Recently I had a man pose this defeater dilemma: “Did God save us because He needed to? Or because we need Him to?”
He asked me this because I pointed out to him that his gospel presentation was entirely man-centered, not Christ-centered.
Below is my answer to him. May God add His blessing to your reading.
Your statement in the form of a question is an example of a false dichotomy. Not only have you presented me with a logical either/or fallacy, but the premises you’ve offered—all two them—are equally wrong-headed.
Therefore I choose neither “A” nor “B;” but “C”: None of the above.
But let us consider the options in the order of their appearance.
First: Did God save us because He needed to? Of course, the answer to this query is “no.” God is a perfect Being who needs nothing because there is no lack or privation in Him.
Second: Does God save us because we need Him to? This is tantamount to asking, “Does God save us because we’re lost?” It’s somewhat tautological.
But, again, the biblical answer is “no.” God does not save us BECAUSE we need Him to. Taken to its logical conclusion, this unbiblical notion (“God saves us BECAUSE we need Him to”) leads to Universalism.
(That is, if sinners are saved BECAUSE they need salvation; and all sinners need salvation; then God must save all sinners BECAUSE all sinners need to be saved and the sinners’ need is the cause of God’s saving.)
Universalism, however, is beyond the pale of Protestant orthodoxy.
And so, we cannot say that God saves sinners because sinners need Him to. Rather, we must say—with scripture—that God saves sinners because God is gracious and merciful. God saves sinners because it is His will to do so. God saves sinners to His own glory.
He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved. . . . In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory (Ephesians 1:4-6,11-12).
Scripture couldn’t be clearer.