Soli Deo Gloria - it's Latin for "Glory to God Alone," and it's the purpose of the Church.
If we pull the thread of humanity woven into Scripture, we'll find that God has always intended to bring into being a people reflecting His reign, conveying His character and, ultimately, giving Him glory.
We find it in the beginning, when "God created man in His own image" (Gen 1:27). By loving each other, caring for creation, and walking with Him, humanity would bring God glory. But then it happened. We ceased to trust Him, worshiped His workmanship, and ended up estranged, both from one another and from Him (Gen 3).
Yet God cared. He preserved us, though we are now subject to death. Even Cain, cursed because of sin, was sealed with the protection of God Himself (Gen 4:15).
Then came Noah, then Abraham, Moses, and David -- men loved by God and preserved for His purpose.
Yet for all His love for humanity, God did not ultimately preserve a nation for the sake of sheer benevolence. They were spared from their due punishment, time and time again, for God's glory alone:
"For My own sake, for My own sake, I do it, for how should My name be profaned? My glory I will not give to another." (Isaiah 48:11)
Then came Jesus, God the Son, now also a human being made in God's image, who sought in everything to glorify the Father, yet freely requested that the Father share His glory:
"I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that You gave Me to do. And now, Father, glorify Me in Your own presence with the glory that I had with You before the world existed." (John 17:4,5)
He was charged with blasphemy, and the charge would have been validated, unless God vindicated Him by answering this prayer. That He did:
"...when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come." (Eph 1:20-21)
Who can this be but the God-man? And what could He have set out for, but to fulfill God's purpose for humanity - namely, to bring into being a people for His glory, singing with all creation:
“To Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!" (Revelation 5:13)
We were created for God's glory. We are being redeemed for God's glory. We will reign eternally to God's glory, "provided we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him" (Romans 8:17).
Let us cast off the unbearable weight of self-glorification and seek the inexpressible joy of self-denial.Let us take up our cross and follow the God-man, sent just as He was:
Soli Deo Gloria.
Editor's Note: This post was originally published at Travis' blog, An Undivided Mind.