What is most important to God?

What is uppermost in God’s own affections?

Have you ever wondered what the single most important thing is to God?  What does He value above all else?

(Today’s post is a bit longer than usual.  I apologize for this.  Somehow, though, I feel I should urge you to read it all.  There’s something here that I feel is capable of utterly shattering your paradigm of living.)

Growing up in the Bible belt, attending solidly Evangelical churches, I came away with the idea that God existed to save mankind from his/her sins.  It was as if this is all God has ever thought about: How do I form a plan to successfully save people from their sins?

This concept is not without merit.  For there are scores of Bible verses that show the high value that God holds for redeeming a people for Himself.  From God sending Moses to save Israel from Egyptian bondage to Christ who came to “seek and to save that which was lost”, we see a consistent theme of redemption in the Bible.

But is this what is uppermost in God’s affections?  Is this what takes the highest priority for Him?  I say that it is not.

One proof of this is the obvious biblical fact that not everyone will be saved.  While there are many people who believe that in the end every single person will be saved, this was clearly not the belief that Jesus held.  Jesus taught more about heaven and hell than any other biblical authority .  According to Jesus, and the Bible, there is certainly a place of eternal punishment, away from the presence of Almighty God.

Here’s a statement to ponder:  If in saving a particular person, God would have to sin against His own glorious nature, then He will in no wise do so.  Pause and think at this point.  It is exactly here that the redemption that we have through the grace of our Lord Jesus becomes exceedingly great and precious.

Jesus died on the cross so that God could save sinners without transgressing His own glory in doing so.  While God’s love would certainly motivate Him to be merciful to sinners, His holiness and justice would not allow Him to have fellowship with rebellion and sin.  Without the redemption provided at the Cross, no one could be saved.  Without the Cross, the entire sinful world deservingly goes to hell.

So what does this prove?  It proves that there is something even more important to God than saving every sinner.  And what’s that?  The highest thing in God’s affections is the demonstration and preservation of His own excellencies and glory.  If saving a sinner would require God to sin against some aspect of His own glory, He would/will never do it.

God’s own contentment and happiness is rooted in the utter perfection, unity, and continuity of His own Being.  The universe holds together because of the consistency and glory of God’s infinitely holy Self.  Consequently, heaven and hell exist because of God’s loyalty to His own glorious Being.

One final thought along these lines has the potential to revolutionize someone’s life.  If God is so great and pure and powerful, then why did He allow sin into the universe in the first place?  The answer is actually found in the thesis of this article:

God allowed sin to enter His universe, because through it He could most effectively, efficiently, and infinitely demonstrate and preserve His own excellencies and glory.

God is holy and just.  The angels know that full well.  But God is also merciful and full of unconditional love.  The angels could perhaps speculate about this, but could certainly not know it in an experiential dimension.  In a sense, to actually perceive and delight in mercy, one must experience it.  Were it not for sin, and the amazing plan of redemption that God foreordained before the world was, no sentient being could have ever had an inkling of the glorious heights and depths of the mercy and love of God.

And what if of all God’s innumerable and wonderful attributes – love and mercy were the most glorious?

Sin had to happen.  Sin and its fallout is certainly ugly from the purely temporary view.  But when viewed from the larger, eternal perspective, something infinitely glorious comes into view!  The glorious revelation of God’s mercy and love that we have through Christ at the Cross, will forever provide the universe with an understanding of God’s glory that will be sufficient to fuel the praises of men and angels for an infinite number of eternities!

The highest joys that anyone could ever know could not be found outside of the revelation of the glory of God that we have in Christ crucified.  So we find that demonstrating and preserving His own glory is what is utmost in God’s affections.  BUT this could not be fully accomplished apart from revealing His great love in the saving of sinners.  The latter of which is the certain and highest source of joy that a creature could ever know.   (Go here to read: Why most people are not experiencing God’s love.)

Specifically, this means that our highest good and profoundest joys are directly tied to the demonstration and preservation of God’s glory!  God in demonstrating His glory is providing the ultimate and optimum place and space for creaturely satisfaction.

Marvel of marvels.  Mystery of mysteries.  Let us all kneel down and humbly worship.

6 thoughts on “What is most important to God?

  1. Sorry, but you really haven’t thought this through. If, as you say, God has both love and some need to hurt people when they do something he doesn’t like, then the part of him that is love would have stopped him before he created the universe, knowing that the other torturer part would have to kick in to make billions of people suffer in the worst sort of agony for the rest of eternity!

    Well, thankfully, God never had to go through any such internal conflicts because, according to Jesus, he never had any! Why? Because he never made Hell, and he’s never, ever going to hurt anyone!

    I’ve actually written an entire book on this topic–Hell? No! Why You Can Be Certain There’s No Such Place As Hell, (for anyone interested, you can get a free ecopy of Did Jesus Believe in Hell?, one of the most compelling chapters in my book at http://www.thereisnohell.com), but if I may, let me share one of the many points I make in it to explain why.

    If one is willing to look, there’s substantial evidence contained in the gospels to show that Jesus opposed the idea of Hell. For example, in Luke 9:51-56, is a story about his great disappointment with his disciples when they actually suggested imploring God to rain FIRE on a village just because they had rejected him. His response: “You don’t know what spirit is inspiring this kind of talk!” Presumably, it was NOT the Holy Spirit. He went on, trying to explain how he had come to save, heal and relieve suffering, not be the CAUSE of it.

    So it only stands to reason that this same Jesus, who was appalled at the very idea of burning a few people, for a few horrific minutes until they were dead, could never, ever burn BILLIONS of people for an ETERNITY!

