Salvation to the Glory of God
When we speak of salvation, it is important that we understand what we are referring to. The very word salvation means to be delivered, rescued, or preserved from some type of harm or loss. There are many different ways we are "saved" from physical circumstances that enter our lives. As children in school, we used the expression, "saved by the bell," meaning we had just been rescued from our school work by the bell announcing the end of class.
But when we speak of the salvation that God has ordained for His children before He created the world (Eph. 1:4), we are speaking of deliverance and rescue from sin and its consequences. Sin is the violation of God's law that He has given to us through His Word. The punishment God's justice requires for violating His law is eternal death; His wrath poured out upon them in hell, eternally. Each and every one of us rightfully deserves this wrath (Rom. 6:23). All mankind has this great need of deliverance and rescue.
Therefore, salvation is to and for the glory of God. God owes no one salvation from His just and right punishment for their sin. Mercy, by definition, is not an obligation. If it is owed, it is no longer mercy but wages or payment for something worked for. And God clearly tells us in His Word that we cannot work for, nor earn our salvation. “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Eph. 2:8-9).
Throughout all of scripture, we see God saving those who violated His law. He saves sinners for His name sake, for His honor, and for His great glory! Paul, writing the letter to the Ephesians, cannot hold back his praises for the salvation God provided to his chosen children. He cannot help but glorify God.
He begins by praising God: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” (Eph. 1:3). God has blessed us in Christ; our sins were counted as His, and His righteousness imputed to us. In Christ, we have been blessed with every spiritual blessing.
Paul then lists some of those spiritual blessings all of Gods children have. “Even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world…” (vv. 4). Notice that the choice to save us originated with God; He chose us in Christ. The decision belongs to God. “...that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ” (vv. 4-5). God chose and predestined us to be His own, to live holy and blameless lives “according to the purpose of his will.”
Why was it God's will to save us?
“To the praise of his glorious grace” (vv. 6). It was so that He receives the praise for His glorious grace imputed to us in salvation, “with which he has blessed us in the Beloved” (vv. 6). Salvation is always for God's glory. He alone receives the praise because He alone saved us. All throughout this passage, we find the focus to be on God.
“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory” (Eph. 1:7-12).
God has lavished His grace upon us. When we deserved justice, God freely poured out His rich grace, redeeming us, and forgiving us. In Christ, we have an inheritance which is according to God's will. For what reason? For the praise of God's glory. “In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory” (Eph. 1:13-14)
No one ever suggested to God what He should do. He redeemed us in Christ and sealed us by His Spirit so that we will obtain our inheritance, all for the praise of His glory!
“And crying out with a loud voice, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!’ And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, ‘Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.’" Revelation 7:10-12