I often laugh to myself, or out loud, when someone begins to use too many buzzwords too close together. You know the words or phrases I’m talking about. Words like “organic” or “holistic” or “paradigm shift.” It is sometimes a game to see how many of these type words you can fit into one sentence. In fact, I’ve got a friend who can do a pretty impressive Nick Saban impression, just by putting together a string of Saban buzzwords (think “performance relative to expectations”). I’m sure you get the gist, but I’ll tell you that as I’ve spent time this week thinking about our 5th Sola, Sola Dei Gloria, some of those buzzwords have come to mind.
You see, when we truly understand and embrace Soli Deo Gloria, it does call for a paradigm shift in our worldview. There. I said it, and no, I’m not trying to be cute with the wording. I do understand, though, that the words might have you confused. Fair enough, so let’s define worldview. Basically, your worldview is the way you see and respond to the world around you. It is a lens through which you experience, interpret, and respond to the world. It is the set of truths that form your understanding of all that you experience, and that shape your thoughts and actions. A paradigm shift is a radical, one time change, in your understanding of something. It is a course correction that you undergo as you encounter a new set of circumstances (think of the move from a radial dial telephone to Facetime or Skype).
So, how does an understanding of the Biblical truth that all things exist for the glory of God alone change our view of life? Maybe it would help for us to examine ourselves as to whether or not we really hold to Soli Deo Gloria. Let me ask you a question. Who are you living for? Now don’t give me the Sunday School answer. Don’t just say Jesus because you know I’m a pastor. Tell me...who are you living for? Ultimately, do you believe you exist for your own pleasure, or for the pleasure of God? That question gets to the heart of the matter.
The Bible opens up in Genesis 1:1 by saying, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” We could simply stop with “In the beginning, God.” In opening this way, God’s Word is stating the fact that God is preeminent. He is the creator. All things were created by, and for, Him. All things were created for His glory, and understanding that changes everything. It provides meaning and purpose for our lives when we come to understand that ultimately, our lives are not our own.
A right understanding of Soli Deo Gloria helps us to understand that all of life is meant to glorify God. It is not just the pastors who are doing the work of God. Mechanics, business executives, janitors, doctors, and mothers nursing babies, are all doing work that ultimately is meant to glorify God. But more than our work, our very lives are meant to glorify God.
We have been talking through, and preaching through, the 5 Solas of the Reformation. It has been a beautiful time, but I do get concerned that the name is somewhat misleading. There is a temptation to think these concepts were created during the Reformation. They were not. They are Biblical truths that were rediscovered as men and women looked to Scripture Alone for their picture of God, and His plan of salvation. The truths they found in the Scriptures lit within them a passion for the Lord, and His gospel, that no (supposed) wisdom of man had been able to do. There, in Scripture Alone, they saw that our salvation is by Grace Alone, through Faith Alone, in Christ Alone, for the Glory of God Alone. This 5th Sola is the culmination of these truths, reminding us that all of God’s creation is meant to bring glory to God Alone.
We can use whatever buzzword we would like, but the truth is, this truth changes everything. Our lives begin to come into clarity when we know where we have come from, who we are, and what we are here to do. Are you looking for this kind of clarity? If so, know this: You came from the Creator God. In the gospel, solely by His grace, He offers redemption through His Son Jesus Christ, and adoption into His family if we would but turn from our sins and look to Christ Alone in Faith Alone. This is the gospel, where we find redemption, and as the redeemed of the Lord, our lives are filled with meaning and purpose as we live ALL of our life for the Glory of God Alone. This, my friends, is why we are here.
Soli Deo Gloria!