sola-fide-2I always get a bit nervous when someone has a major issue such as an illness and someone says “well they have a strong faith”.  I am not sure what that means but I fear it means that they have faith in their faith.  If that is true then there is a problem. There are folks all over the Bible that talk about faith in interesting terms.  One fellow says “Lord I believe, help my unbelief”, and the disciples themselves ask for an increase in faith.  For Luther faith alone means that we trust in God’s Word alone and not our ability to trust.

Here is an interesting perspective of what Sola Fide means from a non Lutheran.

“Luther’s sola fide does not mean that we rely on faith alone, but rather that we rely on the word of God alone. For that is what faith does: it relies on the truth of the word, not on itself. This contrast between faith looking at the truth and faith looking at itself is crucial to the very nature and logic of faith. Faith is the heart taking hold of the truth, not the heart taking hold of its faith. This  is true of every kind of belief. If I want to find out whether I believe that it is snowing
outside, I do not go looking into my heart to find out whether I truly believe this. I try to find out whether it is true that it is snowing outside; once I have found that out, I have then settled the question of whether I believe it. Likewise, once
I have realized that God was not lying to me when he baptized me, then I know enough about whether I believe.
that truth, the truth of my Baptism, when Christ who does not lie made a promise to me in particular.”  Phillip Carey, CTQ Vol 71:3/4, July/October 2007

The Sola Fide statement then is a statement about the truth of Christ’s word not the power of my faith.  Faith clings to the word of God, not to itself.  True faith is able to confess its own unbelief.  That is the great Christian divide.  Many folks have to spend a great deal of time thinking about what they believe and how strongly they believe it.  Lutherans clamp down on Christ and His word in Scripture.  He says that He loves us and has saved us and we believe it even if our own hearts condemn us.  It is God who justifies, who can condemn?  As Paul says “let God be God and every man a liar”.  So in sickness and health and trials and problems of conscience we do not trust in our faith whether it is strong or not but in the words of Christ, “I will never leave you or forsake you”.