Faithlife Sermons

Glory To God

Introduction: Of the five solas, Soli Deo Gloria seems like an outliner in certain respects. While the other solas pertain directly to the two chief points of debate between Rome and the Reformers, between the doctrine of salvation and religious authority, Soli Deo Gloria (Glory to God) to some might seem to be vague.
However, the Glory to God is the center that draws the other solas into a grand, unified whole. Simply put, the fact that salvation is by faith alone, grace alone, and Christ alone, without any meritorious contribution on our part, ensures that all glory is God’s and not our own.
The five solas of the Reformation represented over the last few weeks are the fundamental doctrines, the fundamental foundation of our faith that the Reformers saw as non-negotiable. In way of review:
Scripture Alone-affirms that Scripture is the exclusive authoritative source of truth given by God.
Faith Alone-affirms that our salvation does not come from looking at our own works of righteousness, but from looking outside ourselves to another, to the person and work of Jesus Christ.
Grace Alone-affirms that salvation is by God’s grace alone and that we are rescued from His wrath by His grace alone.
Christ Alone-affirms that salvation is in Christ alone and that His sinless life and substitutionary atonement alone are sufficient for our justification and reconciliation to God the Father.
Glory to God Alone-affirms that salvation is of God and has been accomplished by God for His glory alone.
The magnificent theme of God’s glory is an inexhaustible treasure, there’s really no topic in Scripture or theology that doesn’t relate to it.
Soli Deo Gloria is truly about God, in many ways that sounds so obvious, but it’s amazing to acknowledge what first comes to our minds is how we can glorify God. Often forgetting that God’s majestic glory is an attribute of His.
Also, when we use the phrase Glory to God so often that it tends to lose its biblical force. But this glory, like the sun, is no less blazing and no less beneficial because people ignore it.
So, there are four thoughts about the Glory to God that I like to share you this morning, then my final thought is how to live for the Glory of God.
Ok, my first thought is...

His Glory Is All His

It seems initially implausible to think that a professing Christian of any sort would have reason or motivation to deny the idea that all glory belongs to God, but history has proven and will always prove our inability to properly give all glory to God.
In Psalm 115 the Jews had returned from their exile in Babylon and they knew they didn’t deserve any credit for them being back in their own land. Their restoration was due solely to God.
Psalm 115:1 NKJV
Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, But to Your name give glory, Because of Your mercy, Because of Your truth.
God’s glory is revealed in His unfailing love for His people and because of His faithfulness to His promise.
We know according to Scripture that God will not share His glory.
Isaiah 42:8 says,
Isaiah 42:8 NKJV
I am the Lord, that is My name; And My glory I will not give to another, Nor My praise to carved images.
While God’s glory should indeed be a Christians’ chief motive and goal in all conduct, we must remember above all that glory is the Lord’s and that in all His works He glories Himself, and will not share His glory with anyone.
The very reason for our existence is to know and glorify God.
The reason for creation is that God may be glorified.
The purpose of the universe is to create a theater in which God can redeem a humanity who will be drawn into His presence to glorify Him forever and ever.
Glorifying God is the ultimate end of everything!
1 Corinthians 10:31 NKJV
Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
Living a life to the glory of God is the reason that God has saved us, Christ has redeemed us.
I have to offer a word of caution again before preceeding. The Glory of God is never primarily about us and our conduct but about God.
According to Reformed Theology, God is inherently glorious, and He glorifies Himself in all of His works.
God reveals His glory in and through this world, which evokes our praise and service, which rebounds to God’s glory.
God delights to glorify Himself through calling and enabling lost sinners to glorify and enjoy Him forever.
God’s great plan to display His glory and we get swept up in that plan.
Isaiah 43:7
Isaiah 43:7 NKJV
Everyone who is called by My name, Whom I have created for My glory; I have formed him, yes, I have made him.”
Not only is His Glory all His, but His Glory is His name.

