God did not create all things for nothing. Much more so, in saving His people He is not doing it arbitrarily. But we ask, why does God save? What is the Father’s motive in saving sinful people?
Before we answer this questions, let us first see the wrong reasons that the world offers as to what is God’s motive in saving:
- Because God needs us.
- Because of the inherent worth or goodness of men.
- Because of the good things that men did.
This first reason is wrong because God has no need from us. God has fullness in Himself. He is eternally satisfied in Himself as the Triune God: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. God alone is self-existent, self-sustaining, self-sufficient, independent, and free. So, it is wrong and even blasphemous to say that God has any need from His creatures that motivates Him to do anything or to even save us. God owns everything and He does not owe us anything. The following verses are instructive about this truth:
Acts 17:24-25 - The God who made the world and everything in it, being LORD of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man,25 nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.
Psalm 50:9-12 - I will not accept a bull from your house or goats from your folds. 10 For every beast of the forest is Mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. 11 I know all the birds of the hills, and all that moves in the field is Mine. 12 “If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world and its fullness are Mine.
The second and third reasons put together are views of those who have faulty and unbiblical knowledge of man’s condition after the fall. We discussed this elsewhere. There is nothing good in us and there is nothing noble that we can do or have done that can and will move the Self-sufficient One to stoop down and listen to us, only a certain judgment and fierce wrath against our rebellion and sins. John Calvin says, “In adopting us, God does not inquire what we are, and is not reconciled to us by any personal worth. His single motive is the eternal good pleasure, by which He predestinated us.”
Since men have no inherent worth, and we are sinners, it is wrong, prideful and even sinful for us to seek our own glory. Seeking our own glory is motivated by sin and selfishness. But why is it not wrong for God to do all things for the glory of His Name?
To complain about the fact that God does everything for His Own glory reflects one’s poor view of who God is. God is infinitely greater above all things. It is not only right for God to seek His own glory, but it is also necessary. If God won’t direct and do all things to the glory of His Name, it is a blatant denial of His divinity. God is worthy and we are not.
AA. Hodge arguing for this view in his Outlines of Theology writes,
"Since God himself is infinitely worthier than the sum of all creatures, it follows that the manifestation of his own excellence is infinitely a higher and worthier end than the happiness of the creatures, indeed the highest and worthiest end conceivable."
This is the creatures greatest good! There is nothing more beneficial to the creatures than for the Creator to show His glory to them. Since God is the most splendid, most beautiful, almighty, every way infinite, most holy, most wise, most free, most absolute of all, the greatest gift to them is the revelation of Himself. Indeed, seeing God’s glory is the most important thing for His people (Exodus 33:18-20).
Again, A.A. Hodge writes,
Nothing can so exalt and bless the creature as his being made thus the instrument and the witness of the infinite Creator’s glory, hence the proposing that glory as the "chief end" of the creation is the best security for the creature’s advance in excellence and blessedness.
Jonathan Edwards writes:
God in seeking His glory seeks the good of his creatures, because the emanation of His glory . . . implies the . . . happiness of His creatures. And in communicating His fullness for them, He does it for Himself, because their good, which He seeks, is so much in union and communion with Himself. God is their good. Their excellency and happiness is nothing but the emanation and expression of God's glory. God, in seeking their glory and happiness, seeks Himself, and in seeking Himself. . . He seeks their glory and happiness.
The Scripture is compelling in its assertion that all of the created order’s purpose or chief end is to the glory of God (Colossians 1:16; Proverbs 16:4, Revelation 4:11; Romans 11:36). If the creation’s end is for His glory, so His motive in saving His people.
Let’s see what the following Old Testament Scriptures say about God’s motivation in saving His people:
Psalm 79:9 Help us, God our Savior, for the glory of your name; deliver us and forgive our sins for your name’s sake.
Psalm 106:6-8 Nevertheless He saved them for the sake of His name,
So that He might make His power known.
Isaiah 63:12 Who caused His glorious arm to go at the right hand of Moses,
Who divided the waters before them to make for Himself an everlasting name,
Isaiah 48:9 For the sake of My name I delay My wrath,
And for My praise I restrain it for you,
In order not to cut you off.
Ezekiel 36:22-23 “Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘This is what the Lord God says: “It is not for your sake, house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for My holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you went. 23 And I will vindicate the holiness of My great Name which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned among them. Then the nations will know that I am the Lord,” declares the Lord God, “when I show Myself holy among you in their sight.
It wouldn’t take us long to realize in reading the above passages that the Father has a singular motive of glorifying His Name in saving men. We read …for His praise …for the glory of His name …to vindicate the holiness of His great name …to make an everlasting name for Himself, and …to make His power known. The last passage is straightforward in saying that it is not for the sake of Israel that God is saving them. Jamieson, Fausset & Brown comments, “not… for your sakes–that is, not for any merit in you; for, on the contrary, on your part, there is everything to call down continued severity. The sole and sure ground of hope was God’s regard to ‘His Own Name…”
One of the greatest passages in the New Testament is Ephesians 1:3-14. These verses tell us about the blessings of salvation in Christ,
Verse 5 …having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will
Verse 6 …to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.
Verse 12 …that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.
Verse 14 …who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.
The glory of our salvation depends on, revolves around, and directs to the glory of God alone. Jonathan Edwards in his book The End for which God created the World after showing in the Scriptures the undeniable God-centeredness of God writes,
God had respect to himself, as his highest end, in this work, because He is worthy in Himself to be so, being infinitely the greatest and best of beings. All things else, with regard to worthiness, importance, and excellence, are perfectly as nothing in comparison to him.1
Whenever we think of the Father’s motive in saving His people, we should think primarily of God Himself. It is for His glory alone. In so doing, our hearts and minds will be properly aligned to what the Scripture says about God’s work in redeeming sinful people. God’s ultimate desire for His glory to be known is our only hope. If it’s just about us, all will be condemned and there will be no salvation at all. So, we sing Just and holy is Thy name, I am all unrighteousness; vile and full of sin I am, Thou art full of truth and grace. Truly, the ultimate divine purpose in saving the redeemed is to the praise and glory of the Redeemer alone and nothing else.
1 Quoted by John Piper in “Let the Nations be Glad: the Supremacy of God in Missions” p.204
2 thoughts on “The Father’s Motive in Saving (1): For His Glory”
Amen! Very well said. It is only about God, His will and His glory. He is everything and we are nothing. Through Jesus we have right standing but is His grace and mercy.
Love this: “Whenever we think of the Father’s motive in saving His people, we should think primarily of God Himself. It is for His glory alone.”
Blessings for a stunning day from mighty King Jesus.
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Amen. Thanks for this brother.
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