Why is it important to be stunned by the God-centeredness of
God? Because many people are willing to be God-centered as long
as they feel that God is man-centered. It is a subtle danger. We may
think we are centering our lives on God when we are really making
Him a means to self-esteem. Over against this danger I urge you to
ponder the implications, brothers, that God loves His glory more than
He loves us and that this is the foundation of His love for us.
“Stop regarding man in whose nostrils is breath, for of what
account is he?” (Isa. 2:22). “Put not your trust in princes, in a son of
man, in whom there is no salvation” (Ps. 146:3). “Cursed is the man
JOHN PIPER 7
who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength” (Jer. 17:5). “Behold,
the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are accounted as the
dust on the scales. . . . All the nations are as nothing before him,
they are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness” (Isa.
God’s ultimate commitment is to Himself and not to us. And
therein lies our security. God loves His glory above all. “For my
name’s sake I defer my anger, for the sake of my praise I restrain it for
you, that I may not cut you off. . . . For my own sake, for my own
sake, I do it, for how should my name be profaned? My glory I will
not give to another” (Isa. 48: 9, 11).
God performs salvation for His own sake. He justifies the people
called by His name in order that He may be glorified.
“Therefore say to the house of Israel [and to all the churches],
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. And I will vindicate
the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the
nations, and which you have profaned among them. And the nations
will know that I am the Lord. . . . It is not for your sake that I will
act, declares the Lord God; let that be known to you. Be ashamed and
confounded for your ways, O house of Israel’” (Ezek. 36:22–23, 32).
This is no isolated note in the symphony of redemptive history.
It is the ever-recurring motif of the all-sufficient Composer. Why did
God predestine us in love to be His sons? That the glory of His grace
might be praised (Eph. 1:6, 12, 14). Why did God create a people for Himself? “I created [them] for my glory” (Isa. 43:7). Why did He
make from one lump vessels of honor and vessels of dishonor? That
He might show His wrath and make known His power and reveal the
riches of His glory for the vessels of mercy (Rom. 9:22–23). Why did
God raise up Pharaoh and harden his heart and deliver Israel with
a mighty arm? That His wonders might be multiplied over Pharaoh
(Exod. 14:4) and that His name might be declared in all the earth