Soli Deo Gloria Part 1 – All of Creation for God’s Glory

The worship of God must be at the center of our gathering every Sunday, kasama na siyempre ang preaching of the Word of God, dahil siya naman talaga ang dapat nasa sentro at focus ng lahat. Ang nakalulungkot, to echo the statement of The Cambridge Declaration of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals (1996), we fail to grasp the biblical teaching related sa five solas dahil dito:

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our interests have displaced God’s and we are doing his work in our way. The loss of God’s centrality in the life of today’s church is common and lamentable. It is this loss that allows us to transform worship into entertainment, gospel preaching into marketing, believing into technique, being good into feeling good about ourselves, and faithfulness into being successful.

Even church, Christianity and salvation, we make it about us. Kung maiintindihan nating mabuti at maibabaon sa puso natin ang naunang apat na solas, naturally it will lead to soli Deo gloria. To God alone be the glory. Pero dahil naman din hindi tayo ganun ka-passionate for his glory – at mas nagiging passionate tayo for our own glory – we find it hard to believe and live out the truth of the other solas. Hirap tayong tanggapin na Scripture lang ang ultimate authority natin kasi gusto nating dagdagan ng tradisyon at salita ng mga tao. Dinadagdagan natin ang gawa ni Cristo kasi akala natin kulang pa iyon at meron tayong maiaambag na gawa at sarili nating kabutihan. Hirap tayong tanggapin ang sola gratia kasi deep inside us we still believe na hindi naman tayo ganun kasama. Hirap tayong paniwalaan ang sola fide dahil bilib na bilib pa rin tayo sa sarili natin. As if God exists for our own glory, and not the other way around.

So we must be passionate to guard these biblical doctrines – the five solas – out of zeal for God’s glory because God is zealous for his own glory. In dealing with the nation Israel, sabi niya, “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” (Isa. 48:11 ESV). Pag sinabing “glory” ito yung karangalan niya, ito yung maitanyag ang reputasyon ng kanyang pangalan, ito yung makita nang malinaw ng lahat kung sino ang Diyos. God is “the King of glory” (Psa. 24:10). We are not.

Sa panahon natin ngayon, dahil halos lahat ng nakapaligid sa atin ay merong man-centered worldview, at dahil sa sarili nating sinful capacity to focus on ourselves, kailangang-kailangan natin to recover a radically God-centered worldview. We are studying the five solas for five months dahil ang prayer ko, and this is also God’s desire for us, na muli tayong mamangha at manatiling namamangha, thrilled, awed by the glory of the One who created and saved us. Tulad ni Paul sa Romans 11:33-36, pagkatapos niyang talakaying ang doktrina tungkol sa pagliligtas sa atin ng Diyos, namangha siya, napasigaw siya sa pagsamba sa Diyos:

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?” “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.

Memorize verse 36, take it to heart, yan ang magiging key text natin sa soli Deo gloria series this December. “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.” Bago natin pag-usapan next week ang disenyo ng Diyos sa pagliligtas sa atin (for his glory alone), mainam na magsimula muna tayong pag-aralan ang disenyo o layunin ng Diyos sa pagkakalikha niya sa lahat ng bagay – including us. All things in God’s creation, galing sa kanya, nilikha niya, being sustained by his power, and to his glory alone.

All of Creation is Made for God’s Glory

Mahalagang magsimula tayo diyan, kasi we usually think of creation as made for us. Partially true, kasi nga naman napapakinabangan natin ang init ng araw, ang ulan, ang tubig, ang mga pagkain. Pero napakaraming bagay sa nilikha ng Diyos – like the billions of other stars and galaxies and the tiniest creatures sa lupa man o sa dagat – ang wala naman talagang life benefit sa atin. That realization teaches us na ultimately, all those things are created by God for God.

For good reason kaya nagsimula ang Bible, “In the beginning God…” (Gen. 1:1). This Story is about God, not about you. Ang version kasi ng Bible na gusto natin, “In the beginning ME!” Pwede mo sigurong i-revise ‘yan kung you can start creating stars and galaxies by the power of your word. But only God did that. Siya lang ang deserving of glory and honor. “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created” (Rev. 4:11).

Kapag tumingin ka sa nilikha ng Diyos, nagsisilbi itong salamin o reflection ng kadakilaan niya, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork” (Ps. 19:1). Ang ganda at inam ng nilikha niya ay nagpapatunay ng kanyang kabutihan. Bawat araw ng paglikha niya, ganito ang tingin ng Diyos, “God saw that it was good” (Gen. 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25). At pagdating sa huling araw, “And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good” (1:31).  “…the whole earth is full of his glory” (Isa. 6:3).

Sabi ni Paul Tripp sa kanyang book na Awe, ang nilikha ng Diyos ay nagsisilbing paalala sa atin na makakalimutin, parang “mnemonic” device:

to help us daily remember that we are not alone, that we are not at the center, that life is not primarily about us, and that there is a grander story than the little stories of our individual lives…to remind us of the grandeur and glory of the One who created all those things, set them in motion, and keeps them together by the awesome power of his will.

