It's All About God's Glory
Reading: Ezekiel 33-36
As is our nature, we believe that just about everything is all about us. To some extent that is true.
Take, for example, this Biblical truth: Jesus died for our sins.
That truth is certainly about us. Anyone who has had much experience with the church has memorized these famous lines: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16, NV).
God loves. He gives. He saves. That’s about us.
But there is another factor here that comes into play.
Behind the loving, the giving, the saving, is the glory of God. When the cycle of sin began in the Garden of Eden, God’s reputation was damaged. It wasn’t that He couldn’t have kept His Creation on the “straight and narrow.” He chose to give man the right to choose. But giving man that right to choose has always been viewed as a weakness in God. If He is God, He NEEDS to make people do what HE wants them to do. Otherwise, how can we be sure the He really has the power and authority that makes Him God?
But God doesn’t look for love on demand or obedience by force. That proves nothing. So He allowed Himself to be viewed as weak in order to give us the opportunity to choose to love Him, to determine to obey Him.
God could have chosen to abandon the Human Project after that first sin, or all the sin that followed it. But He was not willing to allow Satan to do a “nah-ne-nah-ne-boo-boo.” His reputation was, and is, at stake when His Creation refuses to pay Him heed, and walks away from Him. To simply punish that Creation may prove His power, but it doesn’t fully demonstrate His love, or restore His honour. To correct and to restore brings ultimate glory to God.
And that’s the bottom line for God. It’s not as much about us as it is about His glory.
Ezekiel quotes the Lord when he delivers this message to a wayward Israel: “I have concern for my holy name, which the house of Israel profaned among the nations where they had gone. Therefore say to the House of Israel, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am going to do these things, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you have gone. I will show the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, that name you have profaned among them. Then the nations will know that I am the Lord, declares the Sovereign Lord, when I show myself holy through you before their eyes. For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you. I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and you will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws…I want you to know that I am not doing this for your sake, declares the Sovereign Lord’” (Ezekiel 36:21-27, 32, NIV).
The whole salvation package is opened up for us in these verses. Though they refer specifically to what God was doing for Israel, they reach past that reality into the future—into our present reality. Yes, Jesus came to offer Himself as the payment required to forgive our sins and secure for us the place in God’s family that we had thrown away. But more than that, He came to restore God’s reputation and bring glory to His name by demonstrating that the Almighty has the love and the power to take back what Satan and sin stole from Him.
The battle for the soul is indeed a heavenly one between forces that we aren’t always aware of. But when God wins, and His glory is restored when a sinner encounters the Saviour, we remember just how much we’ve won—even without fighting the battle.