Glory to God Alone

5 Solas: Glory to God Alone

The Five Solas:

Sola Scriptura: Scripture Alone

Sola Gratia: Grace Alone

Sola Fide: Faith Alone

Solus Christus: Christ Alone

Sola Deo Gloria: Glory to God Alone

What was the problem?

The Roman Catholic Church’s theology of “glory” was a problem for Luther and the other reformers (The glory of Rome, Papacy, etc.). The empire, the Vatican and the global glory of the church were a continual pursuit, and Jesus was the means of that pursuit.

NOT JUST A RC PROBLEM: Protestant pastors can be like this too. They seek to be stars, headliners at conferences, best-selling authors, and leading pod cast downloads, etc. and they use Jesus and his kingdom to get there.

As John Calvin said, “Our hearts are idol factories.” Mankind will turn out all sorts of tools to exalt us and dethrone God.

Everyone can be a glory hound. Seeking oneself first is the very essence of robbing glory. That’s where it begins.

Luther found himself to be at odds with this. Luther didn’t believe in a theology that brought glory to the sinner or to the church. Luther believed a theology that brought glory to God alone. He believed a theology that glorified God’s saving work on the cross. – Mohler

What is God’s glory?

  • Glory literally means holiness (completely other), excellence, beauty, honor, and weightiness.


  • God’s glory refers to his majestic beauty and splendor and honor and the recognition of it by mankind.


  • Glory, therefore, is the true apprehension of God or things. The glory of God must mean His unchanging essence. Giving glory to God is ascribing to Him His full recognition.[1] This ascribing then is in word and in deed as worshiping living sacrifices.[2]


  • God’s glory is also an ethical reality and it embraces his holiness. To sin is to fall short of the glory of God (Rom 3:23).
    • If God is glorious and beautiful, then to sin is to be and do the dishonorable and ugly.

The Scriptures describe God’s glory as so otherworldly that Ezekiel fell down.

Ezekiel 1:28

The Scriptures describe God as the King of glory.

Psalms 24

The Scriptures describe God as exalted above the heavens and his glory is over all the earth.

Psalm 57:5, 11; Psalm 108:5; Psalm 113:4

The glory of God is proclaimed by creation.

Psalm 19:1; Psalm 97:6; Romans 1:20 (glory so clear that men are without excuse and those who refuse to attribute it to Jesus turn and worship created things precisely because they contain glorious realities that point to God)

  • Sports are addictive because they reveal glory, we just don’t worship sports.
  • Children are addictive because having them is exercising a communicable attribute of God in being able to create (not from nothing but from what God created), but children are not to be bowed down to.

God’s glory is revealed by his powerful acts of fulfilling his word, acts of salvation and deliverance.

1 Chronicles 16:24; Psalm 72:18, 19; Psalm 96:3; Psalm 145:10–12; John 11:4, 40

How does God feel about his glory?

Jesus taught us to pray for God to be glorified.

Matthew 6:9 “Hollowed be your name.”

  • To “hallow” is to honor as holy, set apart, to honor God as God and for all he is.

God is jealous (zealous in all righteousness) for his glory.

Exodus 20:5 (ESV) You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me,

God will not share his glory.

Isaiah 42:8 (ESV) I am the LORD; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols.

Isaiah 48:11 (ESV) For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it, for how should my name be profaned? My glory I will not give to another.

Why did God create man?

God made people to glory in his glory.

Isaiah 43:6-7 (ESV) I will say to the north, Give up, and to the south, Do not withhold; bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth, 7 everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”

How are we to obey?