Ibinigay ng Diyos ang ating “earthly father” (for good and for bad) para ipaalala sa atin ang kadakilaan ng ating Ama sa langit. Ang bagyo o lindol para ipaalala ang kapangyarihan at bagsik ng galit ng Diyos. Ang araw-araw na pagsikat ng araw para ipaalala ang katapatan ng Diyos, his mercies are new every morning.

Last Wednesday sa field trip ng school ni Daniel, pumunta kami sa Subic. Dapat sana pag nakita natin ang mga bundok, ang dagat, ang dolphins, ang sealions, ang snakes, ang monkeys, at kung anu-ano pang mga nilikha ng Diyos, magpaalala kung sino ang Diyos na lumikha sa kanila. His power, his wisdom, his beauty, his joy, his goodness. Kaso “we still tend to be blind and forgetful.” Deadly combinations iyan. Bulag ka na, makakalimutin pa. “We all carry the corrupted capacity to look at the world around us and miss God. We enjoy the glories of creation, yet as we do, we fail to remember the Creator. God meant the earth to ignite and stimulate awe in us. As we encounter the physical world every day, we should be blown away by the glory of God to which it points. But we’re not.”

We are Created to Mirror His Glory

Sabi pa ni Paul Tripp, “We are wired by God for awe of God.” Nilikha tayo ng Diyos, dinisenyo tayo ng Diyos para mamangha, mapa-wow sa kanyang glory. Nakalulungkot na mas bilib pa ang marami sa sinasabi ng iba kaysa sa sinasabi ng Diyos. Last week, I got a chance to share the creation story sa 40 high school students sa Antipolo, rich kids lahat, puro English nga. Kaso, ang iba atheists, ang iba agnostics, ang iba walang pakialam, ang iba mas naniniwala pa sa sinasabi ng science textbook kaysa sa Bible. Ang iba naman mas napapawow pa sa mga basketball players o mga celebrities kaysa sa galing at husay ng Diyos na lumikha sa atin.

We easily forget the purpose why we are created. Sagot sa first question ng Westminster Shorter Catechism, “What is the chief end of man?” “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.” Tinawag niya ang mga Israelites na “my sons…my daughters…who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made” (Isa. 43:6-7). Ito ang ibig sabihin ng tayo’y nilikha sa larawan ng Diyos, “God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Gen. 1:27; see also 5:1-2). Our true joy in like can only be found as we fulfill his purpose for creating us.

Nilikha tayo para maging salamin ng Diyos. As we pursue excellence sa mga ginagawa natin, we point people sa greatness ng Diyos. As we strive to be good, we point people to the goodness of God. Para tayong mga salamin, na dapat makita kung sino ang Diyos. Ang picture ng asawa ko sa online chat namin (nasa Cambodia kasi siya this week), hindi siya yun, but a reflection of who she is. Para maalala ko siya. Ganun din ang mukha na makikita mo sa salamin, hindi ikaw yun, but a reflection of you. Ganun din sa atin. Hindi tayo ang Diyos, but a reflection of who God is. Na tulad ni Solomon, nang bigyan siya ng karunungan ng Diyos, “they stood in awe of the king, because they perceived that the wisdom of God was in him” (1 Ki. 3:1). Ang goal natin ay not to draw attention to ourselves – our wisdom, our strength, our beauty. But to God who gave us all we have and all we can do to reflect his glory.

Pero bago tayong maging salamin ng kadakilaan at kabutihan ng Diyos, dapat mapa-wow muna tayo sa glory niya. Pero ang problema, wow na wow tayo sa sarili nating glory. Sa halip na Diyos ang maparangalan, gusto natin tayo ang hinahangaan at pinapalakpakan. Ang nangyari, we became broken mirrors, a very poor and distorted reflection of God. Yan ang essence ng kasalanan.

We all have sinned and fall short of God’s glory.

Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Ang essence ng kasalanan ay “falling short” of God’s glory. Ibig sabihin, we failed to live according to God’s design for us. Sa halip na mamuhay tayo for his own glory, sarili nating glory ang mas naging mahalaga sa atin. Tulad ni Satanas. Tulad nina Adan at Eba. We became glory-grabbers. Hindi natin siya kinilala bilang Creator. Hindi natin siya binigyang-karangalan. Hindi natin siya pinapurihan o pinasalamatan. Yan ang point ni Paul sa Romans 1:20-23. We “exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images” (v. 23). We “worshiped and served the creature (including ourselves!) rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen” (v. 25). We are narcissistic idolaters!

