against you, God votes for you, and it is up to you to cast the deciding vote.” So much that passes for evangelism training today has more in common with something from a book on salesmanship than it does the Bible, often using manipulative techniques to get someone to “make a decision” that come right out of a salesmanship guide on how to “close the sale.” 

The truth of sola gratia or salvation by grace alone is what inspired John Newton to write the wonderful song “Amazing Grace.” It is a grace so amazing that it can save a wretch like me. It is an amazing grace that “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). This doctrine is important because it correctly communicates the fact that God saves us because of His mercy and goodness and not because of anything that makes us desirable to God or worthy to be saved. We cannot grasp how amazing God’s grace in salvation is until we first grasp how sinful we truly are.

Sola gratia is important because if we reject it, we reject the only Gospel that can save. The alternative to sola gratia is a gospel that depends on the goodness of man instead of the grace of God, which is no gospel at all. Sola gratia is what makes the Gospel “good news.” It helps us to understand that while the Bible says there is “no one who seeks God” (Romans 3:11), the good news is that God seeks after sinners. Jesus said He came to seek and save that which is lost (Luke 19:10), not to wait for the lost to seek Him. It is God who acts first, God who draws the wretched sinner to Himself, God who gives new life to person who is “dead in their trespasses and sins,” God who causes a person to be “born again” so he or she can “see the kingdom of God.”

(Romans 3:20-28) "Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. {21} But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; {22} Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: {23} For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; {24} Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: {25} Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; {26} To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. {27} Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. {28} Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law."

(Romans 5:18-19) "Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. {19} For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous."

(Romans 6:23) "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."

(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."

(1 Corinthians 4:7) "For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?"

(1 Corinthians 15:10) "But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me."

(Galatians 2:16) "Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified."

(Galatians 2:21) "I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain."

(Ephesians 2:8-9) "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: {9} Not of works, lest any man should boast."

(2 Timothy 1:9) "Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,"

What do we mean when we say "that we are saved by grace alone?