"To him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." — Ephesians 3:21
Today the declaration glory to God alone resonates as a clear call to glorify God completely in salvation and in all things. But for Martin Luther and the other Reformers, this call focused on some specific charges against the church of their time.
The Reformers believed that God's gracious gift of salvation had been diminished by intermediaries who detracted from God's glory. They strongly reacted against setting the virgin Mary as a mediator between sinners and God. They also objected to the practice of venerating and praying to saints according to the church calendar. Above all, the Reformers railed against a power-seeking church that itself stood in the way of offering glory to God alone in salvation.
Mary's faith, humility, and willingness to serve God should continue to be a powerful testimony to us. So too should the witness of faith and obedience of the many followers of Jesus who make up the church of all ages. But, like the Reformers, we should be aware that anyone or anything diminishing or even deflecting God's glory in salvation risks becoming an idol.
The Holy Spirit graciously uses many people to bring us to Jesus and to strengthen our faith. Praise God for them — while giving glory to God alone.