For His Glory - The Best Gift!
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We've looked into what the glory of God is; we've established that God is first and foremost glorious and that His actions stem from His character.  Now we'll look specifically at God's actions as they relate to God's glory.


 “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.
10 “Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver;
I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.
11 “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. - Isaiah 48:9-11


"For the sake of My name" (v.9), "For My own sake" (v11). In like manner to God's response to Moses, here also we see God and God's name used interchangeably. The word sake here is translated from the Hebrew word Ma'an (Strong's #4616) which as a noun means purpose or intent. Or as a verb it means 'on account of'. Ma'an is translated to sake in Isaiah 48:9-11 but in other verses in the bible, the same Hebrew word Ma'an is translated "reason" such as in Nehemiah 6:13 where it states "He was hired for this reason". In otherwords when it reads "For My own sake" it may also be translated "For My own reason" or "For My own purpose" or "For My own intent".


It's terrifying and relieving to understand that God's reason for doing things is Himself. It's terrifying because in regards to salvation it completely removes the control from our hands and puts us entirely at His mercy (Rom. 9:15), and we have no bargaining chips (Matt. 5:3, Psalm 5:4-5). It's relieving because God is merciful! He's not only merciful, He is merciful toward you based on who He is, NOT based on who you are. We'd like to think that when we do this good deed or support that missionary that God somehow increases in His love toward us. This however would imply that God lacked love for us in the first place (because it had room to increase), it implies that God is not all knowing (When in fact He knows all you'll ever do, good or bad, before you do it), and it implies that God is changing (that He is influenced by authoritive powers outside of Himself). While it may be terrifying to realize we can't provoke God to love (Luke 17:10), it's also a great relief to know that God has provoked God to love and does it on the condition of His glory; (the summation of all that He is)! Because the condition of God's love for you is Himself, and because He is unchanging (Mal. 3:6, Jam. 1:17), then His love for you is also unwavering at all times. God demonstrates this very truth to us here:


But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. - Romans 5:8


At our worst possible state God sent His only begotten to die for us. We didn't ask for it, we didn't seek it, we certainly didn't deserve so great of love as this. This love was unconditional. If we look at God's feeling toward us based on the condition of us, based on what we deserve, than I urge you to read Psalm 5:4-5 which states that God takes no pleasure in wickedness and goes on to say He hates all who do iniquity (that's all of us). So if you are looking for conditional consideration of your works to be the basis of God's love and acceptance for you then...there you go. Fortunately, as David prayed (Psalm 25:7) and as Paul points out the answer to that prayer in the above verse. God loves you on one condition...and it's not you. It's Him!


“I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake,
And I will not remember your sins. - Isaiah 43:25


When is the last time you loved someone in a way that couldn't be influenced by them at all? By influence I mean who they are and what they've done in no way affects your utmost love for them. Never? You're not alone (Rom. 5:7). I've never seen this accomplished by men apart from the Holy Spirit (Acts. 7:59-60). This is however who God is!


"...for My praise..." (v9), "For how can My name be profaned? And My glory I will not give to another." (v11). The question this raises is, why is it important to God that His reputation be upheld among the nations (Exo. 20:7)? Is God Almighty seeking validation from men? Absurd! To say such a thing is to say that God lacks self confidence, it's to say that God somehow needs man (Dan. 4:35, Isa. 40:17). Is God worried that He will somehow be reduced in glory? Again this is ridiculous. Like mankind can somehow change Him who is unchangeable (Jam. 1:17, Num. 23:19, Mal. 3:6, Exo. 3:14). Whether mankind gives God glory or not, it doesn't change the fact He's fully glorious. He has the same glory before the world was and after (John 17:5). So why is it important for God that His reputation be upheld and His glory be recognized?


28 Father, glorify Your name.” Then a voice came out of heaven: “I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.” 29 So the crowd of people who stood by and heard it were saying that it had thundered; others were saying, “An angel has spoken to Him.” 30 Jesus answered and said, “This voice has not come for My sake, but for your sakes. - John 12:28-30


"...but for your sakes." I do not know the mind of God except that of Himself He chooses to reveal (1 Cor. 2:11-12), but given the scriptures we have been given I would argue one included reason God does what God does is that God must be for Himself if He is also going to be for us; God glorifying Himself results simultaneously in our greatest benefit. His focus on glorifying Himself and His focus on bringing good things to His people are fused together. Our greatest benefit finds it's footing in God bringing glory to Himself. Though rest assured in advance as God is seeing to this matter personally.


