Article by John Piper, founder/teacher desiringGod.org
Why does the Bible relentlessly reveal the love of God for us in a way that constantly calls attention to the fact that it is done for his glory? Because so many people, when they hear that, feel it as not loving. The point of those texts throughout the Bible, where God performs his love for us for his glory, is to show that he loves us in the greatest possible way.
Dwelling on God’s Love
Why? How does that show that it’s a greater love? How is it a greater love when he loves me for his glory than if he just loved me and it all terminated on me? Well, before I answer that question — and I will answer it — let me dwell with you on the truth that evidently some have assumed I denied in asking, “Do you feel more loved by God when he makes much of you, or do you feel more loved by God when he frees you at the cost of his Son to enjoy making much of him forever?”
It’s been assumed by some, “Oh, you don’t think he makes much of us.” Well, that’s a non sequitur; it doesn’t follow from what I said. But I don’t want to defend myself. Some have gotten that idea, and I would like to now fix it and keep fixing it. If I get things imbalanced, I’d like to get them back into balance.
Seven Ways God Makes Much of Us
So here we are trying to help those who heard it that way. The answer is yes, God makes more of you than you could ever imagine. And I will blow you away for the next five minutes. Put your seatbelt on if you have trouble with being made much of by God, because you might leave otherwise. I think I have seven of these, and they will go by quickly.
1. God is pleased with us.
God makes much of us by being pleased with us and commending our lives. Alan Jacobs wrote a great biography of C.S. Lewis, and he says in C.S. Lewis’s biography that the greatest sermon that C.S. Lewis ever preached was called “The Weight of Glory.” That is, believers will one day have a weight of glory that will be so heavy they will imagine, “I don’t know if I can bear this. It’s so good.”
What do you think the weight of glory was in that sermon? It was the words “Well done, good and faithful servant.” And here’s what Lewis said:
To please God . . . to be a real ingredient in the divine happiness . . . to be loved by God, not merely pitied, but delighted in as an artist delights in his work or a father in his son — it seems impossible, a weight or a burden of glory which our thoughts can hardly sustain. But so it is. (39)
And he’s right. That’s number one. God makes much of us by being pleased with us, making us an ingredient in the divine happiness, like an artist with something he painted or like a father with a son.
2. God makes us fellow heirs with Christ.
God makes much of us by making us fellow heirs with his Son, who owns everything. “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5). I wonder if you believe that. I do. Mine! I don’t need it now, therefore. I don’t need it now. I don’t need to scrounge to get a piece of earth for about fifty years and then maybe lose everything.
I am very happy to belong to King Jesus — to be a fellow heir of Jesus Christ, who owns the universe, and get my globe at death (or maybe at the resurrection). And I won’t mind sharing it with you. And if that’s a problem, he’ll make another globe. In fact, he won’t have to make another globe. They’re out there. So you get Quasar 10, which is probably greener. “The promise to Abraham and his offspring [is] that he would be heir of the world” (Romans 4:13). Are you an heir of Abraham? You indeed are an heir. In Christ, we are Abraham’s offspring, and Abraham was promised the world.
One more, 1 Corinthians 3:21–22 (this is the best of all, probably): “So let no one boast in men.” He’s trying to help Bethlehem not boast — boast in pastors, boast in elders, boast in buildings, boast in anything. “Let no one boast in men. For [here’s the argument] all things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future — all are yours, and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.” What an argument. These ragtag Corinthians are being told, “Would you stop saying, ‘I’m of Paul,’ ‘I’m of Cephas,’ and realize you own everything?” It’s just a matter of time. A very short time.
3. God promises to serve us.
God makes much of us by having us sit at table when he returns, and serving us as though he were the slave and we are the masters. This is the parable of the second coming that is the most unbelievable. It’s Luke 12. I’ll just read you Luke 12:37. He’s describing the second coming, and he says, “Truly, I say to you, he will dress himself for service and have [us] recline at table, and he will come and serve [us].” What will it take to make you feel made much of? I used to think until I saw that parable that he did that on the earth: Last Supper, bound a towel, washed their feet — that’s an incarnation action. But now, name above every name, he’s coming on a white horse, sword out of his mouth, slaying his enemies, making everybody serve him at table.
