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The Wednesday Word – What does that mean? (Pt 5) Soli Deo Gloria

Glory to God alone Romans 11:36

Soli Deo Gloria was one of the five mighty battle cries of the Reformation. It means that we, in all matters, are called to Glorify God alone.

But what does ‘To Glorify’ mean?

It means simply to honour and praise the Lord alone. To Him alone belongs magnificence, excellence, pre-eminence, and dignity. We are called to worship Him. And why not? He is God after all. No man can take credit for what Yahweh has done, and no man can compare Himself to who He is.

He is perfect in all His ways (Deuteronomy 32:4). Soli Deo Gloria.

He is Light (1 John 1:5). Soli Deo Gloria

He is Love (1 John 4:16). Soli Deo Gloria.

He is Fire (Hebrews 12:29). Soli Deo Gloria.

He is Sovereign (Deuteronomy 3:24). Soli Deo Gloria.

He is Holy (Leviticus 19:2). Soli Deo Gloria.

He is Merciful and Gracious (Psalm 103:8). Soli Deo Gloria.

He did all the work in salvation. He is, therefore, worthy of all the praise and all the honour. Soli Deo Gloria.

He gave us the faith to believe the Gospel. Soli Deo Gloria.

He baptized us into the salvation provided by Christ’s doing, dying and rising again. Soli Deo Gloria.

He ransomed, redeemed and reconciled us. Soli Deo Gloria.

Here’s a striking fact…..all things are for His glory, not ours! Yahweh, speaking through Isaiah (48:11) tells us; “For my own sake, even for my own sake, will I do it: for how should my name be polluted? and I will not give my glory unto another.”

God’s salvation is for Himself and for His Glory! Soli Deo Gloria.

Many folks sincerely believe that they give glory to God for their salvation. But it’s all in their imagination for they cannot say that they give glory to Him alone. They are clinging to grace + their contribution of good works. But, this is not Bible salvation. Salvation is of the Lord from beginning to end.

Soli Deo Gloria.

As a result of the Gospel, we can lead lives which glorify God. We have been ransomed, redeemed and reconciled to God Himself in the person of His Son, the God/Man Jesus Christ.

Soli Deo Gloria.

It is no wonder then that Paul says in 1Corinthians 10:31 “Whether therefore you eat, or drink, or whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of God.

Soli Deo Gloria.

In practical terms, Soli Deo Gloria means that everything we do is to be done for God’s glory. Man’s pride and glory are excluded. We are to be motivated and inspired by God’s glory and not our own. He is the goal of our salvation. We, of course, are the beneficiaries of His matchless grace, but we are not the center of God’s plan. Ephesians 1:10 informs us of God’s ultimate intention saying, “That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:”

That’s how the future looks!

Soli Deo Gloria

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

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The Wednesday Word…What does that Mean? (Part 4) Sola Scriptura

“We’re not just dogmatic about this, we’re bulldog-matic. Sola Scripture (Scripture alone) is a non-negotiable” (Dr. Steven Lawson).

The teaching of Scripture alone refers to the sufficiency of Scripture as our supreme authority in all matters of faith and practice. Sola Scriptura was another great rallying cry of the Reformation. For centuries the Papal Communion had declared its traditions to be superior in authority to the Bible. This resulted in many practices that were horribly contradictory to the Scripture. For example

Prayer to the saints,

Prayer to Mary,

The Immaculate Conception,

Transubstantiation,

Baptismal regeneration,

The supremacy and authority of the Pope.

The Bible alone is our ultimate authority—not the Pope, not traditions, not church councils, not subjective feelings, but Scripture alone. Therefore, if any teachings differ from Scripture, they are to be judged by the Bible and rejected, rather than vice versa.

The Bible is the final authority, that’s what we mean by Sola Scriptura.

The Reformers believed the Bible to be their final authority. Likewise, we believe that it is the final court of appeal on all doctrinal and moral matters. All Popes and Councils are fallible. The Bible alone is infallible.

