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Chapter Fourteen Applying the Biblical Doctrine of Gods Glory to Your Mind In closing this chapter on the theology

of double-predestination, I thought it wise to give some points of application to help you think biblically regarding Gods glory. In my equation the difficulty that comes in receiving the truth of double-predestination rests on the difficulty of not comprehending Gods glory properly and biblically. Once this truth shifts into focus and becomes clear to your heart, double-predestination will not so much of a problem to your mind. Charles Spurgeon once preached, We are often in the dark, and puzzled about difficulties, but do you know half the difficulties in the Bible spring from a cold state of mind: but when the heart gets right, the head seems to get right too, in great measure.1 So let me suggest a few lines of thought that have been extremely helpful to me as I have rejected and wrestled with and accepted this particular truth before. Now, I want you to know that Im being totally up front with you about why Im suggesting these things. I figure that if you can begin to develop this category in your heart called God-centeredness, and if you can begin to connect your salvation with God-centeredness, then the horrific side of doublepredestination will make the merciful side more glorious to you. After all, this is the very purpose of it as Paul explains it in Romans 9:22-23. 1. Realize that it was Gods Glory and Gods Name that Drove Him to Act Throughout Israels History. First, take a little survey through the Old Testament and youll find that Gods glory and Gods name has always been at the heart of every act of redemption for Israel throughout its history. Starting with the days of Israels first king, the prophet says, For the Lord will not abandon His people on account of His great name, because the Lord has been pleased to make you a people for Himself. David repeated this theme often in the Psalms. For Your names sake, O Lord, pardon my iniquity, for it is great (25:11). For You are my rock and my fortress; for Your names sake You will lead me and guide me (31:3). Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of Your Name; deliver us, and atone for our sins, for your names sake! (79:9). Nevertheless He saved them for the sake of His name, that

Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, vol. 12, Sermon #716, p. 731. In The Charles H. Spurgeon Library, Version 1 (Rio, WI: Ages Software, 1999).

He might make His power known (106:8, cf. vv. 6-12). But You, O God, the Lord, deal kindly with me for Your Names sake; because your lovingkindness is good, deliver me 109:21). The prophet Isaiah has this theme as the center of his heart. It shows clearly in his prophecies. For out of Jerusalem shall go forth a remnant, and out of Mount Zion survivors. The zeal of the Lord of hosts shall perform thisFor I will defend this city to save it for My own sake (35:32, 35). I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgression for My own sake (43:25). For the sake of My Name I delay My wrath, and for My praise I restrain it for you, in order not to cut you offFor My own sake, for My own sake, I will act; for how can My Name be profaned? And My glory I will not give to another (48:9, 11). The other major prophets continue to resound this theme. Jeremiah prayed, Although our iniquities testify against us, O Lord, act for Your Names sake! (14:7). And Ezekiel records the following words from Gods mouth: But I acted for the sake of My Name, that it should not be profaned in the sight of the nations among whom they lived, in whose sight I made Myself known to them by bringing them out of the land of EgyptBut I acted for the sake of My Name, that it should not be profaned in the sight of the nations, before whose sight I had brought them outBut I withdrew My hand and acted for the sake of My Name, that it should not be profaned in the sight of the nations in whose sight I had brought them outThen you will know that I have dealt with you for My Names sake, not according to your evil ways or according to your corrupt deeds, O house of Israel (20:9,14,22,44, emphasis added). Therefore, say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord God, It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for My holy name, which you have profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst. Then the nations will know that I am the Lord, declares the Lord God, when I prove Myself holy among you in their sight I am not doing this for your sake, declares the Lord God, let it be known to you. Be ashamed and confounded for your ways, O house of Israel! (36:2223, 32, emphasis added).

