Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Why Glorify?

When contemplating the subject of God’s glory, I have sometimes wondered why God desires so much to be glorified. Conceit and pride are wrong in human beings; yet it seems odd that a righteous God who honors humility would so loudly proclaim His own glory.

John Piper addresses this question in his book, Desiring God. I think he provides some excellent food for thought, closely related to these previous posts:

“[A reason] people stumble over the teaching that God exalts His own glory and seeks to be praised by His people is that the Bible teaches us not to be like that. For example, the Bible says that "Love seeks not its own" ( 1 Corinthians 13:5). How can God be loving and yet be utterly devoted to "seeking His own" glory and praise and joy? How can God be for us if He is so utterly for Himself?

The answer I propose is this: Because God is unique as an all-glorious, totally self-sufficient Being, He must be for Himself if He is to be for us. The rules of humility that belong to a creature cannot apply in the same way to its Creator. If God should turn away from Himself as the Source of infinite joy, He would cease to be God. He would deny the infinite worth of His own glory. He would imply that there is something more valuable outside Himself. He would commit idolatry.

This would be no gain for us. For where can we go when our God has become unrighteous?....
No, we do not turn God's self-exaltation into love by demanding that God cease to be God. Instead we must come to see that God is love precisely because He relentlessly pursues the praises of His name in the hearts of His people.

Consider this question: In view of God's infinite power and wisdom and beauty, what would His love to a human being involve? Or to put it another way: What could God give us to enjoy that would prove Him most loving? There is only one possible answer: Himself! If He withholds Himself from our contemplation and companionship, no matter what else He gives us, He is not loving.

There is the solution! We praise what we enjoy because the delight is incomplete until it is expressed in praise. If we were not allowed to speak of what we value, and celebrate what we love, and praise what we admire, our joy would not be full. So if God loves us enough to make our joy full, He must not only give us Himself; He must also win from us the praise of our hearts-not because He needs to shore up some weakness in Himself or compensate for some deficiency, but because He loves us and seeks the fullness of our joy that can be found only in knowing and praising Him, the most magnificent of all Beings. If He is truly for us He must be for Himself!

God is the one Being in all the universe for whom seeking His own praise is the ultimately loving act. For him, self-exaltation is the highest virtue. When He does all things "for the praise of His glory," He preserves for us and offers to us the only thing in all the world which can satisfy our longings. God is for us! And the foundation of this love is that God has been, is now, and always will be, for Himself.”

Read Desiring God online, buy the book, or visit John Piper’s website.

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1 Comments:

Anonymous Bethany S. said...

Amen! I recently picked up this book from my dad's library and am really enjoying it. There's a lot of food for thought in there.

March 30, 2007 6:32 AM  

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