Soli Deo Gloria: For the Glory of God Alone
Posted: Thursday, February 21, 2013 6:00 pm
Soli Deo Gloria:
For the Glory of God Alone
Solus Christus: Christ Alone
By CAMILLE KENDALL
Special to The Messenger
We have just finished looking at the Five Solas of the Protestant Reformation. Next week, we begin a new series on studying the Bible. Today, I’d like to pause and construct a bridge between these two topics.
In his article “Sola Scriptura,” Billy McGarity pointed out that it was the issue of the authority of scripture upon which the Protestant Reformation was grounded. Everything else — every other doctrine — is built upon the authority of scripture. Christ alone saves sinners, by grace alone, through faith alone. All of this is to the glory of God alone. How do we know these things? Because scripture tells us, and scripture alone is the authoritative Word of God.
The Bible tells us what we are to believe about our Creator. It tells us what we are to believe about ourselves. It tells us what God requires of us, His creatures, and how we are to worship and enjoy Him. Sadly, many Christians today, even those who attend church regularly and who strive to live godly lives, are woefully ignorant of scripture.
We know catchy lyrics from praise songs, cliches from T-shirts and bumper stickers, and lines from “Christian” books and movies, but we don’t know the Bible. Ask your Christian friends, “Have you ever read through the entire Bible?” and you’ll be amazed at how few answer, “Yes.”
We know what others tell us about God and Jesus, but we don’t know what God and Jesus tell us about themselves. Why not?
In his book “Knowing Scripture,” R.C. Sproul gives two reasons why many people are not more diligent in their study of God’s Word. First, many believe the lie that only super-educated theologians can understand scripture. So we leave Bible study to the experts and trust them to tell us what we need to know about God.
I’m ashamed to admit that I did not read the book of Revelation until I was in my 40s, simply because I had been told it was full of cryptic prophecies about Russia and helicopters and other strange things that would never make sense unless an “expert” explained them. When I did finally muster the courage to plunge into Revelation, I found none of those things. Instead, I discovered that God was saying pretty much the same thing He had been saying since Genesis. That He is sovereign over the affairs of men. That He loves and preserves His people, the church. That Jesus Christ is beautiful and powerful and sufficient. Instead of terrifying riddles, I found great encouragement. Shame on me for not reading Revelation sooner.
Second, many of us neglect the study of scripture due to simple laziness. Yes, studying Scripture is work, and many of us are too lazy to persevere in it. Since the fall, every aspect of our work has been cursed. Even the seemingly simple tasks of reading and thinking are plagued with thistles and thorns, the distractions and temptations that keep us from studying God’s Word.
Why is it so easy to read a New York Times bestseller, or Nicholas Sparks’ newest release, but so very hard to read the words of God? Because we are sinners, and apart from the work of the Holy Spirit, we are hostile to God. Thankfully, when we repent of our laziness and ask God to give us a hunger for his Word, we can be confident that this is a prayer He will answer.
As we begin this new series, let me challenge you to begin today to read scripture. As a friend counseled me several years ago, “This is not rocket science. Just read your Bible.” You can find plans online for reading through the Bible in a year, or in two years. Or, you can do like I did the first time I read through God’s Word — read a couple chapters each day from the Old Testament and a couple from the New Testament. If you miss a day, pick up where you left off. The main thing is, start reading, and then keep reading. Even if it’s only a chapter a day.
Will you understand everything you read? No, but you’ll understand a lot, probably more than you anticipate. And you’ll learn even more. God made us, and He knows best how to communicate effectively with His creation. He did not write to us in some unintelligible gooble-di-gook that could only be deciphered by magicians.
The Bible is the Word of God, and, if you are a Christian, these words are your very life. The sovereign God of the universe wants to tell you how much He loves you. He has written you a letter.
Editor’s note: Camille Kendall, wife, homeschool mom and redeemed sinner, is a member of Grace Presbyterian Church in Troy.
Soli Deo Gloria