Finally, Daniel prays the following prayer to the sovereign Lord, making Gods glory the basis and foundation for his prayer: So now, our God, listen to the prayer of Your servant and to his supplications, and for Your sake, O Lord, let Your face shine on Your desolate sanctuary. Open Your eyes and see our desolations and the city which is called by Your Name; for we are not presenting our supplications before You in account of any merits of our own, but on account of Your great compassion. O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and take action! For Your own sake, O my God, do not delay, because Your city and Your people are called by Your name (9:17-19, emphasis added). 2. Centralize Gods Glory in Your Heart as the Sole Motivation Behind His Saving You and Establishing the Church of Christ. The main text for this grounds is found in Ephesians 1:3-14. It is one of the most magnificent and beautiful texts in all of Scripture, even though Paul would have failed an English grammar course for his run-on sentences! In that passage He expounds eleven actions that God alone performs with regard to our salvation. Notice the part God plays in this passage (noted by the italics). 1. the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christhas blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ (v. 3). 2. He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world (v. 4) 3. He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself (v. 5). 4. He freely bestowed [His glorious grace] on us in the Beloved. (v. 6) 5. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses (v. 7) 6. He lavished [the riches of His grace] upon us. (v.8) 7. He made known to us the mystery of His will (v. 9) 8. In Him we have obtained an inheritance (v. 11). 9. In Himhaving been predestined according to His purpose (vv. 11,12). 10. In Him, youalso believed (v. 13). 11. You were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise (v. 13).

Paul then goes on to explain within those verses the highest standard by which God performed these actions in our salvation. Those standards of his sovereign freedom and sheer pleasure. Paul defines it with the phrase in verse 5, according to the kind intention of His will (cf. vv. 9, 11). Now the English phrase according to is a Greek prepositional phrase (followed by an accusative clause, for you Greek students). This means that in the context, the entire phrase is one of standard, rule, or measure. The conclusion is that salvation was performed according to the standard of the kind intention or pleasure of Gods will. But what is that? Behind the English phrase the kind intention is the Greek word eudokian (pronounced, you-doh-kee-an), which simply means good will, favor, desire, pleasure, purpose, or choice.2 The word simply refers to something that pleases someone. I am pleased by the color hunter green, for some odd reason. I am attracted to instrumental guitar music while I am writing, and I cant explain why. The same can be said of God, except in a higher way. The idea of electing me pleased Him for some odd reason which I cannot explain. The funny thing is, God doesnt explain it either. He doesnt give us a clue as to why He is pleased to elect me or you. The Bible just tells us that doing so glorifies Him, but it doesnt tell us why. Probably the best definition which links Gods glory with His sovereignty in this matter of salvation is as follows: that which is desired on the basis of its appearing to be beneficial.3 In other words, God desired to save us because it would be beneficial to His glory. Then there is another Greek dictionary that defines the phrase as satisfaction or approval.4 Thus, in saving man God could thereby satisfy His glory. To sum it up, one scholar has written, The election and predestination is Gods absolute act of free love grounded totally in Himself; nothing apart from Him gave His will its direction.5 Now Paul explains that this pleasure to elect, predestine, choose and adopt certain persons is done out of the kind intention of his will. The Greek phrase behind the English is so important that it occurs three
2 3

UBS Dictionary, eudoki,a, #2665. (Louw-Nida, 2821:25.8).

LIdell-Scott insert proper footnote.


The New Linguistic and Exegetical Key to the Greek New Testament, by Cleon L. Rogers and Cleon L. Rogers, Jr. (City, State: Publishing, copyright), p. 434.

