What is God’s highest aim in man’s redemption?
So then we have considered in part what is wonderful, lovable, and glorious about the cross from our human perspective. We have reflected on Christ’s awe striking humility, His willingness to save a God hating people like us, and the accomplishment of saving our souls and changing our hearts. But there is something even deeper going on than just the act of making an unrighteous heart, righteous. There is more to rejoice about than even that Christ has spared our soul’s eternal Hell and has prepared for us an eternal home in Heaven. Though immensely significant, the ultimate gift that God has given us is not just the forgiveness of our sins and the future hope of life in heaven, but that He has done everything to make it possible for us to behold and have Him in His glory.
1. His aim: Glory, Exaltation, Praise, and the magnification of His Name.
To start let’s put us, not out of the picture, but somewhere off dimly in a corner of the picture, with God gloriously filling up the center with all brilliance and splendour.
I want to clearly state, that in no way do I want to understate the purpose of Christ’s dying for us, so that we may have eternal life and forgiveness; nor do I want to underemphasize the value that Jesus Christ places on a single lost soul. These are topics that we will revisit again and again to understand God’s heart for lost people. But what I want to try and express, is that we are not the focus point of God’s purposes and plans. We are not the center of Christ’s dying for us, but rather God’s plan of redemption and the execution of it, at the foundation of its’ goal is that Jesus Christ Himself would be displayed in “the radiance of the glory of God (Hebrews 1:3).” God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit alone are exalted and displayed in the redemption of man.
The heart of God glories in receiving the Glory that is due to His name. His ways exalt Himself as supreme over all the earth and everything that has been made and been done throughout all history. God must love Himself, in all the beauty and fullness of the Trinity, and He must love and put Himself first above all things. I have heard it explained that if God, who sees all of the perfection and majesty that belongs to Him alone, were to love another more than His self, He would be an idolater. So it must be that even in Christ’s coming in the likeness of man, yes even in His humbling himself to death on a cross, the furtherance of His glory and exaltation of His name would be in view.
Philippians 2:6-10 “Though he was in the form of God, (he) did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Look also at these verses, which are only a sample of several of like them, and note God’s purpose for executing His plans, or even from withholding His wrath.
Isaiah 48:9-11 “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. Behold I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction. For My own sake, for My own sake, I will act; For how can My name be profaned? And My glory I will not give to another.”
I think it extremely important to show you that God has not changed in the New Testament. He has not gone from becoming a God-centered God to a man-centered God. His purposes are still being perfectly carried out primarily for His sake, His Honour, and His praise, yes even in and especially in the salvation of sinners.
Matthew 10:22 “You will be hated by all for my name’s sake.”
Matthew 16:25 “…Whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”
Ephesians 1:11-12 “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, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.”
Our Lord wants us to delight and be satisfied in Him, and when we are made able by Him to glory in this way, as we are chiefly created to do, God has great pleasure in what He has accomplished in us.
(This is only point one of the chapter entitled “What Is So Valuable That Christ Would Die?” I will post the other points as I write them. This is again, a portion from the book I’m working on called “The Complex Nature of God’s Hear For Lost People.””)