And that’s not what it says. He will never cease to be our servant. We will tremble. We will say what Peter said: “You can’t wash my feet! Get your towel off. Sit down.” And he will say — no, he won’t. I want to say that he’ll say, “Get behind me, Satan.” But I think probably at that point, we will be sanctified enough that we won’t be satanic like Peter was. So there we are, sitting at table shortly, with Jesus serving us.
4. God appoints us to judge angels.
God makes much of us by appointing us to carry out judgment of angels. “Do you not know that we are to judge angels?” (1 Corinthians 6:3). You can take a deep breath and say, “Well, I don’t think I could do that.” You will. You will.
5. God rejoices over us.
God makes much of us by ascribing value to us and rejoicing over us as his treasured possession. Consider two verses.
Matthew 10:29–30: “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father? Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” “I attend to the minutest detail of a sparrow’s life. You don’t compare. You are, I would say, infinitely more valuable than a bird. So don’t worry. I’ve got your back. I won’t let anything happen that’s not for your good. I love you. I value you. You’re coming home. I decided this before the foundation of the world.”
I said there were two verses there. I said, “values you and sings over you, rejoices over you.” This is Zephaniah 3:17: “The Lord your God . . . will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.” You ever heard God sing? I haven’t. I suppose Jesus sang a hymn when he went out into the garden. When everybody else sang, he didn’t sit there quiet. But when God sings, universes come into being. God’s going to sing, and it’s going to be a sound like you’ve never heard over you, over the blood-bought bride of his Son. He will lead the song at the wedding feast.
6. God will make us shine like the sun.
God makes much of us by giving us a glorious body like Jesus’s resurrection body. “[He] will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself” (Philippians 3:21). But here’s the one that has captured me for all the years since I saw it — in the parable in Matthew 13:43: “The righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father.” Remember seeing Jesus in Revelation 1? Hair white like snow, girded with a brass belt of truth, just pillars for legs. And his face, it says, “was like the sun shining” (Revelation 1:16). And John was on his face. So will you.
We would not be able to look at each other in the resurrection unless God had given us new spiritual resurrection eyes. We will be so bright. No more wheelchairs, no more depression, no more fallen countenances, no more discouragement, no more disease, no more alienation — everything new, and your face shining like the sun. So, as C.S. Lewis said, we would be tempted to bow down and worship each other if God hadn’t given us eyes and a heart to know better.
7. God will rule the world through us.
Most amazingly, I think (maybe not), God makes much of us by granting us to sit with Christ on his throne. Revelation 3:21: “The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.” I don’t know what to do with that.
“Everywhere the Father extends his rule in the universe, he will do it through you.”
So, I’ll try. Maybe Ephesians 1:23 helps: “[The church] is [Christ’s] body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.” We’re going to sit on the throne of God with Jesus, because the thrones merge. We’re on Jesus’s throne; he sits on the Father’s throne; now we’re all on the same throne. God, the Son, and us sitting on the throne of the universe. If I put those two texts together, I think it means something like this: everywhere the Father extends his rule in the universe, he will do it through you.
God created the world, you, for a reason, and it isn’t to throw you away at the end. It’s so that you would fulfill what he gave you to do in the beginning — namely, to be a governor of the universe: subdue it, multiply, fill it, enjoy it, make something of it. “Now I’ve made you new, I’ll make the world new. Now get about it, and any place I stick my hand to rule, I’m ruling through people.” He’s going through people.
So, let it be known loud and clear: God makes much of us. God makes much of his Son’s bride. God loves his church with a kind of love that will make more of her because he makes much of her for his glory.
John Piper (@JohnPiper) is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is author of more than 50 books, including Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist and most recently What Is Saving Faith?.