WHAT DOES THE BIBLE TEACH?
GOD'S GLORY AND GOD'S LOVE

             Many people have a hard time understanding how God's passion for His glory and God's love for us are in unity. For example, if I went around trying to show everyone how glorious and amazing I am, nobody would call that "love." This article demonstrates how God is the only one who can behave like this, and it would be the very definition of "love."

Question: What is the most loving thing that God can do for us?
Answer: The most loving thing God can do for us is to allow us to see His glory and enjoy Him forever.
Explanation: God is the ultimate satisfier of souls. Nothing that He gives you (e.g. money, fame, high self-esteem) can truly satisfy your soul, except God Himself. Because soul satisfaction is the ultimate pleasure, this is the most loving thing God can do for us.

Question: How does God satisfy our souls?
Answer: God satisfies our souls by allowing us to see His glory and be completely blown away by Him, producing extreme love for Him in us, as well as extreme happiness.
Explanation: It is more satisfying to be enthralled by someone infinitely greater than yourself than to feel really good about yourself. For example, let's say you go bowling and you bowl your highest game ever (120 pins). It might feel really good to accomplish this, but compare this to everyone at the bowling alley watching in amazement as a man bowls his first 300 game ever. Suddenly, you forget about your modest achievement because everyone at the bowling alley has just experienced something far greater and more enjoyable. Seeing this amazing accomplishment causes you to forget about yourself and to stand in awe of something truly amazing. So it is with God's glory. We will feel less happy and satisfied if God makes much of us and leads us to focus on ourselves, and we will feel far more happy and satisfied if God points us to Himself and allows us to see how infinitely glorious and amazing He is!

Question: Why do people like celebrities, professional athletes, and superheroes?
Answer: They like them because they are in awe of their beauty, talents, or super powers.
Explanation: People are not infatuated with celebrities, athletes, and superheroes because they are liked by them; they are infatuated because they are in awe of their abilities and/or characteristics. This does not mean that people will be jealous of their abilities or that they will feel bad because they lack these abilities. Most people know that they can never be half as good at basketball as Michael Jordan, so they are perfectly fine with their own level of basketball skill, and they are simply in awe of someone far greater than themselves.

Question: Why is God the ultimate superhero?
Answer: God is the ultimate superhero because He is the sum total of all admirable, glorious, and praiseworthy abilities and characteristics.
Explanation: Superman is a meager reflection of the glory of God. We cannot even begin to comprehend how powerful and glorious God is! This is why the Bible says that anyone who sees God's face will die (Exodus 33:20), because He is infinitely glorious!

Question: How does God's loving character fit in with His glory?
Answer: God's amazing love is part of what makes Him so glorious!
Explanation: The largest and most powerful display of God's glory known to man was Christ's extraordinary act of love and self-sacrifice displayed in willfully dying on the cross for our sins. Equal in glory to this was how the Father poured out His wrath, equal to countless eternal hells, on His own infinitely glorious and undeserving Son for people who have hated and rejected Him.

Question: Why do we like the fact that God loves us?
Answer #1: We don't have to feel guilty for the things we do.
Explanation: Many people like God's love because it helps them not feel guilty for doing bad things. These people often emphasize God's "unconditional love and acceptance."

Answer #2: We can go to a fictional heaven where we get every non-God thing that we've ever dreamed of, including an "unconditionally accepting" god who gives us all of the glory that is really due to him, and we can escape Hell in the process.
Explanation: This is the standard American reason for liking God.

Answer #3: We like the fact that there is a powerful being to do our bidding.
Explanation: Many people view God's purpose as being our servant. For example, God exists to help us when we need it and fix things that get messed up, and as long as we express our appreciation to Him on occasion, He is happy with us.

Answer #4: God's love for us makes us feel really special and important to Him.
Explanation: Although we are important to God (He died for us!), this should not be the focus of why we want God to love us, because it places the focus on our value and worth rather than on God's value to us.

Answer #5: We like the fact that God loves us because this allows us to have sweet fellowship with the most amazing Person in the universe, for whom we were created to eternally love and enjoy!
Explanation: This is the reason for liking God that brings Him the most glory and makes us the most satisfied!

Methods of Witnessing

The ideas mentioned in this article are tremendously important for sharing our faith. Here are five different methods of witnessing, along with how they measure up in light of our previous discussion:

Method #1: Convince people that they don't want to go to Hell.
Evaluation: You cannot scare anyone into Heaven. People go to Heaven because they are completely in love with Jesus, not because they want to avoid punishment.

Method #2: Show people evidence that the Bible is true.
Evaluation: Although this can be helpful, believing that the Bible is true will not get you into Heaven. Satan knows that the Bible is true, but he's not going to Heaven because he doesn't love his Creator.

Method #3: Tell people how much God loves them.
Evaluation: If this is all that people are told about God, it will be insufficient and even problematic. If people are constantly told how much God loves and accepts them, then they will be self-focused rather than God-focused. This can lead to any combination of the bad reasons why people like God's love. For example, people will be focused on their own value and importance and will view God as their "helper."

Method #4: Show people how their lives do not line up with how the Bible describes "true Christians."
Evaluation: People fight tooth-and-nail against this method. They are convinced that they know God and that He loves and accepts them, and it is very difficult to persuade them otherwise. Furthermore, even if this method does expose false Christians, it does not lead them to genuinely fall in love with God.

Method #5: Put a telescope to the world's eye so they can see how incredibly glorious God is!
Evaluation: This is the only method that can lead someone to truly fall in love with God. All other methods that do not point people to God's glory will fail to accomplish this.

Final Question: How do we do this?
Answer: Although there may be a number of methods for helping people to see God's glory, the best method I have seen is for us to be profoundly satisfied and joyful in God ourselves! If we know God like this, we will naturally exalt and glorify Him in the presence of the people we come into contact with. The world will be able to see an amazing and glorious joy in us (1 Pet. 1:8) that cannot be obtained anywhere else, which is far more convincing to them than persuasive words and fine-sounding arguments (1 Cor. 2:4-5).

Note:  Some of the ideas displayed in this article come from Pastor John Piper (www.desiringGod.org)