At the Diet of Worms (AD 1521), when called on to renounce his supposed errors. Martin Luther replied,

“Unless I am convinced by testimonies of Scripture or by evident reason ..for I believe neither the Pope nor Councils alone since it is established that they have often erred and contradicted themselves-I am the prisoner of the Scriptures cited by me, and my conscience has been taken captive by the Word of God. Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me. Amen.”

This is Sola Scriptura.

Our opponents, however, insist that the Bible nowhere teaches Sola Scriptura. This is nonsense! Although no one verse declares Sola Scriptura, the Bible clearly states “All scripture is given by inspiration of God … 2 Timothy 3:16-17.

The Greek word for “inspired” describes ships sails filled, being carried along over the seas. Our scriptures are quite literally God breathed!

Since God is the author of the Scriptures, we can be confident that any teaching which is at variance with the truth of His Word is wrong.

This is Sola Scriptura.

Every Scripture is the product of the Spirit’s work. He inspired the Bible writers and gave them His words. And even though God’s Word and the scribe’s personality were in some way intertwined, every Word came from God Himself.

This is Sola Scriptura.

We must, therefore, either recognize the divine origin of the Bible or deny it. However, if we deny the Bible as being the very Word of God, we deny the fact that what the Bible says, God says. We will then eventually deny the reliability of the glorious promises of the Word and will soon deny salvation by grace alone and other precious truths. We will then be like a rudderless ship on its way to disaster.

Jesus held to the authority of Scripture.

Finally, let us look to the Master. He was a man of the Scriptures. Three times, in the wilderness, He was tempted by the Devil, and each time He boldly replied “IT IS WRITTEN” (Matthew 4:1-11).

Also, consider these sayings of His;“And Jesus answering said unto them, “Do ye not therefore err because you know not the scriptures, neither the power of God?” (Mark 12:24).

“The Son of Man is to go, just as it is written of Him” (Matthew 26:24)

“Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes?” Matthew (21:42)

“You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify of Me” (John 5:39)

“But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?” (Matthew 26:54)

“And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself” (Luke 24:27).

Jesus believed in the authority of Scripture.

So do I!

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

The Wednesday Word…What does that Mean? (Part 3) Faith alone

February 28, 2018 Leave a comment

Romans 3:21-22, 2 Corinthians 5:21, Romans 10:3

.

Faith Alone (Sola Fide) was the battle cry of the Reformation. It’s a radical truth that will deliver us from self-absorption and legalism.

It is a vital truth, therefore, we must get it straight. We receive our salvation by faith + nothing. Neither ceremonies nor rituals need apply for the job. Faith alone grasps that all which is necessary for our acceptance with God has already been done by God Himself in His great redemptive act in Jesus Christ.

To paraphrase the Australian Forum, “Faith receives that the God/Man, Jesus Christ, in our name and our behalf, met all our obligations before the bar of eternal justice.”

Faith understands that our salvation was secured by a complete and perfect work. Faith alone apprehends that we cannot add or contribute anything to Christ’s accomplishments.

This, however, does not mean that faith is our Saviour. Faith was not led as a lamb to the slaughter. Nevertheless, faith causes us to look to our Redeemer, the Lord Jesus, as our only hope. Faith never looks at itself. It provides no foundation of safety for the believer.

Gospel faith is the opposite of having a vague faith in some God out there. Having a general sort of faith is not saving faith.

Some people may actually believe that for every drop of rain that falls, a flower grows! But, that’s not saving faith.

Someone says, “I believe that everything will turn out for good in the end.” Good for you, but that is not saving faith.

Others say, “It doesn’t matter what you believe, as long as you believe sincerely.” That’s not saving faith, and besides, it is nonsense. It’s like saying, “It doesn’t matter what medicine I take, as long as I’m sincere.” Welcome to the funeral parlour.

