Today we conclude our mini study of the fives solas of the Reformation which are still very applicable to the church in the 21st century. We have looked at sola fide, sola gratia, solus Christus and sola scriptura. But each of these has its culmination in soli Deo gloria: glory to God alone.
Purity of worship was a major theme for the Reformers and rightfully so. If we agree that salvation must be by faith alone (sola fide) and by grace alone (sola gratia) and on account of Christ's finished work alone (solus Christus) then we must render to God alone the glory due him. God's glory is displayed through all time by defeating his enemies and saving his people (Isaiah 43:6-7). The Reformers, as it should be no less today, took this very seriously and had a high view of God for we read in Romans 1:18-32:
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath showed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
Sinful men can make an idol out of anything. Idols made of wood and depictions carved in stone are very foolish and dismissed today as such. But some idols are put on a pedestal and men bow their knee to them every day. Idols such as human reason, prosperity and government are routinely worshiped in the hearts of men. But anytime we substitute something else for the God of the Bible, we attempt to have him share his glory with another. For anytime we deny one of his attributes, we conceive of him as less than the sovereign Lord of all (Tabletalk, August 2009, pg. 50).