Another doctrine of importance to Protestants is sola fide, or justification by faith alone. This doctrine is so important to Protestantism that Martin Luther once said that without it Protestantism didn’t have a leg to stand on.

Well, it doesn’t. No where in the Bible is this taught. In fact the only place in the entire Bible where the words “faith alone” appear together are in James 2:24-“You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.”

At first glance, the book of Romans chapters 2-4 and parts of 4,-6 and 13 all seem to teach faith alone. However, it is manifestly clear that the works of justification Paul is speaking of in Romans of are the works required by the Mosaic Law and whether or not the Gentiles had to perform them in order to be saved. The question asked in verse 29 confirms this interpretation. The Apostle Paul after stating “we account a man to be justified by faith, without the works of the Law” immediately follows this statement up with the questions “is he the God of the Jews only?”  and “is he not also of the Gentiles?” This demonstrates that the distinction being made here is between Jews and Gentiles.

A very good article on this subject can be found here.

Advertisements