Reformed From What?

Sutlej Reformed Church of Pakistan is rooted in Biblical faith, a faith that has been handed down to us from the Apostles of Scripture and rediscovered afresh during the Protestant Reformation of the 1500s.
The word “REFORMED” comes from the historical time of the “Protestant Reformation” when people like Martin Luther and John Calvin sought to reform the church of their day to be more faithful to God’s Word. During this period, there were FIVE Latin phrases used to describe the movement that later gave birth to a reformed understanding of the Christian faith. These were:

We believe that the Holy Spirit moved men of God to write down the very words of God in the Holy Scriptures, giving us the Bible as the only infallible source of knowledge about God, salvation, and how to live. While the early Protestants diligently studied church history, tradition, and the creeds, they knew these important aids were imperfect and were never meant to be elevated above the authority of Scripture. We reject any view that elevates the church or tradition over the Bible (Deut. 31-32; 2 Tim. 3:16-17).

We believe that all humans are born with sinful natures and are enemies of God due to Adam and Eve’s disobedience in the garden of Eden. No one deserves a place in heaven or to be forgiven of their sins. “Grace alone” tells us that the reason Christians are reconciled with God in Christ alone is because of God’s grace alone. Our human wills, sin-stained works, and the works of “the saints” contribute nothing toward our being justified. We are forgiven and declared righteous because of Christ’s work, not anything of our own doing (Deut. 7:6-8; 9:1-6; Eph. 2:1-10; Westminster Larger Catechism 66).

We believe that because of our sins, rebellion, and hatred of God, we owe an immeasurable debt of obedience to God that we can never pay. The only way for us to be reconciled to God was for our debt to be paid by the atoning sacrifice of the one and only mediator between God and man — Christ alone — the sinless Lamb of God. Jesus paid our debt, satisfied the justice of God, and merited eternal life for us. We reject the claims that the righteousness of Mary and the saints contribute to our forgiveness or that there is any other mediator besides Christ only (Isa. 53:1-12; 1 John 2:1-2; Second Helvetic Confession 5, 11, 23; Belgic Confession 26).

We believe that we are “justified” (pardoned and declared righteous) through God’s gift of faith alone in Jesus Christ. This saving faith consists of a firm and sure knowledge of God’s favor toward us, affirmation (or agreement), and trust (or dependence) which embraces Jesus Christ alone. Saving faith receives and rests on Jesus Christ and his perfect righteousness and atoning sacrifice alone. We reject any view that claims “justification by faith” while also crediting human works for helping to pay for our sins. We also reject any view that attempts to redefine saving faith to include good deeds, works of holiness, or ongoing submission which are all fruits of the Christian life from the moment believers are born again until we die (Ps. 32:1-11; Rom. 3:21-26; WCF 11.2; Heidelberg Catechism 60; Second Helvetic Confession 15).

We believe that we owe our salvation completely and entirely to God alone. God deserves all of our gratitude not just for saving us but also for creating us and the whole universe. We reject the view that believers owe gratitude and glory to Mary, the saints, or our own efforts for our salvation (Ps. 19:1-2; Isa. 48:11; Rom. 11:33-36; 2nd Helvetic Confession 6.1; WLC 18; Canons of Dort 1.18).

Summary

The Protestant Reformation was a recovery of the Christian faith and the throwing off of Rome’s additions and changes. These five basic points are at the heart of the Christian faith and are essential to leading a beautiful Christian life and increasing our faith, hope, and joy. We want to encourage you to familiarize yourself with these five basic points of Christianity by studying and committing to memory the following sentence:

Scripture alone is infallible, and this highest authority teaches that we are saved because of God’s grace alone (not because we are deserving); on the basis of the righteousness of Christ alone (not our works or the works of other saints); through the means or instrument of faith alone (not faith and works); and all things (including our salvation and Christian lives) are for and the glory of God alone.