Sola Christus was another one of the Solas of the Reformation. This reminds the faithful that Christ’s works alone accomplished human redemption. Only by his cross work, his resurrection and ascension were it possible for human sin to be forgiven.
Luther, in comparing the gospel which Roman Catholicism taught, distinguished between two types of theology—the theology of glory and the ‘theology of the cross.’ “That’s a term coined by the theologian Martin Luther to refer to theology that posits the cross as the only source of knowledge concerning who God is and how God saves. It is contrasted with the Theology of Glory which places greater emphasis on human abilities and human reason” (Theology of the Cross, Wikipedia). He said the Roman Catholic Church taught a theology of glory. He stated they looked directly at God through vision and through direct experience. On the other hand, Luther considered his preaching and the Gospel, in general, to be rooted in the theology of the cross. He taught the only way human beings can deal with God is through the perfect work of the Son of God. In other words, we must come to Jesus if we are to know God.
The book of Hebrews has much to instruct us in this regard. The writer, possibly an ex-Levite or priest focuses primarily on the priesthood of Jesus as the means by which believers maintain their relationship to God. Priesthood implies that we are in need of someone to maintain our relationship to God, being unable to ourselves. Not only did Jesus die for us, he ever lives to make intercession for us as well (Hebrews 7:25). This is critical to understand. While every believer should personally know and practice personal devotions, too often than not, these things are presented as the means of sustaining the believer. But nowhere in the Scriptures are personal devotions viewed as the means of sustaining the believer. Rather, it is the Lord Jesus Himself through the power of his mediation on our behalf that keeps the believer. We are to have faith in that work which releases God’s power in our lives.
By these definitions, it seems as if much of the Church world today has embraced a theology of glory rather than a theology of the cross. There is much emphasis on how to have a relationship with God; what one must do to maintain a prayer life that allows one to “see the Lord.” These are not entirely wrong; indeed, Jesus died to make a relationship with God possible. But our emphasis should never be on our ability to see God’s glory but on Christ’s work to make it possible. The apostle Paul said it best: “For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (II Corinthians 4:6). We can see God’s glory, but it is ever and always in the face of Jesus Christ. That is what is meant that Christ is our mediator.
“The primary difference between the theology of the cross and the theology of glory is the ability or inability of man to justify himself before a holy God. The theologian of the cross sees as inviolate the biblical truths of man’s inability to earn righteousness, the inability for humans to add to or increase the righteousness attained by Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, and the only source
of man’s righteousness coming from outside of ourselves. The cross theologian agrees wholeheartedly with the Apostle Paul’s assessment of the human condition: “I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature” (Romans 7:18). The cross theologian rejects the idea that man can attain righteousness in any degree by keeping the works of the law but is saved and sanctified solely by grace.”
Romans 3:20; Ephesians 2:8-9”
Got Questions, What is a Theology of the Cross
It is the writer of Hebrews who reminds us we can come confidently into his presence through the Lord Jesus: “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).
The throne we come to is a “throne of grace” because Jesus’ blood has been sprinkled on the mercy seat in heaven. We can now be assured of receiving mercy and finding “grace to help in time of need.” How many of us are taking advantage of our access to the throne of grace, coming to him throughout the day, being fully persuaded that we shall never be turned down as we do?
In the light of the five hundredth year celebration of the Reformation, let’s rejoice we now have access to the incredible grace which has come to us through the perfect work of God’s Son. It is Christ alone who guarantees it.
Awesome and refreshing!