Friday, January 25, 2008

Sola Deo Gloria!

"For from him, through him, and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen" (Rom 11:36). With these words the Apostle Paul brings to a crescendo the transforming Gospel truths of Romans 1-11.
He's about to dig into the knitty-grittys of the Christian life, but first he takes a tour of the heavenlies, addressing matters of prime importance such as the origin, means, and purpose of "all things" such as humanity, grace, and even the universe itself.
Once again we see the Grand Themes of Creation and Redemption written large in the pages of Scripture. We once again face the tension between Scripture's passionate Deo Gloria! (God's Glory) and the dominate cultural norm of Me-o Gloria! (My Own Glory).
Our members should grapple seriously: for this "Sola" addresses our motivations. Are we in our run-of-the-mill lives motivated by concern for self or concern for God? "Me-o-Gloria" will focus upon perception...what I think everyone else thinks about ME. "Their" opinions (whoever "they" are) crowd and choke out any though of what GOD might think. My reputation is the root concern that guides all I do. This mindset leads me to thrown myself down before the puny and very UNglorious idol of Self. And invariably these idolaters are very grumpy, short, and foolish-looking. For they have called glorious what is most un-glorious.
But, O, what a contrast are those who make the honor of Christ the center-point of their life! They are freed from slavery to serve the true and living God. They can fall on their faces before the Glorious One and say "my prime reason for existence is to glorify and enjoy God forever." They can grasp the Creator-creature distinction, and see they are a derivative being, not a Primary Being. This means they can truly know why they exist -- for Another.
What freedom, for now they simply ENJOY the glory of the One who is himself the Glorious One. They have finally -- by tranferring their allegiance FROM an idol TO the True and Living God -- broken through to Real Reality.