Is it just the nature of the protestant church to divide? We have all heard of churches that have split over music style, pews, carpet color, or something of that nature. Is it just in the DNA of the Protestant Church to split?
No. The Reformation was not about division over preference. It was not about making mountains out of mole hills. Rather, it was (and is) about salvation.
Thus far in this series we have looked at 4 of the 5 “Sola’s” or “only” statements that were distilled out of the Reformation.
As I began to study Soli Deo Glory, glory to God alone, which is the topic for today, I found that the final Sola is so integrally connected to the other Sola’s, that the best way to talk about it, would be in relation to the first four.
Sola Scriptura teaches that Scripture alone sets forth the only way of salvation. When we attempt to devise another method of salvation, we necessarily arrive at something that is not biblical. The Gospel is illogical to an outside observer. Why would the God of the universe send His only Son to die on a cross for His creatures? But God, in His infinite wisdom, has declared that the current system will bring Him the most glory. He established the world and our salvation in such a way as to bring the most glory to Himself. When we try to subvert the Scriptures with our own logic or our own methods, we not only fail miserably, but it is also an assault on His glory.
Sola Gratia. Grace Alone. It is by grace that we have been saved. Ephesians 2 tells us that we were dead in our trespasses and sins, and we were, by our very nature, objects of God’s wrath. Our salvation can only occur if, by God’s grace, He chooses to intervene.
The only thing that we bring to our salvation is the sin that made it necessary. The Glory of God is on full display in our salvation since He alone is the actor.
Sola Fide. Faith Alone. All religions are based on faith of some sort. Whether it is faith in their particular book, rituals, or dogmas. It is not how truly and strongly you believe, but rather the truthfulness and strength of the object of your faith. The Reformation was not about having faith. No, it was about salvation through Faith Alone in the work and person of Jesus Christ alone.
The Reformers understood that our actions add absolutely nothing to our salvation – every bit of the glory belongs to God Alone. Romans 3:27-28 states, “Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith. 28 For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.”
Solus Christus. Christ Alone. Christ and His work are the only source of salvation. He is the only hope for the sinner. All roads do not lead to heaven, rather, there is only one. Jesus declared that He is the way, the truth, the life, and that no one come to the Father except through Him. Our salvation is by Christ Alone.
Acts 4:12 states, “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”
Soli Deo Gloria
Soli Deo Gloria. Glory to God Alone. It is the fifth and final Sola. It is intricately linked to the others. Our salvation occurs for the purpose of bringing glory to God alone. Ephesians 1:5-6 states, “He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace”. Why were we predestined to be saved? Ephesians 1:11-12 tell us that it is “to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory.” Why have we received the Holy Spirit as a pledge of our salvation? Ephesians 1:14 tells us that it is “with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.”
Our salvation, in its entirety, both the fact that we are saved, and the means by which we are saved, are about God’s glory. The Reformers understood this.
Soli Deo Gloria. Glory to God Alone.
-(sermon by) Trevor Love
photo credit: http://www.tramway.org/events/Pages/Glory-.aspx