There are many who feel that Salvation is just about God loving them and nothing more. Well, God loves His people, I agree but when people think of their “Christ given Salvation” purely as a reason to love and pamper themselves all the more, it makes me feel like I smell a rat. I have heard people pitch the Gospel saying to just about anyone that “God values them so much that He offered His Son to die in place of them and some go to the extent of adding that God loves you more than Jesus”. Well I don’t question the Salvation of such people because that is between them and God but I do question their knowledge of scripture.
Do you know what was foreordained that the people of God would carry with them? They carry His Name!
Numbers 6:27 (Old Testament)
“So shall they put my name upon the people of Israel, and I will bless them.”
John 17:12 (New Testament)
While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.
Now these are only a few scripture among many to show you that the people of God carry with them the name of God. You must understand now that any harm that comes against the people of God or anything that soils God’s own people, this comes against God Himself and God therefore acts against that primarily because it tarnishes His Name, which His people bear.
“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 the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations to which you came.
If the above scripture makes you feel less important than God, then I have hit the nail on the head. God wants us to love Him more than we individually love ourselves and it is in this light that we need to look at the scripture below.
And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life.
“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake.
And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another.
And you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.
Mat 19:29, shows us what kind of love God is asking from us, for those who like to loll and lavish in God’s love I wonder how they will do if they are exposed to the test of Mat 24:9-10. Human nature is such that it likes flattery and we like to get mushy with people who we feel are honestly appreciating us, the funny thing is, we want that even from God and His Gospel too. God has no reason to flatter man and the Gospel seen in the right light is God centered, not man centered. I am a little cautious when I come across people who say they are lavishing in their blessing, because though I don’t question their salvation, I don’t exactly agree with their picture of God. I feel people like these will only see God as He is, when they get over themselves.
From the scripture I have shown you, are you able to tell that God loves Himself more than He loves man? Do you think I am blaspheming? Well if I was blaspheming, I would be blaspheming you not God because I am showing God in His exalted state and you and me in our pitiful state.
“Now I will arise,” says the LORD, “now I will lift myself up; now I will be exalted.
So I will show my greatness and my holiness and make myself known in the eyes of many nations. Then they will know that I am the LORD.
From the above two scriptures, would you see God tolerating such statements if it came from men? A few of the many examples showing God punishing man’s pride and any form of man’s self exaltation are mentioned below. Yet we see God making these same statements Himself
12 So it will be that when the Lord has completed all His work on Mount Zion and on Jerusalem, He will say, “I will punish the fruit of the arrogant heart of the king of Assyria and the pomp of his haughtiness.”
29 “We have heard of the pride of Moab–he is very proud– Of his haughtiness, his pride, his arrogance and his self-exaltation.
If you say that God has every right to exalt himself then I too will agree, so considering the facts that God exalts Himself and expects His people to love Him more than they love themselves, then can we not safely conclude that God loves Himself beyond everything, especially when you consider the extent He goes to for His own namesake?
Frankly, I am not being Galileo in 1611 telling you that the world is round. The idea of a Sovereign, Almighty and All-Sufficient God, my dear friend is what the believing Church has held on to right from the beginning.
We therefore need to remember that unlike the world religions where it is the people themselves who are highlighted by their religious works more than their god/gods, we Christians are called to know that we are a God centered people, where we don’t even matter and our Salvation and Perseverance is assured only because He chose us as a people before the foundation of the world to glorify His name.
Say also: “Save us, O God of our salvation, and gather and deliver us from among the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name and glory in your praise.
For the LORD will not forsake his people, for his great name’s sake, because it has pleased the LORD to make you a people for himself.
But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,
who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
So remember the next time you worship, it is not about you or me, it all about God: Father, Son and Spirit.
But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.