For God’s Sake
While most people believe God saves people for "people’s sake" (i.e., because of his attraction to them and his inner compulsion to promote and honor them), Psalm 106:8 tells us that God is in the business of saving sinners for "his own name's sake" (i.e., for his own honor, promotion and glory). In considering his grace and mercy toward his people, God repeats through the prophet Isaiah: “For my sake, for my sake, I do this” and “I will not yield my glory to another” (48:11). This is where we find ourselves most uncomfortable with the biblical view of God, in this case because his acts of love and mercy are shown to be self-centered – and self-centeredness, we presume, is such an ugly trait. Our discomfort in the face of these kinds of truths about God reveals our desire to see him as a human benefactor instead of the transcendent and sovereign God to whom all glory belongs. “All” is the operative word because he “alone” is the “central One.” “He alone is the Lord” who made all things (Neh.9:6). As heaven sings, “You alone are holy” (Rev.15:4). “There is no one holy like the Lord, there is no one besides you” (1Sam.2:2). “No one is good, except God alone” (Lk.18:19). We see then that God is not like a human benefactor or a human savior – he is not like us at all. Self-centeredness is an ugly human trait, but God is not human. While we may be tempted to think that we are the “center” of God’s life (as modern doting parents aptly illustrate), God loves for his own sake, as the exclusively holy Being in the universe, rightly maintaining himself as the center of his actions. This does not detract from our feelings of being loved and cared for by God, it only helps us to retain God as the center and the exclusive purpose for all of his divine actions. We will after all worship him for saving us not with inflated chests, but “to the praise of his glorious grace” (Eph.1:6). So then: “To the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen” (Jude 25).
Horrific acts of violence and persecution toward Christians in the Middle East have been filling the news headlines. Extraordinary testimonies have demonstrated the courage of these men and women who are being called upon to pay the ultimate price for following Jesus Christ. We are living in a time when real faith—ambitious faith—is absolutely vital. We marvel at these modern-day martyrs, yet the Bible proclaims that each of us can have this kind of faith as followers of Christ.
For a gift of any amount, we’d like to send you a classic book that has inspired and strengthened many followers of Jesus over the years. Fox’s Book of Martyrs tells the dramatic, true stories of men, women, and children who, in the face of indescribable persecution, gave their lives for the sake of Christ. From the Apostles of the first century to the beginning of our American foreign missions, this book illustrates the kind of faith that commits itself utterly to the Lord Jesus Christ. It’s a timely resource for encouraging you today.
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