One of the rallying cries of the Protestant Reformation was/is Sola Fide, Latin for faith alone. The concept seems to have originated with Martin Luther (or so Lutherans like to claim) based on such statements of his as “faith alone makes someone just and fulfills the law.”
Regardless of where it came from, it became a huge point in the Reformation. There are two main verses that seem to shoot it down, however, that I rarely hear mentioned in this context. Allow me to pontificate.
Verse One: “Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.” Or as the Reformed people’s favorite new translation the ESV says, “You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.”
So, what we see is that the only time the Bible mentions the phrase “faith alone” it inconveniently puts the words “NOT BY” in front of it. Why this has not caught anyone’s attention is beyond me.
Verse Two: “And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.”
Paul says if he has ALL FAITH it profits him nothing if he doesn’t have love. If faith without love is of no profit, can a man be justified by faith alone?
My take on this is that love is a component of true faith. We love Him because He first loved us. Our love toward Him is demonstrated by faith in Him. As Paul says “faith worketh by love.”
Many claim to have faith, the Bible even claims that many have faith but still deny Christ. John 8 is a perfect example where a crowd said they believed in Jesus Christ and by the end of the chapter want to stone Him.
Even the demons believe, don’t forget. Faith must be mixed with love, it’s what love works by. A loveless faith is not saving faith, it is mere intellectual hoping or something.
I think Sola Fide is a tad misleading. I won’t go so far as to say it’s wrong based on how it is mostly used–we are saved by grace through faith. I merely point out that ignoring love in our talk of faith leads people astray.
The greatest commandment wasn’t “Believe the Lord your God” but rather “Love the Lord your God.”