Paul praises God for His mercy and patience, because this is how God glorifies Himself. He is glorified through the display of His attributes: things such as His love, mercy, justice, patience, power, and wisdom. God’s attributes show us who He is; they show us His character.
In everything He does, God displays His character so that He might be known and glorified for who He is. He saves, He loves, He shows mercy, He shows patience, He judges—all for His own glory.
When we read through the Bible, we see this on every page. Whenever God talks about why He does things, He says it’s for His own glory. That He would be glorified. That people would know His name. That they would give him praise.
There is even a passage in the Old Testament, in Leviticus 14, about the procedure the Israelites were to follow when they found mildew in their house. They were to follow a series of steps, but if nothing worked, the house was to be demolished. How is God glorified in this?
The mildew is a metaphor for sin. God cannot tolerate sin, so it must be reckoned with. The lesson for the Israelites was: praise God that your house had to be demolished, because it means that the God we serve is righteous and holy. When we see our sin and its consequences, we can be grateful for the power and mercy of God in redeeming us from that sin.
Praise God that He is holy. And on top of that, praise God that He is holy and we are not, and yet He has made it so that we can be made holy and live in His presence anyway. Praise God that if we are in Christ by faith, we are not destroyed by a holy God but have been saved for His own glory.
This is why God saved Paul, and why He still saves today. So that He can be seen for the holy, loving, merciful God that He is. So, the call is for us to praise Him for His marvelous works.
Let us pray that we will grasp just how incredible this privilege is to receive mercy undeservedly through the work of Christ and to glorify Him with our lives. That like Paul, we would cease from trying to add to the work of Christ and simply receive and rest in it as having accomplished our salvation. And that we might strive for holiness and service to God. And that we might live in the knowledge that we are not simply running around doing meaningless things, but that our very lives reflect glory back to the One who made us and brought us back to Himself.
God aims to glorify Himself in all that He does. Because that is His aim, it should be ours as well. Living this way can be costly. It might cost us our house. It might cost us our former way of life. It might cost us our friends or family. But it is worth it to see God’s glory, and to praise Him for it. May we never tire of giving God glory for the salvation that we enjoy through Christ and for His holiness.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on February 7, 2020.