separate times in Ephesians 1 alone (verses?). Why? Because the will of God is central to all that God does. He does it for Himself, and Himself alone. Finally, the chief end for which God performed these actions in our salvation is His own glory. I spoke to this in the introduction. This is what Paul goes on to explain in verse 6 of chapter 1: to the praise of the glory of His grace, a phrase that also occurs in verses 12, 14, and is explained in 19-23. The immediate context and other biblical theology seems to argue that the Greek phrase behind our English is an accusative of purpose.6 First the context begins with a reference to the action that occurred before the foundation of the world (v. 4), namely that of being chosen (v. 4), and predestined (v. 5). Second, the flow of logic clearly implies that since all of this took place before the foundation of the world, it was then that these things were purposed in the mind of God. Therefore, the syntax of verse 6 speaks to the purpose of Gods choosing, predestinating and adopting us in order that His glory may be displayed and that He by displaying His grace may be glorified. By way of comparison, consider the lyrical announcement of the birth of Christ by the angels in Luke 2:14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is well pleased. Note the order of the announcement. Jesus was born, the baby was in a manger in a Bethlehem stable, but the response of the angelic host is Glory to God in the highest and only after that peace among men. Martyn Lloyd-Jones commented regarding this phrase, The moment salvation is mentioned it is the glory of God that is most prominent7 In Conclusion Now to summarize these first two points, let me say that we must accept the truth that Gods glory was not at stake before He created man. In other words, we dont need to think that God created us and the world because His glory was in jeopardy or somehow lacking. This is such a fundamental presupposition that many Christians surprisingly do not begin with when it comes to thinking about God. In fact, most have never even thought of such a concept. Thats because were too mancentered.

eivj e;painon do,xhj th/j ca,ritoj auvtou Ephesians, Volume 1 (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1978), p. 132. Also compare with 2 Corinthians 4:6.

God was perfectly happy in all His glory before creating man. Therefore, it is not theologically proper to say or think that God created the world for us. Rather, as the Greek text indicates in Ephesians 1:5, the standard or rule or measure by which He did so was His own prerogative. That is, He created the world and man because simply because He wanted to. And this want to is driven by His desire to glorify Himself. It was Gods glory that caused Him to desire to create us and the world. Once He did create, He created a race of men that would always fall short of Him and the glory that is due to Him. Why then would a God create a race of men who would end up disgracing Him and trashing His glory? Eph. 1:5 gives us both the reason for His creation and the reason for His saving some of His creation because it pleased Him to do so. The NAS phrases it better, referring to Gods pleasure and kind intention. This is what makes God so blessed and beautiful to us, that He would first decide to create a race that turned against their Creator, and second decide to turn to that degenerate race and save some of them. And the only explanation we have for it all is that God simply desired to do it. Now we stand in awe of His glorious grace! Before time began, God purposed to do these things because He simply wanted to do it. And He did it because He loved us. And He loved us because in so doing it glorified Him. Gods love is expressed in His blessing us, choosing us, predestinating us, adopting us, redeeming us, forgiving us, enlightening us, and sealing us, according to Ephesians 1. And this love that He shows to us is expressly for the purpose of glorifying Him and praising Him! And this purpose is accomplished according to His sovereign freedom. His sovereign freedom to save is not grounded or founded in anyway in the will of man (John 1:13; Rom. 9:11). Nothing apart from God gives God any direction for His decisions or actions. Thus, it is a necessary and inseparable part of the glory of God to save! He is a saving God because the act of His grace expressed in salvation is what gives Him glory. This was the very grounds of Daniels plea go God to save Jerusalem from further ruin: on account of Your great compassion. O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and take action! For Your own sake, O my God, do not delay (Daniel 9:19, emphasis added). Further, because His glory drives everything He does, God is sovereignly free to save based on what will give Him the most glory, be most beneficial to His glory, and satisfy His glory. This necessarily

means that Gods acts of salvation may be freely given to whomever God freely chooses. So it does not necessarily flow that just because God is glorified by saving man that He is most glorified by saving all men. If God were obligated, He would not be sovereign or free. And if He were not sovereign or free then He could not glorify Himself. And if He could not glorify Himself He would not be God. Gods sovereign activity is the means by which He glorifies Himself. Therefore, God glorifies Himself when He acts in free sovereignty. That is, He sovereignly acts all the time in a way that glorifies Himself. This answers the following questions for us that may come to mind from Scripture. Answer these questions. Why did God choose to act by creating a people for Himself in the first place? Isaiah 43:7 I created [them] for my glory. Why did God raise up Pharaoh and then harden his heart and deliver Israel with a mighty arm? Exodus 9:16 But, indeed, for this cause I have allowed you to remain, in order to show you My power, and in order to proclaim My name through all the earth. Exodus 14:4 Thus I will harden Pharaohs heart, and he will chase after them; and I will be honored through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord. Why did God spare rebellious Israelites in the wilderness only to finally bring them into the promised land? I acted for the sake of my name, that it should not be profaned in the sight of the nations (Ezekiel 20:14). Why did God not ultimately forsake Israel when they rejected Him and chosen a human king instead? The Lord will not forsake his people, for his great names sake (1 Sam. 12:22). Why did He make from one lump of clay some vessels of honor and some vessels of dishonor? What if Goddid so in order that He might make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory (Romans 9:2223). Why does He continue to show mercy to sinful people? o Because He is glorified when He sovereignly and freely acts in mercy and compassion. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion (Exodus 33:19). So then it

