Wednesday, July 31, 2013

why God saves

I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins. 

Isaiah 43:25

There is a rather incorrect theology floating around in the evangelical church that doesn't fully represent the gospel. The corruption of God's love looks something like this: "God loves you SO MUCH, that if you were the only person who ever sinned, Jesus would have died for you." It wants to emphasize our "special" nature to God. But I am afraid it misses exactly why God saves anyone at all. It puts a sinful focus upon ourselves.

God told a sin-filled Israel that He saved them not because they were so lovable, but because He was so holy and active on their part. He saved them for His sake. And in this passage God shines the spotlight on Himself in at least three clear, undeniable ways. First, there is an emphatic "I" at the beginning: "I, I am he". There is no doubt that God alone does the transaction of forgiving sin. Secondly, God blots out sin "for my own sake". He has His interests and glory in mind... not our own exclusively. Thirdly, God chooses not to remember sins because the offense is against Him. Only He can forgive. We do nothing. This is important to remember: We would have no salvation if God did not save us exclusively for HIS glory.

So what started this selfish man-centered, misdirected evangelism we sometimes see today? I think evangelicals were eager for a response. And appealling to our "felt need" for love and acceptance was one way to soften the scandal of the cross where a wrathful God sent His Son to die for filthy sinners. The truth is, our sins offend a holy God. Yes, He does indeed love the world. Yes, He sent His Son to die for our sins. But it is all so that we can worship Him and He did it to bring glory for His own sake. That is the salvation that we have. It helps us humbly see ourselves and rightly see our God Who is mighty to save. Yes, you do matter to God, but not more than His own glory. He saves people FOR HIS GLORY, not for theirs.

No comments: