John Piper

Someone may ask, "How can it be loving for God to be so self-exalting in the work of the cross? If he is really exalting his own glory and vindicating his own righteousness, then how is the cross really an act of love to us?"

I fear the question betrays a common secular mindset with man at the center. It assumes that, for us to be loved, God must make us the center. He must highlight our value. If our worth is not accented, then we are not loved. If our value is not the ground of the cross, then we are not esteemed. The assumption of such questioning is that the exaltation of the worth and glory of God over man is not the very essence of what God's love for man is.

The biblical mindset, however, affirms the very opposite. The cross is the pinnacle of God's love for sinners, not because it demonstrates the value of sinners, but because it vindicates the value of God for sinners to enjoy. God's love for man does not consist in making man central, but in making himself central for man. The cross does not direct man's attention to his own vindicated worth, but to God's vindicated righteousness.

This is love, because the only eternal happiness for man is happiness focused on the riches of God's glory. "In your presence there is fullness of joy; in your right hand are pleasures forever more" (Psalms 16:11). God's self-exaltation is loving, because it preserves for us and offers to us the only all-satisfying Object of desire in the universe – the all-glorious, all-righteous God.

Taken from "Did Christ Die for Us or for God?" by John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: (used by permission).