Grace Is Enough
by Tim Ahlman
The Solas of the Reformation
During Reformation and Confirmation week at Christ Greenfield, we remember the return of the church to the Solas. We are saved sola fide (by faith alone), sola Scriptura (by scripture alone), and sola gratia (by grace alone). Not by our works! No one can boast. Grace is enough.
When Martin Luther was struggling with his own sinfulness, he tried to earn God's favor by doing good works, but he could never seem to do enough. He was constantly beating himself up with the Law, trying to make himself worthy of God's love.
One day, Luther had a Gospel epiphany in connection with Romans 1:17, which says, "The righteous shall live by faith." He realized that he could never earn God's favor by his own works. He could only be saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.
Luther's experience is a reminder that we are all sinners in need of God's grace. No matter how hard we try, we can never earn God's favor on our own.
Penance in the Early Church
In the early days of Christianity, penance was a common practice. People who had sinned would confess their sins and do penance, such as fasting, praying, or making a pilgrimage. Penance was seen as a way to atone for sin and earn God's forgiveness.
Today, we don't practice penance in the same way. However, we still struggle with sin and guilt. We may try to earn God's favor by our own works, but we will always fall short.
The good news is that we don't need to earn God's favor. We are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins. He rose from the dead to give us new life.
When we put our faith in Jesus, we are forgiven of our sins and made right with God. We don't need to do anything to earn God's love. We can simply receive it as a gift.
Confession and Absolution
Confession and absolution are a gift to the church, where we hear that grace is enough. The Apostle Paul needed absolution given his past of persecuting the church. His life was transformed by Jesus, leading him to search the Old Testament to see the line of grace from the beginning. We too can discover how grace is enough for us by meditating on Romans 11:1-6.
Let us remember that we are saved by grace alone, and that grace is enough