The Three Alones of Reformation Theology

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Question 1. What are the three "alones" of Reformation theology? How do they relate to one another in Luther's theology? How does Luther's use of them respond to the dominant question of the sixteenth century: How can I know that God is favorable to me? The three "alones" in Reformation theology refer to that which is needed for "justification" or salvation favorableness in the sight of God. Luther describes them as 1) Christ, or the Gospel of Christ (Scripture), alone, 2) faith alone, and 3) grace alone. Each of these three are essentially united in Luther's theology. Christ is the most important factor in the three, because without Christ and without His Word, as recorded in Scripture, one cannot begin to have faith or hope to receive the necessary grace that comes with faith and guarantees salvation. As Luther states, "One thing, and one alone, is necessary for life, justification, and Christian liberty; and that is the most holy word of God, the Gospel of Christ" (Luther, p. 9). Through Christ and the preaching of His Word comes belief. If one believes, that is has faith, which implies trust and commitment, then one is justified and has found favor in God's eyes: "For faith alone, and the efficacious use of the word of God, bring salvation" (Luther, p. 9) Luther downplays the importance of "works" in the justification of man and instead emphasizes the place of faith and the grace that goes with it: "For the word of God cannot be received and honoured by any works,
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