Today, we come to Soli Deo Gloria. This tenet of the Protestant Reformation focuses on the purpose of salvation and the purpose of our lives.
In other words: What is God’s purpose in the gospel of Christ? And, what is God’s intent with us after we believe? What follows trusting in Jesus? Does our life have new purpose? Does God take pleasure in our lives? Or, is our life meaningless until Jesus returns?
These are the questions that Soli Deo Gloria addresses.
We begin with the question: What is God’s purpose, His ultimate goal, in salvation?
What we will discern is that the purpose of salvation is glory to God alone.
This question became an issue for the Reformers because they were concerned that the Roman Catholic Church was implicitly teaching a gross error. This implied teaching pertained to who received glory for salvation. If you recall from past weeks, the Roman Catholic Church taught that salvation is received by partially by faith and partially by merits. Faith got people in the game, but it was human merit that got people across the finish line.
This was why Sacraments and relics were so important to the Catholic Church back then. By partaking of the Sacraments and by observing relics, it was believed that people earned merits that would help them evade Purgatory or, at least, minimize their stay in Purgatory.
The issue of sacraments and relics is addressed in all of the Reformer’s teachings, from Sola Gratia to Sola Fide, and Solus Christus. But Soli Deo Gloria is important as it fleshes out the implications of the Roman Catholic Church’s teaching on these matters.
The Reformers deduced that if people can partially earn their salvation, then they could claim credit for their salvation.
In other words, the glory for a person’s salvation could be shared between the triune God, the saints in heaven, and to the individual. Glory and praise could be spread around because God had a hand in salvation, the saints had in a hand of salvation for interceding for the person on earth, and the individual person had a hand in salvation for doing good works.
In this way, glory for salvation is shared. Do you see?
This was what the Reformers were concerned about. They did not want individual Christians to puff themselves up by thinking that they earned God’s favor or His salvation. They didn’t want Christians to take the spotlight away from God.
So, in response, the Reformers repeatedly taught that every step of our salvation is a gift from God.
Everything about our faith is God’s grace to us. Therefore, we can’t claim any glory.
All glory for our salvation – for your salvation and mine – all glory can only and should only go to God. He deserves all the spotlight and the attention. He gets all the credit.
God’s purpose for our salvation is that He would receive glory, not us. For He alone is worthy and deserving.
Now, let me comment on a few massive implications of this point. The glory that God receives from our salvation is not merely for our future in heaven. God purposes that our salvation would result in glory to Him right now.
Here’s what I mean: in light of receiving God’s salvation in Christ, in light of being restored to God and adopted into His family, our lives are to be marked by a perpetual giving of glory to God.
Everything we do can and must be for the glory of God – our words, our actions, the way we treat our family and the church, how we use our money and time and more. That is God’s purpose for our lives. He saved us, redeemed us, and transformed us so that we would glorify Him in all things.
You can hear all of Pastor Aaron Reyes’ sermons on the 5 Solas of the Protestant Reformation here.