God’s Glory Shining
The Reformation was intimately tied to beauty, goodness, and human flourishing because the Reformers were seeing—through Scripture—God’s glory shine. And as God’s glory is made known, it’s in that light that we are saved. It’s in that light of God’s glory that human lives flourish. It’s in seeing the beauty, goodness, and the truth of God that we come more fully alive.
When God is glorified, humans will be fulfilled, satisfied, and find joy and what they are made to be . . .
So a central statement for summing up the Reformation or a key fruit of Reformation theology would be a classic question and answer: “What is the chief end of man? The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.”
Glad Gospel Tidings
The idea that when God is glorified, humans will be fulfilled, satisfied, and find joy and what they are made to be—this was a guiding principle for the Reformers. They wanted to see God glorified through Scripture so that people might know just how good and merciful and gracious and holy and beautiful and kind and humble and majestic God is so that lives could be liberated from their little idols and their enslaving ways to want him more than those things.
So Reformation truths were essentially about human flourishing, and that’s what you see through so many of the doctrines that they were articulating. Martin Luther said that when he discovered justification, “It was as if I’d entered paradise itself through open doors.”
William Tyndale talked about how the gospel is good news, merry, glad tidings—that makes a man’s heart skip and leap for joy. Again and again you see all the doctrines that they were fighting for are doctrines of glad tidings and great joy. Therefore if we were to back off from these doctrines, it means human shriveling rather than human flourishing.
- 2 Essential Doctrines of the Reformation (Matthew Barrett)
- How the Reformation Transformed Church Architecture (Matthew Barrett)
- Why the Reformation Isn't Over (Michael Reeves)