For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. Romans 3:28
Sola Fide or Faith alone, this is the second of the five solas of the Protestant Reformation. It is the concept that it is only through our faith that we come to salvation. One popular verse that speaks on this is Ephesians 2:8, but Paul to one extent expresses all five of the solas in the book of Romans. Romans 3:28 is just one of many in the book of Romans where Paul expresses that we are justified before God by faith and not works.
So let’s look at the verse, first thing you might mention is if we just got through with stating Scripture alone as our authority, doesn’t Scripture contradict itself with passages such as this when compared to James 2 where it states faith without works is dead? As Paul would state, “Absolutely not!” You see both would agree that it is not the works that save or even justify us before God. What James is getting at is that good works justifies our faith among other men, it is the sign and proof of our faith for others to see, it is not what God uses to consider whether we are saved.
So what does it mean to be justified? Well the non theological definition of justified is to prove or show to be just, right, or reasonable. Much like how we will use various arguments to justify a large purchase to our spouse or significant others, or justify our actions to family and friends or even ourselves. God looks at our faith and takes that as enough reason to mark us down in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
So now what is faith? Faith is us placing our full trust and belief in God. It is stating that we believe that Christ died for us, and rose from the dead conquering sin and death. It is as the author of Hebrews states, “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” That hope is a trust and looking forward to the future glory that as believers we will receive; the freedom from our bondage to the sins and corruption of the flesh.
So now as I end what is sola fide? It is the belief and trust that Christ’s work on the cross is sufficient for our salvation. It is the trusting in God that we are justified in His eyes not by anything we can or will do but by our faith alone.