His Glory Is His Name

In both the old and new testament we find the use of glory as a name for God.
Scripture has that God is the Glory of Isreal in 1 Samuel 15.
1 Samuel 15:29
1 Samuel 15:29 ESV
And also the Glory of Israel will not lie or have regret, for he is not a man, that he should have regret.”
In Psalms 24 God is the King of Glory.
Psalm 24:8–10 NKJV
Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, The Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O you gates! Lift up, you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, He is the King of glory. Selah
In Psalms 29:3 He is the God of glory.
Psalm 29:3 NKJV
The voice of the Lord is over the waters; The God of glory thunders; The Lord is over many waters.
When Stephen recounts the great deeds of God before the Sanhedrin, he begins by referring to God’s title as glory. Acts 7:1-2
Acts 7:1–2 NKJV
Then the high priest said, “Are these things so?” And he said, “Brethren and fathers, listen: The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Haran,
Though rare in the OT, the NT often calls God “Father,” and the Apostle Paul combines this new covenant title with the ancient theme of God’s glory. An example of this would be in Ephesians chapter 1 verse 17.
Ephesians 1:17
Ephesians 1:17 NKJV
that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him,
In Scripture, God’s names are not arbitrary or random, but tell us something about who God is. By calling Him Almighty, the Most High, or the Holy One, for example.
Scripture provides a glimpse into His character. Thus, when Scripture calls Him the God, King, or Father of glory, it indicates that God’s very nature is glorious.
this confirms the Reformed doctrine claim that glory is, first and foremost, internal to God: it is one of the divine attributes.
God alone knows what exactly constitutes His internal glory; our finite minds cannot penetrate it. But we know that as God manifests His glory in the world, we see a reflection of that internal glory, the glory the Son enjoyed with the Father before all ages. John 17:5
John 17:5 NKJV
And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.

His Glory In the Incarnation of His Son

According to Hebrews chapter 1 verse 3 Jesus Christ is “the brightness of His glory and the express image of God,” (Hebrews 1:3)“the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth,” (John 1:14) “the Lord of glory,” (1 Cor 2:8).
Jesus’ appearance was not a detour from or alternative to the story of God’s glory in the Old Testament, but the fulfillment of that story in the ushering in of the New Covenant established through His Son’s incarnation.
As prophesied in the Old Testament, the New Testament shifts attention from God’s glory revealed in various ways (the cloud, the pillar of fire, the burning bush, ie), to God’s glory revealed in Jesus Christ.
The story of God’s glory in Christ proceeds in a shocking yet profound way--the way of humiliation.
God chose to reveal His glory supremely through a human being, and one who bore humanity’s “low condition.”
Although Jesus had no sin (2 Cor 5:21; Heb 4:15), Jesus came “in the likeness of sinful flesh” (Rom 8:3).
His appearance was “disfigured” and His “form marred” (Isa 52:14), having “no beauty or majesty to attract us to Him” (Isa 53:2).
Yet, He was indeed the “Lord of glory,” and became the Lord of Glory crucified (1 Cor 2:8).
To worldly wisdom it seems appalling that the living God would reveal His glory in His own humiliation, yet this truth stands at the center of the Christian gospel and becomes the great explanation for how the message of Soli Deo Gloria becomes good news for sinful people.
In fact there is no other way for us sinners to enjoy fellowship with God.
Martin Luther put it this way,
“It is not sufficient for anyone, and it does them no good to recognize God in His glory and majesty, unless they recognize Him in the humility and shame of the cross.”
We would hardly recognize the glory of the cross if God had not exalted Christ afterwards. With His resurrection and ascension Christ began to shed the cloak of humility and make His glory manifest in ways He never did during His earthly ministry.
Peter proclaimed in Acts chapter 3 that God “glorified His servant Jesus” by the resurrection (Acts 3:13, 15) and wrote in 1 Peter 1:21 that God “raised Him from the dead and glorified Him.”
The Apostle Paul likewise explained that Christ “was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father” in Romans chapter 6 verse 4 (Rom 6:4) and now has a “body of glory” (Phil 3:21).
Considering how God brings glory to Himself through Christ’s Incarnation, humiliation, and exaltation requires me to speak about our place in the story. The glorification of God means the salvation of His people.

His Glory in Salvation

Scripture teaches that Christians are glorified.
Although God is internally glorious, He wills to reveal His glory in and through the world He’s made.
In God glorifying Himself, He chooses to do so in part through the world He has made. In particular, He delights to glorify Himself through human beings, magnifying His love and mercy through redeeming sinful people, enabling them to glorify Him in their sanctified conduct, and glorifying them on the last day.
In Genesis 1 human beings are made in God’s image, the pinnacle of His work of creation, and Psalm 8:5 interprets this as God crowning us “with glory and honor.”
Furthermore, the Christian doctrine of salvation culminates with the idea of glorification, describing Christians’ resurrection and new-creation life, an idea well grounded Scripture.
One of the ways He does this is through the beauty of drawing near to His chosen people and manifesting a greater vision of divine glory to them.
The story of God’s divine glory not only runs through Calvary but also through Christ’s transformation of sinners through His Holy Spirit.
2 Cor 3:18
2 Corinthians 3:18 NKJV
But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.
This wonderful reality, beginning at redemption and awaiting completion in the age to come, is indeed a gift of Christ. Jesus said to His Father on the night He was betrayed, “the glory which You gave Me I have given them.” (John 17:22)
2 Corinthians 4:16–17 NKJV
Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,
The glorification of believers in Christ is the glorification of God.
To confess Glory to God is to proclaim, that He alone has worked such a great salvation; by grace, through faith, in Christ.
Christians will not share Christ’s glory in the sense that anyone will ever bow down and worship them, but in the supreme glorification of Christ, believers are swept up into abiding communion with their Lord.
Our holiness, our righteousness, and even our bodies will reflect the glory of our King. The glorification of His people rebounds to the glory of God.

