Soli Deo Gloria: For the Glory of God Alone
Posted: Thursday, February 14, 2013 6:00 pm
The Messenger, February 14, 2013
Deo Gloria: For the Glory of God Alone!
By DEON BARNES
Special to The Messenger
The English word “glory,” when encountered in Scripture, is derived from two words. The first is a Hebrew term in the Old Testament which means “weightiness” or “to be heavy,” and which deals with one’s importance. The second is a Greek term in the New Testament which means “to think,” referring to what others think of a person or to that person’s reputation (Reymond, Systematic Theology, 1998). When Scripture speaks of the glory of God, it speaks of the importance of God and the reputation of God.
In previous articles, we have discussed Sola Scriptura (in scripture alone), Solus Christus (in Christ alone), Sola Gratia (by faith alone) and Sola Fide (through faith alone). These culminate into the final of the five solas, Soli Deo Gloria (for the glory of God alone).
In fact, everything in existence — yes, I mean everything — finds its meaning in this one phrase, “for the glory of God alone.” From important activities such as the salvation of souls, to the insignificance of brushing your teeth in the morning, everything is for the glory of God alone. From the majestic mountaintops, to the ant crawling on the ground, everything is for the glory of God alone.
We, many times, reap the benefits of glorifying God, but never are we the ultimate cause. We may have faith, but we did not do the saving. Faith is a benefit of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (1Cor.12:1-11). We may brush our teeth, but we did not do the cleaning. This is a benefit of the chemical reaction in your mouth. Everything, no matter how insignificant or significant we may think it is, everything is for the glory of God alone.
This doctrine of the church has been pushed to the back of the proverbial room. I fear that this way of thinking is non-existent in many circles, even circles claiming to be Christian. Yes, many speak of the glory of God, but rarely will a person utter the word “alone” in conjunction with that phrase. That one term, “alone,” strips man of all his pride and is just too much for some to bear.
The references of this doctrine in scripture are too numerous to list here. However, Paul, in his epistle to the Romans, makes one overwhelming statement. Romans 11:36 reads: “For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be glory forever. Amen.”
Pay attention to the prepositions employed by Paul in this statement. “For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things.” Dr. R.C. Sproul comments, “Through these three prepositions the apostle is saying that God is the source and owner of everything that is. He is also the ultimate cause of everything that comes to pass, and everything that comes to pass occurs through the exercise of His sovereign will.” (Sproul, Romans, 2009).
What would happen if more people stopped to ponder this doctrine of the church? What would happen in your own life if you began to seek the glory of God alone, in all things? True revival rests in the response to these questions.
Above all else, we must remember that while we may give God glory, we must not mistakenly assume that God’s glory exists because we chose to acknowledge it. God’s glory exists not because we say it exists; it exists because God exists.
Editor’s note: Deon Barnes is a member and ruling elder at Grace Presbyterian Church in Troy.