Tag Archives: Redemption

Sunday Sermon: Soli Deo Gloria!

Romans 11:36

For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.


The epistle to the Romans is probably the most detailed account of a theological treaty in both Paul and on a larger scale the entire Bible. In today’s message we are going to explore the way in which this letter has affected the church both historically and the church we currently live in the midst of.

The points that will be touched on are:

1. The letter’s thesis statement
2. The problem and effects of sin
3. The Solution including the redemption accomplished by Christ and  applied to the church through the Holy Spirit.
4. Paul’s struggles as a Christian and assumedly yours
5. Paul’s remedy for strengthening the weary soul
6. The end or telos of all things is the glory of God

Historical Analysis of Soli Deo Gloria

The German Reformer, Martin Luther is credited with starting what is known historically as the Reformation. Interestingly, the Reformation was not initially a schism over the doctrine’s of salvation. Its roots were in deep opposition to the Roman doctrine of indulgences. This teaching followed this kind of thought: ‘you pay a certain amount of money to the Roman church and you can free a member of your family from purgatory.’ Luther was convinced that his short work titled the 95 Theses would enlighten the Pope of these teachings and he would act immediately to remove them from the church. To his surprise he ended up in various church counsels where he was required to renounce his writings or face the potential of death. He stood against the tide and confessed, “Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Scriptures or by clear reason (for I do not trust either in the pope or in councils alone, since it is well known that they have often erred and contradicted themselves), I am bound by the Scriptures I have quoted and my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything, since it is neither safe nor right to go against conscience. May God help me. Amen” (Diet of Worms).

As he and others such as John Knox and John Calvin furthered the Reformation cause, they helped in the development of an evangelical system of theology that eventually earned the name ‘Five Solas.’[1] The protestant reformation coined the term sola as a description of the alone’s in response to the Roman Catholic Church’s teachings.

The Five Solas:

1. Sola Scriptura: Taught that Scripture alone was the ultimate rule of faith & practice.
2. Sola Gratia: Taught that sinners were (are) saved by grace alone out of the pleasure of his will.
3. Sola Fide: Taught that sinners were (are) saved through the instrument of faith alone, apart from any works of the law.
4. Solus Christus: Taught that the person and work of Christ alone was (and is) the only way of salvation and that there was (and is) no other name under heaven which sinners are saved.
5. Soli Deo Gloria: Taught that God alone receives all glory for the salvation of his church.
The time is now for the modern church to stand, reaffirm, and champion these                   truths!

1. Thesis Statement – Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

This is the main point of the entire book of Romans. The book is aimed at the power of God and that power is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Verse 17 which states “[17] For in it (the Gospel) the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” This was the turning point for Luther. He was originally taught that this verse meant that he had to be righteous in order to earn God’s favor. He was miserable and even said, “I did not love, yes, I hated the righteous God who punishes sinners.” He said after coming to the realization that “was altogether born again and had entered paradise itself through open gates . . . that place in Paul was for me truly the gate to paradise.” Now his conscience was at rest, and now he was certain of his salvation. Before there had been only unrest and uncertainty.

These verses have had an enormous effect on the development of the Protestant church of which we are a part of. This reaches from Presbyterians to Baptists to the Assemblies of God and other Mainline churches that you may a member of.

2. The Bad News – Romans 1:18-3:20 & 5:12-21

1:28-32 – This is an account of the condition of all fallen humanity. It has also had great effects on my own life. This was the passage of Scripture that caused me to see sin for what it really is. It reads, “[28] And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. [29] They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, [30] slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, [31] foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. [32] Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

Coming from a life of addiction I found Psalm 51:4a “[4] Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight,” Sin is an offense against a holy God of which we in this room are all guilty. It is an expression of a heart that is at enmity with God. In fact the text reads that people by nature are “haters of God” and run toward that which God rejects.

You see, it stretches all the way back to the garden when Adam & Eve ate the fruit. Romans 5:12-21 describes the situation in which all die in Adam. He brought condemnation into the world and affected the entire human race. Ephesians 2:1-3 reads, “[2:1] And you were dead in the trespasses and sins [2] in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—[3] among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.

The individual who stands outside of Christ stands by default “in Adam” and if that is you this morning, the apostle Paul declares that you are a “child of wrath” and he states in Romans 2:5, “[5] But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.”

Search your heart this morning because deep down you know who you are standing in.

3. The Good News – Romans 3:21-26

The Good News isn’t good (at least as good…) unless it stands against the backdrop of that which is not good and up to this point things are not good. The entire human race stands in Adam and liable to eternal punishment.

“But now…” These are wonderful words of encouragement and can be used synonymously with “But God.” It declares that everything behind is changed with these words moving forward. Romans 3:21-26 “[21] But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—[22] the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: [23] for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, [24] and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, [25] whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. [26] It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

All have fallen short of the glory of God. But now…

The finished work of Jesus Christ is highlighted here as the only means provided by God as a remedy for the fatal problem we just discussed. God can only accept a perfect righteousness and as the above text reads, we are sinful and incapable of attaining such a high standard through our relationship to Adam and our own personal sinfulness. We need God to sovereignly reach out and provide the remedy to our fatal condition or we will surely perish. The accomplishments of work of Jesus Christ can be described in its simplest form through two words: propitiation and redemption.

