2023 Conference Theme: Solus Cristus
Wounded and Worthy
APRIL 28-29, 2023
This conference aims at making much of Christ through the theme of Solus Christus.
Christ alone (solus Christus) is no mere slogan. Christ alone saves. Without Christ there is no salvation. Faith apart from Christ is worthless. No Christ, no saving grace. One can be saved without rightly knowing how the other solas work, but no one can be saved apart from rightly knowing Christ and His work. At the heart of the gospel is the one mediator between God and man. Two wonders form our focus: Christ’s exclusive identity and sufficient work. He is more than a means; He is our end. We are saved to praise the Savior, not salvation. In His wounds we are healed to see His worth.
The Jewel in the Crown of Christianity
The Reformation rediscovered that “there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5). And therefore, “there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
Rightly understood, Christ Himself is at the center of the Reformation—the indelible core of each sola. He is the revelation and ruler of sola Scriptura, the object of sola fide, the provision of sola gratia, and the delight of soli Deo gloria. Christ makes all the other solas possible and each affirms His centrality. Christ Himself—and no mere doctrine—is the central celebration of the Reformation. And this is most fitting, since Christ is the center of Christianity. In the words of Michael Reeves, “the center, the cornerstone, the jewel in the crown of Christianity is not an idea, a system or a thing; it is not even ‘the gospel’ as such. It is Jesus Christ.” We celebrate the Reformation to make much not of the Reformation but of Christ.
The historical and theological significance of solus Christus is best seen in a twofold glory: Christ’s supremacy and sufficiency.
Christ’s supremacy is extolled in both His centrality and exclusivity.
Christ is the central figure of redemptive history. He is the preeminent One over all creation and the center of salvation. The glimpses of glory seen in heavenly revelation portray an awful and majestic centrality of Christ. Creatures of ineffable splendor leading the whole transcendent company of the redeemed in worship encircle and bow and cast their crowns to Christ, who alone is worthy. Even salvation is not the substance and center of theology, God is. And Christ is God and one with God. God shares His glory with no one and yet the Son who is one with the Father form the gravitational center of glory. Certainly, this Christ, who “is the image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15) and “the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature” (Hebrews 1:3) is in Himself worthy of all our devotion, admiration and love. “For by him all things were created,” but not only this, “all things were created through him and for him” (Colossians 1:16). He is central to all, and therefore exclusive.
Christ’s identity is exclusive: there is one and only “one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5). Christ is not God only. He is not man only. But only He is the God-man. He alone is man’s acceptable representative before God. He alone worthily represents God to man. As such, Christ alone is qualified to stand as the only substitute for sinners. He alone is the savior of the world (John 4:42).
Here we see His sufficiency rising out of His supremacy. The glory of what Christ has done chiefly derives from the glory of who Christ is. He who alone is worthy was indeed wounded for our transgression. But His wounds do not uphold His worth, His worth upholds His wounds. Christ is not merely useful for our everlasting joy; He is its object. We are saved to praise the Savior, not salvation.
“Worthy … slain” (Revelation 5:12). This will forever be the signet of Christ our Savior. This completes the fullness of our theme. Christ alone is wounded and worthy. Because of whom He is, by His wounds we are healed.
Salvation is in Christ—alone. He reveals Himself as “the way, and the truth, and the life,” and therefore says, “No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). No one can be reconciled to God except through Christ. But this also means that all who come to God through Christ will certainly come. “And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day” (John 6:39). Indeed, He is not only exclusive, His work is sufficient to save. “He is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him” (Hebrews 7:25). He guarantees the salvation of all who trust in Him through the sufficiency of the three-office work of His sacrifice. Christ is alone in the divine assumption of human flesh, in His sinless human life, in His self-sacrificing, substitutionary, propitiatory death, in His vindicating resurrection, in His regal ascension, in His priestly intercession, and in His vanquishing and reigning return. Christ alone is wounded and worthy.
“We cannot grasp or exhaust Christ, the eternal Righteousness … for to learn to appreciate Him is an everlasting lesson which we shall not be able to finish either in this or in yonder life.” — Martin Luther