God Saves For His Glory
This is not an isolated incident, we see this in the Old Testament also. In Isaiah 41 the people are turning against God, it tells us they are turning to idols. The last verse of ch. 41 summarizes what God thinks of those idols, he says in v. 29, “Behold, they are all a delusion; their works are nothing; their metal images are empty wind.” So what does God do? What is his plan? He says in Isaiah 42:6-7 – “I called you, I will take you by the hand and keep you, I will give you as a covenant for the people, a light for the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness.” He says, I will redeem you, I will keep you, I will uphold you. I will not allow you to give into idols, I will open the eyes of the blind, I will not allow you to fall prey to the lies of the world. Why? What is the purpose? v. 8. “I am the LORD (YAHWEH) my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols.” I’m doing it for my GLORY, I am doing it for my praise! I do it for me! I deserve and will be praised and glorified. He saves, he upholds for His glory, because he deserves to be praised.
God redeems us for his glory. The problem is we make it all about us. It is a problem when Christianity is about God serving us, making us feel good, helping us to achieve our goals, comforting us when we need it. Me, me, me, I, I, I, now, now, now. God has become our divine butler, there for us to call when we need someone to come and serve us. The Bible has a radical different view of our purpose in life. It is to glorify God! It is not me, me, me. It is God, God, God, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, praise him, serve him, glorify him.
How do we fall Short?
So how do we fall short of his glory? I get how we can fall short of his standards
or his law, but how do we fall short of his glory and why is it a big deal? If we can answer those two questions, it can
really help us understand why this is such a big deal. It goes all the way back to the
beginning. In Genesis 1 Yahweh is making
the heavens and the earth and he makes the sun, and land and oceans and the
animals to fill them and then on day 6 he says he is going to make man and he says
this. Genesis 1:26, “Then God
said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” then in verse 27, “So God
created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.”
I grew up in Nashville, TN area and it has a full size replica of the Parthenon. We went there on a field trip and it is a spectacular building. It is enormous and beautiful and it is incredible to think that the Greeks built it in the 5th cent B.C. Inside this massive building is a 40ft statue of Athena. This statue is so detailed and magnificent. But statues in temples were common and expected back then. You would go to the temple to worship that deity and you would see an image or representation of that deity there in the temple. People wanted to know what their god was like, what they looked like, what details they could make out, so the idol was an important part of the temple.
In the Parthenon Athena was covered in gold so they knew she was very valuable and precious as a goddess, she wasn’t some 2nd tier deity. She had a shield so she was there to defend Athens, she had a spear so she was there to fight for them, she was holding a 5 ft statue of the goddess Nike in her hand, the goddess of victory, to show she would always come out victorious. They would look at the statue and know about their god and what she was like.
In Hebrew the word for idol or image is salem. And this is the exact word used in Genesis 1:26-27. God said let us make man in our salem, so God created man in his own salem. God did not wanted an image made out of stone or wood to represent who he was and what he is like. God put his image inside each one of us. We are supposed to represent God to the world. We are supposed to reflect his likeness, reflect his glory. And this is the problem of sin, when we sin we are failing at the most fundamental level of what it means to be human. We are not reflecting his glory. This is huge.
If you ask most people what is the problem with sin, they would say it is bad, it goes against the Bible, it keeps us from heaven, it hurts our relationship with God, it makes us sinners. But we never say it keeps us from reflecting His glory. At the very core of who we are is to reflect God’s glory. This is your main purpose in life.