To the Praise of His Glorious Grace
As I ran out of room in the last devotion, I have to take this verse by itself, which is fine and well given the topic.
But we have to pick up the preceding verse: “He [the Father] predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will, to the praise of His glorious grace, with which He blessed us in the Beloved (emphasis added).” Did you hear that? The Father predestined us…to the praise of His glorious grace. He did not predestine us first and foremost that we may be saved, or so that we may live in heaven with Him for all eternity. Oh, these were no doubt factors in His foreordination of us, but they were not the most important factors. God’s own glory is God’s greatest concern and everything—EVERYTHING—must ultimately serve that primal purpose.
To some this might make God sound like the great celestial narcissist, making everything about Himself. Aren’t we told not to do this? Is this not the essence of sin? Centering on self, putting self ahead of everyone and everything else? How does God get away with it? Well, quite simply, because He is God, and the difference between Him and us cannot be overstated. He is the greatest and best of all beings. Making everyone for Himself and His purposes is to make everyone for their very best and most fulfilling life. To have created us for some other purpose, some other thing, would have been to condemn us to an eternity of second best. In essence, we would be no better than the brutes which live, eat, reproduce, and die; or like the plant kingdom, for that matter—the purpose of our lives being simply to be eaten or destroyed by something else.
God had something greater in mind for those He created in His image—and then redeemed after the image of His Son—and that was and is to know Him and enjoy Him forever. He is God. He cannot help but to glorify Himself, His name, His attributes, His holiness. And out of His magnanimity He asks (well, demands) that we join Him in this praise of Himself—the One who made us for Himself—for to do so is our highest work, our greatest purpose, our supreme attainment in this life and the next. St. Augustine said, “Thou hast formed us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless till they find rest in Thee” (Confessions I.I.1). Predestined to the praise of His glorious grace—I can fathom no better purpose so to be chosen.