The glory of God…Doesn’t he shine?!
OCTOBER 27, 2023
The glory of God…Doesn’t he shine?! Let’s talk about it, on Key Life.
The deepest message of Jesus in the Bible is the radical grace of God to sinners and sufferers. That’s what Key Life is all about. This week, Steve has invited Pete Alwinson and Justin Holcomb to teach. Pete is an author and former pastor and Justin serves as Bishop for the Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida.
Listen, if you guys have missed the first four programs of this week of Key Life, you missed something that was really good. I have two really good friends that I invited to come in and be with me this week in studio. And they’re both voices of Key Life. Justin Holcomb, who’s the Bishop, by the way, of the Central Florida Diocese of the Episcopal Church. And Pete Alwinson, who, by the way, has a men’s ministry that is incredible. We’re all people who are reformed. And reformed refers to the Reformation. And this Sunday is Reformation Sunday. And it remembers the time Luther stood before the door at Wittenberg, the church door, and nailed up 95 statements. And it changed the world. So, we’re talking about the solas of the Reformation. Earth changing, world changing stuff and summed up, it’s this.
Christians are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, revealed in Scripture alone, for the glory of God alone.
Let me read you one of my favorite passages and we’ll talk about it.
Oh, the depth of the riches
this is from Romans 11:34 through 36 and one of the amazing doxological statements in the Scripture
Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God. How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways. For who is known the mind of the Lord, who has been his counselor or who has given him a gift that he might be repaid.
Here it comes.
For from him and through him and to him are all things to him be the glory forever. Amen.
Oh man, every time I read that, I begin to see what this thing is, it’s about him, it’s not about us.
Yeah, it really is. And at the time of the Reformation too, I mean, the church was caught up in the glory of God to a large extent, but it had been so humanized on the human level, on the leadership level. And I think that’s what astounded Luther so much too, is he had this view of God, that God was, was scary and horrible, and he was even at a point where he hated God. He said, I hate God. And, he did because God was perfect and God judged him and he could never, he didn’t understand the glory of God and God’s multi-dimensions, that He is gracious, that he is merciful, that he does love us, and he’s glorious and majestic in every way. So, they got it, but Luther helped us get it at a deeper level in the Reformation, brings out the glory of God and the work of Christ.
You know, we say glory a lot, what in the world does that mean, Justin?
Justin Holcomb: Well, it’s the honor of his character that’s rightly due to God. It’s his majesty, and his awe, and his fame, and his, I mean, so it’s that. In the Latin phrase is sola de la gloria, it’s we live for the glory of God alone. And this one, this just summarizes all of these solas because the emphasis has been Luther and the Reformational emphasis was in a context where the the emphasis was the human toward God. This human mediator for you. What kind of works are you going to do? What are you going to do to merit it? So, it was all focused on the human Godward movement, that they were saying, well, hold on a second. This is the direction focuses off, it’s about God toward humans. And so, all of the solas up to this point, it’s about Scripture revealed to you. It’s about God’s grace and disposition toward you. It’s about God giving you faith, so you can trust in Christ. And so, the whole focus is this really is God centered. And that sounds like a slogan or a bumper sticker, but that’s the point we’re getting to is that, you have I Corinthians 10:31 that says.
Whether you eat or drink, whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
I love that because frequently people think, well, you’re doing spiritual stuff that’s giving glory to God. And this is
You can only do that in church.
Justin Holcomb: And this is actually really earthy, whatever, God made you a creature and you’re, we were made to worship God and love each other. That was the whole point is, and that’s why, I mean, Jesus summarizes the law and says.
Love God and love your neighbor.
We’re meant to worship God and love our neighbor and then sin causes us to worship anything but God and exploit our neighbor. And so, the focus is God’s worthy of worship because he’s given all of these things. And as a father, I want my daughters to listen to me and obey what I say. And I’ve told them and they’re 12 and 14. We don’t really have this issue going on now, like we did when they were younger. I said, I can either, I love you and I can either get your obedience by loving you or I can threaten you with consequences, which one do you want? And there’s something to obedience out of love that’s just beautiful. And that’s what God’s shooting for with us is he’s giving us all of this unconditional love cause he wants to capture our attention and worship him. And that’s the goal. And the Westminster Confession asks the question, what’s the chief end of humanity? And the answer, Pete is?
To glorify God and enjoy him forever.
So, when Rick Warren says, it’s not about you. If one more person quotes that to me, I’m going to scream. But he’s right, it’s not about us, it’s about God. And you say, well, that’s awful. Well, when you get that it’s about him and you get that he’s about us, it changes everything.
