“Sola Gratia: a Pillar of the Reformation”
November 19, 2017
In late November of 1988, a 19-year-old woman fell asleep while driving shortly after midnight on a Los Angeles freeway. The car went through a guard rail on an overpass. But the left rear wheel got trapped by that guard rail and left the car dangling in mid-air, over the road below. Some quick-thinking passing motorists grabbed some ropes from one of their vehicles, tied them to the car and hung on until the fire department could arrive. The firemen raised a ladder from below to stabilize the car and then tied it off with chains and cables connected to tow trucks. Amidst this flurry of activity a witness noted, “Every time we would move the car, she’d yell and scream…in pain.”
After 2-1/2 hours of work between the passers-by, California Highway Patrol, firemen, and tow truck workers (about 25 people), the car was secured and the woman was pulled up to safety. Recalled LA County Fire Captain Ross Marshall, “It was kinda funny.…She kept saying, ‘I’ll do it myself.’”
How deceptive our reliance on self-sufficiency is! And while the folly of self-sufficiency is clearly evident in this story, many continue to cling to self-sufficiency in a far more dangerous scenario with far greater implications. I speak of the desire of man to cling to self-sufficiency for his own salvation from sin and the wrath of God. Said one self-important person a generation ago, “All I ask of life is a constant and exaggerated sense of my own importance.”
And that same perspective toward God for our salvation will leave us destitute and damned. We cannot save ourselves; in ourselves we are hopeless and incapable. We need someone to act for us to save us. And in His grace, that is exactly what God has done. And that is one of the pillars of the Reformation, sola gratia. We are saved by grace, and only by grace. So we say of grace,
Because of the sin of man, only the grace of God can save him.
- What Does Sola Gratia Mean?
- Grace — a definition and implications
- Grace in the Old Testament
- Grace in the New Testament
- Why Was Sola Gratia Necessary?
- The debate over grace between Augustine and Pelagius
- The teaching of the Roman church on grace today
- Is Sola Gratia Taught in Scripture? (Ephesians 2:8-10)
- How God Saves Sinners (v. 8a)
- How God Does Not Save Sinners (vv. 8b-9)
- Why God Saves Sinners (v. 10)
Download the rest of this sermon on Sola Gratia and Ephesians 2:8-10.
The audio will be posted on the GBC website tomorrow morning.