Whatever has happened in your life, good or bad, pleasant or unpleasant, difficult or joyful, whatever has happened, God is at work in everything and every aspect of His creation to direct it to the accomplishment and the proclamation and display of His glory and His glory alone. What is the chief end of man? Is it to lead a comfortable life?
Is it to maximize pleasure and minimize pain? Well, for the true Christian, the answer is something else entirely. Pastor Don Green will review it for you today on The Truth Pulpit, where we teach God's people God's Word.
Hello again, I'm Bill Wright. We're continuing our series, The Five Solas, with part one of a message dealing with the final sola, Soli Deo Gloria. Don, define that for us and tell us about its significance. Well, my friend, Soli Deo Gloria means to the glory of God alone, and it expresses what the goal of creation is and also what the goal of salvation is. It is that God would receive praise from the redeemed, that those of us who have been saved by grace alone through faith alone and Christ alone would recognize the wonderful nature of God and praise Him throughout all of eternity and also in the way that we live our lives. It's foundational to true Christian living, and it's just ahead today on The Truth Pulpit.
Okay, Don, and friend, have your Bible open and ready as we join Don Green now in The Truth Pulpit. What we want to do as we conclude this series is we want to look at these three aspects of biblical revelation where Soli Deo Gloria is expressed in creation, in salvation, and ultimately in all of eternity. And so the great sweep of biblical revelation reveals the glory of God, and what we see is it lifts like a rocket and takes us into eternity where that is the concluding goal of even eternity itself. And so this lifts us far beyond our earthly circumstances and brings us into a realm of God and God alone.
First of all, let's look at Soli Deo Gloria in creation. To God alone be glory in creation. As you well know, the Bible itself begins with God's act of creation in Genesis chapter 1 verse 1. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth, and as Scripture unfolds, what we see the Bible teaching us repeatedly is that this creation that he has made exists to declare his glory.
In Psalm 19 verse 1 it says the heavens are declaring the glory of God. As you go into the New Testament, turn to the book of Colossians chapter 1 if you will. Colossians chapter 1 as we see this theme of creation emphasized in this book by the Apostle Paul. Colossians chapter 1 beginning in verse 15 speaking of Christ, it says that he is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation, by which it means he has the highest rank. It's not that he himself was created, but he has the highest rank in all of creation. And what can we say about Christ? Verse 16, for by him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities, all things have been created through him and for him.
They have as their aim the proclamation of the glory of Christ. And so creation exists for his glory. God made both the visible and invisible realms of the universe for his glory. The triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is the source of all things. All things have their derivation, all things are derivative of the creative action of the triune God. He is the source from which everything else flows, and yet he himself had no beginning.
And beloved, what that means is we speak in such simple terms and yet we speak of such profound realities as we declare these things. Because all things proceed from the triune God, their purpose is his glory. And yet we find that there's even more that feeds into our understanding of the glory of God in creation. We've taught often on the providence of God from this pulpit, the idea that God sustains all things, that God is at work in absolutely everything that happens, and that he is moving everything to accomplish his desired end, that there is not a molecule in the universe that is outside the control and direction of God, that there is not any man, animal, or plant that is somehow outside of the purpose of God. Scripture says that he sees his eye is on the sparrow, he knows when the sparrow falls. Scripture says that he has numbered the hairs on your head, and so we see a magnificent level of microscopic attention to detail from God to every aspect of his creation. Everything that moves, everything that is stationary is all under his hand and serving his purpose. Go back to Ephesians 1 with me.
Ephesians chapter 1 beginning in verse 9. He made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his kind intention which he purposed in him, with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times. That is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. This is a comprehensive statement of the existence of the universe, and what do we find?
What do we find not only in the existence of all things, but in their outworking over the course of chronology of all human history? We find that in him, verse 10, and then moving into verse 11, in him also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to his purpose, who works all things after the counsel of his will. Now, as I like to say, I understand that it's very easy for us to read through these things and miss the full significance of what is being said, but that's not for any lack of the Word of God or lack in the Word of God. It's all right there plainly stated, and we just need to take the time to read it carefully and look at the fullness of what it's saying, and that God means what he says in these matters. Look at verse 10 with me again, the summing up of all things in Christ.