It really does. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to cut you off.
I’m finished on that. That’s what I wanted to say.
It gives you a, it puts you at rest in one major way that you’re not trying to achieve something that you can’t achieve anyway, and not trying to satisfy this angry God. And you can relax because it really isn’t at the end of the day, it is about him, but we get so many blessings just resting in that and being who we are.
Justin Holcomb: And the way this applies today, I mean, think about it. We live in a culture of self glorification. And so, this really undermines the lie of our current culture that I am subject to. So I’m, this is preaching to the choir, but people, many people either live their entire lives or a large chunk of their lives trying to gain glory through fame, money, their family, their reputation, achievements. We’re definitely around this table, not immune to that temptation by any stretch.
I thought once you were ordained, you got worse.
Justin Holcomb: Gets worse because then people start respecting you and your office. And then every little league coach tells us we’re winners all the time and it’s very therapeutic. And I love therapy, but I’m saying therapeutic, making sure everyone feels good about themselves all the time. And the message of the Bible is that we were made in glory to honor God, but we’ve become losers in our rebellion. And only by God’s grace alone do we become in Him adopted children of God. That’s the whole point of salvation is the glory of God. But that really, I mean, I’m thinking, Pete, with men’s ministry. And it’s not just men’s ministry where this applies, but particularly this thing of self glorification. I’d love to hear you just kind of riff on a culture of self glorification and how this applies and how it harms men and their wives and their children if they bow at that altar.
Oh, you’re absolutely right. And what we do is we confuse identity and purpose. And we’re trying to create an identity through our work. And God gives us an identity in Christ. And then we can go out in our identity as leaders, worker providers, warrior ambassadors for the gospel. We can go out and do those things. Not trying to find something that we have to create, that’s a lot of pressure to put on yourself. And so, we end up medicating ourselves and drinking ourselves crazy or doing some other thing to take away the pain. We don’t have to, and that’s what the gospel sets us free when it’s about when we understand our high status, our great worth, then we can go out and in a more relaxed way, and do our purpose and enjoy it.
Justin Holcomb: You don’t have to create something that you’ve already been given.
Justin Holcomb: You said something like that.
Yeah, you simply can’t.
Justin Holcomb: It reminds me of a story, I never get to do this, reminds me of a story and I’ll do it quickly. A woman who is on a cruise and she can only save money to get on the boat, but she had to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches because she couldn’t pay for the meal on the boat. So, the first few days, she’s off, they go off, good dinner, have a nice lobster and steak dinner. She’d go to her cabin and eat peanut butter and jelly from her bag she brought. And finally, someone said, where are you? And she explained in humility, well, I didn’t have enough money and they said, oh, honey, it’s included in the price. Like, what are you doing going to your room? I thought when you said that that whole story of, wait a minute, you have an identity that’s way better than you could make up on your own.
Justin Holcomb: And here we are piddling around making up these things to try to make ourselves feel important when we’re like, Oh wait, adopted child of God is the core and everything else is just add on. And yeah, I felt that when, when you said it, Pete.
Doesn’t get any better.
Well, that’s what this week has been about. Don’t forget, because it’s about God. But because it’s about God, it’s about you.
Christians are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, as revealed in Scripture alone, for the glory of God alone.
That’s good news, the Christian faith. You think about that. Amen.
Thank you Steve Brown, Pete Alwinson and Justin Holcomb. What a fantastic week of teaching on the five solas. And there were so much good stuff this week, if you missed anything, Hey, listen, who could blame you? Huh? So, remember that you can always re-listen to any of these episodes for free at keylife.org that’s also the easy way to share key life with a friend, by the by. Well, recently on Steve Brown Etc. we spoke with author Paul D. Miller about the difference between patriotism and Christian nationalism. And we explored how it’s possible to celebrate our country without actually worshiping it. May we send you that episode on CD for free? If so, just call us right now at 1-800-KEY-LIFE that’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail [email protected] to ask for that CD. To mail your request, go to keylife.org/contact to find our mailing addresses for the U.S. and Canada. Again, just ask for your free copy of the CD featuring Paul D. Miller. And finally, if you value the work of Key Life, would you consider supporting that work through your giving? You can charge a gift on your credit card or include a gift in your envelope. Or simply pick up your phone and text Key Life to 28950 to give safely and securely. That’s Key Life, one word, two words. It doesn’t matter, just text that to 28950. Key Life is a member of ECFA in the States and CCCC in Canada. And we are a listener supported production of Key Life Network.