Part 6 – Soli Deo Gloria
Scripture alone is the authority and voice we should follow. The scriptures teach that by grace alone, through faith alone, and in Christ alone we are safe, and we are saved. Apart from this, no amount of knowledge, understanding, strength, effort, emotion, or passion can bring true joy and fulfillment to our lives. We were created for GLORY.
The Old Testament word for glory is kabo (kaw-bod), which means “to be heavy”.
The New Testament word for glory is doxa, which means “what evokes good opinion”.
Both of these convey something with a very high intrinsic worth- a high value that comes from within. That means the value belongs to or comes from the essential nature, or inner being. Whereas “holy” means separate, (and God is separate from the things - that are separate from the things - that are separate from everything else because He is “Holy, Holy, Holy”), glory is the intrinsic, inherent, inner worth that is unimaginable because he is 3X holy. God’s glory is a very heavy thing indeed…
Therefore, glory isn’t some outward thing that can be normally viewed, touched, manipulated, borrowed, or mimicked. Glory comes from within, and what good can come from mankind apart from God? Therefore, man has no glory without Christ. However, we do try…
- In Daniel 4 we saw Nebuchadnezzar glorify himself and his accomplishments.
- In 2 Samuel 11 we saw David glorify his passions.
- In Galatians 2 we saw Peter glorify his self-image.
In Luke 18 we hear Jesus explain the differences between exalting self, and humbling self. The first glorifies self, the second glorifies God.
Why do we fail? Because instead of glorifying God, we take glory in ourselves:
- thinking we have accomplished or created our own kingdoms
- through our own passions: we lust after what isn’t ours
- through our own self-image: we care too much what others think about our outward appearance
- by relying on our religious deeds
- when we assign “intrinsic” value to things (or self)—that is idolatry
In Titus 3 we are reminded that God saved us out of His own goodness and loving kindness, not because of what we’ve done. By the washing and renewal of the Spirit, whom God poured out RICHLY through Christ, He saved us for His glory.
Our natural bent is to self. Self cannot do “good works” because there is no good in us. Apart from Christ, works are inherently selfish acts: done to feel good, to look good, to try and be good. When I am at the center, there is no joy. There may be temporary times of happiness, but no real joy in life. There is no glory in living for self. There can be no glory apart from Christ, for there is nothing good except God alone. We ought to be devoted to “good works” out of response to His glory, not to try and earn favor. Devotion to good works is a RESULT of God’s glory that comes through - we are washed, regenerated, renewed people. Our new automatic response should be to reflect His love in this world.
Why Soli Deo Gloria?
“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” ~ C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory, and Other Addresses
“Because God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.” (John Piper)
Soli Deo Gloria: because He alone is worthy.