Soli Deo Gloria: To God's Glory Alone
The ultimate truth the reformers recovered: it’s all about God’s glory!
Question: Does our theology lead one to say ‘to God alone be the glory’, or does man retain some of the glory for himself?
Background/context: Catholic Church - Latin Mass/indulgences / grace were ministered through the sacraments - do these things and merit God’s grace. Devolved into magic/talismans / superstition = to get what you wanted.
Purgatory = industry to sell indulgences = buying merit to get released from purgatory.
Prayers to the Saints - because Jesus was too distant and holy.
Became an implied faith - didn't have scripture / Jesus any longer mediator / works not faith /
Lost the concept of grace that pointed to God’s glory.
TO THE GLORY OF GOD ALONE
- What the Bible Teaches = so that God alone gets the glory. (Eph. 1)
- What does all our existence aim at? The praise of the glory of his grace.The praise of Glory! vs. 11 The purpose of his will? So That!
- 2 Corinthians 4:15 “For all things are for your sakes, so that the grace which is spreading to more and more people may cause the giving of thanks to abound to the glory of God.”
- “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
- In 1Cor. 1:26-31 “For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29 so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. 30 And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31 so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
- Rom. 11:33 “ Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! 34 “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?” 35 “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” 36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen
2. What the Reformers recovered:
- Replaced a man-centered church- based on human effort with a God-centered church
- God’s glory is the ultimate purpose of all things
- God’s glory should be our guiding light, greatest desire and hope in life
- God’s goal in creation was his own glory, not man’s happiness
- The exaltation of man’s role did and will completely undermine God’s glory and our ultimate happiness
Carl Truman said the reformers emphasized “the identity and action of God”, while ”one of the elements of which most marks contemporary evangelical piety is the obsession not so much with God as with self.”
3. God’s Ultimate Glory in Christ (2 Cor. 3:7-4:6)
- The supremacy of gospel glory; the overwhelming superiority of the new covenant
- The privilege of seeing the glory of Christ as the veil has been lifted
- The creator has become the redeemer through the gift of his son
- We see the glory of God….in the face of Christ….because He has revealed it in our hearts
For GOD…has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the GLORY of God IN the face of Jesus Christ
4. The resultant glory of God in our lives; 3:16-4:2
- The Lord (who is the Spirit) brings liberty; 3:17
- We are able to behold the glory of God; vs. 18
- We are being transformed into his image by degrees; vs. 18 “from one degree of glory to another”
- We now live lives that bring glory to God; 4:1-2
- Renouncing disgraceful ways
- Refusing to practice cunning
- Refusing to tamper with God’s Word - Are you letting go of your grip on the truth? Mindlessly conforming to the culture?
- We live lives rooted in the truth
- Living lives with a clear conscience
WALK IT OUT:
1. What’s the difference between a man-centered theology and a God-centered theology?
2. Why is it important to know the difference? What’s the result of each?
3. In your daily life, is God’s glory or your own happiness the “guiding light”?
4. How are God’s glory and our happiness tied together?
5. Lynn listed several ways that our lives can bring glory to God - what are they?
6. What is one way you can walk this message out… one way you can:
-renounce disgraceful ways
-refuse to practice cunning
-refuse to tamper with God’s word
-live rooted in God’s truth
-live with a clear conscience