“Christ alone”. For most reading this, that is rather obvious… of course we’re saved by Christ alone. But the Roman Catholic Church (not to mention EVERY other religion out there) did not (and still does not) really teach that. They believe and teach that Christ died for sin yes, but His sacrifice alone was not sufficient to take away sin. It’s Christ + works. However, the Reformers believed from Scripture that it was Christ’s sacrifice for sin that alone could justify us before God and that our own righteousness and works could have absolutely nothing to do with it.
Christ, His person, His work, His life, death and resurrection are the grounds for our salvation. There is no hope without them. “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)
Why Christ? Because God demands a perfect sacrifice, and no mere man could suffice. Why blood? Because the wages of sin is death (Romans 3:23). It is only through the sacrificial death of a perfect “second Adam” that we could have the hope of forgiveness of sin. In the Old Testament the Israelites offered the blood of lambs and oxen, but they were shadows of the perfect sacrifice that was coming. They were only a temporary covering of sin – they could not take it away. The author of Hebrews argues this throughout his letter as He shows the supremacy of Christ, His person and His work. He wrote,
And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. (Heb 10:11-14)
This is how Jesus just before he died could cry out “It is finished!” (John 19:30) – the work He had come for, to “seek and to save” sinners was completed. And by finished He meant just that – there was no more work to be done. “Now where there is remission of [sin], there is no longer an offering for sin.” (Heb 10:18). What offering or sacrifice can we offer for our sin? There is none, because first of all, no sacrifice or work could be enough, and secondly, Christ has already offered it!
Paul writes, “In Him (Christ) we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace…” (Eph 1:7)
Also Romans 3:21-25:
“But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith…”
Does this put you in awe of Christ? In amazement of His life lived and death died on our account? This is indeed a great Savior and although we may be great sinners, we can run to Him and find forgiveness! How does one attain this forgiveness? “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31). Believe; trust; put your faith in Christ as sufficient to take away your sins and make you righteous before God! And what this faith is we shall discover more in my next post.