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.