The source of whatever gives me pleasure can be very selfish, but not always. Because I am created in the image of God the Creator, there are times when I create something and feel a pleasure in both the act of creating and the result. This delight is not about me or about the fact that I made whatever it is, but about delight in the thing that has been created. I could be a little like the way God must feel when He looks at a rose, or a new-born child, or the Rocky Mountains. He is not boasting, just simply delighted.
John Piper wrote a marvelous book on this topic called “The Pleasures of God.” In it, he says that we will be most satisfied in God when we know why God Himself is most satisfied in God. It is not too big a leap to realize that if God takes pleasure in His perfections, we also can take pleasure in the God-like things we do. We are not perfect and whatever we do for God is not perfect, but this pleasure of obedience is far richer and deeper than any other of life’s delights.
Today’s topic is why God saves sinners. I’m thinking that pure pleasure may have something to do with His motivation. Salvation is a God-thing that displays His glory and gives Him great delight.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.” (Ephesians 1:3–6)
Later in this passage, verse 14 says again that our salvation is to the praise of His glory. Lest it cross my mind that this is selfish, I remember that what else can bring joy to a perfect Being? Everything else falls short and it would bring Him down to delight in anything less than perfection — and He alone is that perfection.
He saves sinners for His own glory: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ . . . to the praise of the glory of his grace . . . that we should be to the praise of his glory . . . unto the praise of his glory.”
I cannot add anything to God but my praise. He is self-sufficient and my words and obedience can glorify His name, pointing others to His majesty. He is a great, all-mighty, all powerful, loving and merciful God.
Jesus, the psalmist (Psalm 8:1-9) offers a prayer. As I read it, my heart echoes the same praise: “O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger. When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas. O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!”