Salvation By Grace Alone
One of the distinctive teachings of the Reformation was the idea that the salvation of God's people was by grace alone. It was known as Sola Gratia. At Winnsboro Reformed Church we affirm this truth. Those who are saved are saved by God's grace alone. But what does this mean? It means that from beginning to end our salvation is a work of God's grace. God began the work and God will finish the work and he alone receives the glory from it. In this work of saving and redeeming us God has acted in Trinity for the sake of his great name. We are chosen by God to be the recipients of his grace. Christ was sent to purchase our redemption and satisfy God's wrath on our behalf. He died for us in order to claim us as his own. In his death is our death and in his resurrected life is our justification and life. In time he sent us the gospel and through the regeneration of his Spirit and the gift of faith we have believed on him. Through this faith he has justified us in Christ and his indwelling Spirit never leaves us, doing the two-fold work of making us into the image of Christ and preserving us in this fallen world until he presents us spotless before the throne. When Christ returns even our bodies, which belong to Christ, will be resurrected and our salvation will then be complete. All of this happens through God's unmerited favor alone apart from any good work on our part. Salvation is not God doing so much and man completing the work. Salvation is by grace alone.
We do not believe, as many so-called evangelicals do, that God did all he could to save as many as he could but individual sinners have to meet some sort of requirement in order for salvation to be applied to them. This is not salvation by grace, it is a meritorious salvation. We deny that human beings have any moral ability to even assist in their own salvation. As the 18th century American pastor and theologian Jonathan Edwards expressed it, "You contribute nothing to your salvation but the sin that made it necessary."
We do believe that the gospel is a very powerful message which God uses to change the nature of sinful individuals and call them to himself. So we proclaim and emphasize the gospel in our worship and ministry believing that "it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes." Our belief in the sovereignty of God in salvation motivates us to preach Christ to sinful people.
For more information we recommend the following resources:
- Grace Alone by R. C. Sproul
- Sola Gratia at the Reformed Reader
- Salvation Altogether By Grace by Charles Spurgeon
- Sola Gratia at Reformation Theology