The Misplaced Emphasis of Sola Fide

Because of things like Sola Fide, many believers think faith is the most important thing in the Christian life. That being the case, many believers view their own faith as their biggest concern.

Faith has come to mean a “personal relationship with Jesus.” Individuals then get busy being on an individual level with Jesus, as if no one else really matters. We take our “quiet time” and even teach young believers they will never grow without “quiet time, just time alone with you and God.”

This is the result of Sola Fide thinking. If it’s all by faith, I better get consumed with myself and my faith. It feeds our individualistic, narcissistic nature very well.

Is faith really the most important thing? Is faith really the Sola Sola?

Here’s another verse that really throws people for a loop, or at least would if they considered it for more than 8 seconds at weddings. From 1 Corinthians 13, Paul says

“And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three;
but the greatest of these is charity.”

Perhaps we should say it again to make sure we caught that

“And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three;
but the greatest of these is charity.”

Paul says love is greater than faith. Yet I have never heard anyone talk about Sola Amo.

As we fixate on our sola fide we ignore everyone else. Love is only possible when you begin thinking about someone other than you. Sola Fide can become individualistic and even hostile to others.

Again, the greatest commandment is not “believe the Lord your God” but is “Love the Lord your God.” Without love, faith is just a thing signifying nothing. Faith become cold, hard, stoney logical conclusions with no emotion.

But the Christian life is a life of love, a life of sacrifice and compassion. It is an emotional thing as well as an intellectual thing. Too often people flip from one to the other. But notice how often love and faith are linked together:

Galatians 5:6–faith works by love
Ephesians 1:15–I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints,
Ephesians 6:23–Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith
Colossians 1:4–your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints
1 Thessalonians 1:3–your work of faith, and labour of love
1 Thessalonians 3:6–good tidings of your faith and charity
1 Thessalonians 5:8–putting on the breastplate of faith and love
1 Timothy 1:14–exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus
1 Timothy 2:15–continue in faith and charity
2 Timothy 1:13–in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus
Philemon 1:5–Hearing of thy love and faith
Revelation 2:19–I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith
1 John 3:23–this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another

I’ll sum it up with the Beloved Disciple’s take on it all

“the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God.”

Faith doesn’t fly solo and neither does love. Faith works by love. If we miss this, we miss pretty much the whole point of Christian life.


8 thoughts on “The Misplaced Emphasis of Sola Fide”

  1. As a homeschooling mom, my goal has been to prepare my kids as best I can for whatever God intends for them. Now I see that instead of encouraging them to seek out God’s plan for their life–with the focus on self–I might do better to encourage them to simply go out and live the kind of love Christ models for us, trusting that God will guide them in the specifics as they are obedient in the big things. (It’s a bit alarming that even our faith walk can become an exercise in self-absorbtion.)

  2. It is my opinion that what we do in life is more or less meaningless as Ecclesiastes says. Too often our concern for our kids’ education, marriage, career is more humanistic than spiritual. Most of my parenting centers around: “Oh please, dear children, don’t embarrass me!” This is a horrible foundation of parenting, but tell me it aint yours too!? Hebrews 12:10

    The two great commandments are love the Lord and love your neighbor. That’s what judgment day is about. It’s not about what grades we got, what job we had or even who we married. Too often Christianity follows The American Dream more than the Bible. This would be a life-altering truth if grasped. I do not know if it will ever be grasped, but the glimpses seem frighteningly amazing!

  3. So there really IS more to the Christian life than John 6:28 “Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? 6:29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.”!

    Taking a few more tenative steps…

  4. faith is the issue, but faith is not a one time deal that gets you in and then quits cuz its job is done. The just shall live by faith. We go on living in obedience to God’s Word.

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