In the latest issue of The Standard Bearer (April 15, 2015) Prof.Barry Gritters adds another installment to his series on “What It Means to Be Reformed”, a series begun in the February 15, 2015 issue. This new article lays out “Calvinism’s Solas“ – the great Latin mottos of the Reformation: sola Scriptura (Scripture alone – to be treated in a later editorial), solus Christus (Christ alone), sola fide (faith alone), sola gratia (grace alone), and soli Deo gloria (to God alone glory).
If you are not familiar with these expressions, or have forgotten why they are important – especially the sola (only or alone) part – then this is a good place to be reminded. For our purposes in this post, we take you to the end of Prof.Gritters’ explanation and defense of these solas. Here he shows why Calvinism’s solas end where they do – with all glory given to God alone.
Soli Deo Gloria
So that we may always say, “To God alone be the glory!”
To put these four solas together is not difficult: Christ alone saves through faith alone for the sake of grace alone, in order that all glory may be given to God alone! If any of salvation—even the tiniest bit—comes from outside of Christ, or if Christ comes to man through any other instrument than His free gift of faith, or on account of any merit in man, then the glory of that tiniest bit of salvation goes to man and not to God. Against that “gross blasphemy” Reformed believers fight with all their might.
Canons [of Dordt] I:7 teaches gracious salvation, beginning in salvation’s source—sovereign election: “for the demonstration of His mercy, and for the praise of His glorious grace….” The fathers in this ecumenical synod were looking at Scripture’s call to give all glory, in all things, to God and to God alone. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings…in Christ…according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace” (Eph. 1:3-6). And the book of Romans does nothing if it does not teach that everything revolves around God’s glory. The heart of the reprobate’s sin is a refusal to give glory to God (1:23). Sin is a coming “short of the glory of God” (3:23). Paul teaches that if Abraham’s justification were by works, he would be able to glory in himself (4:2); but Abraham “was strong in faith, giving glory to God” (4:20). Paul’s conclusion of the doctrinal section of the epistle, where all the doctrines of sovereign grace are taught is, “For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.” (11:36). And Paul’s own Spirit-inspired exclamation point of the epistle, his very last words before the final “Amen,” are: “To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever” (16:27).
No one else saves but Christ! Nothing but grace and faith explain our salvation in Christ! For none but God may receive the glory!
This is exclusive, for false teachings must be excluded. This is antithetical, for truth must be defended over against the lie. This is distinctive, for biblical truth must be known and confessed clearly, sharply, distinctly. There may be no doubt as to Who is worthy of praise. All of it. This is Reformed.