Propitiation is described as the wrath of God being fully absorbed in the God/Man Jesus Christ. God is just and must pour out his justice. There are only two choices for you to make this morning. (1) You can stand before God and explain to him that you are fully willing, capable, and even desiring to answer for all of your sins. You can explain to him that you tried your best and worked hard in life. But at the end of the day, the most holy person would claim that “nobody’s perfect.” Well I am here this morning to tell you of One that is perfect and his name is Jesus. Your second option is (2) Jesus Christ is the wrath absorbing sacrifice required to satisfy the holy justice of God on your behalf. In his life and death he fulfilled every righteous requirement that you have not and he died the sinner’s death that you deserve. Because it will either be you or him, there’s no other option!

Redemption – In order to bring you into a right standing with God, Jesus made a divine purchase with your name written on the deed. For all who would repent and believe in his finished work, Paul declares that you were “bought with a price” in 1 Corinthians 6 & 7. The story of Hosea presents us with a picture of redemption. I have shared this with some of you and I will share it for the rest of my life. God instructed Hosea to go and take a woman of whoredom named Gomer that would treat him treacherously. Hosea and Gomer have a couple children and then we read that Gomer begins the process of prostituting herself with other men. She believed that her false lovers were caring for her and providing all of her needs. Little did she know, her suffering husband was watching out for her while she was acting wickedly and providing her daily essentials in order to stay alive. Her life ran southward so quickly that she was eventually sold in an auction. In these days I’m told they would take young women, strip them naked and literally put them on the auction block before a group of people. It doesn’t take much to imagine the wicked things that would happen to her.

Then we read in Hosea 3:1-2, “[3:1] And the LORD said to me, “Go again, love a woman who is loved by another man and is an adulteress, even as the LORD loves the children of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love cakes of raisins.” [2] So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and a homer and a lethech of barley.

Hosea redeemed his wife for a price. After having been treated treacherously, he redeemed her. The story can also be seen as an analogy of our relationship with God. We, yes we in this room are Gomer. We have committed spiritual adultery with many idols and yet God in Christ continued to care for us and Romans 5:6-8 states, “[6] For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. [7] For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—[8] but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

4. The struggling Christian – Romans 7:14-25 (If time…)

If you’re anything like the apostle Paul this morning you know this walk is difficult. In fact, Romans 7:14 declares that Paul was “sold under sin” and 7:15 states that “I do the thing I hate.” Does this sound familiar to anyone in this room? Are there any of you that hate the things that you do because of this inward pull toward something good but you can’t find the power to accomplish the good? The apostle Paul felt the same exact way. Yet, he stated in 7:18 that “he has the desire to do good” and in 7:22 he says that he “delights in the law of God.” Then what did he do in order to deal with his own sinful condition? He thanked God in Jesus Christ for his finished work and led the Romans to one of the most powerful chapters in the entire corpus of Scripture!

5. Strength for the Weary Soul

Romans 8:30 – [30] And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

This verse describes the application of the work of Christ in the life of the church. Every verb mentioned in this verse is in the past tense as if they had already happened. He uses the words predestined, called, justified, and glorified. This has been known throughout the past 500 years as “The Golden Chain of Salvation” and provides great comfort for the weary soul. For all who have cast all their sin and self-righteousness aside, and have truly come to trust in the finished work of Christ alone for salvation you have this verse as a precious remedy for the “treadmill of performance”[2] days we all tend to live in. Have you ever wondered if God loved you when you are confident that you have trusted in Christ alone for salvation? If so, this verse should be in your memory bank.

He declares that he has predestined you to life. This means that out of sheer mercy and grace he has chosen to set his love on you out of his own good pleasure. It was not for anything in you that he did this. He chose to set his love on you and gave you the perfect righteousness of his Son. Jesus Christ divinely purchased you from slavery to sin and death and absorbed the full force of the wrath of God Almighty for his Father’s glory and your salvation!

And those whom he predestined he also called – God called you with an internal calling that regenerated you and as the apostle Peter called it in 1 Peter 1:3, “According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…” This calling is different than the Gospel call that goes out from the pulpit every week. How is it that you and your buddy next to you can hear the same message, yet one of you falls asleep and the other is converted to Christ? This is the effective calling this verse is describing. It is a sure number, “for those he predestined, he also called.”

And those whom he called he also justified – This irresistible calling granted you regeneration and he goes on to say that those called are justified. When a sinner is born again he or she is brought into an everlasting, living union with Jesus Christ. Those justified have been declared righteous because of the finished work of Jesus Christ. This term legally declares a sinner no only not guilty but righteous before God. This is strength for the weary soul! Learn to trust in Christ and Matthew 6:33 will make a lot more sense. “[33] But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

And those whom he justified he also glorified – Our renewed relationship with God because of the finished work of Jesus Christ will last into all of eternity including future glorification when we will see him as he is.

These four words are referred to as the “Golden Chain” because they all speak in the past tense, suggesting that they are sure to happen for  all who trust in, rely on, and cling to the finished work of Jesus Christ, and I invite you to cast aside all your self-righteous deeds and past sin that you feel God won’t forgive you for and as the apostle John says in John 1:12 – “[12] But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God”, repent and receive him this day!

This is the meaning of Soli Deo Gloria. To God alone be the glory. “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.

[1] They were originally three solas that were eventually developed into the ‘five’ solas

[2] If you’re anything like me, you tend to live in the world of “peaks & valleys.” What I mean here is the “treadmill” is where we subconsciously try to earn merit with God…even when we know that’s impossible. It’s like this force that draws us to want to perform. Also, in the trying times we may have a tendency to hide like Adam & Even in the garden because we are ashamed, guilty, and condemned. We can find rest for our weary souls by clinging to the God who purchased us from slavery to sin and absorbed the full force of the wrath of God Almighty! Rejoice!