“By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.” (John 15:8).
Today, we continue our examination of the biblical doctrine of Soli deo Gloria or giving God all the praise and honor for who He is and what He has accomplished. Is giving God glory only through the act of singing and praising Him with music? Or does giving God glory involve much more?
How may the believer glorify God in light of all that the Scriptures teach concerning God’s glory? There are a variety of ways in which this may happen. The following examples are but a sampling from God’s Word.
The believer glorifies God through humble service. The attitude, and consequential action, by the believer in serving God is to do it humbly. Humility is a demeanor of modesty, meekness, and respect towards God and other people. The believer is humble in serving God by placing all the attention, credit, and praise for that service to God and not towards himself. More than just a few perfunctory words in order to appear humble, the genuinely humble person of God continually gives all the glory to God for any accomplishment. This applies to not only that in full time ministry, but also those in volunteer ministry.
In Matthew 6:1-4, Jesus taught that those belonging to God’s kingdom should not do their good works for the purpose of receiving praise and attention from other people. Rather, individuals seeking to glorify God should do their good works in secret. The consequence of such behavior done in this way is that God dispenses praise to the believer for their service as the believer has given God all the glory for that service.
The Apostle Paul communicated this concept of glorifying God, through humble service, in numerous epistles (2 Corinthians 10:17; 11:30; 12:1-9; Galatians 5:26; 6:14; Philippians 2:1-13; I Thessalonians 2:6; 2 Timothy 2:10). For Paul, the attitude of humility was a predominant theme.
This perspective was also important for the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews. He states, “Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen” (Hebrews 13:20-21).
In I Peter 4:10-11, Peter states, “As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 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” (NASB 1916).
In I Peter 5:1-5, the apostle commended the elders to humbly serve God by not lording over the flock of God, but rather by being examples to those of which God made them spiritual overseers. The eternal reward of such service is a crown of glory.
Secondly, the believer also glorifies God by not being ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus said in Mark 8:38 that, “whoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels” (NASB 1445).
The Apostle Paul wrote in I Corinthians 9:16, “For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast (glory) of, for I am under compulsion; for woe is me if I do not preach the gospel.” Paul did not preach from human pride but rather by divine compulsion. The purpose of which was to give God the glory.
The gospel of Jesus Christ can never be a negotiable message. While many have attempted to apostate this central truth (see the Epistle of Jude), the true believer will never apostatize or be ashamed of the only means necessary whereby sinners can be redeemed and forgiven of their sins.
Soli deo Gloria!