Reformation Topic: Sola Gratia ("Grace Alone")
Text: Romans 3:21-31
Big Idea of the Message: While sin fractured our relationship with God, we have been made right once and for all by God’s grace. Grace, unmerited favor, is a free gift from God to us through Jesus Christ, and isn’t the result of anything we’ve done.
“It is essential to the heart of the Gospel to insist that God declares us to be just or righteous not on the basis of our actual condition of righteousness or holiness, but rather on the basis of Christ’s perfect righteousness, which he thinks of as belonging to us. This was the heart of the difference between Protestantism and Roman Catholicism at the Reformation. Protestantism since the time of Martin Luther has insisted that justification [right relationship with God] does not change us internally and it is not a declaration based in any way on the goodness that we have in ourselves [as the Roman Catholic church believed]…That is what Martin Luther so clearly saw and that is what gave such motivation to the Reformation. When the good news of the Gospel truly became the good news of totally free salvation in Jesus Christ, then it spread like wildfire throughout the civilized world. But this was simply a recovery of the original gospel, which declares, ‘The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord’ (Romans 6:23), and insists that ‘There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus’ (Romans 8:1),” (Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology, 727-729).