22: Why It's Good That God Is For God
**To kick off our Daniel series, and in preparation for moving into our new home on October 18th, the elders have invited our church family to a 28-day season of prayer and fasting. These daily devotionals correspond with the 28-day Bible reading countdown to the day we celebrate our soft opening.**
There's a repeated phrase in Ephesians that slaps you in the face if you see it.
At least it did to me when I was a young preacher studying to preach it for the first time. Almost 14 years ago, late on a Saturday night, alone at my parent's rented office space, the lightbulb started to glow. Dim at first, then brighter and brighter until it blazed like the sun.
I'll just bottom-line it for you here and then we'll flesh it out together.
Basically it's simple...God does everything for His own glory. Period. Full stop.
To put more of a point on it, God doesn't do everything because he loves me more than anything, ultimately. God does everything because He loves himself, first and foremost, totally and completely.
I know. It takes a while to sink in.
In other words, God loves his glory more than he loves us, and therein lies the only reason He could love us, unworthy as we are in our sin to be loved by Him.
I completely understand...huge blow to the ego. Stay with me. It really gets even better.
God is for God.
God loves God.
God tells us to live for the glory of God, mainly because God lives for the glory of God.
Whoa. That sounds all sorts of heavy.
Yup. And more than that, God isn't an idolator.
God doesn't worship any other god other than Himself.
God is totally, 100%, for God.
Wait, you're saying God loves...Himself?
Yup. That's exactly what I'm saying.
But isn't that slightly egotistical?
Not if you're God.
Well, I get that God tells us WE should live for His glory. It just feels weird to think that GOD lives for His glory.
Well, who's glory would you suggest He live for...yours?
But does the Bible actually teach that God saved us for His glory?
Plainly, clearly, unapologetically from stem to stern.
Well, every good question deserves another good question, so let me ask you this...do you believe that God predestined you for adoption as a son or daughter, through Jesus Christ, according to his purpose and will?
Well of course I do, that's practically word for word what Ephesians 1:5 says, and I believe the Bible.
Excellent. Me too. Next Question...WHY did God predestined you to adoption as sons and daughters of God through Jesus Christ according to the purposes of his will? What was his primary purpose?
To show me He loved me?
To make me feel special?
Well shoot, I don't know. That's a tricky question. How could I possibly know the motivations and mind of God?
Because Ephesians 1:6 tells you.
Oh, that's handy.
I know. Let's read it together...
"In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace." Eph. 1:5-6
There! Amazing. Did you see it?
I don't think so.
Paul just gave us the answer. WHY did God adopt us and love us and save us?
So that...um...his grace might be praised?
You got it.
That still doesn't sound right. You can't take that one sentence to mean God loves His glory more than He loves me.
Let's keep going. Do you believe God predestined us to receive an inheritance according to the purpose of His will, and works all things together so that we who hope in Jesus might receive an eternal inheritance?
Well of course I do. I already told you, I'm a Bible guy, and you're practically quoting Ephesians 1:11 verbatim.
Awesome. We're on the same team. Next question...WHY did God do all of that?
Here we go again. Um...I know you'll say this is wrong, but I'm going to say it anyways...because He loves me and wants what's best for me?
Wrong again! But thanks for playing. Let's read verse 11 AND verse 12.
"In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory." Ephesians 1:11-12
Ok, I'm seeing a pattern here.
Good for you! But just to make sure we didn't miss it, Paul's got one more for us. Why do you think God sealed us with the Holy Spirit so that God could call us His own possession and give us our eternal inheritance?
Well...I'm not talking into that one any more...for his own glory?
Nailed it. Check out Ephesians 1:14
"When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory." Eph. 1:14
Once you see it, it's everywhere you look. God unapologetically acts on behalf of praising and exalting and promoting His own glory.
I don't know. That seems a little thin.
Ok, how about the Psalms. Do you love the Psalms?
Who wrote them?
David and others.
And what is the repeated theme of Psalms?
Oh man, tons. Praise God, because he's amazing. Praise God, because He's a Rock and Fortress. Praise God, because He alone is the only being in the universe worthy of praise, etc etc.
Pretty good summary. Who inspired David and others to write those glorious truths down.
God did, of course. I believe in the inspiration of Scripture.
Me too. Which means...God was telling us He's more amazing than anyone else, right? God was telling us to worship him because He's a Rock and Fortress, right? God was telling us to praise Him because he alone is the only being in the universe worthy of praise, right?
Holy smokes. I never thought of that before.
C.S. Lewis did. And before he was a Christian he read the Psalms, and He knew the Bible's claim of inspiration, which meant God wrote those words. And he said the Psalms sounded like an old woman demanding compliments.
That is, until he got saved. At which point he realized the God-centeredness of God made absolute and complete sense.
This is sort of blowing my mind.
Totally man. Which is awesome. If we served a God that didn't blow our minds, I'd be looking for a replacement.
But why is this good news for me?
Well, there's lots of reasons why. Let's just choose one. It's good news for you because it would be incredibly burdensome for the infinite Creator God to put the weight of His worship on finite creatures such as you and I.
Thankfully, He does just the opposite. He works the world out so that we can be invited, by His grace, into the freeing act of glorifying Him. You see, we were made for glory. The whole world spins on the axis of glory. We get flavors of it in a sunset, when looking over the edge of the Grand Canyon, in a stadium full of raving fans for their championship team. There is no more joy to be had than when you and I get lost in the glory of and wonder of something truly great.
You know this as a parent. You don't love your kids when you make them the center of the known universe. It turns them into little, unbearable rascals. When they grow up it produces pathologies.
Neither were you and I made to be put in the center of God's universe. We were made to be lost in the wonder and enjoyment of the One who made the universe.
God is the greatest, most glorious being in the universe. Which means to know Him, see Him, be in relationship with Him, and spend eternity in the presence of His glory would be the most amazing experience a human could dream of. And it's only made possible because of the grace of Jesus. And that is truly an act of love...to make a way for people who didn't deserve such a pleasure to taste it eternally and forever.
So God's passion for His glory, and that more people see it and experience it, is why His grace was given. Without God's passion for His glory, there would be no grace for us.
"To the praise of the glory of His grace..."
Well, that's just amazing.
I agree. I absolutely, totally agree.