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The Protestant Reformation started in the 16th Century when there was a breakaway from the Roman Catholic Church. The man who sparked this widespread spiritual revival was an Augustinian monk named Martin Luther. The Reformation was a wake-up call to return to true Biblical faith as taught by the Holy Scriptures.

Through the Reformation, Luther and the early Reformers made God’s Word available to the common people. Their theological convictions that emerged during the Reformation are often referred to as “The Five Pillars of the Reformation”. Each pillar or “sola” – which means “alone” or “only” in Latin – represents a fundamental Scriptural truth held by the Protestant Reformers as opposed to the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. The five “solas” are:

1. Sola Scriptura (“By Scripture alone”)
2. Sola Fide (“By Faith Alone”)
3. Sola Gratia (“By Grace Alone”)
4. Solus Christus (“Through Christ Alone”)
5. Soli Deo Gloria (“Glory to God Alone”)

1. Sola Scriptura (“By Scripture Alone”)

The Reformers’ cry was “Sola Scriptura”. This means that the Holy Scriptures were inspired by God, and are therefore the sole and ultimate authority in all matters of faith and practice. God’s Word alone is the basis of our salvation and must continue to be our guide in our daily life: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (II Tim 3: 16-17).

2. Sola Fide (“By Faith Alone”)
3. Sola Gratia (“By Grace Alone”)

Left to himself, sinful man will never seek after God: “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one” (Rom 3: 10-12).

How then can anyone be saved? God’s Word provides the answer: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Eph 2: 8-9). We are not saved by our own merits or goodness but by God’s grace through faith in Christ alone.

“It is the Lord who has begun the good work within us; it is He who has carried it on; and if He does not finish it, it never will be complete. If there be one stitch in the celestial garment of our righteousness which we are to insert ourselves, then we are lost; but this is our confidence, the Lord Who began will perfect” (C H Spurgeon).

4. Solus Christus (“Through Christ Alone”)

Jesus Christ is the only Mediator between the holy God and sinful man: “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; 6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time” (I Tim 2: 5-6). Only Jesus Christ, the perfect Lamb of God can take away the sins of the world (Jn 1: 29).

In his epistle to the Romans, the apostle Paul spoke not only of man’s sin and penalty but also of God’s gift of salvation through His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ: “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom 6: 23).

5. Soli Deo Gloria (“Glory to God Alone”)

We have been saved by believing in God’s Word alone, by God’s grace alone, through faith in Christ alone. We must therefore give all glory to God alone. God has wrought grace in our hearts so that we who were dead in sins and trespasses, could respond to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and be saved (Eph 2: 1-9).

In his Prologue to the Epistle to the Romans, William Tyndale, the English Reformer, and Bible translator wrote: “We see that God only, Who, according to the Scripture, worketh all in all things, worketh a man’s justifying, salvation, and health ... God’s mercy in promising, and Truth in fulfilling His promises, saveth us, and not we ourselves; and therefore is all laud, praise, and glory to be given unto God for His mercy and Truth, and not unto us for our merits and deservings.”

Like Jonah of old, let us give praise and glory to the Lord for our salvation: “But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD” (Jon 2: 9). Let us honour the Lord in our daily conduct: “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God” (I Cor 10: 31). May we consecrate our lives “to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever” – which is “the chief end of man” (Westminster Confession of Faith).


We thank God for our godly heritage which began with the Protestant Reformation. May we continue to uphold the Five Pillars of the Reformation which are based on Holy Scriptures. As exhorted by the apostle Paul, let us hold fast “the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus” (II Tim 1: 13) and “the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)” (Heb 10: 23). Let us also, by God’s grace, “earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3). Amen.

– Pastor