Living For God’s Glory

First, we glorify God by our faith. Since our salvation in Christ comes by faith alone, and since faith is the root from which all of our good works flow (Rom 14:23; Heb 11:6; James 2:14-26), it is no surprise to find faith and glorifying God indelibly connected.
In 2 Corinthians 1:18-19 says this,
2 Corinthians 1:18–19 NKJV
But as God is faithful, our word to you was not Yes and No. For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us—by me, Silvanus, and Timothy—was not Yes and No, but in Him was Yes.
Paul rebuts suspicion that his message vacillates, for it is never “yes” and “no,” but is always “yes.” Why? For we are in Christ.
Colossians 1:18–20 NKJV
And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.
When we hear of God’s promises and their fulfillment in Christ, our basic and fundamental response is to say “Amen.” And we utter this Amen “to the glory of God.”
Paul goes on to say in 2 Cor 1:20
2 Corinthians 1:20 NKJV
For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.
We glorify God by faith in His promises.
A similar dynamic is at work in Romans 4, in which Paul discusses faith at length and presents Abraham as the father of all believers (4:16). According to Paul, Abraham had every earthly reason to doubt God’s promise that he and his wife would have a son in their very old age, but “without weakening in his faith…he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God” (4:19-20). Instead, he “was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God” (4:20). Paul’s reasoning suggests that Abraham gave glory to God precisely through this act of faith.
A second way by which Christians glorify God is worship. If faith in God’s Christ-centered promises brings glory to God, then we would expect Scripture to describe our good works!
Among the fruits of faith, none is more fundamental than worship, in a distinct activity in which we set aside other tasks and set our minds and hearts upon the Lord, in order to receive His word and to respond back to Him in prayer and song.
In Psalm 86:12 it declares!
Psalm 86:12 NKJV
I will praise You, O Lord my God, with all my heart, And I will glorify Your name forevermore.
Scripture repeats time and again. In glorifying God in worship we echo the worship of the angels in heaven (e.g., Rev 5:9- 12; 7:12; 15:3-4; 19:1-8), and in time God’s saints will call the angels to worship (e.g., Ps 29:1-2; 103:20-21).
This anticipates the coming day when believers will join the angelic host in person in a great heavenly throng that proclaims this according in Revelation 5:12-13
Revelation 5:12–13 NKJV
saying with a loud voice: “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain To receive power and riches and wisdom, And strength and honor and glory and blessing!” And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying: “Blessing and honor and glory and power Be to Him who sits on the throne, And to the Lamb, forever and ever!”
The fact that worship is an immensely unproductive activity from an earthly perspective provides helpful reminder that Soli Deo Gloria is really not about our own achievements: God most delights to glorify Himself through us when we rest from our seemingly productive labors and call upon His name in truth.
Finally, God nevertheless glorifies Himself in all that we do. This is not a major theme in Scripture, contrary to what we might expect, but it is still important to recognize this great truth and be thankful that we enjoy such a privilege. The most famous text to this end is 1 Corinthians 10:31:
1 Corinthians 10:31 NKJV
Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
The Apostle Paul’s point is not that eating and drinking are mundane activities that illustrate how glorifying God should permeate even the little things in life. In context Paul has been discussing disputes about food and drink in which people were trampling on the consciences of those who disagreed with them.
In short, Paul encourages us to glorify God in all things by seeking the good of others, for the ultimate goal of seeing people saved and the church strengthened. Perhaps the most sweeping biblical text calling us to glorify God in all things is 1 Peter 4:10-11:
1 Peter 4:10–11 NKJV
As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
The Apostle Peter encourages us to use all of our gifts to serve. God glorifies Himself through our whole-hearted service to one another.
We should have one goal and one purpose and one motive and one incentive and one objective in mind, and that is to glorify God Himself.
John Calvin summarized Glory to God this way,

“We never truly glory in Him until we have utterly discarded our own glory…the elect justified by the Lord, in order that they may glory in Him, and in none else.”

Soli Deo Gloria really does revolve around God and His own action, even while granting a place for us to glorify Him through our faith, worship, and humble service.
As Reformation believers turn to Scripture alone to hear the message of salvation through Christ and His grace alone, received by faith alone, we find that blessed gospel woven into the great story of God’s glory.
Glory belongs to God alone and that is truly good news for sinners saved by grace.
The only way to give God glory is to become more and more like Him.
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