09
Feb
09

Sola Fida Conference

I was recently blessed by being able to attend the Sola Fida Conference at Countryside Bible Church in Southlake, TX. They have been holding a series of Conferences over the last few years dealing with the importance and implications of the five Sola statements that came forth out of the Reformation.
These doctrinal statements practically applied set the church free from Roman Catholic bondage and superstition. The statements set forth that man is saved according to Sola Scriptura (scripture alone), by Sola Gratia (grace alone), through Sola Fida (faith alone), in Sola Christus (Christ alone), to Soli Deo Gloria (to God be the glory alone). The conferences have been highlighting the essential nature and effectual nature of these doctrines rightly understood and applied to the Christian life.

Dr. Steve Lawson and Dr. James White spoke about how Justification and Regeneration come to us by faith alone.
“Regeneration is done in us, God is the surgeon who operates in us and gives us a new heart and Justification is done to us, God the holy judge who makes a declaration that we are now forgiven”. We are justified (declared right) based on the sinless life and substitutionary death of Jesus Christ alone. Nothing in our hands we bring but solely to the Cross we cling.

Dr. Steve Lawson spoke on the practical application of Sola Fida in the Christian’s life. Faith alone in Christ alone saves but when saving faith is granted by God it is never alone. Saving faith always produces good works because it is effectual faith and granted for that purpose. Ephesians 2:8-10

“Faith alone bring you a new standing and a new standing always leads to a new walk.”

Dr. Lawson spoke about how the effectual work of saving faith in the life of Jonathan Edwards drove him to live hard for the glory of God.
Edwards became one of the most influential Christian leaders in America and throughout the world.
“Jonathan Edwards was the greatest preacher, theologian, philosopher, and author that America has ever produced.”

Dr. Lawson went on to say that Edwards was considered to be great due to God’s grace not his own human intellect nor was it his giftedness as a preacher though that giftedness and intellect was great what truly made Jonathan Edwards stand out was his godliness. This godliness was wrought in him by the Spirit of God and it was his desire to walk out that godliness with “resolve”.

Edwards “Resolved” to pursue God’s glory in his life…that is what made him great!
“He had a godliness that surpassed his giftedness. Better to be godly than gifted.”

Edwards did not want to loose one minute of time to sin or selfishness he “resolved” to seek God’s glory in his life by living in a godly manner in speech, conduct and in his use of time itself.

Edwards Resolved to…
“Never to loose one moment of time but improve it the most profitable way I can.”

Edwards Resolved to…
“Never to do anything that I should be afraid to do if it were the last hour of my life.”

Dr. Lawson pointed out that Jonathan Edwards’ great ministry was due to the overflow and response of God’s gift of saving faith. Saving faith changes our heart and out of that changed heart our mouth speaks, our life is lived and as a result we become living epistles of Christ as we walk in sanctification we become a walking exposition of Christ Jesus.

The life that is “resolved” to love God with all our strength will also be “resolved” to live for God with all our strength through our speech and conduct and that is now possible and effectual thanks to saving faith. The man who despises or discourages godliness is a man who despises God and grieves the Holy Spirit.

We are called to pursue righteousness even after we have been declared righteous through Justification and the true believer takes great joy in his pursuit of godliness. This pursuit will stir in you a new “resolve” to live for God’s glory in every area of your life. This pursuit will curb your sinful appetites, it will make you hunger for righteous behavior, it will turn complainers into encouragers it will do all this because “it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” God’s good pleasure is for you to magnify His grace and glory in your life and through saving faith He accomplishes His good pleasure in you and me!

2 Peter 1:2-8 (ESV)
2 May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
3 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence,
4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.
5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge,
6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness,
7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.
8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

As I listened to Dr. Lawson speak about Jonathan Edwards I was reminded that great leaders like Edwards are remembered for their influence not their power. Edwards was not a pushy leader (“pushy leader” is an oxymoron – Christian leaders don’t push people, they lead in love and others follow out of admiration and love) Edwards was a slave of Christ and a lover of God’s glory. Leadership was not Edwards’ goal, Christ-likeness was his goal and desire. Consequently as we “resolve” to grow in Christ-likeness the more likely people will follow us as we follow Christ. 1Timothy 4:12-16

Faith alone saved Jonathan Edwards and that faith was not alone it continued to work in his life and that growth in tenderness and carefulness of speech produced fruit in his ministry. He tenderly pastored his flock, gently led them to green pastures of truth and guided them with his staff a little here and a little there through the valleys of life. He did all this not be being severe but being “resolved” to follow Christ and explain Christ Word and exegete Christ in his life. This was evident even when his flock turned against him. In Edwards’ farewell sermon to this erring flock he did not rail against them but chose rather to speak about the beautiful day when they would all be reunited in glory. He spoke of how these differences would be eternally washed away as they sang together around the throne of God with one voice. Even in his most hurtful moments Edwards was “resolved” to preach for the glory of God and the good of his flock.

Pastor Randy

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1 Response to “Sola Fida Conference”


  1. 1 Nate Carper
    February 10, 2009 at 3:10 am

    Thanks for sharing this with us. I’m sorry I wasn’t able to go, but know that it worked out that way for a purpose. I would like to learn more about Edwards. Didn’t you say there was a good book on his life? Thanks again.

    Soli Deo Gloria

    Nate


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