The Five Solas: Soli Deo Gloria

What if I could give you the answer to every existential question in 3 words?  Seriously.

  • Why does the universe exist?
  • Why am I here?
  • Why do things happen?
  • What is the meaning of life?

1 blog post. 3 words.

This isn’t some semi-gnostic, TBN, “God gave me the secret to the universe while I was sleeping” craziness. Not anything that could be used to sell some mysterious spirituality which would get me invited to Oprah’s next birthday bash.  Real answer, from scripture.

Ready?

Soli…Deo…Gloria

This is it.  The dividing line of God-centered (theocentric) vs. Man-centered (anthropocentric) religions. The reason that everything in the universe was created. The reason you exist.  Why miraculous works were performed in scripture, and why Jesus came.

A concept so beautiful that Johan Sebastian Bach finished his sacred compositions with SDG.

It is the purpose for all existence.  Let that sink in, it is the very reason for all things.  And you may well have grown up in church without ever hearing about it.

The answer? Soli Deo Gloria. Glory to God alone.  God does all things for His own glory.

As always, anytime someone dares to speak for God, they’d better be bringing scriptural passages (not just single verses strung together across books/authors/and subjects), in context. 

How did all things come into existence, and for what purpsose?

[15] He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. [16] For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. [17] And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. [18] And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. [19] For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, [20] and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

(Colossians 1:15-20 ESV)

How were they created? by Christ (v16) Why? For Him and for His glory (v16-18).

Let’s look again:

[1:1] Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,
To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus:
[2] Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
[3] Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, [4] even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love [5] he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, [6] to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. [7] In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, [8] which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight [9] making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ [10] as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
[11] In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, [12] so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. [13] In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, [14] who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

(Ephesians 1:1-14 ESV)

Wow! Do you see it? You, as a believer in Christ, were blessed as HE chose YOU before the foundation of the world to be adopted in Christ to HIS glory! (v1-6).  God works this, and ALL things to the council of His will to His Glory!

The reason for all things?  God’s glory.  He does ALL things to His own glory.

So what about me? Where do I come in?  Isn’t God concerned with my happiness? My success?

God is for God. Please get that. I know, your Mom, the nice lady in your small group, and your Purpose-driven Pastor told you that God is just impotently standing around, hoping and waiting for you to step into that “God-sized-dream” he has for you, but it’s just not so. It’s just not scriptural. God works all things to HIS glory. The good news for us, as shown above, is that since God is the absolute standard of goodness, the things He works for those who love Him and whom He has called will ultimately lead to our JOY (if not necessarily our temporary happiness).  This should change your view on virtually every aspect of your life.

Success is no longer judged by my desires, or the worlds standards, but by what brings the most glory to God. In this view Paul, the prisoner is more exponentially more successful than Paul (Saul) the respected academic and Pharisee.

Happiness is no longer our focus, but joy; knowing that in spite of any temporal situation, the ultimate outcome (even if it never comes in our life on earth) is our joy, to His glory.

It is why Jesus didn’t come for temporal happiness, but for God’s glory;

[37] All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. [38] For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. [39] 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 6:37-39 ESV)

The Father has given His people to the Son, the Son has come to earth to do the Father’s will, and that is that he lose none that the Father gave Him, but raise them up on the last day. “Happy”? Crucifixion is, literally, where the term “excruciating” comes from. “Successful”? The creator of the universe being executed in a manner so shameful that it wasn’t even spoken of in polite company. “Prosperous”? Hardly. Jesus, who is God, became a servant, was born as a man, and was executed. He who knew no sin became sin.  Why? To do the Father’s will, for His glory. Unfathomable!

With this view, my worship is no longer about my preference, but His glory. Not about my feelings or self-esteem, but my complete immersion in the truth as revealed in His word, to His glory. God’s glory will be made manifest in all men, either through his perfect grace to those who are in Christ, or through his perfect justice to those who are not.

In closing, we see that not only are the 5 Solas wrapped up in Soli Deo Gloria, but the purpose of the entire universe in encapsulated in the life-changing realization that all things are being done, actively, by the God of the universe to His glory which is to the ultimate good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.

Get this. Soak in it. Pray that the Holy Spirit would change your heart and that God would be gracious in showing you this truth.

Soli Deo Gloria!

Marc

Further reading:

Here is a tremendous little book, free in .pdf: God’s Passion for His Glory by John Piper