The Greatest Love
By John Piper
I am writing to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven for his name’s sake. (1 John 2:12)
Why should we emphasize that God loves, forgives, and saves “for his name’s sake” — for his own glory? Here are two reasons (among many).
1) We should emphasize that God loves and forgives for his own glory because the Bible does.
I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins. (Isaiah 43:25)
For your name’s sake, O Lord, pardon my guilt, for it is great. (Psalm 25:11)
Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of your name; deliver us, and atone for our sins, for your name’s sake! (Psalm 79:9)
Though our iniquities testify against us, act, O Lord, for your name’s sake. (Jeremiah 14:7)
We acknowledge our wickedness, O Lord, and the iniquity of our fathers, for we have sinned against you. Do not spurn us, for your name’s sake; do not dishonor your glorious throne. (Jeremiah 14:20–21)
God put [Christ] forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. (Romans 3:25–26)
Your sins are forgiven for his name’s sake. (1 John 2:12)
2) We should emphasize that God loves and forgives for his own glory because it makes clear that God loves us with the greatest love.
Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory. (John 17:24)
God loves us not in a way that makes us supreme, but makes himself supreme. Heaven will not be a hall of mirrors, but an increasing vision of infinite greatness. Getting to heaven and finding that we are supreme would be the ultimate letdown.
The greatest love makes sure that God does everything in such a way as to uphold and magnify his own supremacy so that, when we get to heaven, we have something to increase our joy forever: God’s glory. The greatest love is God’s giving himself to us for our eternal enjoyment, at the cost of his Son’s life (Romans 8:32). That is what he means when he says that he loves us and forgives us for his own name’s sake.
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