“Don’t Waste Your Life” by John Piper is probably my favorite book outside of the Bible. This is true for many reasons, but one thing God revealed to me in this book was how loving it is for God to seek His own glory and praise. This is not true for the rest of us. It is not loving or good of me to seek my own glory and praise. This is because of what I am not—unlike God Almighty, I am not the epitome of righteousness; I am not the epitome of justice; I am not the epitome of love; I am not the epitome of grace; I am not the epitome of kindness; I am not the epitome of goodness; I am not the epitome of faithfulness; I am not the epitome of wisdom, etc. I fail in each of these areas in major ways. My own glory and my own praise is not about loving others and bringing them joy, but rather it is about my own selfishness--my comfort, my happiness, my ego, etc. God’s glory and God’s own praise is the most loving thing ever and it brings the greatest joy ever.
I was reading Ephesians 1:3-14 this morning, and it struck me how, even in this small passage of scripture, it is abundantly clear how God’s glory and praise is tied to our good.
Ephesians 1:3-14 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. 11 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, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.”
In just this passage I see that God is glorified in:
Blessing us in Christ with every spiritual blessing
Making us holy and blameless
Lovingly choosing and adopting us to be His children
Jesus’ work of redeeming us by dying for us
Making known to us the mystery of His will, which is all wise and insightful
Uniting all things in Him
Giving us an inheritance
Giving us hope
Enabling us to hear the gospel and believe
Giving us Himself via the Holy Spirit to guard, guide, teach, protect, inspire, convict, empower, and preserve us
Notice how all of these things have to do with grace (unmerited kindness). God gives us with these things, not because we deserve them, it but because He is lavishly kind and loving. Not only do we not deserve God’s goodness, we deserve God’s wrath. We have all sinned and fallen short of God’s perfect goodness—all of us. According to justice, we stand condemned—we deserve punishment. Even in our imperfect earthly justice system, crime begets consequences. As a society, we welcome that. Without such consequences, evil prevails and chaos ensues. Because we are criminals—trespassers against God’s perfect goodness—we deserved judgment. We were stained by our trespass and we could not stand before our pure God. The impure and pure do not co-exist. I cannot walk into a sanitized operating room with mud on my hands and expect the room to still be sanitized. I cannot add polluted water to a canteen full of clean water and expect to drink clean water from that canteen. Even still these analogies breakdown as our Mighty God cannot be corrupted. Rather the impure is simply annihilated by the power of His purity. It is more like how light and dark cannot co-exist. Light annihilates darkness. We being impure simply cannot stand in the presence of a Holy God. Yet our God who is glorified in grace, unmerited kindness, and who is glorified in sacrificial love, paid the ultimate sacrifice to enable us to be in relationship with Him forever. He did not let sin thrive without consequence, but rather He killed its power in Jesus--our perfect Lord Jesus left His throne, entered our mess, paid our death sentence and His resurrection victory enabled our transformation by the Holy Spirit so that we could be gradually conformed to the image of Jesus. This side of heaven, I will never properly grasp how much that cost God, and yet it also glorified Him supremely because God is glorified in grace (unmerited kindness) and in love (affectionate, costly, sacrificial, and pursuing love). I am the beneficiary of God's grace, love, kindness, mercy, and help, to the praise of His glorious grace! As John Piper frequently remarks, “What a deal!” This God IS worthy of my praise! Praising this God is what comes out of me when I contemplate His character. Praising this God brings me matchless joy as I consider the best news of my life, “I get to be with Him forever”!!
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