As we saw in Colossians, that's referring to the visible and invisible realm. Verse 11, he works all things after the counsel of his will. Everything that happens, God is at work at, directing it to accomplish the purpose for which he set the universe in motion. Now, that has a conclusion that we draw as we consider solely Deo Gloria in creation. Ultimately, beloved, whatever exists and whatever happens anywhere in the course of time, throughout all of human history, throughout the rise and fall of nations, whatever has happened in your life, good or bad, pleasant or unpleasant, difficult or joyful, whatever has happened, God is at work in everything, in every aspect of his creation, to direct it to the accomplishment and the proclamation and display of his glory and his glory alone.
That is the ultimate end. Look at verse 12 there with me in Ephesians, where it says, to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of his glory. And so this is a very quick and very inadequate review of this, but just enough for us to see that in any proper contemplation of creation, any aspect of the universe, we must see that that aspect of the universe, that aspect of history, that aspect of life, that living being, whatever has happened is all working toward displaying in one way or another the glory of God. And that is the goal of creation, is to display his glory in all things. There are those that say that in one sense, you know, we ask why did things happen, why did things happen, why did this bad thing happen in my life, or why is this happening in the world, or what's going on. It's not overly simplistic to say that ultimately the answer, whatever the question may be, that ultimately the answer to that question in any and every circumstance is, why did this happen?
It happened for the glory of God. And we recognize that there is this, there is this comprehensive, relentless, wonderful purpose that is at work, that in the end all things will work out and display in one manner or another the glory of God. That's soli deo gloria in creation.
Let's go to point number two here. All too briefly, all too briefly. Soli deo gloria in salvation. Soli deo gloria in salvation. And God's plan of salvation, the spiritual redemption of sinners from their bondage to sin and Satan and ultimate judgment, to deliver them from that and to put them in Christ so that they will be with Christ forever throughout eternity with their sins fully forgiven, reconciled to God completely, enjoying his glory forever, being perfected and somehow reflecting the perfect glory of Christ. Why did God do that?
Beloved, I barely need to say that in this location, but it's good perhaps to say it. We understand, don't we, that it was not because God had to have us with him in the sense that God needed us to complete his existence. God's existence was already perfect. That the goal of salvation was not you. You in being saved were a means to another end. The salvation of sinners is a means to displaying the glory of God, is the ultimate display, the ultimate purpose in your salvation, was the glory of God.
You were not the end point. You were not the end goal when God saved you. Rather, your salvation was a means of displaying the incomprehensible love and mercy and patience and goodness of God in saving an unworthy one like you. And so as we enjoy the gift of salvation, as we find ourselves in Christ, realizing that it was something that was sola gratia, by grace alone, that it's not something in which I boast, that I did not come to salvation because I was somehow smarter than the other one who did not put his faith in Christ. It's because God did a work that ensured my salvation, that was done in a way that would display his glory. And so, beloved, when we are thinking rightly about God's plan of salvation, and it's important for us to think rightly about God's plan of salvation, we must realize that it is a revelation both of his justice and his mercy in saving unworthy sinners.
And this is all to his glory. It is so that he will be rightly praised to display his glory to the redeemed and to display his glory before the holy angels, that they might all see this manifestation of the glory of God, which was hidden, in a sense, before the beginning of time, but now in time, now as God has done an outworking of his plan of salvation, we start to get a taste of how great and good and wonderful his love and mercy and patience towards sinners really is. Let's look at Ephesians 1 again here, and just think about it from this perspective within this text.
Let's think about it this way. Soli Deo Gloria in salvation as it pertains to the triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We'll just look at it from that narrow perspective, narrow to the extent that you could call the triune God from eternity to eternity a narrow perspective.
That's kind of foolish, isn't it? But in Ephesians 1 verse 3, look at it with me. I know we go to this text often. Ephesians 1 verse 3, Paul is ascribing praise to God right from the very beginning of the letter, and he says, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world that we would be holy and blameless before him. Now, that is a magnificent statement, a magnificent reason to praise God, and Paul blesses the name of God, and he says, here's why I'm blessing God as I open it up. Let's consider God the Father.
Do you know what he has done? Do you know what God the Father has done for us who are in Christ? Before the beginning of time, he chose us in Christ that we might be brought to salvation, that we would be holy and blameless before him. Look at verse 5. He predestined us in love to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to himself. He says, this is so magnificent.
This is so wonderful. This is such a display of the brilliance and splendor of God that he would have such mercy, such a good plan before time even began to bestow this kind of blessing on us. And it's according, it says in verse 5, according to the kind intention of his will that we would be adopted into his family. And what was the Father's purpose? What was the end goal?
