People/acquaintances of a different faith would often say to me, “We all believe in God, so we are all the same.”
I'd get stymied, unable to explain what I believed in, because time was short and I didn’t know how to distill the many differences.
Up until I stumbled upon the five solae/solas. And now I can explain my faith with five fingers in five minutes.
1. Christ alone (solus Christus)
Only Jesus can be a mediator between God and man. By giving His life as a ransom for my sins, I have a chance to live forever in heaven. All I need is receive Him in my heart as my only Savior. John 14:6 (NLT), ". . . I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me."
2. Grace alone (sola gratia)
Only by the grace of Jesus could I be saved. By myself, my abilities, my skills, and my good works, I could never merit salvation even if I kept trying. Ephesians 2:8, “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can't take credit for this; it is a gift from God.”
3. Faith alone (sola fide)
Salvation is a free gift to all who accept it by faith. Hebrews 11:1, "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen."
4. Scripture alone (sola scriptura)
The Bible alone is my source of divine revelation, my source of authority and truth. 2 Timothy 3:16, “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.”
5. Glory to God alone (Soli Deo Gloria)
Because salvation is of God and has been accomplished by God, we must live our entire lives for His glory alone. Self-esteem and self-importance are not alternatives to the gospel of Christ. 1 Corinthians 10:31, “So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
“So is your faith the same as mine?” I ask after my five minutes.
The answer I usually get is silence. I fill in those silences in my books. Because I think I can write better than I can talk.