The fifth and final Sola of this series is Soli Deo Gloria or To God Alone Be Glory. There were many battles during the Reformation where this principle was the central issue. The Reformers took on the Roman Catholic Church with regard to her glorification of idols and images. They also opposed the glorification of the office of the Pope and the other church officers. Another dispute was the glorification of Mary who was elevated to be above Christ in many ways and parallel to Him in the rest. Soli Deo Gloria answered each of these aberrations by seeking to exalt God over and above the institutions and images of the Catholic Church.
The Reformers did not limit the reach of Soli Deo Gloria to doctrinal debate. This slogan has a personal dimension to it as well. All of life is to be lived to the glory of God.
The Westminster Shorter Catechism asks, "What is the chief end of man?” Then it answers “ Man's chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever." In other words all of life is to be saturated with the joyous glorification of God.
When this principle was properly extrapolated it became an overt refutation of many within the Catholic Church who separated the sacred and secular elements of life. This monastic division did not allow such mundane activities as working the fields to be God glorying endeavors. Yet the reformers saw all of life to be lived under the Lordship of Christ. Every activity of the Christian is to be sanctified unto the glory of God.
In the words of Paul:
Romans 11:36 - For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.
In other words, He alone is worthy of worship. He alone must be the sole aspect of adoration in all areas of life.
This is an important lesson for today’s church as we must come to terms with the fact that God does not want to share his Glory with us. God does not exist to satisfy human ambitions, cravings, the appetite for consumption, or our own private spiritual interests. Soli Deo Gloria teaches us that God does not exist to glorify us, but we exist to glorify Him.