Tuesday, November 4, 2008

God's Motivation: The Honor of His Name

What motivates God to save fallen humans? The message I keep hearing these days from sermons and songs is that God is just blown away with...us. That God is infatuated with mankind; captivated by our beauty and worth. Because of this the popular message of the church has turned into a "believe in yourself" pick-me-up. As if our main problem was not sin, but low self-esteem. It's almost enough to make you open your Bible and expect to read hymns of praise from God to man! After all, doesn't God love people more than anything (Point of Grace said so: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qQQZbVzcYg8)?

Is this message true? Listening to all this makes me wanna say, "poor God." I mean, he must have been really sad and lonely before he created us, right? Are WE the point of it all?

Thankfully the word of God reveals to us a bigger GOD than a human-worshiping, lonely genie, who exists only to make us feel good about ourselves (if we will just believe in ourselves like he does). There is indeed a higher purpose and plan than mankind. God, not man, is the subject of the Bible! Scripture reveals to us the motivation of God in redeeming fallen man. Turns out there IS something God loves more than people...

God is absolutely devoted to himself: his own glory, praise and the honor of his name. We were created by him for his glory. He has redeemed his people in Christ for the honor of his name! Look at what God said through the prophet Ezekiel:

But I had concern for my holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the nations to which they came. Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord GOD: 'It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations to which you came. And I will vindicate the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, and which you have profaned among them. And the nations will know that I am the LORD, declares the Lord GOD, when through you I vindicate my holiness before their eyes.' (Ezekiel 36:21-23, ESV)

God goes on to say what he is going to do (not what he hopes we will let him do): "I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries and bring you into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleanness, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules." (vs. 24-27)

Praise God for his great and holy name! Praise God that he acts in man on behalf of his own honor and glory! Praise God that the purpose of the universe is infinitely higher than...me.

God does indeed love us. So much that he gave his Son at the cross to save us. But all of this was to serve a higher purpose. Now the universe can look at God's people and behold the glorious redeeming love of God. The result? They will know that he is the LORD, and they will honor his great name.

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