Nevertheless He saved them for His name’s sake, That He might make His mighty power known. (Psalm 106:8)
That same hand that brought the Israelites out of Egypt is the one extended to you and I to lead us out of our own darkness and bondage into into the light of salvation. We may not have experienced a miracle path made between towering walls of water as we crossed over. We may not have had manna delivered daily or any other of the miracles the book of Exodus relates for us, but our miracle is nonetheless as powerful and as enduring. The God of All, the great I AM, extended His hand to save me.
Salvation, with it’s absolutely perfect provision for every single need, is in itself a miracle beyond measure. We will, in fact, spend the rest of our lives exploring the magnitude of it, learning more and more of the intricate and detailed outworking of this astonishing, humbling grace in us. To consider that the Son of God would set aside glory and majesty beyond reckoning is incomprehensible in a world driven by greed and the need for self-gratification. Then to suffer and die in the most excruciating agony imaginable? It is a concept the me-focused world has difficulty even considering.
The Bible tells us that God so loved the world, and this is true. What joy there is in the knowledge that His love cannot be measured in human terms. It is the love of exceedingly, abundantly, far more than we could ever ask or imagine. It is the love of no separation, the love of eternal faithfulness, and the love of enduring covenant. Our God does nothing by halves. He is, and always will be, the God of absolute and total commitment.
All of this is true and underpins our faith. We love Him because He first loved us. Yet we cannot limit salvation to this single aspect of God. After all, He loves all His creatures. At creation, we are told that He saw that all was good. The lilies and grasses of the fields are lovingly clothed in glory, the insignificant sparrows are counted, and God has created the world in a way that ensures that every living thing is provided with what they need. That is a fundamental principle, and deviations are not the result of some perverseness on His part but rather as a result of a fallen world.
But for all of this, over and above the incredible detail that goes into providing for and sustaining every part of this universe, He has chosen to do something singular for mankind. Right from the beginning, we had a purpose. We were set apart for Him, and pride and self-serving desires got in the way. The great tragedy of the fall is not so much sin and death – these are consequences of the fall, not the fall itself – is that man lost the pure knowledge of God he’d previously enjoyed.
We talk of the fall as being into sin and out of grace and these are both true. But something else happened, something of equal if not greater import, and that was that man fell away from God. It’s a common thread throughout the Bible. Think of how many times Israel fell away from worshiping the Lord. The New Testament speaks of the great apostacy, the massive falling away from God and His church in end times. Falling away is positional. What a tragic irony it is that the motive behind the original sin was to have the knowledge of good and evil, which was the knowledge reserved for God Himself. In the end, it served to alienate man from God instead of bringing us closer.
But God loved us, and so He saved us, a wonderful truth we are right to hold onto. Yet there is a deeper truth to salvation. He did not save us just because He loved us. He saved us so that He could reveal His true nature and power. He saved us so that He could, by a process of slow transformation and renewing, He could reveal the fullness of His power and glory through surrendered vessels. He saved us because, from the beginning, man was identified as belonging wholly to God. We were made in His image. Salvation restores us to the place where we are once again called by His name. Because His name defines who He is, He saves us for His name’s sake. It is a restoration of the knowledge of the complete, perfect and holy God.
Inherent in salvation is the truth that God continually makes Himself known to us. He graces us with personal knowledge at the point of salvation, and proceeds to reveal more and more as we move away from our fallen state, surrender the things that are not of Him, let go of our own desires and agendas, and allow Him to transform us. Each trial, each situation, each moment brings a new revelation of some aspect of His nature and character. Our ‘picture’ of God grows as we grow in Him. It’s rather like having a giant jigsaw puzzle. We gradually add pieces and build up the picture until the day it will be fully complete in His presence in eternity.
Knowing and believing in the love of God is important. It’s foundational. But He does not save us simply because He loves us. He saves us, first and foremost, because of His name and because He has given man the privilege of carrying His name if we choose to do so. God will not and cannot deny Himself – His holiness, His integrity, His honesty and His perfect justice – and for the sake of His name He saves us. In every single instance of falling away and redemption, it is an issue of His people who are called by His name.
The second reason is no less important. It is through the transformed lives of each one of us that He makes His power known. One may be a ‘Red Sea’ and another a ‘burning bush.’ You may carry a testimony of miraculous healing, I may have a testimony of simple grace and endurance. In revealing the power of God to a fallen world, we are in fact revealing God Himself. His power – nor any of the other characteristics or attributes of God – can never be separated from either His name or His identity. He is a complete, perfect package, and His power is the active means whereby He reveals Himself to the world.
I rejoice in the knowledge that my God loves me as Lord, Master, Father, Husband and King. It is an eternal truth that sustains, encourages, empowers, strengthens and comforts. I rejoice that nothing can separate me from Him, and He has chosen me for His own. But I rejoice, too, in the knowledge that His love has a purpose. It is not loving for its own sake but loving for His sake. His love for me includes His love for the entire world. In revealing Himself to me, He expects me to reveal Him to others. We are all part of a greater purpose – the restoration of man to the full knowledge of God. Some may choose to reject that, but if we live in the light of the love of God, we must do so for His name’s sake and to make His power known. That is the primary purpose behind the eternal grace of our salvation.
Lord God, majestic and measureless are Your ways. Forgive us for the times where we’ve looked only at ourselves and what Your gift of salvation brings us. Help us to remember that it’s never about us and always about You. Change us, shape us, tranform us and teach us so that, as we see more and more of You each day, so You would overflow in our lives to bring that knowledge to the world.