Sola Gratia

By grace alone. This is one of the great truths of the Reformation, that we are saved by grace alone (sola gratia), through faith alone (sole fide), in Christ alone (sola Christus). While these terms emerged from the Reformation, they did not represent some new truth discovered by Luther and the reformers. This is the very gospel that Paul and Barnabas were preaching among the nations. Consider Paul’s words to the believers in Ephesus:

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
 
It was the proclamation of this truth that saw many Gentiles brought into the Church. These Gentiles were receiving the free gift of God’s grace, and He was pouring out His Spirit on them. But not everyone was happy. There were some converted Pharisees in the church who thought everyone should have to observe the Law as they did. After some amount of debate, Peter said something very important:

Now, therefore, why are you putting God to the test by placing a yoke on the neck of the disciples that neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? But we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will.” (Acts 15:10-11)

Peter understood that salvation, even for the Jews amongst them, had been by grace alone. He wondered aloud why you would shackle someone with a yoke, or requirement, that you were unable to fulfill for yourself.
 
The issue was not just circumcision or following the Law. The very heart of the Gospel was at stake. No one has ever been saved by their own effort to live righteously, because none have been able to keep the Law. The truth is that salvation has always been by grace alone.

For the unbeliever, the yoke of human effort will never yield righteousness. For the Christian who has slipped into being a Pharisee whose walk has become focused on their work as opposed to His work in them, the yoke of human effort results in a weary pilgrim. If you find yourself in one of those spots today, consider the words of Jesus:

Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)
 
It is time to lay down the yoke of human effort and rest in His grace alone.

By Jesse Smith

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