19 For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth. 20 “I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; 21 that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me 22 The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; 23 I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. - John 17:19-23


God is giving us the best most loving gift there could ever be. Himself! (Luke 11:13). This isn't arrogant or prideful, it's a matter of fact. The best possible thing there has ever been is God, the best thing there ever will be is God. I hate using the word thing here as it's seemingly restrictive to that which is tangible, God is the best everything in everything (I'm still being limited by my language). Here is how the NASB puts it, God is our all in all (1 Cor. 15:28, Eph. 4:6). For God to give us Himself is to make us complete, perfect (Matt. 5:48), full of joy, happiness, and satisfaction (Psalm 16:11). What gift could a perfect God give who is perfectly loving that would perfectly satisfy so great a love as His? Himself!


13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” - Luke 11:13


To this end God labors so that we are enthralled with what is actually eternally satisfying: God. The moment we stop making life about us and realize it is about Him we can then start thriving with insurmountable satisfaction, joy, and happiness and peace that is not of this world (John 14:27).


11 You will make known to me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
In Your right hand there are pleasures forever. - Psalm 16:11


To give us anything else would be a lesser gift. God showing us His glory; God showing us Himself, is what is best for us on many levels. For starters, it is the definition of eternal life.


This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. - John 17:3


Furthermore, God knows that He is the one who brings true salvation (John 14:6).


44 How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and you do not seek the glory that is from the one and only God? - John 5:44


It would be unloving if God allowed His glory to go to another as it would deceive true seekers of His magnificence to that which isn't able to impart life (John 5:39). That's like allowing someone standing on a sinking ship to shout out to those splashing around in the dreadful waters below "come here, I will save you!" when the ship they're shouting from is on fire, water pouring in, and doomed for destruction. God makes sure that everyone knows who the true lifeboat is (Rom. 1:20, John 12:32).


22 “Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for My holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you went. 23 I will vindicate the holiness of My great name which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst. Then the nations will know that I am the Lord,” declares the Lord God, “when I prove Myself holy among you in their sight. - Ezekiel 36:22-23


 "...Then the nations will know that I am the Lord..." We need God to reveal Himself to us. It is in that place our present sufferings become insignificant and the magnitude of God reigns in our lives. Consider how Jesus answered to the sufferings of John the baptist (who was later beheaded [Matt. 14:10]).


Now when John, while imprisoned, heard of the works of Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to Him, “Are You the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else?” Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and report to John what you hear and see: the blind receive sight and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who does not take offense at Me.” - Matthew 11:2-6


When you first read this, one might think, does that help John out? However, Jesus here was reminding John the secret of contentment. The same secret that was revealed to Paul (Phil. 4:11) and David (Psalm 16:11). Such a great and marvelous thing that it makes present sufferings insignificant. Jesus could have stopped Herod but rather Jesus gave a much greater gift, he revealed to John God's glory, God's goodness, God's sovereignty. Had John escaped the beheading he still would have endured other sufferings that would once again bring him to the question "are You the Expected One?" Instead of Jesus solving the temporary peril, He addressed the problem with an eternal solution. I don't know how John reacted to the message his disciples brought back, but given the character of God I know it's exactly what John needed. (See also God's regard for John [Matt. 11:7-14]). Like we've seen with both Moses and Paul, I suspect John gained an eternal perspective that made His present sufferings nothing compared to the glory of God.


While God's ultimate reason and authority for His actions are from Himself and for His purpose, it's not to say that God doesn't also, according to that purpose, do things for our sake (2 Kings 19:34, John 17:19, Romans 8:31). I'm not minimizing this reality, the bible is full of God's purpose resulting to our benefit (Luke 19:10, 2 Thess. 2:14, 1 Peter 3:9, 1 Tim. 6:17). This should be no surprise, He loves us! (Luke 15:20, 1 John 4:19). I'm simply intending to maximize the greater... greatest reason for God to act is God! This is His delight and for us yields the highest reward. For example, God enjoys giving grace (Isaiah 30:18) and therefore He does so because it pleases Him. Fortunate for us, we get to take advantage of that. In a very worldly analogy, wouldn't you want to stand next to a bazillionaire who was compelled for his own reasons to unconditionally give his riches to anyone who would receive it? (Please for your benefit, cross reference Matthew 22:9-10 and Luke 14:21-23).
Consider the glory of God. How magnificent He truly is. Consider the accomplishments of Christ. May I share with you one last reason it's to our benefit that God upholds His glory? Because it will be our glory. Understanding the splendor of Jesus Christ and the magnificence of God almighty, be humbled and in awe by God's amazing grace in these following verses.
22 The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; - John 17:22
16 The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. - Romans 8:16-17
21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. - 2 Corinthians 5:21
14 It was for this He called you through our gospel, that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. - 2 Thessalonians 2:14

14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. - Ephesians 3:14-19



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