Faith, Gospel Faith, on the other hand, grasps that God’s saving work has been done completely outside of our own experience. Indeed, gospel faith comprehends that the Finished Work was in no way accomplished inside the believer. As John Bunyan pertinently says, “……., this is one of the greatest mysteries in the world; namely, that a righteousness that resides in heaven should justify me, a sinner on earth!” (Bunyan: Justified by and Imputed Righteousness).

Faith embraces that God is righteous, holy, just, and loving. Faith recognizes that we have sinned against this same God. Faith perceives that, outside of grace, we stand guilty and condemned. But, faith also embraces that Jesus is God clothed in a human body. Faith sees Him and His perfection as the substitute for sinners.

Gospel Faith sees that all our sins have been paid for. Not one of them has been left to damn us.

Faith receives this and makes it our own.

Faith sees that our sins are not put away by confession.

Faith sees that our sins are not put away by fasting.

Faith sees that our sins are not put away by prayer.

Faith sees that our sins are not put away by popes, prelates or priests.

Faith, however, sees that, at the cross,

Sin was condemned,

Justice was satisfied,

The Law was magnified,

God was glorified,

The sinner was saved and our adversary, Satan, was utterly confounded!

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

The Wednesday Word…What does that Mean? (Part 2) Christ Alone

When we say we believe in ‘Christ Alone,’ we mean that Christ’s doing, dying and rising again constitute our only basis of acceptance before God. He alone is our Substitute and Surety. He alone has fully satisfied the just demands of the eternal majesty. Christ alone, therefore, is all our hope.

Furthermore, when we hold to ‘Christ Alone, we believe that Christ’s finished work was altogether sufficient to secure the acquittal of His people. This is good news indeed. There is nothing that needs to be added to Christ’s work, and nothing must be subtracted (Ecclesiastes 3:14). Because of the finished work of Christ, Divine justice regards the elect as having already been punished in the person of their substitute. Our salvation has been secured by one man, the God/Man. The very mention of His name is music and health

to the believer.

It’s no wonder that John Newton wrote,

“How sweet the name of Jesus sounds

In the believer’s ear

It soothes his sorrows

Heals his wounds

And drives away his fears.”

Christ alone brings us to God (1 Peter 3:18) and brings God to us. He is the only one who is able to do this since He suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust. When we believe in ‘Christ Alone’ we have confidence that outside of Him there is no salvation. For the believer, Christ alone is the source and content of salvation. In salvation, Christ alone gets the credit, and we get the gift!

He saved us.

No church saved us.

No religious act on our part saved us.

We were, are and will be entirely saved by Christ alone.

We are saved by free, unconditional, invincible grace. For when we were without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die, yet perhaps for a good man, someone would even dare to die. But God commends His love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life (see Romans 5:6-10).

Christ’s sinless life and atoning death have been accepted by the Father as ours. His doing and dying of two thousand years ago is the only ground of our acceptance with God today. This is what we mean when we say we believe in Christ Alone.

“Here we have a firm foundation;

Here the refuge of the lost;

Christ’s the Rock of our salvation,

His the name of which we boast.

Lamb of God, for sinners wounded,

Sacrifice to cancel guilt!

None shall ever be confounded

Who on Him their hope have built.”

Thomas Kelly

Christ alone has been found pleasing in the Father’s sight. So, since repetition is the price of learning, let’s say it again….There is but one reason only for our acceptance with God—Christ Alone!

There are no other ways to God but in Christ alone. Let us not forget this, Jesus unashamedly claimed to be God in human flesh appearing. Now, if the one true and living God has come for our salvation, what other way to God can there be? Since Christ alone is God, we can ruthlessly and immediately dispense with all other supposed ways of salvation. They are all fabrications of men’s imaginations and devising. There is only one salvation, and it comes to us in Christ alone.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

The Wednesday Word: ‘What does that mean? (Part 1)…Grace Alone

When we say we are justified by Grace alone, it means that, even though in and of ourselves we are unacceptable, we have divine acceptance through the doing dying and rising again of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Grace alone means favour and welcome shown to the rebellious and undeserving. Such is God’s grace that sinners are said to be justified freely (Romans 3:24). To be justified “freely” means not only to be declared ‘Not Guilty’ but also signifies that we are declared not guilty without any cause in us.