does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercyHe has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires (Romans 9:16,18). o Because those who have received mercy will in turn glorify Him. But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for Gods own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness and into His marvelous light; for you once were not a people; but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy (1 Peter 2:9-10). Why did the Father send His Son Jesus Christ to Israel? To conform the promises given to the patriarchs, and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy (Romans 15:8-9). Why did Jesus Christ come to His final hour of death? For this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name (John 12:27-28). Applying the Doctrine of Gods Glory to Your Mind To conclude this chapter, lets take the truths we just discovered and apply them to our minds to help connect the God-centeredness in our hearts to our intellects. Allow me to offer several avenues of applying this doctrine of Gods glory. They will be of tremendous value when forming and shaping that category of mystery I introduced to you at the beginning of part three. First, the doctrine of Gods glory and sovereignty must change the way we think about God. We must begin to think about God the way God thinks about Himself. We must begin to think of Gods glory as the foundation for all that we do. Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:33). Second, to truly worship God is to be truly committed to what He Himself is committed to. If His most fundamental allegiance is to His own glory, what is ours to be? If He is committed to being God before He is committed to being anything else, what is our commitment toward Him whom we say we love? To give God what God gives Himself is to worship Him. God worships Himself by working sovereignly and freely to glorify Himself. We ought also to do the same. But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers shall

worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers (John 4:23). Third, to truly glorify God is to praise His glorious grace (Eph. 1:5). I have found among those who consider themselves anticalvinists the seeming unwillingness or inability to simply give God the glory for the amazing grace that saved them. Instead there is a stinky attitude towards those who believe He didnt give that grace to all. If its too hard for you to comprehend, why fight over it? Why not just praise God for the glorious grace He has shown to you, rather than argue and bicker and quarrel over whether or not He has or has not shown it to all? At least rejoice that you have it. Listen to one Puritan who put it well with some rather choice words. It is the duty of all the elect to praise, admire, and highly esteem this glorious grace, and to testify this their high esteem of it both by word and work, in the whole strain of their life and conversation. This grace is so glorious and praiseworthy in itself, so rich and beneficial towards us, and this duty of praise is all that we can bestow (Psa. 106:12,13). God calls for this from us in way of thankfulness for this his glorious grace (Psa. 50:15). Seeing that God in election did propound to himself the up-stirring of the elect to praise the glory of his grace, it must needs be their duty to praise it.8 Fourth, we must stake and root our prayers for anything and everything we ask in Gods love for His glory. In whatever we ask from God, we must make our case before Him based on the grounds that we desire Him to act for His own names sake (Jeremiah 14:7; Psalm 25:11; 31:3; 79:9; 109:21; 115:1). When we begin our prayers, Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be Your name, this is really a petition for God glorify Himself as God. Fifth, let me continue this focus of Gods glorious grace as it relates to those who are predestined for eternal life. If Gods love for His glory is the foundation of His love for His people, then the earthly and eternal security of His people is immutable. Returning to John Pipers ability to word these truths so well, he has written, Gods love for the glory of His own name is the spring of free grace and the rock of our security.9 Further, if God eternally loves His glory above all else, and if His love for us is eternally fixed in His glorifying Himself, then He will never
8 9

