Shortly after the creation of the world an angel rose up against God and sought to take His place as God. That same angel, whom we now refer to as Satan, tempted the first woman, Eve, to disobey the command that God had given to her through her husband, Adam. Because of the Adam’s failure in the garden, all of mankind enter into a state of sin, as the curse of death was passed on from generation to generation. And so it would seem that Satan with the help of fallen humanity has succeeded in preventing God in glorifying Himself through His creation.

Yet we read in Daniel 4:35, “All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, but He does according to His will in the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of earth; and no one can ward off His hand or say to Him, ‘What have You done?'” If it is true that God does what He wishes and that no one can thwart His plans, then neither Satan or fallen humanity will be able to rob God of the glory that duly belongs to Him. But how is then that God can glorify Himself in the midst of a fallen creation? Let us consider Romans 9:21-23

“Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use? What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory,”

You see God intends to glorify Himself in one of two ways with every person, either in redemption or in condemnation. God first and foremost desires to glorify Himself in the salvation of sinners. “I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heavenover one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance” (Lk. 15:7). And of course it only makes sense that redemption is that which gives God the greatest joy, because it is in redemption that God has made known “the riches of His glory.” The redeemed do not just experience the glory of God, but they have been made privilege to the fullest measure and enjoyment of it.

Yet there are some whom God has created that will refuse redemption all their life. They will refuse to give God the honor and glory He deserves. They have no desire to please Him for if they did they would give Him the pleasure of their repentance. But since God finds His greatest joy in the repentance of sinners, they refuse to be partakers in it. Thus they leave God with only one choice, and that is for Him “to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known” in their destruction. Consider the words of Jonathan Edwards:

“Hence we may learn, how just and righteous God is in the destruction of those who bring forth no fruit to God. Seeing there is no other way in which they can be useful, or in which the end of their being can be obtained, certainly it is most just that God should thus dispose of them. Why should God be frustrated of his end through their perverseness? If men will not do the work for which he hath made and fitted them; if they, through a spirit of opposition and rebellion against God, refuse; yet why should God suffer himself to be disappointed of his end in making them? It doth not become the infinite greatness and majesty of God, to suffer himself to be disappointed and frustrated by the wickedness and perverseness of sinful worms of the dust. If God should suffer this, it would seem to argue, either a want of wisdom in God to fix upon a good end, or a want of power to accomplish it.

God made all men that they might be useful; and if they will not be useful in their conduct and actions, how just is it that God should make them useful in their sufferings! God made all men for his own glory; and if they, contrary to the revealed will of God, refuse to glorify him actively and willingly, how just is it that God should glorify himself upon them in what he doth with them!” (Wicked Men Useful in Their Destruction Only)

I will leave you with one simple question:Will God glorify Himself through the demonstration of His grace in your life or will through the demonstration of His wrath in death?