How we are to glory in God defined and described:

A look at the root word of dóxa, i.e., dokéō (1380), to think or suppose, is necessary. Etymologically, the word primarily means thought or opinion, especially favorable human opinion, and thus in a secondary sense reputation, praise, honor (true and false), splendor, light, perfection, rewards (temporal and eternal). Thus the dóxa of man is human opinion and is shifty, uncertain, often based on error, and its pursuit for its own safety is unworthy. But there is a glory of God which must be absolutely true and changeless. God’s opinion marks the true value of things as they appear to the eternal mind, and God’s favorable opinion is true glory. This contrast is well seen in John 5:44 as the Lord speaks of the glory that the people were receiving among themselves and the only glory that comes from God (see John 12:43). Glory, therefore, is the true apprehension of God or things. The glory of God must mean His unchanging essence. Giving glory to God is ascribing to Him His full recognition.[3] This ascribing then is in word and in deed as worshiping living sacrifices.[4]

We must understand our primary end is to glorify and enjoy God.

  • “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.” – Westminster Confession
  • To glory in him is to enjoy him.
  • This means seeing God for who he is. We enjoy his word and observing his work in the world.
  • This means searching for God for all he is with our whole being. Matthew 6:33. Matthew 13:44 (treasure hidden in a field and found and delighted in above all things)
  • This means knowing God is our greatest pursuit.
  • Jeremiah 9:23-24 (ESV) Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, 24 but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.”
  • This means our greatest joy is found in Christ and fuels all other good joys he gives to sons and daughters.
  • This means fighting the lies that say God is not joyous or enjoyable. This is an uphill fight against the curse of the fall that tells us joy and satisfaction is seeking “self” in all manner of ways that can be done to the destruction of man.
  • Matthew 10:38-39 (ESV) And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
  • Life is found in losing ourselves in pursuit of Christ.

We glorify God when we do all things excellently, in order and with beauty because that reflects God’s glorious way of ordering creation, and as image bearing representatives we have the ability to replicate that kind of work as stewards of creation and co-creators (not from nothing but from creation).

  • No slackness in our work.
  • No laziness in our effort.
  • Care about details.
  • Do things beautifully.

Our ultimate end for all the “why” questions is, “for God’s glory”, for his name’s sake.

  • No doubt there are subplots and story twists for all of us, but the primary end is that we may see and know the excellency of the one who rules our days and find our greatest joy in him and the journey he marks out for us.
  • See Joseph (Genesis)
  • See Job

Seeing God’s glory makes us joyfully repentant peoplelike Job

Job 42:5-6 (ESV) I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear,

but now my eye sees you;

6 therefore I despise myself,

and repent in dust and ashes.”

We are people who joyfully deflect glory to put Jesus on display.

Psalms 115:1 (ESV) Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory,

for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!

  • Try to stay hidden and make Jesus the “front man”.
  • Seek the good of the other before the good of self just like Jesus did…59 “One anothers” in the New Testament because the Law is summed up in “Love God”…”Love neighbor”.

God’s glory must be the nuclear reaction of our praise.

1 Chronicles 16:24–29; Psalm 29:1, 2, 9; Psalm 66:1, 2; Psalm 96:7, 8; Psalm 115:1; Isaiah 6; Isaiah 42:12; Romans 4:20; Romans 11:33-36; Philippians 2:9–11

Psalms 29 (ESV) Ascribe to the LORD, O heavenly beings,

ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.

2 Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name;

worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness.

3 The voice of the LORD is over the waters;

the God of glory thunders,

the LORD, over many waters.

4 The voice of the LORD is powerful;

the voice of the LORD is full of majesty.

5 The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars;

the LORD breaks the cedars of Lebanon.

6 He makes Lebanon to skip like a calf,

and Sirion like a young wild ox.

7 The voice of the LORD flashes forth flames of fire.

8 The voice of the LORD shakes the wilderness;

the LORD shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.

9 The voice of the LORD makes the deer give birth

and strips the forests bare,

and in his temple all cry, “Glory!”

10 The LORD sits enthroned over the flood;

the LORD sits enthroned as king forever.

11 May the LORD give strength to his people!

May the LORD bless his people with peace!

[1]  Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000).


[2] Last sentence mine.

[3]  Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000).


[4] Last sentence mine.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s