Reformed Baptist Fellowship

Practical Implications of Soli Deo Gloria

In Reformed Baptist Fellowship on October 6, 2012 at 10:12 am

For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things.

To Him be the glory forever. Amen. (Rom. 11:36)

The universe is all about God, not man.

The vastness and mystery of the universe does not point to our importance, but to God’s. The universe is a theater for God’s glory. Living as if you are the center is the problem not the solution. Living for personal happiness is just that–personal. It is temporary. It does not last, nor does it satisfy the soul. It will bring you nothing but trouble when you face God at the great day of judgment. We are all restless and fickle until we find our rest in God and the only way to find your soul’s rest in God is through Jesus Christ, the only Mediator between God and man. Come to Him for cleansing now, if you haven’t. And if you have, thank Him, praise Him, adore Him. Why? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen” (Rom 11:36).

When seeking to explain the purpose of the universe, the Christian, or biblical view, is to start with God, not man.

He is first and He gives meaning to all the rest. If we are trying to justify our belief in Christianity before an on-looking and unbelieving world, we should not assume it to be false or put it in a neutral category till proven true. If we believe Christianity has been revealed to man by God via the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, then we will tell others what the Scriptures say. The Bible does not need to be defended or proven by a litmus test outside of itself. As Spurgeon reportedly said, “The Bible is like a lion; just let it out of its cage and it will defend itself.”

Deep theological questions that display our finiteness and creaturely limitations should move our souls to wonder and amazement.

Notice the first word of Romans 11:33, “Oh…” This is a word indicating astonishing adoration. This is the proper response to the doctrine of God’s sovereignty in the withholding and dispensing of mercy. It is also the proper response to God’s incomprehensibility. Whatever God ordains is right, simply because He ordained it. Though we cannot comprehend His ways, this is no grounds for not worshiping Him. In fact, it is just the opposite. The fact that God is merciful to anyone should astound us. He owes mercy to no one. Never forget this. But He does dispense mercy upon unworthy sinners. Those sinners go from rags to riches, children of wrath to children of God, enemies to friends, sons of Satan to sons of the Savior. These things should move our souls to praise and adoration.

The doctrine of the glory of God in all things affords great comfort for believers in Christ.

Knowing that God made all things, preserves all things, and directs all things to their ordained end, and all for His glory, is a marvelous comfort for believers in Christ. No matter what comes our way via divine providence, “we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28). As hard, as difficult, and as gut-wrenching as the Christian life can be at times, the believer in Christ can rest assured that God is “[o]ur shelter from the stormy blast.”[1] William Cowper wrote a hymn in 1774 that embodies the doctrine contained in Romans 11:36. Read these words and let the truth of God’s Word reflected in them sink deep into your soul.

  1. God moves in a mysterious way His wonders to perform;

He plants his foot-steps in the sea, And rides upon the storm.

  1. Deep in unfathomable mines Of never-failing skill He treasures up his bright designs, And works his sovereign will.
  1. Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take; The clouds ye so much dread

Are big with mercy, and shall break In blessings on your head.

  1. Judge not the Lord by feeble sense, But trust him for his grace;

Behind a frowning providence He hides a smiling face.

  1. His purposes will ripen fast, Unfolding every hour;

The bud may have a bitter taste, But sweet will be the flower.

  1. Blind unbelief is sure to err, And scan his work in vain;

God is his own interpreter, And he will make it plain. Amen.[2]

This text answers the question “Why?”

That is a huge question and one all must face at some point. God made all things for His own glory. Let that sink into your soul. He is sovereign in all things, including the withholding and dispensing of mercy. The reason why we all need mercy is because we are sinners. We have all broken God’s law. We are in a most pitiable state due to our sin. We are guilty and polluted, and we cannot change the state of our souls. We need God to look upon us with a pitiful eye, a merciful eye. He does just that through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. He sent Him to be the channel through which mercy gets from heaven to sinful souls on the earth. If you do not know God’s mercy in Christ, if you know yourself as a guilty sinner, if you feel your need for a Savior, if you fear death (which I know you do because God tells me so in His Word) and judgment and hell, I’ve got wonderful news for you. The day of grace is today. Today is the day to receive the mercy of God. Heaven is still in the business of dispensing mercy upon the needy, upon the helpless, upon the guilty. And heaven’s mercy dispenser is none other than our Lord Jesus Christ. His hands are full of pity joined with power to save. Turn from your sins to Christ. Turn to Him foul and filthy, come as you are. He is willing and able to save. If you do not know yourself to be a guilty sinner, if you do not feel your need for a Savior, if you do not think you fear death, and judgment, and hell, these things are sinful in themselves. Come to Christ with these sins as well, acknowledging them as such, and He will cleanse you.

Richard Barcellos
Grace Reformed Baptist Church
Palmdale, CA

[1] Taken from the hymn “Our God, our Help in ages past” in Trinity Hymnal: Baptist Edition (Suwanee, GA: Great Commission Publications, Inc., 1995), hymn #26 (FIRST TUNE).

[2] Trinity Hymnal, hymn #21.

  1. If I lived in Palmdale, California, there’s no doubt where I would desire to attend church! That was a blessing to read this morning. Thank you for starting my busy Saturday with such wonderful reflections upon our Sovereign God!

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