Let’s say I’m on a boat on the ocean that was struck in a storm and sank, and I found myself floating on a raft for a couple of days awaiting rescue. On the horizon I see a ship! It looks like it’s getting closer and closer, but then it looks like it’s just going to keep right going past me. Suddenly it turns toward me and I’m rescued!
Am I grateful to the captain of that ship? Oh, yes!
But suppose I assume that the ship is out there only to rescue me. That it has no other reason for being out in the middle of the ocean. Let’s say that I suppose it’s primary mission is saving me. I might tend to think less of her captain even after I am rescued. “What the heck took you so long?”
And if I was captain of that ship that had rescued the presumptive, arrogant version of me, I’d order the crew, “See to his medical needs, some dry clothes, a hot meal, then throw his sorry butt in the brig.”
Y’know what? It’s little wonder that so many of those that have been picked up from the Sea of Dead Works are languishing in the brig, so to speak. It’s that arrogant presumption that God’s sole purpose for being is to rescue me, care for me, provide for me, love me, satisfy me, and fulfill me that lands me in the brig – safe, but unhappy; resentful instead of eternally grateful; ashamed instead of humbled; envious instead of content.
When we present the offer of salvation to sinners, we must not do it in a way that leads those who accept it to wind up in the brig with other bewildered souls. It’s not all about saving sinners, it’s all about the glory of God! His ship does not sail the ocean exclusively on a mission to rescue unworthy stowaways. We are sinners, deserving only death and hell. When He rescues one of us, He does so for the glory of His mercy towards the unrighteous, unlovely, filthy, rotten, and undeserving. Those who end up in hell do not do so because He failed to reach them in time. They end up in hell because it is what they deserve, as do I. Even in hell, they remain for the glory of God. They bear testimony to the glory of His holiness, purity, and justice.
The gospel begins and ends with the glory of God, not the well-being and comfort of His enemies! It is good news for the wretched, evil, and undeserving. But it’s purpose is the glory of God, from eternity past to forever beyond time itself.
Perhaps fewer people would respond to the gospel of God’s glory, but at least of that number, fewer will end up in the brig for their arrogance and presumption.
Sorry sinners, it’s not all about you and me. It’s about Almighty, thrice-holy, all-sovereign God. We exist for His glory, whether we are rescued or left adrift to die.
Soli Deo Gloria!