Solus Christus ("Christ Alone")
ALL I HAVE IS CHRIST
We all have favorite hymns and songs that have touched our hearts in a very unique way, and perhaps remind us of particular trying seasons of life. Personally, while I have favorite historic hymns, there are also some contemporary songs that were hugely instrumental, and that particularly spoke to me during a season of life. One of those songs is the 2008 song “All I Have Is Christ.” The song was originally influenced by the last two verses of John Newton’s hymn, “Old Things Are Passed Away,” which emphasizes that were it not for God loving us first, we would not have embraced His mercy. What a song! Were it not for Christ stepping in to our dark hearts, and doing a rescue operation, we would still be desperately and hopelessly lost! Amen and amen.
If Sola Scriptura (Scripture Alone) was the “foundation” of the Solas of the Reformation, then Christ “Alone” (Solus Christus) was the “heart” of the Solas. Christ Alone, emphasizing the all-sufficient and all-satisfying person and work of our precious Lord Jesus, is the heart and soul of the Gospel! Not only is Christ “alone” necessary and sufficient for salvation, but also for our ongoing sanctification! Many of our brethren before, during, and after the Protestant Reformation have come to behold Christ in all of His all-sufficient fullness, acknowledging that Christ “alone,” apart from any works of the law, or deeds of human merit, is our only hope.
Martin Luther wrote, “I must listen to the Gospel. It tells me not what I must do, but what Jesus Christ the Son of God has done for me” (emphasis mine). And someone else has written, “The heart of the Gospel is not about us! The heart of the Gospel is Christ for us (Christus pro nobis). This was the essence of Paul’s message: that Christ came for us, to do “for us” what we could not and would not do. Christ obeyed. Christ was crucified. Christ was raised. Christ has ascended. Christ is returning. The medieval church turned the Gospel into a message about what Christ is doing “in us,” by grace, in sanctification, and about what we must do to do our part in order to benefit: i.e., cooperate with grace. But the good news is that we have no part, not in this story. We are recipients. We are beggars. We are not contributors to the story.” Preach it!
Indeed, Christ’s glorious, majestic person, and His definitive work of perfect obedience, is “all” we need! No one can improve upon Christ’s work, just as no one can improve on a classic work of art, like Raphael’s “The School of Athens” or Da Vinci’s “The Last Supper.” Jesus, who scored a perfect 10 on behalf of sinners, is “alone” sufficient and worthy of our utmost praise and adoration. Christ is alone the Mediator between God and men. 1 Tim 2:5-6 “For there is one God, and one Mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for all, the testimony given at the proper time.” Only Christ, by virtue of who He is and what He’s done for sinners is able to reconcile us to God!
Only Christ, the God-Man, alone qualified to be our sin-bearer and substitute. 1 John 2:1-2, “and He Himself [Christ!] is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world. Propitiation refers to a wrath-removing, wrath-appeasing sacrifice. Only in Christ is God’s wrath for our personal sins fully dealt with and satisfied, so that God can be both “just” and the “justifier” of the one who has faith in Jesus (Rom 3:26).
Our brethren, during the Reformation, considered the passing pleasures and comforts of this present world as not worthy to be compared to the glory that was revealed to them. It was Solus Christus, Christ ALONE, all the way! And they gave their lives for His cause! May we do the same. And in response to Christ’s all-sufficient person and work, behold and worship Him who is worthy of all our praise and adoration.
Spurgeon writes, “It is ever the Holy Spirit’s work to turn our eyes away from self to Jesus; but Satan’s work is just the opposite of this, for he is constantly trying to make us regard ourselves instead of Christ. He insinuates, ‘Your sins are too great for pardon; you have no faith; you do not repent enough; you will never be able to continue to the end; you have not the joy of his children; you have such a wavering hold of Jesus.’ All these are thoughts about self, and we shall never find comfort or assurance by looking within. But the Holy Spirit turns our eyes entirely away from self: he tells us that we are nothing, but that ‘Christ is all in all.’ Remember, therefore, it is not thy hold of Christ that saves thee—it is Christ; it is not thy joy in Christ that saves thee—it is Christ; it is not even faith in Christ, though that be the instrument—it is Christ’s blood and merits; therefore, look not so much to thy hand with which thou art grasping Christ, as to Christ; look not to thy hope, but to Jesus, the source of thy hope; look not to thy faith, but to Jesus, the author and finisher of thy faith. We shall never find happiness by looking at our prayers, our doings, or our feelings; it is what Jesus is, not what we are, that gives rest to the soul. If we would at once overcome Satan and have peace with God, it must be by “looking unto Jesus.” Keep thine eye simply on him; let his death, his sufferings, his merits, his glories, his intercession, be fresh upon thy mind; when thou wakest in the morning look to him; when thou liest down at night look to him. Oh! let not thy hopes or fears come between thee and Jesus; follow hard after him, and he will never fail thee. ‘My hope is built on nothing less. Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness: I dare not trust the sweetest frame, But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.’”