Soli Deo Gloria (God's Glory Alone)
Every what has to have a why
Civil War Soldier story - “I’m fighting because you’re down here.”
So far we’ve looked at all of the what’s of the Reformation
We’ve been building a structure for our beliefs
Scripture alone - the foundation
Faith and Grace alone - the walls
Christ alone - the load bearing wall without which the entire system would come down
Now we come to the Glory of God alone - the roof of the structure
The why for our what
Why do we come to church
Why do we preach from Scripture - teaching grace and faith alone through Jesus Christ alone
It is to bring glory to God
What did the Reformers teach?
What did the Reformers teach?
This was not a fundamental issue during the Reformation
It is clear that there were contentions over the issues of faith alone, grace alone, Scripture alone and even Christ alone - the concept of God’s glory alone was not a battle ground
Although all of those issues touch on the glory of God and take away from it
Against the perennial temptation to elevate our own words above God’s and to pursue everlasting life by our own deeds, the Reformers called the church back to Scripture alone, to faith alone, to grace alone and to Christ alone and by so doing they reminded us that all glory belongs to God and not to ourselves
It would be dangerous for the feeble brain of man to wade far into the doings of the Most High; whom although to know be life, and joy to make mention of his name; yet our soundest knowledge is to know that we do not know him as indeed he is, neither can know him: and our safest eloquence concerning him is our silence, when we confess without confession that his glory is inexplicable, his greatness above our capacity and reach. Richard Hooker
The major debate during the Reformation was between a theology of glory and a theology of the cross
Theology of glory
Sinful humans try to climb to heaven by their own religious practices and efforts to get a peek at God in His majesty
Theology of the cross
Luther countered that we have no hope of knowing God unless he takes the initiative and reveals Himself to us, and this strips us of our illusions of control
In 1647 300 English clergy came together to pen the Westminster Confession of Faith, the Longer Catechism and Shorter Catechism
The first question of the shorter catechism sums up all the Reformers taught on the glory of God
What is the chief end of man?
The chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever
The glory of god is first and foremost about God himself and how He reveals His glory in this world. Secondarily, God glorifies His people and enables them to reflect His glory through their worship and holistic obedience.
What does the Bible say?
What does the Bible say?
God glorifies Himself in Scripture, in His works of creation and providence, and most amazingly by redeeming His people who glorify Him in all of their obedience and especially in worship
Creation is God’s natural revelation of His glory
Scripture is God’s special revelation of His glory
God’s glory appears throughout the Old Testament as a cloud or a pillar of fire
The Lord reigns; let the earth rejoice; Let the many islands be glad. Clouds and thick darkness surround Him; Righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne.
Lead the Israelites through the desert
And the Lord was going before them in a pillar of cloud by day to lead them on the way, and in a pillar of fire by night to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night.
had the capacity to move - it was before them leading them, after them protecting them, it settled on Mt. Sinai
It was awesome and frightening
The nearness of the cloud meant the presence of God. This presence was a sign of blessing, yet it simultaneously threatened judgement and evoked fear
The Israelites wanted nothing to do with it because it was so holy
“And you shall set bounds for the people all around, saying, ‘Beware that you do not go up on the mountain or touch the border of it; whoever touches the mountain shall surely be put to death.
So it came about on the third day, when it was morning, that there were thunder and lightning flashes and a thick cloud upon the mountain and a very loud trumpet sound, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled.
Now Mount Sinai was all in smoke because the Lord descended upon it in fire; and its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked violently.
Settled in the Tabernacle and Temple
Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.
And when the priests came forth from the holy place (for all the priests who were present had sanctified themselves, without regard to divisions),and all the Levitical singers, Asaph, Heman, Jeduthun, and their sons and kinsmen, clothed in fine linen, with cymbals, harps, and lyres, standing east of the altar, and with them one hundred and twenty priests blowing trumpetsin unison when the trumpeters and the singers were to make themselves heard with one voice to praise and to glorify the Lord, and when they lifted up their voice accompanied by trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and when they praised the Lord saying, “He indeed is good for His lovingkindness is everlasting,” then the house, the house of the Lord, was filled with a cloud,so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the house of God.
God’s glory departs the temple in Ezekiel’s day
Then the glory of the Lord departed from the threshold of the temple and stood over the cherubim.When the cherubim departed, they lifted their wings and rose up from the earth in my sight with the wheels beside them; and they stood still at the entrance of the east gate of the Lord’s house. And the glory of the God of Israel hovered over them.
God’s glory reappears at the birth of Christ
And in the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields, and keeping watch over their flock by night.And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened.And the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which shall be for all the people;for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.“And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths, and lying in a manger.”And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.” And it came about when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds began saying to one another, “Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us.”
God has only ever shared His glory with one person
“For My own sake, for My own sake, I will act; For how can My name be profaned? And My glory I will not give to another.
“I am the Lord, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another, Nor My praise to graven images.
Not to us, O Lord, not to us, But to Thy name give glory Because of Thy lovingkindness, because of Thy truth.
“I glorified Thee on the earth, having accomplished the work which Thou hast given Me to do.“And now, glorify Thou Me together with Thyself, Father, with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was.
The glory of God is an internal and divine attribute, revealed in this world everywhere, yet especially to Israel of old and in these last days through His Son, in whose glorious second coming we find our own blessed hope
What are we doing today?
What are we doing today?
The why to our what?
Why do we come to church, gather as a body of believers
If we treated our jobs the way we do church we would probably be fired
showing up late
“Well I didn’t get a lot out of that” - church isn’t for you we came here to worship God - Paul Washer
We must be careful lest we think we are adding any glory to God through our efforts at worshipping Him
God needs no one and no thing to make Him glorious. He Himself is the origin and author of His glory.
Yet we do bring Him glory
Through our salvation: Ephesians 2:7
When we witness about Him -