Here is the second part in this series that aims to answer the question Why do bad things happen to good people? To catch up, here are the earlier posts in the series:
Introduction: Where We’re Going
Part One: There’s no such thing as a “good” person. All we enjoy is pure, unmerited grace.
Here’s the second point:
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2. The highest good in the universe is God’s exaltation, and therefore everything God does is toward that end.
God created the world with a purpose. The single-unifying reason for everything that exists is God’s glory. If God permits life, it is because life will bring him glory. If God takes life, it is because in taking life he is glorified.
In Isaiah 48:9-11, God defers his anger for his own glory. This is my favorite verse to demonstrate this truth because it’s so unmistakably clear. God is bent after his own glory.
“For my name’s sake I defer my anger, for the sake of my praise I restrain it for you,
That I may not cut you off.
Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver, I have tried you in the furnace of affliction.
For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it,
For how should my name be profaned?
My glory I will not give to another.”
Listen to the way Jesus prays “The Lord’s Prayer” in Matthew 6—God the Son is praying to God the Father and blessing his name. The Godhead is glorifying itself.
“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name…”
We were predestined for adoption through Jesus Christ for God’s glory. Our very salvation is God acting for his own glory. He saved us for his own praise:
“In love he predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace.” (Ephesians 1:4b-6)
We serve each other by God’s power for God’s glory. God supplies the power so that he will get the glory. God gives us strength so that we will use that strength to glorify Jesus.
“…whoever serves, [serve] as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 4:11)
And here’s the kicker (I am going to come back to this in the final post)—everything was created through Jesus Christ for Jesus Christ.
“For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.”
God created everything to display his glory to the world. The way God works toward this highest good is through revealing himself. God works toward self-exaltation by self-revelation. When God’s character is seen without obscurity, it is worshiped. The deeper we understand God, the higher our affections rise for him. No man can stand before the visible, almighty God unbroken. When God appears, people worship.
So God is unstoppably aimed at revealing himself in his creation so that he will be worshiped.
Are you weirded out by the fact that God always does everything for himself? This truth of scripture is everywhere, but often not thought much about. And the reason we don’t like to think about it is because we can’t reconcile a God who does everything for his own glory with a God who is infinitely loving.
For example, if I walked into a room and told you all to worship me, you’d throw tomatoes.
Why then, is it okay for God?
Why is it okay for God to demand worship and punish those who don’t?
We established yesterday that God owes us nothing but wrath and that every ounce of life and enjoyment we have is sheer grace.
Today we solidified the truth that God acts always according to his own glory. He is relentlessly dedicated to glorifying himself. Perhaps we have found it disconcerting.
Tomorrow, we will see how God’s pursuit of his own glory is actually God’s greatest act of love.
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Point Three: The highest good (God’s exaltation) is also God’s greatest act of love.
Point Four: The highest good (God’s exaltation) and our highest joy (worship) could not be accomplished if evil had not entered the world.