Theology

God’s Glory Is United with Love, Not Selfishness

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Author Amy K. Hall Published on 02/19/2016

Christopher Morgan, co-editor of The Glory of God, gave a fantastic response in a recent interview to the question “If God’s ultimate purpose is to glorify himself, does that mean God is selfish?”

The bare response [that “good behavior seeks the highest end, so God making himself his own ultimate end is appropriate”] understates God’s genuine desire for the good of his creatures, and it fails to show how God’s love and his glory are united. Passages like Ephesians 1:3-14 and 2:1-10 showcase how God saves us out of love, displays his kindness toward us for all eternity, and is glorified through the entire display. Indeed, as we appropriately highlight the God-centeredness of God, we should stress the self-exalting God is also self-giving. As both self-exalting and self-giving, God saves us for his glory and our good. He gives himself to us, which simultaneously meets our needs and demonstrates his sufficiency. Thus, his love and glory cohere.

That God is simultaneously self-giving and self-exalting is also displayed in the mutual glorification of the persons of the Trinity. The glorious Father sends the glorious Son, who voluntarily humbles himself and glorifies the Father through his incarnation, obedient life, and substitutionary death (Phil. 2:5-11; cf. John 1:18; 6, 7:18; 10:1-30; 14:13; 17). In response the Father glorifies the Son, resurrecting him from the dead and exalting him to the highest place (Acts 3:13-15; Rom. 6:4; Phil. 2:9-11). The Father sends the glorious Spirit who glorifies the Son (John 16:14). And this all takes place to the glory of the Father (Phil. 2:11).

Each member of the Trinity gives to the others as a display of love and as a way of accomplishing cosmic redemption...

Does any of this sound selfish? Not at all! The Father is out to bless the Son, and the Son is out to bless the Father! The mutuality and reciprocating love of God displayed within the Trinity flows outward even to bless us. Through union with Christ, we are recipients of God’s love and his manifold blessings, including forgiveness of our sins, adoption into his family, and final glorification (17:22). And because it is God who accomplishes all of this, it is for his glory, and it is for our good.

It’s the Trinitarian nature of God that makes all the difference here. Read the rest of the interview.

(HT: Keith Plummer)