Soli Deo Gloria


Salvation is by Christ alone, by faith alone and by grace alone; it is not because of anything that we have done. It is all because of God. It is not us, but God, who has accomplished it. Therefore God, not us, is to be praised.

So there is a fifth ‘sola’ – Soli Deo Gloria: glory to God alone – that is a logical extension of the others.

The apostles put it this way:

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ’ (Ephesians 1:3).

‘... giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light’ (Colossians 1:12).

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead ...’ (1Peter 1:3).

If we are saved, if we are restored to a living relationship with God, if we are, as the Bible teaches, saved by grace and through faith, there is nothing for us to boast about. In fact, human boasting in the presence of God is outlawed by the gospel:

‘Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. On what principle? On that of observing the law? No, but on that of faith’ (Romans 3:27).

‘... no one may boast before him’ (1Corinthians 1:29).

‘For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship ...’ (Ephesians 2:8 – 10).

‘... we ... glory in Christ Jesus, and ... put no confidence in the flesh’ (Philippians 3:3).

God gets the praise for saving us. God gets the glory. God gets the worship.

In Romans 11:36, Paul closes off his extensive discussion of the gospel with the statement/prayer ‘To (God) be the glory forever! Amen.’

In Ephesians 1:5, 6 Paul teaches that the result of God’s deliberate action in adopting us as his children in and through Christ is that his glorious grace is praised.

In Ephesians 1:12 Paul teaches that God’s purpose in choosing and saving us was that we might be to the praise of his glory.

In Ephesians 1:14 Paul again teaches that the end result of our salvation is the praise of God’s glory.

If we feel a bit edgy about God getting all the glory this is perhaps because even though we have been restored to a right relationship with God, there is still quite a lot of self-centredness in us. Jesus Christ, who actually deserves praise and glory, lived his life on earth focused on his Father’s glory:

‘I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do’ (John 17:4).

But there is a surprising outcome to all of this: when we, by our thoughts, words and actions, are giving glory to God we ourselves share in his glory. God created us in his image (Genesis 1:26, 27). God crowned us with glory and honour (Psalm 8:5). But we fall short of this glory (Romans 3:23). Part of the complete salvation given to us in Christ is the restoration of glory both now in part and completely in the future:

‘... the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory’ (Colossians 1:27).

‘I have given them the glory that you gave me ...’ (John 17:22).

‘... if we indeed share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us’ (Romans 8:17, 18).

‘... the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory’ (Romans 9:23).

‘And we, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit’ (2Corinthians 3:18).

‘ ... live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory’ (1Thessalonians 2:12).

When we live with this fifth ‘Sola’ in mind – Soli Deo Gloria, glory to God alone – the unexpected, but amazing, outcome is that that we, the redeemed, share in his glory:

‘One of the seven angels ... said to me “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. It shone with the glory of God ...’ (Revelation 21:9 – 11).

© Rosemary Bardsley 2021