“That’s all you have to do? Believe? That’s it? That sounds too easy!" This is a refrain I hear anytime I explain the Gospel, and specifically what it means to be made right with God by faith, to Mormons. Here in America Sola Fide translates to easy-believe-ism. But that isn’t a fair representation of this doctrine for several reasons. And the opening phrase helps to demonstrate various facets of this misunderstanding: "That’s all you have to do?”
First, easy-believe-ism turns faith into our work, — “That’s all you have to do?” — which stands in direct contrast to the idea of faith alone. If, in fact, it is faith alone that justifies us, then faith cannot be a work that we do, otherwise we would be justified by the product of our efforts: Our faith. It may be that the verb “believe” conveys this to the American mind, whether Mormon or otherwise. But Ephesians is clear: Faith is a gift of God, not of our works, so that no one can boast.
Second, this conception of Sola Fide lowers the bar: “That’s all you have to do?” Whereas in the natural religious bent of the human heart toward law-keeping as a means of bribing God (we’re all naturally the Pharisee of Luke 18) we see the Law as an attainable goal and view perfection as a prize possible to be won, Sola Fide sees the perfectly Holy nature of God and understands that if we stumble in even one point of law-keeping, we’re guilty of breaking the whole law. Sola Fide doesn’t lower the bar to simply having faith; it raises the bar so we have no hope but that God would give us the gift of faith! It puts the Law of God back in its rightful place: As a schoolmaster to lead us to Christ, our savior, who gives us faith and leads us in righteousness for His glory.
I hope this helps you to see some of the reasons why God justifies us “by faith, apart from works of the Law.” God bless.