Is God Selfish?

Have you ever questioned if God is selfish? It’s an honest question, and I don’t think God is afraid of you asking it.

Last week I quoted my friend’s sermon when he said that our salvation is not about us but about bringing glory to God. This begs the question, isn’t this selfish of God to make it about himself?

There are many ways to approach this question, and next week we will be more philosophical and analyze the motives morality of God, but for today, I simply want to show you that when we look at God’s heart, selfish or not shouldn’t matter. Let’s look at some of Jesus’ teaching.

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it. Matthew 13:44-46

At first glance, these parables seem almost identical in their message – a man sells all he has to buy something of greater value, and this is Jesus’ way of telling us how much more valuable and satisfying God is than the world. While Jesus is saying this, he is also telling us much more.

A few details distinguish these parables. In the first parable, the man who finds the treasure wasn’t looking for it but simply stumbled upon it, but in the second parable, the merchant is actively searching for pearls. This distinction is illuminated by the other major distinction. In the first parable, Jesus relates the kingdom of heaven to the treasure, but in the second parable, Jesus relates the kingdom of heaven to the merchant.

Do you see how Jesus is telling us different things with these parables? It’s as if Jesus is showing our salvation from two perspectives, ours and God’s.

From our perspective, there is nothing we do to find salvation (we are the man who stumbles upon the treasure). But from God’s perspective, God sees us and finds great value in us and is willing to do whatever he needs to purchase our salvation. From God’s perspective, our salvation is far from chance. God’s desire for us is so great that he is willing to sell all he has to buy our salvation!

So selfish or not, I worship God for making salvation about himself because when he did, he gave his son to make a way for us to be adopted into his family.

Next week I’ll argue that God’s motives weren’t selfish at all just like it wasn’t selfish for Michael Jordan to take the final shot of the game.

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