Through Christ AloneRev. Michael Calvert, Ph.D., October 22, 2017
Part of the Five Reformation Truths series.
This coming Lord’s Day we will be considering the fourth of the five theological affirmations of the Protestant Reformation of the sixteenth century, ‘Christ Alone,’ or Solus Christus. When this slogan was sounded, the Reformers meant that the salvation of sinners is by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in the work of Christ alone! In other words, they proclaimed that there is just one Savior of lost sinners, and that what He has done is fully sufficient to redeem them from the wages of their sins, and to provide eternal life forever in the presence of God!
Regarding this affirmation of the Reformation era, Dr. Michael Horton has written that:
“The Reformation was, more than anything else, an assault on faith in humanity, and a defense of the idea that God alone reveals Himself and saves us. We do not find Him; He finds us. That emphasis was the cause of the cry, ‘Christ alone!’ Jesus was the only way of knowing what God is really like, the only way of entering into a relationship with Him as father instead of judge, and the only way of being saved from His wrath” (From Monergism.com).
This essential truth—that we are saved from the just wrath of God by His Son alone, our Lord Jesus Christ—is like each of the other four affirmations in that it needs to be recovered again and proclaimed with renewed conviction and emphasis today!
While there are many Scripture passages to which we could appeal to defend this truth of ‘Christ Alone,’ perhaps none is more moving and beautiful than our Lord’s teaching in John 10:1-18. You might immediately recognize this as the ‘Great Shepherd’ chapter, where Jesus sets forth His self-identity and defines His mission using the tender illustration of a shepherd’s care for his sheep. It is also here that we discover two of the “I AM” sayings of our Lord: “I am the door” (v. 7), and “I am the good shepherd” (v. 11). As we examine this passage we will see how Jesus, in His own words, emphatically teaches that He alone is the divine Son of God and Savior of the world.
7Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. 8All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. 9I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. 10The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. 11I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. 12But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. 13The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. 14I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. 15As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. 17Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. 18No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father. 19There was a division therefore again among the Jews for these sayings. 20And many of them said, He hath a devil, and is mad; why hear ye him? 21Others said, These are not the words of him that hath a devil. Can a devil open the eyes of the blind? 22And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter. 23And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon's porch. 24Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly. 25Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me. 26But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. 27My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 28And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. 29My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. 30I and my Father are one. (KJV)