Contend Earnestly: Soli Deo Gloria: Part II

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Soli Deo Gloria: Part II

Applying the Fifth Sola

Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
1 Cor 10:31

This has been my text that I have tried to live by. I will tell you though I have also taken it in the past and been a legalist at the heart without realizing it. Thinking wrongly that my deeds almost gained merit with God, when in reality, they don’t. To best understand this last part of our study on the Solas we see a succession that needs to take us through an examination of thought. It starts with Leviticus 1-7 then to Isaiah 53 then to Romans 8:1 then finally to 1 Cor 10:31.

You see Leviticus 17:11 states that it is the blood by reason of the life that makes atonement.

The first 7 chapters of Leviticus go through the different sacrifices that should be offered because of sin. As you read, and continue to read, you understand that this is a very, very bloody outworking. Shedding the blood of bulls, goats, lambs and other animals. Taking out the entrails of the animals and placing them on alters to burn, sprinkling the blood of the animals on different parts of the alter, the tent and mercy seat. Taking the animal’s skin and cutting it into pieces to offer on the altar.

So much blood that a river would run of blood through the valley of Kidron from the temple. God instituted this bloody sacrificial system, not to literally take away the sins of the people, you can see that in Hebrews 10, but God had such a bloody and rank system so that the people would see the effects of their sin and stop sinning.

You would think that if you had to continue to watch the lives of these animals be taken and the mess that it created, the river of blood it created, the stench of the animals and the burning of their bloody flesh that the people would stop sinning. But they didn’t. And neither would we.

Jeremiah 31 speaks of the new covenant; this covenant is needed because the nation of Israel didn’t keep the first covenant, so God said He would bring a new covenant, where He would remember their sin no more. This covenant was prophesied about in the great passage of Isaiah 53. So God, first started with the blood of animals and their sacrifice to show the depths of sin, when this didn’t work, in God’s perfect timing, He brought us His only Son.

Before moving on, I need to make clear that God does not react to people. His plans have been established and preordained from eternity past. But He also interacts with us in a way so that we will get an understanding of what He means. This is why He calls Christ a Lamb. The people of Israel, who were very accustomed to shepherding could understand this, but this doesn’t mean that Christ has wool and hooves, just as when God said that He brought the New Covenant because of Israel’s disobedience, this New Covenant was eternally ordained by God. Easier to understand, what came first, the promise of His Son’s death, or the Mosaic Covenant? Genesis 3:15 points to the redemption through the New Covenant because of Christ.

Take a look at Isaiah 53:4-12

But through Christ, there were two purposes. One was to show how nasty our sin was because of the cross, the brutality that was exposed on the cross and the Father forsaking His Son. The was to show us the spiritual loneliness of sin, and also to show us the depth our sin has in regards to our holy God. Second is found in Romans 8:1

Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

What is the therefore, there for? Paul just got done exposing his guilt because of his sin even though he is a child of God. So what is Paul’s conclusion after this self examination? There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ. Christ paid your debt completely on the cross. If this is true, you cannot be condemned for a payment that has been made. This word “condemnation” means “damnatory sentence.” Romans 8:33,34

Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.

So, although, we should hate our sin and by the aid of the Spirit strive to overcome it, in the end, if you are one of the elect, God’s chosen one, you cannot be condemned. What is the natural outcome of this? Soli Deo Gloria. I know many have heard this, but again, just like we need to stop and look at the mountains and marvel at God’s omnipotence through His creation, read these words and marvel: There is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus!

In addition, the people of Israel’s captivity in Egypt is an amazing parallel to our life as a people. Israel was enslaved by an evil one, the Pharoah. We are told that we are slaves to sin. The people did the will of their master, the Pharoah. We are told that before salvation that we do the will of our father, the devil. The people of Israel were redeemed by one of their own, Moses. We were redeemed by one of our own, the Son of Man. I will not continue in this but there is much more…including the look at the paschal lamb verses our Paschal Lamb.

What was the reason that the Lord wanted His people to be released from Egypt? Take a look at Exodus 12:31. If you get nothing else out of this post get this verse.

Then he (Pharoah) called for Moses and Aaron at night and said, “Rise up, get out from among my people, both you and the sons of Israel; and go, worship the LORD, as you have said.
Exodus 12:31

Just as Israel, this is our reason for being let go from the bondage of the evil one, being risen from death to life: to worship God, to give God all the glory.

If we understand the Levitical sacrifices, the sacrifice of the Son, the release of all condemnation, this should not even have to be told to us, but Soli Deo Gloria should be the natural outflow of our lives.

Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 10:31

Paul is speaking here to an embarrassment of a church in Corinth (which is us), but how many times do we have to be reminded to do all to the glory of God? This transformation of our life must take place in everything we do. You have to remember that for the Reformers they were used to a Pharisaical look at the ministry. Leaders all around them being corrupt and not really living for the glory of God, but all the glory was given to the Pope and his men. Calling the Pope “holy father” and having past popes being called saints to be worshiped and prayed to. Soli Deo Gloria cried out in the face of all this to put the glory back in its rightful place: all on God, none on us.

The fact was established long ago by Paul.

But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ
Galatians 6:14a

1 Cor 1:31 and 2 Cor 10:17 both say (taken from Jeremiah 9:23,24) “Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord”

Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me;

We studied this when going through Sola Gratia but it can be summed up who we are in Romans 9:22,23

What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory,

The natural outflow of God showing us the riches of His glory is for us to proclaim and live out this glory in our lives. Not just in part but in whole.


I concluded my introduction to the Five Solas with this and I want to bring back Peter Jeffery’s quote to end our discussion.

Spiritual men do not look for fame and the applause of people; they are concerned only with being faithful to God. Faithfulness is more valuable in gospel work than greatness. It always honors the Lord and is concerned with his glory not its own. Few will be great but all of us should be faithful. Out of that may flow greatness but if it does not then the Lord is still honored.

My hope is that you start to understand your standing before a holy God. Namely, your unworthiness because of who you are, but your right to heirship because of Christ. Understanding this, your life will be a continual outflow of the love of God and the glory of God and you will truly live out what the chief end of man is: to worship God and enjoy Him forever.

I will end with Isaiah 52:7

How lovely on the mountains
Are the feet of him who brings good news,
Who announces peace
And brings good news of happiness,
Who announces salvation,
And says to Zion, “Your God reigns!”
Listen! Your watchmen lift up their voices,
They shout joyfully together;
For they will see with their own eyes
When the LORD restores Zion.
Break forth, shout joyfully together,
You waste places of Jerusalem;
For the LORD has comforted His people,
He has redeemed Jerusalem.
The LORD has bared His holy arm
In the sight of all the nations,
That all the ends of the earth may see
The salvation of our God

May all the ends of the earth see the salvation of our God because of who we are and what we say, and may the Five Solas of the Reformation aid you in your understanding of the great and glorious salvation of our God, and may your life be a life of worship to our God. But, when you sin, and you will sin, know that because of the payment of the Christ, "there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."


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