The Ultimate Mission of the Triune God
The Mission of the Triune God is to savor and display the glory of God. This is evidenced by seeking to discern why God does all that he does. If we look throughout the Scripture for the ultimate mission behind all that God does, whether Father, Son, Spirit, or the purpose of everything else God created, the mission objective of God becomes clear. Below is a survey of texts that point to the final and widest mission of God as the exaltation and display of his glory in himself, his people, and the rest of creation.
God created humans for his glory when he made them in his image. “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’ So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Gen 1.26-27). God created humans to bear forth his image and display him in the world. To display God is to display his glory.
God redeemed his people from Egypt in the Exodus event for his glory. “Both we and our fathers have sinned; we have committed iniquity; we have done wickedness. Our fathers, when they were in Egypt, did not consider your wondrous works; they did not remember the abundance of your steadfast love, but rebelled by the Sea, at the Red Sea. Yet he saved them for his name’s sake, that he might make known his mighty power” (Psalm 106.6-8). The mission of God was to uphold his name and make known his power, the means was redeeming the people from Egypt.
God gave the law-covenant through Moses to accomplish the mission of glorifying himself by commanding them to glorify and exalt him and him alone. “You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me” (Exodus 20.3-5).
In the prediction of the exile of God’s people, he promised restoration for the sake of his glory, his praise, and his name. “For my name’s sake I defer my anger, for the sake of my praise I restrain it for you, that I may not cut you off… For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it, for how should my name be profaned? My glory I will not give to another” (Isa 48.9, 11).
Jesus’ life and ministry was to accomplish the wider mission of glorifying God the Father. So when Jesus prayed before he was crucified, he said, “I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do” (John 17.4). And Jesus death was for the greater mission of glorifying the Father. John writes of Jesus saying, “‘Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? “Father, save me from this hour”? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: ‘I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again’” (John 12.27-28).
Our duty as Christians is to glorify God as the overarching purpose and mission of our lives: “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor 10.31). Even our good works are for the larger mission of glorifying God: “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matt 5.16).
In the consummation, when we’re in the new heavens and new earth Jesus’ desire will be fulfilled, which is the ultimate mission of God: “Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world” (John 17.24).
John Piper concludes, “What may we conclude from this survey of redemptive history? We may conclude that the chief end of God is to glorify God and enjoy himself forever. He stands supreme at the center of His own affections. For that very reason, He is a self-sufficient and inexhaustible fountain of grace.”
Jonathan Edwards summarizes the ultimate mission of God:
For it appears, that all that is ever spoken of in the Scripture as an ultimate end of God’s works, is included in that one phrase, the glory of God; which is the name by which the ultimate end of God’s works is most commonly called in Scripture; and seems most aptly to signify the thing…
The thing signified by that name, the glory of God, when spoken of as the supreme and ultimate end of all God’s works, is the emanation and true expression of God’s internal glory and fullness; meaning by his fullness what has already been explained; or, in other words, God’s internal glory, in a true and just exhibition, or external existence of it.
John Piper summarizes the ultimate mission of God:
God’s ultimate goal therefore is to preserve and display His infinite and awesome greatness and worth, that is, His glory. God has many other goals in what He does. But none of them is more ultimate than this. They are all subordinate. God’s overwhelming passion is to exalt the value of His glory. To that end, He seeks to display it, to oppose those who belittle it, and to vindicate it from all contempt. It is clearly the uppermost reality in His affections. He loves His glory infinitely.
So the ultimate and supreme mission of the Triune God is to exalt God, glorify God, enjoy God, and display God’s glory in himself, his people, and the rest of creation. But what about the subordinate mission of the Father, Son, and Spirit? What is the specific task assigned to each person of the Godhead as their subordinate mission serving the wider mission of the Triune God? God has not revealed himself as three persons who are identical and interchangeable. The Son is one with the Father but he is not himself the Father. In the same way the Son’s mission is one with the Father’s mission, but their specific tasks, their subordinate missions are not the same. So what are the three explicit subordinate missions of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit?
We’ll look at these in the following posts.
 John Piper, Desiring God (Colorado Springs, Col.:Multnomah, 2003), 321, emphasis his. I am indebted to John Piper’s listing of these passages and more in his appendix at the back of this book. Readers should consult chapter 1 of this book and the appendix, as well as Piper’s republishing of Jonathan Edwards’ essay, “The End for Which God Created the World” in God’s Passion for His Glory by John Piper, (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway books, 1998).
 Jonathan Edwards in God’s Passion for His Glory by John Piper, (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 1998), 242.
 Desiring God, 42.