During Advent we study, think on, and remember the great and glorious reasons why Jesus came to earth. Before we mention anything or give any reason for Christ coming, the first reason must be laid down. Jesus came for God’s glory to vindicate the holiness of His name. What? Hang in with me.
Where does the Bible say that Jesus died for God’s glory? Ezekiel 36:22-23 says “Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for My holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you went. I will vindicate the holiness of My great name which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst. Then the nations will know that I am the LORD,” declares the Lord God, “when I prove Myself holy among you in their midst.”
What do we learn from this verse? God is about to act, not for the sake of His people, but for the sake of His great name. What is He about to do? God is acting to prove, vindicate, and show Himself holy and righteous in the sight of all the nations. Why? So that the nations will know that He is God, because of the mighty work He is about to do within Israel.
What is this action that God is referring to? God is referring to an action where He will prove Himself righteous. When did God prove Himself righteous most explicitly and where does Ezekiel 36:22-23 find its most ultimate fulfillment? On the cross of Christ. Romans 3:25-26, “God displayed (Jesus) publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the patience of God He passed over sins previously committed; for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” God’s action described in Ezekiel takes place on the cross, where God proved Himself holy, by killing His Son rather than those who sinned against Him and profaned His name. Therefore, first and foremost, Jesus died on the cross to prove that God was holy. Remember what God said about how He was going to act? ”It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for My holy name…” God sent Jesus to die, for the sake of His great name, to show that He was still righteous.
Now, why does it matter so much that we believe this? If we believe that Jesus died for mankind before dying for the glory of God, than we have to believe that Jesus saw greater pleasure in dying for us than in dying to prove His Father’s holiness. It is blasphemy to say that Jesus desires us before He desires His Father. Do not get me wrong, Jesus did die for us, and our sin was on Him on the cross. Jesus was not thinking of our sin and salvation above everything else. Jesus on the cross, above all other things, was dying to show that God is still holy. Jesus died for God.
What am I trying to say? For so long, the people that God had redeemed out of Egypt, the very people that had been chosen for Himself, had done so much sin in the sight of all the nations, so much that when the other nations looked at Israel, they said, ‘Israel’s god is a joke, he isn’t holy if his people live like that!’ God saw it, and He would not stand for this any longer, He is jealous for His glory and will not allow it to be trampled any longer. One day God will act to vindicate His name of all the guilt, and will clear His name of all the profaning that had come to it. No longer will God be made to look foolish because of His obstinate people. One day, God will be the One who acts to vindicate His holiness. He will do this for His name’s sake, not yours. Not mine. How will He do it? He will prove Himself holy, publicly, in the sight of all the nations. Most of us know Psalm 46:10 but we don’t know the end of the verse, “Be still and know that I am God, I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” This is the promise that God has pledged Himself to keep and because it is God behind the promise, it cannot fail.
In Romans 3:25-26, we see this breathtaking scene described when God acted to vindicate His own name by crushing His Son so that God would be seen as righteous.