“THERE IS NO ONE BESIDES ME”: BIBLICAL FOUNDATIONS FOR SOLI DEO GLORIA Bruce A.

Ware, Professor of Christian Theology, Southern Seminary, Louisville, KY Introduction: The Exclusiveness and Incomparability of God as God One of the clearest, most forthright, most prominent themes in all of the Scriptures is this: there is one and only one God. All other claims to deity are false, pretentious, and idolatrous. The true and living God, because he alone is God, is both exclusively God, and he is incomparably God. He is God; there is no one besides him—exclusive deity. He is God; there is no one like him—incomparable deity. Consider some of Scripture’s insistence on these truths: Exodus 8:10 10 [Moses said to Pharaoh], “May it be according to your word, that you may know that there is no one like the LORD our God. Exodus 15:11 11 “Who is like You among the gods, O LORD? Who is like You, majestic in holiness, Awesome in praises, working wonders? Deuteronomy 4:35, 39 35 “To you it was shown that you might know that the LORD, He is God; there is no other besides Him. . . . 39 “Know therefore today, and take it to your heart, that the LORD, He is God in heaven above and on the earth below; there is no other. 2 Samuel 7:22 22 “For this reason You are great, O Lord GOD; for there is none like You, and there is no God besides You, according to all that we have heard with our ears. Psalm 86:8-10 8 There is no one like You among the gods, O Lord, Nor are there any works like Yours. 9 All nations whom You have made shall come and worship before You, O Lord, And they shall glorify Your name. 10 For You are great and do wondrous deeds; You alone are God. Jeremiah 10:6-7 6 There is none like You, O LORD; You are great, and great is Your name in might. 7 Who would not fear You, O King of the nations? Indeed it is Your due! For among all the wise men of the nations And in all their kingdoms, There is none like You. Isaiah 40:18, 25 18 To whom then will you liken God? Or what likeness will you compare with Him? . . . then will you liken Me That I would be his equal?” says the Holy One.
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“To whom

Isaiah 43:10-11 10 [The LORD declares]: “I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, And there will be none after Me. 11 “I, even I, am the LORD, And there is no savior besides Me. 1

Isaiah 44:6-8 6 “Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: ‘I am the first and I am the last, And there is no God besides Me. 7 ‘Who is like Me? Let him proclaim and declare it; Yes, let him recount it to Me in order, From the time that I established the ancient nation. And let them declare to them the things that are coming And the events that are going to take place. 8 ‘Do not tremble and do not be afraid; Have I not long since announced it to you and declared it? And you are My witnesses. Is there any God besides Me, Or is there any other Rock? I know of none.’ ” Isaiah 45:5-7 5 “I am the LORD, and there is no other; Besides Me there is no God. I will gird you, though you have not known Me; 6 That men may know from the rising to the setting of the sun That there is no one besides Me. I am the LORD, and there is no other, 7 The One forming light and creating darkness, Causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the LORD who does all these. Isaiah 45:18-19 18 For thus says the LORD, who created the heavens (He is the God who formed the earth and made it, He established it and did not create it a waste place, but formed it to be inhabited), “I am the LORD, and there is none else. 19 “I have not spoken in secret, In some dark land; I did not say to the offspring of Jacob, ‘Seek Me in a waste place’; I, the LORD, speak righteousness, Declaring things that are upright. Isaiah 45:21-22 21 “Declare and set forth your case; Indeed, let them consult together. Who has announced this from of old? Who has long since declared it? Is it not I, the LORD? And there is no other God besides Me, A righteous God and a Savior; There is none except Me. 22 “Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth; For I am God, and there is no other. Isaiah 46:5 5 “To whom would you liken Me And make Me equal and compare Me, That we would be alike? Isaiah 46:9-10 9 “Remember the former things long past, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, 10 Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, ‘My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure’ So, what are some of the most important ways the Scriptures declare that the God of the Bible alone is exclusively God, that he alone in incomparably God? And how do these truths of God demonstrate that God alone is to be glorified? Consider with me three themes at the heart of Scripture’s declaration of the exclusivity and incomparability of the biblical God as God. For our purposes here we’ll focus primarily on select texts from Isaiah 40-46, the richest collection of passages in the Scriptures declaring these themes. Consider, then, three grand and glorious truths demonstrating the exclusivity and incomparability of God as God.

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First, God is Exclusively God, Incomparably God, as he is Creator of Heaven and Earth Isaiah 40:21-26 [read] What is involved in God being the Creator of all things? Consider these two central elements: A. As Creator of all, God is Independent of all

B. As Creator of all, God is rightful Owner of all

C. Application: Humility and Dependence before the God who has all, needs nothing, and owns everything.

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Second, God is Exclusively God, Incomparably God, as he is Redeemer of his Chosen People Isaiah 43:1-7 [read] What is involved in God being the Redeemer of his People? Consider these two central elements: A. As Redeemer of his people, God is rightful Owner of them

B. As Redeemer of his people, God demonstrates his selecting and particular love for them

C. Application: Trust and Confidence before the God who has shown such love, commitment, grace, kindness, forgiveness, and favor 3

III. Third, God is Exclusively God, Incomparably God, as he is Sovereign Ruler over Good and Evil Isaiah 44:24-45:7 [read] What is involved in God being the Sovereign Ruler over all things, particularly over all good and all evil? Consider these two central elements: A. As Sovereign Ruler, God reigns over Nature and Nations

B. As Sovereign Ruler, God reigns over Good and Evil

C. Application: Hope and Strength before the God who ordains all, meticulously controls all, and wisely works all things to accomplish his good purposes, as he alone knows is best. IV. Conclusion: Soli Deo Gloria because God alone is Creator, Redeemer, and Sovereign Ruler • Creator—He possesses all, and from the storehouse of his infinite fullness he gives all that we have to all that he has made and owns. He has it all and needs nothing from us; we have nothing and need all from him. We owe him everything—our deepest and most humble thanksgiving.

• Redeemer—He purchased us, at great cost to himself freely given to us, manifesting to us his particular and electing love – all of which is fully undeserved. The only hope we have is grounded in God’s commitment to bring glory to his name by the gracious salvation of undeserving sinners. We owe him our deepest trust, loyalty, love, and allegiance.

• Sovereign Ruler—He reigns supreme over all, over all nature, all nations, all that is good, and all that is evil. While being in himself wholly holy, wholly good, wholly wise, yet he devises plans that encompass everything that occurs in life, bringing purpose to the good and the evil that happens, for the glory of his name and the well-being of his people. We owe to him our strongest confidence and hope, through all of life, with all of its joys and trials. 4