18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.” (2 Peter 3:18)
To God be the Glory. Is this the title of a familiar and classic hymn? Is it the passionate plea in prayer by believers who seek each day to bring praise and honor to the Lord Jesus Christ? Is it the proper response to any compliment given to one who is faithfully serving the Lord?
The answer to all three questions is an unequivocal and obvious yes. How often can we recall the striking melody, by William Howard Doane (1832-1915), and singing the stirring words, by Fanny Jane Crosby (1820-1915)? Having been raised in a Lutheran Church tradition, we sang weekly a hymn entitled the Gloria Patri. The words are as follows: “Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.”
My daily prayers feature an earnest plea to the LORD that I would glorify Him in my thoughts, in my speech and in my behavior. It is my desire that I not only glorify the LORD in whatever church ministry I may be involved, but also to glorify Him at my work with my co-workers and in my home with my family.
When I serve Him, and as I serve Him, whatever compliment may come my way I want my response always to be “Soli deo Gloria!” In the Latin this means “to God alone be glory.” Both now and forever.
As found in today’s text, glory (δόξα; doxa) means to praise and honor the Lord. It may also mean to speak of something as being unusually fine and deserving honor. Certainly the Lord would fit this definition as being unusually fine and deserving honor.
In speaking about the glory of God, Dr. R. C. Sproul writes, “The final sola of the Reformation is the one that sums up the point of all the others. The truth that the Reformers were most concerned to promote and what can be seen as the central theme of Scripture is soli Deo gloria — to God alone be the glory. The first question and answer of the Westminster Shorter Catechism tells us that “man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.” God’s glory is the highest good and therefore is the purpose for which we were created. We were made to glorify Him, to reflect His glory and proclaim it to all creation (Isa. 43:6–7).”
“In saving His people and defeating their enemies, His glory is displayed (Ex. 14). Salvation must be sola fide, sola gratia, and solus Christus — through faith alone, by grace alone, and on account of Christ alone — because to attribute redemption to our efforts in any way is to rob God of His full glory. If God and God alone is not the one who saves, then He shares His glory with creatures. But as the prophet Isaiah tells us, God will share His glory with no one (42:8). Sola Scriptura — Scripture alone is the final, infallible authority — must be the church’s confession. If any other source is placed on par with or above the Bible, then the Word of God is no better than the fallible words of creatures, and therefore the one who superintended the writing of the Bible is mocked.”
It was fitting, therefore, for Peter to conclude his second epistle with this appropriate doxology; “To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.” As these words dominated the mind, emotions and will of the Apostle Peter, may they so dominate our own. Amen! So be it!
Soli deo Gloria!