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Question:

According to reformed theology, is there any valid reason to desire to be saved besides it glorifies God?

As a result:

  1. According to reformed theology, is it valid to desire to be saved because Hell is rather unpleasant?

  2. According to reformed theology, should one pray: "God, if it glorifies you to save me, save me; God, if it glorifies you to send me to hell, send me to hell."

Thanks!

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In one sense it is very true to say these things according to a reformed theology but as it is hypothetical is can also be misleading. In fact I have notived many modern teachers and pachers actually confuse themselves on and do not understand it in the same way as those they quote from generations past.

The truth is yes, true virtue must love the goodness of God above all else to the absorption of everything else, therefore ‘if it be thy glorious will send me to hell’ is the hypothetical end of the truth. In this sense it is true and even said by many reformed theologians. However as God’s goodness is very much enjoined in his desire that he does not send you to hell it could be drastically misleading.

The truth is, faith makes our own selfish desires fix upon God, so that we believe it is more blessed to give than receive. Faith makes our pleasure or love of things turn into pleasure and love of God. God becomes our ultimate desire, enjoyment, purpose, means and ends. To love is is to desire and enjoy.  In this sense it is also true to say, within reformed theology, a Christian is the most ‘spiritually selfish person ever’ for they go about seeking their best at every turn (seeking God) while sinners go about foolishly causing themselves harm in ever deed (turning from God).  So by faith worldly selfishness is harming one’s self and selflessness is the perfection of Christian selfishness (that is looking out for what is best for self).

The reason why these ideas can be turned over on themselves is simply that God is good and part of the proof, if not the primary proof, is his good-will towards men in Christ’s dying love. No theologian in the reformation would separate God's glory, from his goodness for men in the love of Christ, for they amount to the same thing.

Furthermore, due to original sin, a sinner can only come to God with empty and sinful motives, coming to a fountain of life who alone can put the love of God and goodness in him.  That ‘needy approach’ or being ‘poor n spirit’ remains strong and steady after conversion as well, this is why the scriptures persuade us to come with both promises and warnings, which appeal to our own selfish needs in order to help us choose what is best day to day. In this sense the only valid reason to come to God for salvation is a honest selfish one. To pretend that we can come to the fountain of righteousness 'with righteousness' rather then 'empty hands' is an hypothetical concept with know real basis. This 'humble selfish needy begging' like morally bankrupt soul's such as we truly hace, very much pleases God and glorifies his grace especially in its blessed and happy results that it brings. Those who come to God like this are those. whose souls are satisfied drinking Christ’s blood and eating his body for nourishment and joyful salvation. There is no other way to come and feed off the death of another but in selfish need amd concern.

There is some truth therefore in the ‘self’ aspect of the command to 'love our neighbour as yourself'. The fact is God has made you have most power and direct control in taking care of yourself and in the same manner your must care for others. In faith love for God, others and self have no conflict but are mutually implied by each other. God's glory is just the manifestation of his love and good will radiating towards our knowledge, dependence and rejoicing in it. It will even bring us so much joy that we might even say something crazy in rare holy moments, like ‘If it be thy will do things against thy will’. Love for self and others is one stream of love for God, which is the only true holy desire, but this desire can only arise from faith in God's love for us in Christ's work on the cross.

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