James Ferguson, An Exposition of the Epistles of Paul, p. 124. Piper, Brothers, p. 8.

treat us in a way that puts His glory at stake. To be immutably committed to Himself is to be immutably committed to His own. To forsake His own, He would have to forsake Himself. And since it is impossible for Him to do the one, it is also impossible for Him to do the latter. Therefore, God saves His own for His own sake. He predestinates, regenerates, justifies, forgives, calls, protects, guides and resurrects to eternal life His people so that He will be glorified. Sixth, understand that Gods grace is given to people because it glorifies Him. As we have already discovered, that is the only reason He shows grace to anyone. This means that salvation is about God and not about us. Salvation has nothing to do with man and has everything to do with God. If you are truly saved, then you must live according to the truth that Gods act of saving you was begun and will be accomplished for the sole purpose of seeing that His name is magnified and glorified throughout the universe. Salvation is not about making you feel better about your self and your life and your marriage. It is not about making things go smoother for you. It is not about getting a place in heaven and escape the judgment of hell. It is not about acquiring a happy plan for your life. All of these are truths, but they are only by-products or fruits or benefits that come from Gods using you to glorify Himself. He glorifies Himself by saving us and being kind to us. And the things we enjoy and experience are fruits of His kindness. But we must not confuse the aim and experience of our Christian life with those fruits of it, at the expense of an enjoyment of what God enjoys namely, His glory! Seventh, based on this doctrine of Gods glory we must come to think of sin and salvation in greater terms than we presently do. At present we tend to think of sin as a certain action that is wrong, and admitting what we have done wrong means bearing the consequences for it. But while this is true, it is not a complete picture. For when sin is compared to the glory of God which is part of the essence of God sin is actually not giving God the glory that is due to Him. Sin is actually the highest form of treason that any person could ever commit. Viewed in this light, sin is no longer thought of in terms of singular actions we commit, but rather a larger, overall, massive problem. Now parallel this with salvation as a manifestation of Gods glory. Martyn Lloyd-Jones explains that salvation is not just, deliverance from particular sins, or even from condemnation. It includes that, of course, but the chief thing about it is that the glory of God has been revealed to us through it, the glory of His love and grace that have embraced us where we were. Our thinking about salvation

should always, primarily, be in terms of the glory of God. On scriptural grounds this must be our chief criticism of all evangelism that simply emphasizes the great benefits which we receive, and our deliverance in various aspects, and which never mentions the glory of God which is revealed in all this. We must emphasize that our salvation is the greatest and highest manifestation of the glory of God.10 If you make these truths central to your thinking and feeling everyday, you will begin to build this God-centered category in your life. As this category begins to take shape, continue to worship Him as He has revealed Himself in Scripture, always remembering in mind and bowing the heart to His free sovereignty to do whatever He is pleased to do in order to glorify Himself. Conclusion Part of what He has done is to mercifully save you by grace through faith that He has provided to you. He has opened up heavens treasure chest and dumped it on top of you! And when you get a hold of the fact that this mercy was immense and free, massive and sovereign, then you will be able to understand one of Gods purposes for the nonelect as taught in Romans 9:22-23. You will remember the non-elect who died without grace and have and answer to the question Paul asked there. What if God, desiring to show his wrath and make known his power, has endured with much patience the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared for glory? As a final challenge I leave you with this thought from John Piper. Now here is a closing test to see if you have penetrated to the essence of Gods merciful God-centeredness. Ask yourself Do you feel most loved by God because He makes much of you, or because He frees you to enjoy making much of Him forever? This is the test of whether our craving for the love of God is a craving for the bloodbought, Spirit-wrought capacity to see and glorify God by enjoying Him forever, or whether it is a craving for Him to make us the center and give us the pleasures of esteeming

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Ephesians, p. 132.

ourselves. Who, in the end, is the all-satisfying Treasure that we are given by the love of God: self or God?11 I humbly yet sincerely believe that how you answer this challenge will largely, if not completely, determine if and how you accept the doctrine of double-predestination as presented in this book.

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Piper, Brothers, p. 16.