What was the end game for a severe lack of a better term? What was the end goal of this choosing activity of God, which is known as the biblical doctrine of election? Verse 6, it was to the praise of the glory of his grace which he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. The Father's eternal plan means that God alone gets the glory for our salvation.
And so Paul states it very clearly in verse 6 that the Father's eternal plan is to the glory of God alone. Let's talk about the Son for a moment. The Son, S-O-N. The Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Let's consider it from his perspective for just a moment. What shall we say about the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the cross for our redemption? Paul discusses that in verse 7. He says, in him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace which he lavished on us. Beloved, after looking at Solus Christus, don't you remember, don't you see that the price of our redemption was blood and that it was blood of the Lamb unblemished, the blood of Christ and that Christ alone shed that blood and that our redemption was not purchased in part by us but purchased by Christ alone. The price was paid by Christ alone at the cross. No wonder he could say as he hung there, it is finished, it is done, it is over.
The language as we have seen in the past as we studied this is the language of a business transaction that says paid in full. He paid it all as we sing so often during Communion. Jesus paid it all, all to him I owe. Sin had left a crimson stain.
He washed it white as snow. That was blood shed for you 2,000 years before you were born. It was blood shed by Christ as he voluntarily laid down his life as John 10 18 reminds us. Jesus said, no one has taken my life away but I lay it down on my own initiative, not from external compulsion but from his own internal desire to lay down his life for sinners like you in accordance with the Father's eternal plan. Now I ask you who gets the glory for that? Which one of us, which one of us would go to that realm of exclusive glory and try to step in and claim some credit for ourselves? The very thought's repulsive, isn't it?
It's the last thing that we want when we understand these things clearly. The redeemed heart, the regenerate heart says no, not to me, O God, but to thee and to thee alone be the glory. To thee and to thee alone, O Christ, for what you have done, the love that you showed, the blood that you spilt to you alone be the glory. And if I can draw your attention to verse 12 again as we go there once more, we see that this is the conclusion that we are to draw from the work of Christ on our behalf to the end that we who were, look at it there in verse 12 with me, to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of his glory. Beloved, the reason that you exist, you exist for one exclusive reason. You exist to be an instrument of the display of the glory of God. And whatever happens in our earthly lives is secondary by comparison to that great overarching purpose. Sometimes God will give a life for a short time, for a few short years, and then he'll take that life.
Why is he doing that? Why would he leave the holes in human hearts behind? Ultimately, in the final analysis in one way or another, he intends to display his glory even through that. Our successes, our failures, they all find their unifying purpose, the unifying theme, the ebb and flow of life over the years and over the decades, the daily grind, the mountaintop experiences, the valleys of the shadow of death.
Why? What unifies all of that in our experience, the purpose of it all, ultimately is for the display of the glory of God. That is why everything happens.
That is why you and I exist. Father's eternal plan is for his glory. The shed blood of Christ on the cross is for his glory. What about the Holy Spirit? What about the way that the Holy Spirit applies salvation to those who come to faith, that he brings to faith more accurately? Look at verse 13 of Ephesians. In him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation, having also believed you were sealed in him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who, the Holy Spirit that is, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance with a view to the redemption of God's own possession. The Holy Spirit has been given to you to indwell you, to seal you, to keep you in Christ and to be a mark of the down payment that there is more in salvation to come for you in the future, that in the future to come, in the age still future to us as we sit here, there is more of God's salvation to be displayed, more of his grace to be poured out on us when we are redeemed in that final way and we are with him in glory.
And the Holy Spirit is the guarantee that all of that will certainly come to pass for us. Well, we'll have to pause there for today, but Pastor Don Green will present part two of his message, Soli Deo Gloria, The Glory of God Alone, on our next broadcast as he brings to a close our series on the five solas of the Reformation. We hope you'll join us then here on The Truth Pulpit.
Right now though, Don's back here in studio with a resource offer. Well, my friend, I am committed to the dynamic of verbal preaching. I love to preach and speak. I think there's a dynamic when a preacher opens the word of God to hearers that the audio component of that is a means that God uses greatly in the lives of those who hear.
But I also understand that sometimes you want to go back and study what was said more closely. We have transcripts of all of my full-length sermons available on our website. And I would encourage you to go there to find them and to be able to study the messages more closely through the written word, as you've also enjoyed it through the spoken word. Thanks, Don. And friend, we invite you to visit thetruthpulpit.com. There you'll find all our resources and information about our ministry. That's thetruthpulpit.com. Now for Don Green, I'm Bill Wright, inviting you back next time for more from The Truth Pulpit, where we teach God's people God's Word.
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