BACK TO BASICS – SOLUS CHRISTUS

Solus Christus – Christ alone.

This was another catch-cry of the sixteenth century Reformation. It referred particularly to the sole sufficiency of Jesus Christ as our Mediator with God. Jesus Christ, and he alone, is our Saviour.

When it comes to the question ‘Who or what should we depend on for our acceptance with God?’ the answer given in the Scripture is clear:

‘For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people’ (1Timothy 2:5,6).

It is Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ alone, who, by his righteous life and substitutionary, sin-bearing death, satisfies the demands of God’s justice:

‘... when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly ... While we were still sinners, Christ died for us’ (Romans 5:6, 8).

‘But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed ... the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all’ (Isaiah 53:5, 6).

‘He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree ...’ (1Peter 2:24).

‘For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God’ (1Peter 3:18).

‘But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself’ (Hebrews 9:26).

Nothing we ourselves do can ever remove the sin and guilt that separates us from the holy God. Only the death of Christ, who took upon himself our sin and our guilt, can secure our present and permanent forgiveness. As Paul states:

‘All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ ... God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them ... God made him who had no sin to be sin for us ...’ (2Corinthians 5:18 – 21).

In addition to his death as our sacrificial substitute under the just judgement of God by which our sins are forgiven and we are reconciled to God, Jesus Christ is also our permanent Mediator in the presence of God.

‘... we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense – Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins ...’ (1John 2:1, 2).

‘... we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God ...’ (Hebrews 4:14).

‘... because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. Such a high priest meets our need – one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. ... He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself’ (Hebrews 7:24 – 27).

If we ever think that anyone else or anything else, in addition to Jesus Christ, contributes to our salvation, past, present and future, then not only have we failed to understand the clear testimony of the Scripture, but we are also diminishing Jesus Christ. He alone is our Saviour and he alone is our Mediator. To put any co-Saviour, or co-mediator, beside Christ is to insult both Christ and his death. It is to say that Christ is not enough. It is to say that his death is inadequate. It is to end up trusting in Christ plus something less than Christ – some human being, or some human action – and that in turn results in an uncertain ‘salvation’ that can never be guaranteed, and that is less than the salvation through the death of Christ described in the Scripture.

The Solus Christus of the Reformation was a call, a strong reminder, to trust solely in Jesus Christ for our salvation. We do well to heed that challenge today.

© Rosemary Bardsley 2020