Some people feel less loved when they hear God loves them for his own sake. But in fact his love is greater for us when he loves us that way.
I want to help you feel more loved because God makes more of you when he makes much of you this way.
Here are a few examples of what I mean by God’s performing all his acts of love toward us in a way that reveals he is loving us for his own glory:
1. God loves us by predestining us for adoption into his family (Ephesians 1:5–6).
“In love he predestined us for adoption to the praise of the glory of his grace.” The ultimate aim of our adoption is the glorifying of adopting grace. And this, Paul says, is done “in love.” God’s love for us is for the glory of God.
2. God loves us by creating us (Isaiah 43:6–7).
“ . . . Everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory.” If God did not create you, you would not be there to love. So your creation is part of God’s loving you. He brought you into being that you might enjoy forever all the good he plans for you. And he did it, he says, for his glory.
3. God shows his love for us by sending us a Savior (Luke 2:10–14).
“The angel said to them, “I bring you good news of great joy . . . . For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior . . . . And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest.’”
We get the Savior; he gets the glory. We get the “good news of great joy”; God gets the praise. That is God’s design in sending his Son. That’s how he loves us.
4. God loves us by Christ’s dying for us (2 Corinthians 5:14–15).
“The love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.”
Paul gives the aim of the love of Christ: that we might live for him! What does that mean? He doesn’t need our help. Living for him doesn’t mean living to make up for his deficiencies. He has none. It means living to display his greatness. That’s what he was after in loving us — our living for his glory.
5. God loves us by making us spiritually alive (Ephesians 2:4–7).
“Because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, God made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved.” This “grace,” remember, is the grace which he predestined us to praise — “unto the praise of the glory of his grace” (Ephesians 1:6).
Now what is that grace doing here? Paul describes it as God’s “great love” making us alive when we were dead. The reason any one of us was made alive from the deadness of our unbelief is that God had a “great love” for us.
Don’t miss this. God doesn’t love everybody with this “great love.” Otherwise everybody would be “made alive.” It’s a particular love that moved him to choose you for his own and make you alive. So he loves you with “great love” for the glory of his grace.
6. God loves us in the way Jesus prays for us (John 17:24).
“Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory.” Jesus is praying for his sheep. He is loving us to the end (John 13:1). And what he asks is that we might be “with him” and that we might “see his glory.” His glory is the final treasure. Our Savior, not our self, will be the bottom of our joy.
The point of those six texts is to show that throughout the Bible God performs all his acts of love toward us in a way that reveals he is loving us for his own glory.
God’s God-centered Love Is the Greatest Love for Us
Why does God remind us over and over that he makes much of us in a way that is designed ultimately to make much of him?
The answer is this: Loving us this way is a greater love. God’s love for us, that makes much of us for his glory, is a greater love than if he ended by making us our greatest treasure, rather than himself. Making himself our end is a greater love than making us his end. The reason this is greater love is that self, no matter how glorified by God (Romans 8:30), will never satisfy a heart that is made for God.
God loves his people infinitely. He sent his Son to die that he might have us, and that we might have him (1 Peter 3:18). He will not let us settle for wonderful and happy thoughts of self. Not even a saved, glorified self. He will not let our glory, which he himself creates and delights in, replace his glory as our supreme treasure. That would not be love.
We are loved by God. We are precious to God, and the greatest gift he has for us is to not let our preciousness become our god. God will be our God. God alone, forever. And this is infinite love.
When we experience this love deeply—when we are compelled by this love in everything—God is greatly glorified.