God’s Glory – His Ultimate Purpose
Everyone who believes the Gospel, every sinner in whose heart God has been glorified, has been given by God the Holy Spirit a threefold desire:
1) An honest zeal for the glory and honor of God.
2) A sincere concern for the preeminence of Christ.
3) A fervent desire for the salvation of sinners.
God’s foremost design in all things is His own glory. He reigns and disposes of everything in this universe, from the rise and fall of nations to the death of a sparrow, for this purpose. Since God’s glory is the goal of all things, then God’s purpose in the salvation of sinners by Jesus Christ is to glorify Himself. Salvation, therefore, is the gracious and marvelous work of God glorifying Himself in the hearts of sinners. This occurs when God the Holy Spirit, in regeneration and conversion, enlightens a sinner’s mind “to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”
As stated, this is true salvation!
This is the greatest blessing God can give to sinners. This blessing includes every other blessing because all blessings are aimed towards the goal of God’s glory.
God is glorified in our hearts personally when we see all the infinite perfections of His character actively engaged and honored in our salvation by Jesus Christ our Lord. God the Holy Spirit enables us in the new birth to see that God our Father appointed His Son to be our Mediator and Surety in order to meet and satisfy all of the conditions of our salvation. Christ came to do everything necessary to merit for us all grace here and all glory hereafter. This is when we see God glorified.
This is when we behold the glory of God in the person and accomplished work of Jesus Christ our Lord. The evidence of this is when we are convinced that the perfections of God’s character will not allow Him to save any sinner based on anything other than the imputed righteousness of Christ. This is what keeps us from speaking peace to ourselves and to others when ignorant of or not submitted to the righteousness of Christ as the only ground of eternal salvation and final glory.
In John 17:1-4, we see all of this realized in Christ Himself in His priestly prayer.
These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee:
As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.
And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.
It was Christ’s work of redemption that glorified His Father by revealing all the infinite perfections of God’s character honored in the salvation of sinners by Christ. Christ’s mediatorial work reveals and honors the true character of God, a just God and a Savior. This clearly teaches us that in order to know the true character of God, we must have honoring views of Christ and His mediatorial offices and work. All of the offices and the duties that those offices demand are entrusted to the Person of Christ in order that God be glorified in the salvation sinners (2 Corinthians 5:19).
We see, then, how every true believer’s threefold desire is inseparably joined. If any sinner is to be saved, God must be glorified, Christ must be exalted, and all ground of boasting for the sinner must be removed. Therefore, we cannot compromise the Person, offices, or redemptive, atoning work of Christ, because this would compromise God’s character, His glory. To do so, even in the name of love and compassion, or so as not to offend, is to promote sinners remaining in idolatry, ignorant of the only true God and Jesus Christ. No sinner will be saved under such compromise, because such compromise destroys the Gospel which is the power of God unto salvation.