The great, and glorious end for which God decreed the after-being of sin, is His own glory: and the ends subordinate thereunto are not a few. Particularly, God decreed the futurition of sin:
1. That He might have occasion of glorifying His infinite wisdom, love, and grace in the redemption and salvation of a company of lost sinners through the death and sufferings of His own dear Son.
2. That His patience and long suffering in bearing with and forbearing sinners, might be magnified, admired, and adored.
3. That He might be honoured and glorified by the faith and repentance of His people, and their walking humbly with Him.
4. That His justice might be illustriously displayed and glorified in the eternal damnation of reprobate sinners for their own sins and abominations, sin being the cause of their damnation, though not of their reprobation.
God never pursues His glory at the expense of the good of His people, nor does He ever seek our good at the expense of His glory. He has designed His eternal purpose so that His glory and our good are inextricably bound together. What comfort and encouragement this should be to us. If we are going to learn to trust God in adversity, we must believe that just as certainly as God will allow nothing to subvert His glory, so He will allow nothing to spoil the good He is working out in us and for us.
Because you and I are in Christ Jesus, His glory and our good are linked together. Because we are united with Christ, whatever is for His glory is also for our good. And whatever is for our good is for His glory.
God glorifies Himself toward the creature also in two ways: 1. By appearing to…their understanding. 2. In communicating Himself to their hearts, and in their rejoicing and delighting in and enjoying the manifestations which He makes of Himself… God is glorified not only by His glory being seen, but by its being rejoiced in. When those that see it delight in it, God is more glorified than if they only see it. His glory is then received by the whole soul, both by the understanding and by the heart.
For it appears, that all that is ever spoken of in the Scriptures as the ultimate end of God’s works, is included in that one phrase, the glory of God.
The moral rectitude of the disposition, inclination, or affection of God, chiefly consist in a regard to Himself, infinitely above His regard to all other beings.
The bedrock of missions is not the value of man. It is the spread of God’s glory. The biblical commitment to evangelism and missions is rooted in God’s passionate concern to make His name known.
A church that says no to missions is not just saying no to men. It is not just a matter of leaving men in their sins. It is saying no to God’s greatest concern: the spreading of His glorious name among the peoples of the world. This is His passionate concern; it must be ours.
For human beings self-worship is the worst sin, for God it is the epitome of His righteousness.
So in a Reformed system God’s highest value is His own glory, and in an Arminian system God’s highest value is the freewill of man.
If God did not insist that we worship Him alone, we would have to conclude that He is evil, or at least two-faced, since He would not be directing us to the one thing we desperately need.
What Does it Mean to Know God? by Scott Hafemann taken from The God of Promise and the Life of Faith by Scott Hafemann, copyright 2001, Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton Illinois 60187, www.crosswaybooks.org, page 41.
If it is right for man to have the glory of God as his goal, can it be wrong for God to have the same goal? If man can have no higher purpose than God’s glory, how can God? If it is wrong for man to seek a lesser end than this, it would be wrong for God, too. The reason it cannot be right for man to live for himself, as if He were God, is because He is not God. However, it cannot be wrong for God to seek His own glory, simply because He is God. Those who insist that God should not seek His glory in all things are really asking that He cease to be God. And there is no greater blasphemy than to will God out of existence.
God would be unrighteous (just as we would) if He valued anything more than what is supremely valuable. But He Himself is supremely valuable. If He did not take infinite delight in the worth of His own glory He would be unrighteous. For it is right to take delight in a person in proportion to the excellence of that person’s glory.
The aim of God in creating and redeeming us is the delight He Himself enjoys in seeing His creatures delight in Him. As Edwards said, “[The] glorifying of God is nothing but rejoicing in the manifestations of Him.” In other words, the purpose of the knowledge of God is the enjoyment of God because “God is most glorified in you when you are most satisfied in Him.”
God is the one being in the universe for whom self-exaltation is the ultimately loving act. And the reason is easy to see. The one and only Reality in the universe that can fully and eternally satisfy the human heart is the glory of God – the beauty of all that God is for us in Jesus. Therefore God would not be loving unless he upholds and displays and magnifies that glory for our everlasting enjoyment
God’s own glory is uppermost in His own affections. In everything He does, His purpose is to preserve and display that glory. To say His glory is uppermost in His own affections means that He puts a greater value on it than on anything else. He delights in His glory above all things… God’s overwhelming passion is to exalt the value of His glory. To that end He seeks to display it, to oppose those who belittle it, and to vindicate it from all contempt.
Interest is to magnify the fullness of His glory by spilling over in mercy to us. Therefore the pursuit of our interest and our happiness is never above God, but always in God. God’s greatest interest is to glorify the wealth of His grace by making sinners happy in Him.
As the sun, which would shine in its own brightness and glory though all the world were blind, or did willfully shut their eyes against it, so God will be ever most glorious, let men be ever so obstinate or rebellious. Yea, God will have glory by reprobates, though it be nothing to their ease; and though He be not glorified of them, yet He will glorify Himself in them.
The Scripture is clear that all will be found praising Jesus Christ. Those who begin praising Him now after receiving Him by faith as their Savior will enjoy the blessed consummation of that throughout all of eternity. Those who reject Him will praise Him, but under obligation and separated from Him (Jn. 18:6; Phil. 2:10; Rev. 5:13). Simply put, God is too glorious to allow any corner of His creation to exist without recognizing His glory by ascribing to Him the worship that is due His name.
For God to fail or refuse to value Himself preeminently would implicate Him in the sin of idolatry. Idolatry is honoring anyone or anything as god, instead of God. If God were ever to act in such a way that He did not seek His own glory, He would be saying that something more valuable than Himself exists, and that is a lie. Worse still, it is idolatrous.
How could we describe God as righteous and good if He ever failed to pursue and preserve what is supremely valuable and of greatest worth? That is why God must take ultimate delight in His own glory or He would be unrighteous. It is incumbent on everyone to take delight in a person in proportion to the excellence of that person’s glory. Whose glory can compare with that of God’s? If God were not to delight supremely in God He would not be God, or at least He would be an unrighteous one and thus unworthy of our delight.
God’s pursuit of my praise of Him is not weak self-seeking but the epitome of self-giving love! If my satisfaction in Him is incomplete until expressed in praise of Him for satisfying me, then God’s effort to solicit my worship is both the most loving thing He could possibly do for me and the most glorifying thing He could possibly do for Himself. For in my gladness in Him is His glory in me.
What is the preeminent passion in God’s heart? What is God’s greatest pleasure? How does the happiness of God manifest itself? In what does God take supreme delight? I want to suggest that the preeminent passion in God’s heart is His own glory. God is at the center of His own affections. The supreme love of God’s life is God. God is preeminently committed to the fame of His name. God is Himself the end for which God created the world. Better still, God’s immediate goal in all He does is for His own glory.
How could we expect God to be consumed with anything less than His own perfect, holy being? For God to be consumed with anything else would be idolatrous. It would be exalting the creature above the Creator. God’s goal is to exalt Himself and His own glory. He intends to magnify His great name. “For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be glory forever” (Rom. 11:36).
So is God selfish and vain [to pursue His own glory]? No, for while it would be sinful for sinners (like us) to promote our own glory, it would be wrong if God acted for any purpose less than His own glory. Giving preeminence to any purpose other than Himself – since all things are less than God – would make God an idolater. God can give us nothing greater than Himself in all His glory, so it’s to our advantage for God to glorify Himself above all.