It is only through the Gospel that we see God’s gracious and righteous acceptance of unacceptable people. No amount of trying to obey God’s Law on our part could have obtained our acquittal. No amount of personal character or self-denial by us ever causes God to regard us as acceptable in His sight. We have His favour only by pure and undeserved grace. That’s part of what we mean by Grace Alone.

Grace pursued this sinner when I was pursuing sin. Grace found me, saved me and has kept me continually. Grace, you see, is not a one-time event. In this life, we stand in need of God’s unfailing and unceasing grace. If we are attempting to find acceptance and welcome before the Father because of our moral character, we have fallen from grace (Galatians 5:4).

Larry Criss says,

“I know this, I am a great sinner, and nothing less than great grace will do anything for me.

I need reigning grace, grace that is greater than all my sin.

I need grace to keep me from falling, and grace to present me faultless before the throne of God.

I need grace to live by and grace to die by.

Just as it was grace that called me, it is grace that will not let me go. If God’s great salvation is not grace from beginning to end, if anything about salvation is dependent on me, I have no hope at all. But thank God, that is not the case. God’s grace has kept me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home.”

From beginning to end, we are saved by grace. That’s another part of what we mean when we say we are saved by Grace alone.

Everything to do with our salvation is because of Grace. If we have been regenerated, it was by the power of God. That’s grace! If we have repented, our repentance was the sovereign gift of God. That’s grace. If we are believers, our faith was the sovereign work of God. That’s Grace!

To recap, if we are to be saved, God must save us by Grace alone. No combination of Grace and works will do. Salvation comes from the hand of the all gracious God.

“Not what my hands have done

Can save my guilty soul;

Not what my toiling flesh has borne

Can make my spirit whole.

Not what I feel or do

Can give me peace with God;

Not all my prayers and sighs and tears

Can bear my awful load.

No other work save thine,

No other blood will do;

No strength save that which is divine

Can bear me safely through.”

Bonar

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Next time (God willing) By Christ Alone …What does that mean?

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

The Empty Hand of Faith – Vintage

“Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due. But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness . . . For this reason it is by faith, in order that it may be in accordance with grace, so that the promise will be guaranteed to all the descendants.”

—Romans 4:4-5, 16

“That I may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith.”

—Philippians 3:9

“Faith is chosen by God to be the receiver of salvation, because it does not pretend to create salvation, nor to help in it, but it is content humbly to receive it. Faith is the tongue that begs pardon, the hand which receives it, and the eye which sees it; but it is not the price which buys it. Faith never makes herself her own plea, she rests all her argument upon the blood of Christ. She becomes a good servant to bring the riches of the Lord Jesus to the soul, because she acknowledges whence she drew them, and owns that grace alone entrusted her with them.”

—Charles Spurgeon, All of Grace

The single most amazing truth about the Gospel of Jesus Christ is this: it is all of grace. It is the work of God, not of man. It is the story of a powerful Savior who redeems His people, and He does so completely. It is about a sovereign God, a perfect Savior, and an accomplished redemption.

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.

Happy Reformation Day 2016!

October 31, 2016 2 comments

Reformed on the Web would like to wish everyone a Happy and blessed Reformation Day!

Here is a four volume history on Luther and the Protestant Reformation:

James MacKinnon [1860-1945], Luther and the Reformation, 4 Vols. London: Longmans, Green & Co., 1925-1930

Volume 1- Early Life and Religious Development to 1517 (Pdf)

Volume 2- The Breach with Rome (1517-21) (Pdf)

Volume 3- Progress of the Movement (1521-29) (Pdf)

Volume 4- Vindication of the Movement (1530-46) (Pdf)