Have you ever pondered this? If someone asked you this question, what would you answer? Why did God go through all that he did in order to redeem you? Why did he send his only Son? Why did the Son undergo all that he did? What motivated him?
Well, the most obvious answer is something like “love,” or “mercy” or “compassion.” And that’s not a bad or wrong answer. After all, the most famous verse of the Bible tells us that the reason why God sent his only Son was because of his love for us. His word tells us that he doesn’t want anyone to perish, but for all to come to repentance. Why? Because he knows exactly how bad Hell really will be.
But I think there’s another answer to that question which most believers never consider.
It’s the natural bent of mankind, and especially in this me-centered culture, to either tacitly or explicitly act as if “it’s all about me.” We live in a free market system which caters to our every need or desire, and that’s not a terrible thing in itself. But I really believe we need some correction on this.
It’s not all about me. Or you.
I try to be open to different methods of sharing the Good News with people who need Jesus. The Prodigal Son in Jesus’ story didn’t come back to his father out of some high-minded motives. He came back because he was hungry. And I don’t think it’s wrong to appeal to people’s self-interest in presenting their need for Christ.
But as we mature, spiritually and in other ways, we learn that it’s not all about me. Yes, God loves me and doesn’t want me to spend eternity in Hell. But is that the only—or even primary—reason why he saved me?
Look at verse 25 in today’s passage. Why exactly does he say here that he’s going to save Israel? Because of their innate goodness? Because they deserve it? Oh please. Or maybe it was because he was feeling sorry for them and didn’t want to see them suffer, as well-deserving as they were? There are other passages in which he talks about that motivation, but not here.
No, he said that he was going to blot out their transgression and forgive them for his own sake. What does that mean? Well, that means that it was for his own benefit in some form or fashion. What could he gain from our salvation? Our benefit is pretty obvious, but what does he get out of it?
In a word: Glory. Or here’s two: Honor. When we get up to Heaven, each one of us will be an everlasting “trophy,” an eternal testimony to how powerful and gracious and merciful and patient and loving he is. We'll sing about his wonderful and wondrous salvation, but our entire being will be a forever song to add to the choir that surrounds his throne.
He didn’t have to, you know. He'll also get glory from his judgment. If he wants to, he'll be able to point to every person in Hell and say “THAT’S how much I hate sin. THAT shows how holy and righteous I am.” But he's also chosen to glorify his Name by redeeming lost sinners. He'll be able to point to me and say “THAT”S how merciful and full of grace I am.”
So how does this affect me in the here and now? Well, first and foremost we need a reminder every now and again (or maybe oftener) about whom this is really all about. I wasn't saved primarily for my own sake. All honor and glory and praise and thanksgiving belongs to him.
Father, what else can I say? I think I’ll imitate Job for a while.