Is God an Egomaniac for Seeking His Own Glory? (John Piper)

People see God’s exaltation and communication of his own glory as a problem. They don’t like it. They think such self-exaltation is immoral and loveless, even pathological. But there is another way to look at it.

Suppose your heart is a template made for its counterpart, the glory of God. Suppose you were created to know and love and be satisfied by the majesty and beauty of God. Suppose the glory of God was the most beautiful reality in the universe to you and therefore the most satisfying to your soul. Suppose you hungered and thirsted for the presence of the greatness of God more than for anything in the world. And suppose this God, in spite of all your sin, had made a way for the glory of his holiness and righteousness to be maintained and exalted, while still giving himself in friendship to you for your enjoyment forever.

If that were true, then God’s unwavering commitment to uphold and display his glory would not be a mark of selfish pride but a mark of self-giving love. He would be upholding and communicating the very thing for which your soul longs. This would not be the pattern of an old woman wanting compliments, or an egomaniac, or a needy tyrant, or an insecure, jealous lover. Rather, it would be the pattern of the true and living and gracious God. You would see that there is no other God like….

This was his mission. But how would it happen? By self-emptying and servanthood and humiliation and death:

Though he was in the form of God, [he] did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by 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. (Phil. 2:6–8)

Because of this majestic lowliness, in love for sinners, God exalted Jesus and gave him a name above all names (Phil. 2:9). But the aim of it all was that “every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (v. 11). This is the peculiar glory of God and of his Scriptures: the glory of God is everywhere the aim, and the central means is the self-humbling of God himself in Jesus Christ. This is the “light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Cor. 4:4).

The glory of the paradoxical juxtaposition of seeming opposites in Jesus Christ is at the heart of how God shows himself glorious in the Scriptures.

Piper, John. A Peculiar Glory: How the Christian Scriptures Reveal Their Complete Truthfulness. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2016, pages 215-216, 223.

The Radical Difference Between “Do” and “Don’t”

“…Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor 10:31). We often like to change this positive “do” into a negative “do not”–“do not do anything which is ‘de-glorifying’ to God; don’t do anything sinful.” How often have you heard things like, “don’t do this or that because it’s not glorifying to God”? The danger here is succumbing to the mindset that a lack of error and refrain from sin is all that Paul intended by these words (→ 1 Cor 10:31). But to leave the positive assertion untouched (as a positive assertion) is far more challenging–everything we do is to be for the purpose of or aim of glorifying God. As Paul said earlier in verse 23, not everything that is permissible is beneficial. How often do we think in terms of “permissible” rather than “beneficial,” allowing ourselves to think in terms of what’s allowable v. what isn’t, and thereby making 1 Cor 10:31 into a negative command to refrain from certain activities rather than a positive command to “do”–do what brings glory to God, or more so, do what brings the most glory to God? We are drawn towards thinking in terms of “permissible” (in either form: a legalistic moralism or a carnal antinomianism) because it’s much easier. But this doesn’t necessarily entail the radical discipleship of “do” which scripture commands and is therefore terribly insufficient.

Why Faith, and Not Something Else, is the Means of Salvation

Ephesians 2:8 states that one is saved by grace through faith. Now, this is a relatively well known verse. And the concept of salvation by means of faith in Christ and His saving work alone is also relatively well known, at least among evangelicalism.

Maybe your familiar with this truth. I hope you are. But have you ever thought to yourself, “why faith? Why is it that faith saves as opposed to something else like good deeds, joy, sorrow, gladness, or a sense of surreal peace?” Obviously it was God who determined faith to be the means of man’s salvation; it’s not as if this was some external law or obligation that was imposed on Him. So, why faith? Why is God’s plan of saving people by His grace through faith. Why does He count those with faith as righteous (Rom 4:3; cf. Gen 15:6)?

Continue reading