I’ve recently been following a daily reading plan through the Bible entitled ‘For the Love of God’ by D.A. Carson, and today’s reading provided two particular passages that served as a valuable reminder for where our focus ought to lie as it concerns our Christian lives. Due to our individual-sensitive, self-esteem, self-help society, it’s easy for us to view the gospel of Christ as a message primary about us.
Now, for sure, the gospel is good news concerning what Christ has accomplished for us, and how salvation has been obtained for us. But there is an all-too-forgotten purpose for ‘Why’ God has redeemed us that complements His grace, mercy and love for us. That purpose is communicated in a passage from Ezekiel that I came across this morning.
In this particular passage, God is getting ready to restore the nation of Israel, but He makes a point to declare His primary reason for doing so.
It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations to which you came. And I will vindicate the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, and which you have profaned among them. And the nations will know that I am the LORD, declares the Lord GOD, when through you I vindicate my holiness before their eyes. (Ezekiel 36:22-23)
This truth is communicated throughout the Bible; God’s glory is the chief goal of all God’s work. The gospel of Jesus Christ is first and foremost a message about God.
Jonathan Edwards writes, “It is manifest from Scripture, that God's glory is the last end of . . . the work of redemption by Jesus Christ”
Did Christ submit to the incarnation for our justification, reconciliation, sanctification and future glorification because He is concerned about us and loves us and cares about us and treasures us?
Of course. Absolutely. The Bible says so much and much more.
But let us not forget that the work of Christ was accomplished to show God’s righteousness, and that He is just and the justifier of us, the ones He works through, for the glory of His name.
The Christian has lost his focus when he sees himself as the center of the Christian life. For from God and through God and to God are all things. A Christian’s focus for living ought to first and foremost be the glory of God’s name.
Interestingly enough, my daily reading in Pslams provided some application in light of what I came across during my time in Ezekiel. The Psalmist writes,
Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name. I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever. (Psalm 86:11-12)
May we all be teachable Christians with a desperate desire to be taught by our Lord. And may our holy fear of the name of our great God motivate us to live focused lives on the glory of His name in all that we do.