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Why is Sola Fide Important?

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Question: "Why is_sola fide _important?" Answer: _Sola fide _which means "faith alone" is important because it is one of the distinguishing characteristics or key points that separate the true biblical Gospel from false gospels. At stake is the very Gospel itself and it is therefore a matter of eternal life or death. Getting the Gospel right is of such importance that the Apostle Paul would write in Galatians 1:9, “As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!” Paul was addressing the same question that _sola fide _addresses—on what basis is man declared by God to be justified? Is it by faith alone or by faith combined with works? Paul makes it clear in Galatians and Romans that man is “justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law” (Gal 2:16), and the rest of the Bible concurs. _Sola fide _is one of the five_solas_that came to define and summarize the key issues of the Protestant Reformation. Each of these Latin phrases represents a key area of doctrine that was an issue of contention between the Reformers and the Roman Catholic Church, and today they still serve to summarize key doctrines essential to the Gospel and to Christian life and practice. 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 fide _or faith alone is a key point of difference between not only Protestants and Catholics but between biblical Christianity and almost all other religions and teachings. The teaching that we are declared righteous by God (justified) on the basis of our faith alone and not by works is a key doctrine of the Bible and a line that divides most[cults](http://www.gotquestions.org/cult-definition.html)from biblical Christianity. While most religions and cults teach men what works they must do to be saved, the Bible teaches that we are not saved by works, but by God’s grace through His gift of faith (Eph 2:8-9). Biblical Christianity is distinct from every other religion in that it is centered on what God has accomplished through Christ’s finished work, while all other religions are based on human achievement. If we abandon the doctrine of justification by faith, we abandon the only way of salvation. “Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness" (Rom 4:4-5). The Bible teaches that those that trust Jesus Christ for justification by faith alone are imputed with His righteousness (2 Cor 5:21), while those who try to establish their own righteousness or mix faith with works will receive the punishment due to all who fall short of God’s perfect standard. _Sola fide_—the doctrine of justification by faith alone apart from works—is simply recognizing what is taught over and over in Scripture—that at some point in time God declares ungodly sinners righteous by imputing Christ’s righteousness to them (Rom 4:5, 5:8, 5:19). This happens apart from any works and before the individual actually begins to become righteous. This is an important distinction between Catholic theology that teaches righteous works are meritorious towards salvation and Protestant theology that affirms the biblical teaching that righteous works are the result and evidence of a born- again person who has been justified by God and regenerated by the power of the Holy Spirit. How important is_sola fide_? It is so important to the Gospel message and a biblical understanding of salvation that Martin Luther described it as being “the article with and by which the church stands.” Those who reject _sola fide _reject the only Gospel that can save them and by necessity embrace a false gospel. That is why Paul so adamantly denounces those who taught law-keeping or other works of righteousness in Galatians 1:9 and other passages. Yet today this important biblical doctrine is once again under attack. Too often_sola fide _is relegated to secondary importance instead of being recognized as an essential doctrine of Christianity, which it certainly is. “Consider Abraham: ‘He believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.’ Understand, then, that those who believe are children of Abraham. The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: ‘All nations will be blessed through you.’ So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith. All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: ‘Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.’ Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, ‘The righteous will live by faith’” (Galatians 3:6-11). Read more: http://www.gotquestions.org/sola-fide.html

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1 Sarah R = "The message of the the Word of God as revealed through the Bible as well as through Jesus is that it is through faith that we receive salvation. However, if we stop there we are missing what it really means to be a Christian. Faith is not mere belief (Jam 2:17-19) but rather faith is living and active and a process of life change. For more see, "The Just Will Live By Faith.""
2 Martha Arenas = "I think we can agree that the bible speaks of works being the result of faith. we can look at James 2:19 for a very eye-opening statement: "You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder."Do our works mean anything? According to Jesus they do (Matthew 25:31-46). The people rewarded and punished are done so by their actions. And our thoughts (Matthew 15:18-20) and words (James 3:6-12) are accountable as well. These verses are just as much part of the Bible as Romans 10:8-13 and John 3:3-5."So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead." James 2:17"
3 Sarah R = "See this article offsite, "Justification Sola Fide: Catholic After All?""
4 Sarah R = "When I first read this article I thought they were implying that Catholics are a "cult" but I don't think that is what they mean. Catholics, like Protestants, are Christians, who believe that Jesus is means to salvation and we are saved through His sacrifice. There are other doctrines in Catholicism which differ from Protestant Christianity but the core is the same."
5 Sarah R = "Again, we are justified before God by faith in Jesus, Whose righteousness clothes us. However, faith must be lived out. If we only have belief, but have no change in our life, what kind of belief is that? James says, "Even the demons believe, and shudder" (Jam 2:19). Jesus said that we will know true believers by their fruit (Mt 7:16) and that those who don't bear fruit will be cut off (Mt 7:19). A grave warning for all those who say they "believe" but think they can still go on living for themselves."
6 Sarah R = "Martin Luther was a bit of a questionable character. In addition to his questionable theology (he wanted to get rid of the book of James, for example), he had questionable personal beliefs - like an extreme prejudice, perhaps even hatred, towards the Jewish people. It is hard to separate these mistaken beliefs from those which actually make sense. God does have a habit of using questionable people for His purposes."