We sometimes speak or think of God’s demand for glory as if God created us to remind Him and others how great God is or we can go to Hell. Thomas Talbott says it best in The Inescapable Love of God:
Religious people sometimes speak of God as if he were just another human magistrate who seeks his own glory and requires obedience for its own sake…God wills for us the very thing we really want for ourselves, whether we know it or not… (185).
Do we have children only for our own pleasure or to bring them joy as well? They aren’t really separable. Selfless parents actually prefer their children get all the glory while they stay in the background, unless proclamation may help others as well. God’s love is the same as supreme parents – other-directed not self-consumed.
One writer said: “God did not need to create you, but he chose to create you for his own enjoyment. You exist for his benefit, his glory, his purpose, and his delight.” God’s glorification cannot be separated from human benefit, glory, purpose, and mutual delight. Worship, if not mindless slavery, only happens in the context of a relationship. God is not possessive of His glory, as Jesus was very willing to share His glory with others: “He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Tim. 2:14).
God’s glory is not self-infatuation. To glorify God is to love oneself and others. In such a world there would be no bigotry based on the color of your skin or the gender you were born. There would be no parents living out their dreams through their children. There would be no selfishness if we honored and glorified God in all we do. God always has our best interest in mind. No wonder God ask for our love. God will not force His love on others, but He wants as many as possible to experience His love in such a chaotic world.
A legal view of the Cross suggests God was more concerned with our guilt than desiring a personal relationship. Did God really need to be appeased by human sacrifice as the other Old Testament gods? God only used sacrifice to visible demonstrate the destruction of sin, but God truly delighted much more in a broken and contrite heart for our own good (Psalm 51:16-17). Sacrifice was much more for us humans than God. I believe that the Bible teaches the Cross is much more about God’s love than wrath.
God sought credibility to influence us for our own good. God wished to persuade us to follow in Jesus’ footsteps than in our own steps of destruction. If God had any ulterior motive it was to prove to us that God loves us more than we can ever imagine which hopefully would move us to love others as God loves us. God could have forced us to obey but that doesn’t lead to satisfying relationships. Parents wish for their children to obey because of admiration and respect, not just because they have to.
I cannot prove as much from Scripture this next thought but it is certainly implied. Why did Jesus … not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness?” (Philippians 2:6-7). We can be trained in counseling and do our best to help those who have been abused. I think the truth though is one who has been abused themselves, and is able to recover, is better able to help others recover from such injustices. Who though seeks to be abused so they can more compassionately help the abused?
Jesus perhaps desperately wanted to do whatever He could to identify with us. Jesus wanted to do whatever it took to influence us to avoid paths of destructions that lead to regrets. Jesus wanted to walk in our shoes to better understand how difficult it is to live selflessly in a world where one is free to love or hate others for their own gains. God loved us so much that He will willing to face undeserved suffering, so He could know what that felt like. Jesus wanted to identify with how hard it is to not fall into temptations that are so every present in a free world.
How much does God really love us? Proof is always in the pudding. Few but some may die for a good person. Jesus died for all regardless if evil or good (Romans 5:6-8). Jesus took no shortcuts to identify with us to convince us of His unconditional love. That is crazy love!