Why did God create the heavens and the earth? Why did God create men and women? What is His ultimate goal in all that He has made?
Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth! Psalm 46:10
We love the personal benefits of, “Be still, and know that I am God,” but we consciously or unconsciously disconnect that truth from its global implications and develop an evangelical theology that places man at the centre and neglects God’s purpose in the world.
Our lives tend to reflect a belief that God’s global priority is to make His disciples more comfortable. I do believe that God desires to bless us and that God’s desire to bless His people is a major theme of the Bible. But if we focus on the theme of blessing alone, we distort the truth and lose the context in which God’s blessings are given.
God’s global purpose as expounded in His Word, is His desire to redeem mankind, the nations, to Himself. It involves the active pursuit of worshippers from all the peoples of the earth who will give Him the glory. God’s blessings and His global purpose are beautifully woven together in the Bible.
“Oh, sing to the Lord a new song!
Sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Sing to the Lord, bless His name;
Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day.
Declare His glory among the nations,
His wonders among all peoples.
For the Lord is great and greatly to be praised;
He is to be feared above all gods.” Psalm 96:1-4
God is jealous for His name and for His glory. We were created to be the
image-bearers of God, to reflect and manifest His glory in the world (Genesis 1:26–28; Isaiah 43:7)
To the Glory of God the Father
Phrases like “for the glory of God” are not religious tack-on phrases, phrases like this are not to give emphasis to the main point––they are the main point.
“Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is glorified, and God is glorified in Him. If God is glorified in Him, God will also glorify Him in Himself, and glorify Him immediately.” John 13:31-32
“Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour. Father, glorify Your name.” John 12:27
“Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:9-11
Do It All for the Glory of God
“For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” 1 Corinthians 6:20 Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31
If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen” 1 Peter 4:11
“Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.” 1 Peter 4:16
“This He (Jesus) spoke (to Peter), signifying by what death he would glorify God.” John 21:19a
God’s passion for His own glory does not lessen the fact that He loves us; in fact, it strengthens the concept of His love for us. God’s passion for His name should be our central motivation for world evangelisation. God is not receiving the worship that is due His name; therefore, God is calling out worshippers from among the nations, and He’s doing it through the witness of the church. Every church and every follower of Jesus Christ is called to participate in this global activity.
Pastor and author John Piper sets out a challenge for us in his book “Let the Nations Be Glad”. Let us take up the challenge.
“God is pursuing with omnipotent passion a worldwide purpose of gathering joyful worshippers for Himself from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. He has an inexhaustible enthusiasm for the supremacy of His name among the nations. Therefore, let us bring our affections into line with His, and, for the sake of His name, let us renounce the quest for worldly comforts, and join His global purpose.”