The early Reformers called this Soli Deo Gloria, which is a Latin expression meaning solely for the glory of God. So let’s take a look at this together and see what it means to live solely for the glory of God and find out if that’s just for church leaders, such as priests or pastors.
Glory Can Be Given
Glory is something that may be given to another. This is certainly true in every day life. We often glorify certain people by the way we speak about them, by the way we treat them, and by the way we serve them.
We’ve all seen Hollywood stars and musicians when they are in all their glory. They are enjoying great fame, notoriety, and a place of high esteem in the hearts and minds of people across the world.
So if we can give glory to people, can we also give it to God? Sure we can! We see this all throughout Scripture.
Jesus Glorified the Father
Jesus said to the Father in prayer, “I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do.” (Jn 17:4). This prayer was about glorifying God. How do we glorify God? Put differently, how do we give God glory? In this statement, Jesus teaches us that the way He brought glory to the Father was by completing the work the Father gave Him to do.
We Must Live to Glorify Jesus
Just as Jesus glorified the Father, his disciples should glorify God. This is the chief end of man, the primary purpose of our lives.
We bring glory to the Father on earth by completing the good works He has given each of us to do. Jesus said, “You are the light of the world…let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven” (Mt. 5:14,16). When people see our good deeds and praise God in heaven, it glorifies Him. God is glorified by our obedience to Him.
The apostle Paul wrote: “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1Co 10:31). So when he said, “whatever you do,” that includes everything you do. It includes not only eating and drinking, but also working, playing, shopping, relating to others, clothing yourself, adorning your body, and everything else you do. Giving glory to God is not just something you do at church once a week. It’s not just something you do when you are praying. It’s something you do in every aspect of your life.
"Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve." (Col 3:23-24). It cannot be more clear than this. Whatever it is you do, do it like you are doing it for the Lord, not for men. After all, you are serving the Lord Christ, so act like it in all you do.
“Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” (1Pe 4:11). You see, the glory belongs to Jesus Christ forever. So we need to give Him the glory due His name in our speaking, our serving, and all we do. We need to do what we do by the strength God supplies.
Over and over again throughout Scripture, we see this doxology repeated: “To Him be the glory forever.”
The apostle John wrote: “And He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father--to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.” (Rev 1:6).
What does it mean that Jesus has “made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father”? It means that Jesus has made our lives to be the realm in which He reigns supremely and completely. And priests represent the people before God. So in every aspect of our lives, we are called to be kings and priests, but not for our own glory. As John wrote, “to Him be the glory.”
Paul wrote: “to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.” (Eph 3:21). In the church glory is to be given to Jesus. The church is not a building, it’s not a meeting. It’s the people who have been called out of darkness into His glorious light. In the church be glory to Him forever!
John saw the angels around the throne of God in heaven saying, "Amen, blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. Amen." (Rev 7:12). So again, the very praises of God that are spoken around His throne admonish us and remind us to give Him glory.
Paul wrote: “For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.” (Rom 11:36). Leading up to this verse, Paul had been explaining the ways of God concerning man, and he had to conclude in the end that all these things come from God in His sovereignty. He also concluded that all these things are through Him, and they are all to be directed back to Him, so that He may receive all the glory.
Paul summarized it well when he wrote: "For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf." (2Co 5:14-15). This means that we no longer live for ourselves. We live for Jesus Christ who, in His great love for us, died for us and rose again on our behalf. We don't put God in a box. We don't serve Him only on Sundays when we are at church or only serve Him when we are praying. We give glory to Him with our whole lives.
Putting it All Together
We bring glory to the Father on earth by completing the good works He has given each of us to do. When people see our good deeds and praise God in heaven, it glorifies Him. God is glorified by our obedience to Him.
The good works He has given each of us to do include spending time in the Lord’s presence and speaking with Him. But it goes way beyond just the spiritual aspects of life. Everything we do should be done for the glory of God. That includes working, speaking, eating, drinking, giving, serving, and literally all that we do. This is the primary purpose for our lives. It’s the reason we’re alive.
Are you living your life completely for the glory of God? Ask yourself these questions:
When I eat, am I truly able to say I am eating for the glory of God?
Can I honestly say that my drinking is bringing glory to God?
Am I bringing glory to God through my work?
Am I bringing glory to God by the way I dress and adorn myself?
Each time I speak, am I glorifying God with my words?
Do all my relationships with others bring glory to God? Think about your relationship with your wife, your husband, your fiancé, your children, your neighbor, your coworker, and your boss.
In my planning, do I glorify God?
Does my playtime glorify Him?
Is God glorified by the way I spend my leisure time?
Does the music I listen to glorify God?
Do I glorify God by the movies, videos and television programs I watch?
Do I glorify God by the way I spend my money?
Do I glorify God when I am using the internet?
If you are like me, and you have discovered some area of your life that is not glorifying to God, then you’ve just discovered an area of your life that is not pleasing to God. If so, the thing to do is just repent. Right where you are, right now, you can tell the Lord you’re sorry for doing that. Ask Him to forgive you, and help you to immediately begin doing that for His glory.
Perhaps you are a Christian, but have just realized that you’ve never made a decision to live your entire life for the glory of God. Maybe you’ve separated your spiritual or church life from everything else you do, and you are living a double life. Again, simply repent. Change your mind about that and ask God to forgive you. Then determine with His help to live your life completely for His glory.
Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. The Soli Deo Gloria gold seal was designed by the author of this article, who owns the rights to it.
Author's note: This post concludes a five part series on the five solas. If you have not read the rest of the series and would like to do so, you may find those parts here:
By Faith Alone, Part I, Part II, Part III, and Part IV
By Grace Alone
In Christ Alone
If you enjoyed this post, you may also like Seeking Glory from God, The Light and the Glory, Whatever You Do, Do All Like This, Pleasing the Lord, Success in God's Eyes, Having a Servant's Heart, Holy Living in a Perverted World, The Difference Between a Disciple and a Believer, Seeing Jesus, Loving Him, Character and Glory, and Walking in the Perfect Will of God. You may also like the other posts in this blog available through the Home page of this blog. You may also access my complete blog directory at Writing for the Master.
Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus. Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?
“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15). He preached that we must repent and believe.
Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International. He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.