The Bible tells us that God's ultimate purpose for every believer is to transform us into the image of Jesus Christ and that we should glorify God with our lives (2 Corinthians 3:18; Romans 8:28-30; Philippians 3:20-21; 1 Corinthians 10:31). Have you ever wondered, "If I was created just to be made into someone else, someone actually pleasing to God, is there anything special about me at all?" Or, "If my life is only meant to glorify God, does God even care about me as an individual?" Or worse yet, "If God made me for His own glory, am I just a pawn in His game?"
I bet you a venti Starbucks Frappuccino that this question has been asked throughout the ages by many—both seasoned Christians and new believers. And there's good reason. There is historical precedence.
When you look at the gods of religions throughout history, you'll find a similar theme: human beings are pawns in a greater being's game. Take a glance through Greek and Roman mythology. In these stories, the gods loomed above mankind and meddled in people's affairs for their own amusement. They were fickle beings that you could try and trick with gifts and flattery, so they might be on your side. Those gods were not to be trusted.
But here is the thing about myths and mankind and the gods man has made up: People have always known there was something more, something greater, and that something was missing in their lives. Take a moment to read Acts 17:16-34. The Apostle Paul is in Athens at this point, and there are all these altars and idols to other gods. Among them, they had an altar "to an Unknown God." These people were still seeking God, but they didn't know how or where to look for Him.
So let's get back to this question...
What makes God Jehovah different from these other gods? Our answer lies in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In no other religious story, in no other spiritual myth, does God Himself come down to earth, humble Himself by taking on a fragile human form, then die for the benefit of His created beings.
Honestly, this is the absurdity of the Gospel! If we were just pawns, why would God DIE for us? Greek and Roman gods don't die for pawns; they don't sacrifice anything for their play things! If we're simply chess pieces in God's cosmic game, there would have been easier ways to bring God glory than His holy, perfect Son's death on a cross. And this is why, when the apostles were first preaching the gospel, people were like, "You're crazy! This would never happen! What god would die for us, mere specks in the universe? Gods don't die for people! WE make sacrifices to the gods."
But the One True God is a being who loves His creation. He loves US. He loves YOU. And His love is sacrificial.
"Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13). You are Jesus's friend.
"But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8). To your Heavenly Father, your past makes no difference to how much He loves you.
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life" (John 3:16). To your Heavenly Father, you are worth dying for.
To this question, I say yes, yes, and yes. God could have brought Himself glory any other way He wanted to, but He chose to die for you because He loves you THAT much. You are His precious, beloved child, and He has great things planned for your life, which He offers willingly. Think of it this way: just because giving your BFF the best gift ever brings YOU joy, by no means does that negate the LOVE you put into it by giving the gift to your friend. You still love your friend AND you've given them the best gift ever.
Yes, God saving us and adopting us into His family brings Him glory, but He did it all out of His incredible, unimaginable, unconditional love for the people He created. Why wouldn't we give Him glory?
"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, 'For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.' No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." —Romans 8:35-39
God could have brought Himself glory any other way He wanted to, but He chose to die for you because He loves you THAT much (John 3:16; Romans 5:8). In no other religious story, in no other spiritual myth, does God Himself come down to earth, humble Himself by taking on a fragile human form, then die for the benefit of His created beings. This is why people told the Apostles, "You're crazy! What god would die for us? Gods don't die for people! WE make sacrifices to the gods." But the One True God is a being who loves His creation. He loves US. He loves YOU. And His love is sacrificial (Romans 8:35-39).
Heidi Joelle is an executive assistant by day and a writer, editor, and reader by night. She can be coaxed from the house by the sound of a good adventure or traveling somewhere new. Her sidekick Smokey the Saint Bernard is rarely far off, usually pretending he's asleep.