I’ve heard it stated that the debate between Calvinism and Arminianism is actually more of a philosophical debate concerning what God, in the end, values most. Does he value his own glory/ supreme name most or does he value human freedom/choice most? Various speakers claim that one has left the realm of only-Scripture and entered into an issue of philosophy as well when determining such values. It is an issue of philosophy and biblical truth. Not merely a Scriptural issue. That aside, I think Scripture gives us good indication as to what God values more or most and it should have at least the first voice within this debate. Find me one verse where God does something for the sake of humanity’s freedom (I’m doing this for the sake of your choice/freedom). You can’t because it doesn’t exist. However, there seems to be ample scriptural citations for the idea that God does things for his own excellent reputation, glory, or name’s sake. I bet I’ll be charged with the typical “You’re-saying-Arminians-aren’t-faithful-to-the-text-but-letting-philosophy-and-preconceived-notions-of-love-and-freedom-have-to-be-get-into-the-way-of-Scripture” claim but so be it. Thomas Schreiner said, “If we are willing to let the Scriptures challenge our most cherished ideas and opinions, then we will be able to understand the Scriptures and let them change our minds.” Let these verses having bearing within the discussion.
Probably no text in the Bible reveals the passion of God for his own glory more clearly and bluntly as Isaiah 48:9-11 where God says,
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. Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tried you in the furnace of affliction. 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.
I have found that for many people these words come like six hammer blows to a man-centered way of looking at the world:
For my name’s sake!
For the sake of my praise!
For my own sake!
For my own sake!
How should my name be profaned!
My glory I will not give to another!
What this text hammers home to us is the centrality of God in his own affections. The most passionate heart for the glorification of God is God’s heart. God’s ultimate goal is to uphold and display the glory of his name.
God chose his people for his glory:
He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love 5 He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace. (Ephesians 1:4-6, cf. vv. 12, 14, NASB)
God created us for his glory:
Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth, every one who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory. (Isaiah 43:6-7)
God called Israel for his glory:
You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will be glorified (Isaiah 49:3).
I made the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah cling to me, declares the Lord, that they might be for me a people, a name, a praise, and a glory. (Jeremiah 13:11)
God rescued Israel from Egypt for his glory:
Our fathers, when they were in Egypt, did not consider your wondrous works . . . but rebelled by the Sea, at the Red Sea. Yet he saved them for his name’s sake, that he might make known his mighty power. (Psalm 106:7-8)
God raised Pharaoh up to show his power and glorify his name:
For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth.” (Romans 9:17)
God defeated Pharaoh at the Red Sea to show his glory:
And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will pursue them and I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host; and the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord . . . And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I have gotten glory over Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen. (Exodus 14:4, 18; cf. v. 17)
God spared Israel in the wilderness for the glory of his name:
I acted for the sake of my name, that it should not be profaned in the sight of the nations, in whose sight I had brought them out. (Ezekiel 20:l4)
God gave Israel victory in Canaan for the glory of his name:
Who is like your people Israel, the one nation on earth whom God went to redeem to be his people, making himself a name and doing for them great and awesome things by driving out before your people, whom you redeemed for yourself from Egypt, a nation and its gods? (2 Samuel 7:23)
God did not cast away his people for the glory of his name:
Do not be afraid; you have done all this evil. Yet do not turn aside from following the Lord . . . For the Lord will not forsake his people, for his great name’s sake. (l Samuel 12:20, 22)
God saved Jerusalem from attack for the glory of his name:
For I will defend this city to save it, for my own sake and for the sake of my servant David. (2 Kings 19:34; cf. 20:6)
God restored Israel from exile for the glory of his name:
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.. . . And I will vindicate the holiness of my great name. . . . And the nations will know that I am the Lord. (Ezekiel 36:22-23; cf. v. 32)
Jesus sought the glory of his Father in all he did:
The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood. (John 7:l8)
Jesus told us to do good works so that God gets glory:
In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:16; cf. 1 Peter 2:12)
Jesus warned that not seeking God’s glory makes faith impossible:
How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God? (John 5:44)
Jesus said that he answers prayer that God would be glorified:
Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. (John 14:13)
Jesus endured his final hours of suffering for God’s glory:
“Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour?’ But for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.’ Then a voice came from heaven, ‘I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again’ (John 12:27-28).
Father, the hour has come; glorify your son that the Son may glorify you. (John 17:1; cf. 13:31-32)
God gave his Son to vindicate the glory of his righteousness:
God put [Christ] forward as a propitiation by his blood . . . to show God’s righteousness . . . It was to show his righteousness at the present time. (Romans 3:25-26)
God forgives our sins for his own sake:
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 own name’s sake, O Lord, pardon my guilt, for it is great. (Psalm 25:11)
Jesus receives us into his fellowship for the glory of God:
Welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. (Romans 15:7)
The ministry of the Holy Spirit is to glorify the Son of God:
He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. (John 16:14)
God instructs us to do everything for his glory:
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God (l Corinthians 10:31; cf. 6:20).
God tells us to serve in a way that will glorify him:
Whoever serves, [let him do it] as one who serves by the strength which God supplies – in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. (l Peter 4:11)
Jesus will fill us with fruits of righteousness for God’s glory:
It is my prayer that . . . [you be] filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. (Philippians 1:9, 11)
All are under judgment for dishonoring God’s glory:
They became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images. (Romans 1:22, 23)
For all havesinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)
Herod is struck dead because he did not give glory to God:
Immediately an angel of the Lord struck him down, because he did not give God the glory. (Acts 12:23)
Jesus is coming again for the glory of God:
They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed. (2 Thessalonians 1:9-10)
Jesus’ ultimate aim for us is that we see and enjoy his glory:
Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. (John 17:24)
Even in wrath God’s aim is to make known the wealth of his glory:
Desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, [God] has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he prepared beforehand for glory. (Romans 9:22-23)
God’s plan is to fill the earth with the knowledge of his glory:
For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. (Habakkuk 2:14)
Everything that happens will redound to God’s glory:
From him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. (Romans 11:36)
In the New Jerusalem the glory of God replaces the sun:
And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives its light, and its lamp is the Lamb (Revelation 21:23).
From Let the Nations Be Glad 41-46