The 5 Solas were the battle cry of the Reformation. Sola is the latin word for alone (like solo). The Reformation kicked off 500 years ago this year (1517). These solas keep the church focused on what matters.
Solus Christus (Christ Alone) What must I trust?
Christ is the only way to salvation. We can not work for it, buy it, receive it from a pastor, priest, or sacrament. We would say “trust Jesus alone.”
There is no sense in putting hope in anything or anyone else.
Soli Fide (Faith Alone) What must I do to be Saved?
The gospel is not a religion of works, but a religions of faith. You can’t do anything to be saved—rather, God saves you on the basis of your faith, which is itself on the basis of the work of Christ on your behalf. Protestants believe that you don’t work for your salvation, and that nobody is good enough to deserve salvation. But thankfully salvation does not come on the basis of works but instead on the basis of faith.
Sola fide declares that In addition to faith, you can do absolutely nothing in order to be saved.
Sola Scriptura (Scripture Alone)What must I obey?
In matters of faith, believers are compelled by no other authority than that of Scripture. There is no room for a mixture of history and tradition—those cannot restrain the flesh and they cannot bind the conscience. Instead, believers’ only ultimate authority is the Bible. It is our only rule for faith and practice.
Sola Gratia (Grace Alone) What must I earn?
Is there any sense in which a person must earn salvation? For the us, the answer is obvious: NO! Salvation is of grace…ALONE. It is not by work or merit. God didn’t look down the tunnel of time and see how you were going to responded to the gospel, then rewind the tape and choose you. He does not save you in light of what you did, are doing, or will do in the future. Instead, his salvation is based entirely upon his grace.
Soli Deo Gloria (God's Glory Alone) What is the point?
God is glorified in his creation, in his children, in the gospel, and most particularly in his son. The highest calling on a persons’ life (indeed, the only real calling in a person’s life) is that he would glorify God in all he does. Nevertheless, we always fail to do that. Yet God saves us anyway through the gospel.
Soli Deo Gloria is a reminder that by twisting the gospel or by adding works to the gospel, a person is actually missing the glory that comes through a gospel of grace and faith, through Jesus, and described by Scripture. The first four questions really function like tributaries, and they all flow to this body—God’s glory.