And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” Luke 2:13-14
Soli Deo Gloria or to the glory of God alone, the last of the five sola statements of the Protestant Reformation. This is a concept that on the surface is instilled into many Christians. The first question of the Westminster Shorter Catechism is what is the chief end of man? To glorify God and enjoy Him forever. Paul in his writings alludes to the fact that our lives and actions should be bringing glory to God, in fact he is the one that penned the verse, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31) Although I might mention that while a good application of this verse that use does take it a bit out of context, and I would feel uncomfortable applying it in such a way, I blame my seminary professors that hammered in good hermeneutics through exegesis.
So on this fine Christmas day, I figured what better verse to use for talking about to the glory of God alone than the proclamation of the heavenly host to the shepherds that first Christmas morning. You see in God’s plan for salvation the purpose was for His glory. You see this proclamation comes right after the first angel gives the shepherds the good news that a Savior has been born, who is Christ the Lord. This good news is why glory is to go to God, as some might say glory goes to the victor, and since the garden of Eden and the first sin man has been at war with God. It is funny that the Jews in Jesus’s day were looking for a conquering king for a Messiah and got instead a suffering servant. I however believe Jesus did come as a conquering King, it is just he didn’t conquer in the sense they were looking for. They wanted a king that would defeat Rome and reestablish an earthly kingdom for Israel, Jesus is a King that came and defeated sin and brought forth peace between man and God.
Glory is not only a form of honor but also praise and worship. You see in Christ coming as our Savior, he came not to defeat Rome but to bring peace between man and God, before this all mankind was at enmity with God. We were in all out rebellion and wanted nothing to do with Him. Christ’s actions on the cross reconciled the world to God. It opened the door to allow God to offer us grace which we respond to in faith, which without grace we would be unwilling to do. It is once we understand that our salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, and due to the work of Christ alone, that we then realize that our praise and worship, all of the glory, goes to God alone. So remember, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”