Summary: Soli Deo Gloria - Glory to God - presents the reason for which we and all of creation exists. It presents for us what makes our lives glorious.
Romans 11:33-36 Soli Deo Gloria
2/5/17 D. Marion Clark
On May 7, 2000 James Montgomery Boice entered the pulpit of Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia for the final time of his 32-year ministry there as Senior Minister. He was dying of cancer. He had just enough strength to say a few words and read the opening scripture for the service. He addressed the matter of how his congregation should pray for him: “Above all, I would say pray for the glory of God.” This was fitting for a man devoted to such a purpose. When a memorial plaque was created for him, it displayed our text.
Soli Deo glory – to God alone be the glory. Let’s consider this final solus of our series.
Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!
34 “For who has known the mind of the Lord,
or who has been his counselor?”
35 “Or who has given a gift to him
that he might be repaid?”
36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.
The apostle Paul, who wrote these words, has been writing a long discourse on the subject of redemption, from chapter 1 to through chapter 11. He has presented the problem of sin, the solution of faith in the work of Christ, with an appendix of the place of Israel in God’s plan. He concludes by breaking out in this doxology of praise to God with the final words of “To him be glory forever.” Those words likely are spontaneous, as Paul is caught up in this moment of reflection of the wondrous ways of God. And yet, as Spock would say, they form the only logical conclusion to his discourse. For glory – the glory of God – is what life is all about.
Listen to the Scriptures as they present this theme of the glory of God.
Glory in his holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice!
Declare his glory among the nations (1 Chronicles 16:10,24)
Ascribe to the LORD, O heavenly beings,
ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.
Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name;
worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness.
The voice of the LORD is over the waters;
the God of glory thunders,
the LORD, over many waters.
and in his temple all cry, “Glory!” (Psalm 29:1-3, 9)
I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said:
“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory!” (Isaiah 6:1-3)
They lift up their voices, they sing for joy;
over the majesty of the LORD they shout from the west.
Therefore in the east give glory to the LORD;
in the coastlands of the sea, give glory to the name of the LORD, the God of Israel.
From the ends of the earth we hear songs of praise,
of glory to the Righteous One. (Isaiah 24:14-16)
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,
everyone who is called by my name,
whom I created for my glory,
whom I formed and made.” (Isaiah 43:6-7)
For the earth will be filled
with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD
as the waters cover the sea. (Habakkuk 2:14)
These are but a portion of the scriptures on which Paul as a good Jew, especially as a Jewish teacher, would have been bred. We exist – all the world exists – to behold, to experience, to magnify, to proclaim, to live for the glory of God and for God alone. It is for his glory that God created the world and all that exists. It is for his glory that God planned and executed the plan of redemption. It is to the cause of God’s glory that he is moving all history into the future climax of Christ’s return and the establishing of a new heaven and a new earth. His own glory is, not his highest aim, but his only aim.
Move that thought into the New Testament. We have the same concepts of glorifying God.
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:14)
In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)