Soli Deo Gloria (Glory to God Alone)
Glory to God Alone
What is man’s most fundamental problem? Depending on whom you ask, the answers you might get to this question will vary. Some would say “unfulfilled desires,” “unfulfilled goals or dreams.” Others would say, “a lack of self-esteem,” or perhaps “a sense of feeling under-appreciated or admired.” In our materialistic culture, some might say, “the pursuit of happiness” by means of education, success, money, possessions, etc. All of these things have a way of making us feel valuable, needed, and fulfilled in life. These and many other answers may be given when we ask what is man’s fundamental problem, or perhaps a variation of one or more of these may come to your mind.
However, Romans 1:21 tells us that man’s fundamental problem is that even though he knows that God exists, and can see something about God’s greatness as revealed in creation, he does not “honor Him as God or give thanks…” Man “exchanges the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man…” (Rom 1:23). Man “exchanges the truth of God for a lie, and worships and serves the creature rather than the Creator…” (Rom 1:25). In sum, men don’t glorify God, that is, ascribe to Him in word and deed the praise, adoration, and worship that He rightly deserves. This is man’s fundamental problem.
Man’s failure to glorify God is then manifested in the plethora of sins that we see in our world and in our society. Why do people hate? Because they love themselves more and don’t glorify God! Why do people murder? Because they don’t cherish human life, and glorify God who created life! Why do people speak evil about others? Because they don’t love others who are created in God’s image, and thus glorify God! Why do people distort God’s beautiful design of marriage between one man and one woman? Because they don’t glorify God by honoring His precious design of marriage, which is meant to bring glory to Himself and bring a man and a woman wonderful happiness in loving companionship and partnership! All of these, and every other manifestation of sin (see Romans 1:24-32), flow from man’s failure to glorify God, but instead worship and glorify himself. This is, essentially, what happened in the garden of Eden. By their sin, Adam and Eve sought to usurp God’s place as the supreme object of worship, and (by their actions), made themselves the supreme objects of worship.
We are living in a world that does not have the glory of God as its greatest purpose, objective, goal. Sadly, many Christians don’t live with this grand purpose as our highest goal. Yes, we all fall short, and will fall short of always living for God’s glory. But it is even more concerning to see that many Christians characteristically are living life more concerned with their own needs, wants, pursuits, priorities, and agendas, rather than God’s and those of Jesus’ Bride, the church. However, Christ died for us, “that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for Him who died and rose again on our behalf” (2 Cor 5:15). Is it too much for our precious Savior to ask us to follow Him by living for Him, when He gave it all up for us? May we as Christians live out the purpose for our existence, to glorify God and enjoy Him. Note that latter part as well! When we live for His glory, we are truly living! There is, amidst our trials even, joy and true present and eternal fulfillment. As John Piper has written, “God is most glorified in us, when we are most satisfied in Him.” Think about it. Soli Deo Gloria!