Sola Fide’s Weak Spot

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.”


8 thoughts on “Sola Fide’s Weak Spot”

  1. I see your point but you’re scaring me. That’s one of the ni
    biggies! Lutherans would say that true faith produces true works. So it is merely academic faith and not saving faith that fails to produce good works.

    As for “sole fide” not being quite so, I was told that Jesus + ? = faith, that nothing can be substituted for ?.

    If what I believe is wrong, then what do I stand on? You have a knack for terrifying me.

  2. “For by grace are ye saved through faith.” I believe we are saved by faith, the problem is that most define faith as “Yeah, OK, I can go with that.” The Bible speaks of faith along the lines of obedience (Romans 10:16) and love is a primary proof of the obedience. Faith does produce works; works do not produce faith. A faith that has no works is not biblical faith at all. A faith that has no love is not biblical faith.

    Martin Luther once said about the book of James, “I almost feel like throwing Jimmy into the stove, as the priest in Kalenberg did.” Luther did not like the book of James and the reason why is because Luther had staked everything on “faith alone” where James clearly says, “not by faith alone.” When push came to shove, Luther went with himself and chucked a part of the Bible.

    I’d rather go with the Bible and the Bible says, “Not by faith alone” there must be works and part of the work is love–“faith works by love” as Paul says. It is possible to believe the Gospel and not be saved by it. The only person who should have any hope in being saved by the Gospel is one who has seen the Gospel transform their life and lead to good works that we were created in Christ Jesus to do. No longer me but Christ alive in me.

  3. Whenever man tries to distill knowledge of God and His ways into brief succinct statments we get it wrong.
    Why do we think we can improve on what God provided? It took 66 God inspired books to give us a basic introduction – why do we think we can reduce all of that to a sentence or two?

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