So it finally comes to a head. In today’s Bible reading in Acts 15, we see that the Judaizers (aka, the “Circumcision Party”) have insisted that anyone who comes to faith in Christ must also be circumcised in order to be a good Christian. (By the way, they’ll keep raising their ugly heads through the rest of our Bible readings this year)
Just coming to faith in Jesus isn’t enough. It’s never enough for religious people.
They’ll tell you that you have to join a church. You have to pray a prayer. You have to be baptized. You have to read your Bible. You have to go to Sunday School. You have to go on a mission trip. You have to write a big check to the church. You have to drive the church bus. You have to ______. (fill in the blank)
The bottom line is, they don’t believe that Jesus is enough. Somehow, they think that they have to contribute to their salvation. And they insist that you should, too!
That was the crux of the Reformation in the early Sixteenth Century. The Church agreed with the Reformers — like Martin Luther — that people can be saved by grace by faith in Jesus. But Luther and the other Reformers added one little Latin word sola. Sola means alone.
The Reformers said that it wasn’t just salvation by grace through faith in Jesus. They said that according to the Bible alone, salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus alone to the glory of God alone.
The Reformers insisted that no one can add to what Jesus did for us. What Jesus did (once and for all) is sufficient to make us right with God. Period. Nothing can improve our standing before God. Nothing!
Now, lest I be misunderstood, there is nothing wrong with (and a lot can be gained by) praying, being baptized, reading your Bible, going to Sunday School, going on mission trips, giving money to a church and so many more things.
But the bottom line is that if what Jesus already did for us isn’t enough, then Jesus didn’t have to do anything at all!
Spend a few minutes today praising God that everything that was necessary to make you right in God’s eyes has already been done by Jesus. Rejoice that you get to enjoy a relationship with your Creator without having to do anything but rely on what Jesus has already done. That’s great news!
By the way, if you want to learn more about the key issues for the Reformers, check out my sermon series, The Five Solas of the Reformation that I preached in October 2017 in celebration of the Five Hundredth Anniversary of The Reformation.