Ayon kay Paul Tripp, sin is an awe problem. Sa halip na sa Diyos tayo mapa-wow at ituro natin ang mga tao sa kanya, mas napapa-wow tayo sa sarili o sa ibang tao o sa ibang bagay. Halimbawa, adultery. Dahil nakakalimutan mo ang glory ng Diyos na lumikha sa katawan mo, sa isip mo, sa emosyon mo, mas nagiging madali sa iyo na gamitin ang mga bahagi ng katawan mo para makuha ang pleasure na hinahanap mo. Ang pagkabaon sa utang ganun din. Mas madali sa iyong maging good stewards ng resources na bigay niya kung “your mind is blown away” kapag naiisip mong lahat ng nasa iyo ay galing sa Diyos. Pero nahuhumaling ka sa mga bagay sa mundong ito kung inaakala mong makukuha mo sa mga bagay sa mundong ito ang kasiyahang Diyos lang ang makapagbibigay.

O kung control-freak ka naman, nakakalimutan mong ang kapanatagan sa buhay ay manggagaling lang sa Diyos at sa kanyang “power, authority and sovereignty.” Kung glory ni God ang nakikita mo, di mo na kailangang kontrolin ang mga tao o sitwasyon sa buhay mo. Ang katakawan, awe problem din. Kapag nakakalimutan mo yung “glory of the satisfying grace of the Redeemer,” madali para sa iyo na hayaang ang pagkain o inumin na maging “temporary replacement messiahs.” “Fear of man is an awe problem. When I forget that God’s glory defines not only him but who I have become as his child, I look to people to give me meaning, purpose, and identity. The awe war is everywhere.”

Yan ang problema ko pag naiinis na ako sa service ng McDo at ayaw pa akong pansinin, ayaw akong bigyan ng tubig. I want people to take notice of me first, to serve me first. Yan ang problema mo pag naiinis ka sa mga sasakyan na mag-cut sa ‘yo o barumbadong magmaneho. Yan ang problema mo pag pinipintasan mo ang anak ng iba at ang anak mo lang ang magaling para sa ‘yo. Yan ang problema ng isang babaeng lumapit sa akin at umiiyak pagkatapos ng talk ko sa high school na binanggit ko kanina. Nandun yung fear niya sa parents niya na Christians kaya she’s trying to be nice girl at maging Christian din. But she felt pressured. Pero gusto niyang mapalapit sa Diyos. Pero controlled siya ng fear of her parents. Tulad niya, the only solution sa problema natin sa kasalanan para maibalik tayo sa relasyon sa Diyos at sa disenyo niya sa pagkalikha sa atin ay walang iba kundi ang Panginoong Jesus.

Jesus Christ reveals God’s glory.

Because he himself is the glory of God revealed to us. “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation (supreme above creation, why?). For by him all dthings were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities– all things were created through him and for him” (Col. 1:15-16). All things are from Jesus, through Jesus, and for Jesus. “…through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power” (Heb. 1:2-3).

To be saved, then, is “seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God…the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Cor. 4:4, 6). The gospel of glory, dahil sa kamatayan at muling pagkabuhay ni Jesus, on full display ang fulness of God’s character – his holiness, his justice, his love, his mercy, his sovereign power.

Naligtas tayo at binabago, paano? By “beholding the glory of the Lord, [we] are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another” (2 Cor. 3:18). Nararanasan natin ang transformation na ‘yan kapag nagkakaroon ng increased passion or desire to do everything no longer for my own glory but for God’s glory. Kapag narerealize natin araw-araw that the whole of our Christian life is about glorifying God, that Jesus died for God’s glory so that we will live for God’s glory.

“So, whether you eat (at Jollibee!) or drink (coffee), or whatever you do (sports, vacation, sleeping, spending time with family, exercising, dressing, doing business, working, spending money, shopping, everything!) do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31). Doing good works should draw attention not to our goodness but the glory of God, “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 5:16). Serving God through the church is for his glory, “in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen” (1 Pet. 4:11). We fight sin, especially sexual sins, and pursue purity for his glory, “for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body” (1 Cor. 6:20). Even our sufferings as Christians are for his glory, that “Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death” (Phil. 1:20).

Sabi pa ni Paul Tripp,

I was wired for awe of God. No other awe satisfies the soul. No other awe can give my heart the peace, rest, and security that it seeks…Like me, you need to spend more time gazing upon the awesome beauty of your Lord so that your heart will remember and, in remembering, be rescued.

Good counsel, “spend more time gazing upon the awesome beauty of your Lord.” Not your own awesome beauty sa kaka-selfie. Not the awesome beauty of others sa Instagram, Facebook, sports, or movies. But the awesome beauty of your Lord. Siya lang naman talaga ang “pure awesomeness.” Spend longer time looking at his creation and see the beauty of your Creator. Spend longer time with his Word. Spend longer time remembering the gospel. Spend longer time looking at the body and blood of Jesus given for you as we celebrate the Lord’s Supper together. “…so that your heart will remember and, in remembering, be rescued.”


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