    True, there are a few statements that made their way into the copies of copies of copies of the gospel texts which place “Hell” on Jesus’ lips, but these adulterations came along many decades after his death, most likely due to the Church filling up with Greeks who imported their belief in Hades with them when they converted.

    Bear in mind that the historical Protestant doctrine of the inspiration of the Scriptures applies only to the original autographs, not the copies. But sadly, the interpolations that made their way into those copies have provided a convenient excuse for a lot of people to get around following Jesus’ real message.
    __________________________________
    Rick,

    Thanks for taking time to comment. The main difference between you and me is that I believe much more than you believe. It’s not that I have not “thought it through” as you say. But that I thought it through in submission to the revealed will of God and you have stopped at the place where your human mind got offended! I believe everything you say about the mercy and love of God. But I also believe all that the Bible says about the holiness and wrath of God as well. These two great attributes may seem contradictory to our fallen minds. Yes, even to fallen angels. Satan himself at some point, apparently perceived “fault” in the revealed nature of God. For Satan apparently decided it would be better for him to cast off the restraints of being in submission to God as He truly is. Satan obviously thought that to serve God as He is was simply not an option for him. I’m afraid that you have fallen into the same trap. In the book of Revelation we learn that the Lake of Fire exists. It was prepared for “the devil and his angels”. Do you think that God will allow Satan and his angels to defile our glorious future in the new heavens and earth with Christ? Certainly not. The bible says that Satan will be sent away into torment forever. If God will judge and punish the angels who fell, He will also punish those who follow with them in their rebellion. The writers of the Bible not only reveal “rescue” of sinners, but “wrath” toward God’s enemies. This is revealed in the entireity of the Scriptures.

    I am afraid that you are offended not simply by my words, but by what my words suggest about the nature of God that it presented with my words. If what I am saying is true, then you are an idolator. I exult in the mercy of God, as you say that you do. But God’s mercy is not glorious without the reality of His holy wrath behind it. In the same way, God’s wrath is not glorioius without the reality of His wonderful mercy behind it.

    As I wrote the original post I was worshipping God. I cannot fully explain how God can be all the things He is revealed to be in the Scripture – all at the same time. For God is not simply perfect love, He is perfect holiness as well. He is a consuming fire, the Bible says. He is both at the same time….”holy love”. And there is no conflict between the two. The wrath and love that are simultaneously revealed at the Cross do not suggest that God is “conflicted” within.

    I have sometimes felt conflicted as I tried to reconcile such apparently opposite attributes of God. But as I trust Him and submit to the authority of the Scripture, (yes, the Bible as we have it today) I gain Holy Spirit given insight from day to day and year to year. And it is glorious. My God does not submit to the finite and fallen brain of creatures like you and me. But I’m afraid that you have shackled Him. But I have kept moving on with Him where you have stopped. Yes, I think I have more faith in the revealed nature of God than you do. And it’s not because I’m smarter. I bet I’m not. God has hidden these things from the proud but revealed them to babes. I’m a babe. I surrender my intellect to Him. It’s as important to make your mind submit to God’s truth as it is your sexual organs or any other bodily feature of function. Your brain is meant to serve God as He has chosen to reveal Himself. But how often we want to form our golden calves, making God somehow submit to the limitations of our understanding of Him. This is idolatry.

    The words I read in the Gospels are life to me. Some of them offend you. So you must find a way to explain how they don’t belong there. How someone must have inserted them after the original “autographs”. I don’t have to do this. God is who He has revealed Himself to be and it is simply glorious. When man whittles the Bible down to suit himself and whittles the revealed nature of God down to suit himself, all he has left is a more or less “nice” human. The Bible says that “the world in its wisdom did not come to know God.” This is worshiping the creature rather than the Creator who is forever blessed. And it is idolatry. And it is not glorious. And it is not true.

    Yours truly,

    Dane

    • Magenta says:

      Good reply, amen! The Bible clearly says there is a hell and heaven. People who oppose this are opposing the Word of God. It is dangerous to say hell does not exist. What if you happen to find yourself in hell after you die and have led others to believe that there is no hell? I sincerely hope this doesn’t happen to anyone.

  2. Mary says:

    Thank you Pastor Dane! You have said what God himself tells us in HIS word.
    I appreciate it when the truyh is uttered despite what the world would like to believe about GOD. He is all consuming and complex to our finite minds but trusting in HIS word and obeying HIS word is what HE calls us to do. GOD delights in our study and He is not offended by our questions or doubts, He wants us to fully learn and understand then either accept Him or use the freedom He gives, to reject Him..Just don’t change His Doctrinal message to suit yourself. msmae

  3. Samuel Bartoli says:

    God is the Creator and Glorious Designer of all. Therefore, that being said if we are like God meaning eternal spirit not equilency with God, then surely we would have to be held to the highest standards to stand before God. Thus, alas evermore, this restraint of a two sided ideal justice and confliction of showing a wrath can and will only be avoided by accepting Jesus Christ as one’s Lord and Savior. God has to be perfect, for perfection calls for a total accordance of all things that have to be brought into a total subjection in order to live in the presence of God. In conclusion, first sin (Adam & Eve) is what started it all, yet it was God’s mercy which rendred us a final solution to our own disobedience–Jesus Christ! Therefore, I believe one hundred percent in what the author says in the beginning, otherwise we call Jesus Christ and God both liars if we believe in anything else. And for me, I would much rather have never been born than to have ever thought of doing this and abandoning a perfect Love known as our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ..

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