God has three reasons, three motives, for being gracious to us. First, He provides salvation in order that those who are saved may produce good works. Good works touch and help the lives of others, including telling them of God’s grace in Jesus Christ. Paul tells the Ephesians, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10). In another letter he instructs Titus that Christ “gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds” (Titus 2:14). Later in the epistle he explains, “This is a trustworthy statement; and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God may be careful to engage in good deeds. These things are good and profitable for men” (3:8). God saved us to do good works because good works benefit men. God wants His children to touch all the world with their goodness, made possible through His Son.
Second, saving grace is meant to bring blessing to believers. “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, … made us alive together with Christ, … in order that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:4–7). God graciously saves us in order that He can pour out His great blessings on us forever.
Third, and most importantly, God saves us through grace in order to glorify Himself. Grace is given “in order that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church” and that “to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever” (Eph. 3:10, 21). Jesus taught that the primary purpose for letting our light shine before men, made possible by our salvation, is to “glorify [our] Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 5:16). Jesus’ own primary purpose in going to the cross, which made our salvation possible, was to glorify His Father and to be glorified Himself (John 12:28; 17:1, 4–5). God’s glory is dearly on disphy in the gracious and powerful work of salvation.
The Lord’s gracious salvation is given in order for the saved to bring blessing to other men through good works, to bring blessing to believers themselves, and above all to bring glory to Himself. He is gracious for the world’s sake, for His children’s sake, and for His own sake.
MacArthur, J. (1996). 1 Corinthians (14–15). Chicago: Moody Press.