The Majesty and Glory of God
October is Reformation month! And this year is a special commemoration. It is the 500th Anniversary of the nailing of Luther’s 95 Theses on the church door at Wittenberg! The five-solas that fueled that first Reformation are needed again today for another Reformation: Sola Scriptura, Soli Deo Gloria, Sola Gratia, Sola Fide, and Solus Christus. Respectively: Scripture alone, Glory to God alone, Grace alone, Faith alone & Christ alone.
This Reformation season, however, we are going to consider the kind of Christian life and thought which should be characteristic of those who believe as we do about the Bible and its great message. That is, what kind of people do these five truths (solas) make us? What are the distinctives of a Reformed spirituality?
As we thought of the subjects we might include in a series of sermons on the ‘distinctives of reformed spirituality,’ our problem was an embarrassment of riches. Like Robert Rayburn, ‘we had too many themes for too few sermons.’ No doubt there are many other topics we might have chosen. But the ‘distinctives’ we have chosen to present are:
- a profound sense of sin
- a deep and serious joy
- an abiding and extravagant gratitude
- spirituality with a corporate emphasis, and, in particular, a family emphasis
- and spirituality in Reformed worship.
But, I thought that whatever we must include or omit from this series of sermons, we could not omit, nor could we begin in any other way than with a consideration of that high view of God and that reverence for God which, from the beginning, has been characteristic of the reformed church when she has been at her best. Writing on this theme, Robert Rayburn quotes the great Princeton Theologian, B.B. Warfield, in a magnificent article on Calvinism. Warfield wrote:
‘The determining principle of Calvinism…is…the glory of the Lord God Almighty. The formative idea of Calvinism is the conception of God; and it is its determination that God shall be and remain God in all its thought [which is Calvinism’s determining principle].’
Rayburn concluded: “And I dare say it was the determining principle of the Apostle Paul long before it was the determining principle of that great Pauline theologian, John Calvin.”
Paul not only sets out the majesty of God, the glory of God in his teaching; it is a theme which has so captured and enraptured him, that its breaks out repeatedly into his discussion of other things. “And here,” notes Rayburn, “I think, we find the truly biblical mind; and, if I may say so, the truly reformed mind and heart as well. Paul cannot speak about this or that, think about this or that, in this case his own sin and salvation, without his heart and his thought turning upwards to God, to that glorious, mighty, immortal God, incomprehensible in his majesty, as far beyond our thought as his love and mercy are beyond measure.”
Let us conclude as did Rayburn: “This is the reformed aim, vision, and goal for the spiritual life of Christian people: that they should ever live and move and have their being in God; that their minds should never be but a moment removed from thoughts of the greatness and glory of God; that whatever else may, of necessity occupy their minds and hearts, soon again great thoughts of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords will come crowding back into their souls, and they will find themselves, ever and again, pondering the infinity and the immeasurable majesty of the Almighty.”
Join us this Lord’s Day as Chad proclaims the majesty and glory of our great God from Romans 11:33-36. Pray for our service, and for our service to our community that whatever else anyone knows about us, they know we serve a mighty God as our thoughts and lives point to His greatness. Michelle and I will miss you this Sunday but we are thankful for the opportunity to visit with our oldest daughter and her family in California.
Let me ask you to take a moment and update your contact information for Redeemer. This will assist us in better communicating throughout our body. Thank you for your assistance in this matter. Also, remember our Reformation party on Saturday, October 28 beginning at 5:00 pm. You should have received an Evite; but if you didn’t please let us know and we will make sure we have your email.
Soli Deo Gloria,