John Martignoni talks about sola fide (faith alone). For this entire recording as well as other free downloads, please visit www.biblechristiansociety.com
In our last discussion article, we discussed the concept of sola scriptura (scripture alone), an invention of Martin Luther that states that the Bible is the only authority you need. In this article, I would like to discuss another concept invented by Luther during the Protestant Reformation of the 1500s. Sola fide (faith alone) states that a person is saved by his faith in Jesus alone. Luther taught that it does not matter what you do on this Earth, as long as you never lose faith in Jesus and his sacrifice, then you get to go to heaven. He taught that it does not matter if you are a murderer, prostitute, rapist, thief, or adulterer, as long as you never lose your faith in Jesus then you will go straight to heaven when you die. As Luther once put it, “No sin will separate us from the lamb, even though we commit fornication and murder a thousand times a day.” Luther taught that the Ten Commandments were just God’s way of letting us know how much we are dependent on him as a savior, but God does not expect us to follow them because no one could follow them perfectly.
While many Protestants still practice this concept of faith alone today, Catholics believe in faith and works. We believe that what you do on this Earth does matter, and you will be judged for the life that you lived. Now this absolutely does NOT mean that Catholics believe that they are saved by works alone like some claim. We do NOT believe that we can work our way to heaven apart from Jesus or make God in debt to us by our works. We absolutely agree with Protestants that it is only by the grace of Jesus that we are saved and able to enter the kingdom of heaven. But faith without works is dead. In James 2:14-17 it says, “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well’ but you do not give them the necessities of the body, what good is it? So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” James goes on to say in verse 19, “You believe that God is one. You do well. Even the demons believe that and tremble.” James makes a great point here. Even demons believe in God. So is believing in God enough to get to heaven? James also says in this passage, “Faith without works is useless” (2:20), “Faith is completed by works” (2:22) and “Faith without works is dead” (2:26). James also says, “See how a person is justified by works and not by faith alone” (2:24). This is actually the only place in the Bible where the words faith and alone are found together, and it is saying that a person is not justified by faith alone.
Martin Luther knew that the Bible did not support his theory of sola fide, so he actually tried to take the book of James out of the New Testament, as well as the books of Hebrews, Jude, and Revelations. He later added them back after receiving heat from his peers, but referred to the book of James as an “epistle of straw.” He also added the word alone to Romans 3:28 in his translation of the Bible so that it would read that we are justified by our faith alone. When questioned about adding to the Bible Luther said, “I will have it so, and I order it to be so, and my will is reason enough. I know very well that the word ‘alone’ is not in the Latin or the Greek text.” Adding and removing from the Bible to make the scriptures fit his own manmade theology is something Luther had no problem doing. He used the Jewish canon of the Old Testament when writing his translation of the Bible because the Jewish canon had seven fewer books than the Old Testament the Christians had been using since the time of Jesus. He did this because the book of Maccabeus talked about prayer for the dead, and this went against Luther’s theology of purgatory. This is why Catholics and Protestants have different Old Testaments today. And if Luther’s peers had gone along with all of his ideas, we would have different New Testaments as well. The fact that Luther had to change the Bible 1500 years after Christ died should be enough for anyone to know that his teachings are his own ideas and not from God. If any Pope would have tried to remove books from the Bible, add words to the Bible, or refer to one book of the Bible as an epistle of straw, Catholics would never hear the end of it. Yet Martin Luther did this and many Protestants refer to him as a hero.
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