Life's Purpose

      When we consider the world around us we find a great deal of confusion about the purpose of life. For many the purpose of life is to:

  • Acquire an abundance of material possessions ("He who dies with the most toys wins")
  • Experience limitless enjoyment of their favorite pleasures. (Most often they are frustrated by the problems of availability and satiety).
  • Attain a certain level of position or power (They find "Itís a jungle out there" as they run into cut-throat competition).
  • Achieve a wide circle of acceptance or popularity (They find popularity is the most fleeting thing on earth)

     The typical experience in all these areas is to have fleeting periods of elation followed by much longer periods of dissatisfaction.  Many others seem to have no purpose at all:  It is not uncommon to hear people say, "Iím trying to find myself." Their journey through life is controlled by the external forces working on them.

There is yet another group who seem to have embraced all the wrong purposes in life:

     "Iím here for society or government to take care of me."
     "My purpose in life is to cheat and defraud as many people as I can."

     The communists had been convinced by the logic of Marx and Engels that communism was the answer to the economic needs of the world. In a 70 year period they:

  • Conquered the nation of Russia and established the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics;
  • Enslaved and murdered millions;
  • Gained control of Ĺ the earthís surface and contended for being the worldís most powerful military power.

     Yet, in 1989 they began an open admission that it had all been a delusion and a colossal failure. They had embraced the wrong purpose.

     Of all the religions and philosophies competing for acceptance there is only one group of people who have found an abiding peace in their purpose. It is those Christians who have sincerely and truly embraced the true God, the only Savior, Jesus Christ and Godís truth. To the extent they walk in fellowship with God according to truth God has revealed they experience the greatest purpose that is possible.

There Are Some Things True Believers Know

     It is true that believers know many truths by faith in the revelation of God. It is also true that believers try and prove the word of God and find it to be more reliable than all the reasoning of man.

Believers Know That Man Came Into Existence By the Creative Act of God

     "Then God said, Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likenessÖ" And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being." Genesis 1:26; 2:7.

     Man was created in the peak of physical condition. He was composed of body, soul, and spirit and he possessed intellect, emotion and will. He bore the character qualities of God. To this man was given a female counterpart who was his perfect match in every way. This man and woman were placed in an environment designed to abundantly meet their needs.  The evenings of each day were reserved to walk and talk with their Creator, God.

Believers Know that Man Fell From This Pristine Estate As a Result of Sin

     Our first parents were privileged to live in a virtually unlimited paradise and enjoy unhindered fellowship with God. In this paradise God only placed one restriction. "Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat;  but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die." Genesis 2:16b, 17.

     Our first parents understood the one thing forbidden by God and the consequences if they disobeyed. And yet, they allowed the fallen angel, Lucifer, to persuade them to violate Godís one prohibition. In that day they died in their spirit. In time they would die physically as a result. They could pass on physical life to their children, but that physical life would be inclined to live in disobedience to God. Cain was the first child born to woman. He would be the first baby to pat his motherís cheek. In time he would lift up that same hand and murder his brother.

     All descendants of Adam and Eve would be born with a fallen nature. David spoke of it when he wrote, Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me." Psalms 51:5. The apostle Paul explained it when he wrote in Romans 5:12, "Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned---". Manís spirit and nature is still alive to things physical and material, but is dead to God. To be made alive again to God man needs a spiritual birth by the Holy Spirit.

Believers Know That Godís Son Received The Punishment For All Their Sins

     We like to think of God as loving, kind, gracious, merciful, and compassionateÖand He is. And yet, God is also holy, righteous and just. The Ten Commandments ought to make that exceedingly clear. In addition, the whole Bible is full of the holiness, righteousness, and justice of God. Before God can shower the abundance of His love upon us, the justice of God must be satisfied. We can rejoice that what Godís justice demanded the love of God provided. "In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation [sacrifice] for our sins." 1st John 4:10. The word "propitiation" comes from the Day of Atonement observed by Israel for nearly 1500 years before Jesus died on the cross. It finds its meaning from the sacrificial goat and the scapegoat. The sacrificial goat pictures how our sins have been laid on Jesus Christ, Godís Son, and how He received the full punishment for our sins as our substitute. The scapegoat pictures how our sins have been separated from us who have received Jesus as our Savior so that God will never identify us with our sins again. The justice of God has been satisfied and the only obstacle hindering mankind from the salvation God has provided is their own refusal to accept Jesus Christ as their Savior.

Believers Know There Is New Life In Christ

     "He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himselfÖAnd this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God,  that you may know that you have eternal life."  1st John 5:10-13.

     This is what Jesus was talking about when He said to Nicodemus, "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you Ďyou must be born againí" John 3:6,7 When any sinner receives Jesus Christ as their Savior the Holy Spirit gives them a spiritual birth. Their spirit is made alive to God and they become a child of God in the fullest sense. They have the witness of the Holy Spirit within affirming that this is so (See Romans 8:14-17). It may take them some while to discover that long before they were born God knew this would come to pass and He already has a plan and a purpose for their life.

Believers Know That Godís Greatest Purpose For Them Is To Conform To The Likeness of Christ.

     "And we know that all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image (likeness) of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren."   Romans 8:28, 29.

     Godís primary concern and purpose for His children is what they are to be even more than what they are to do. That is the reason He allows "bad things" to come into the lives of His children. In His great wisdom He allows just the right mix of "good things" and "bad things" to shape His children more and more like Jesus Christ.

Believers Know That Out of What God Shapes Them To Be Flows Godís Purpose of What God Wants Them To Do

     Pastor Rick Warren has led in identifying those qualities God has produced (and is producing) in each believer to shape them for the unique purpose God has for their lives. The forces at work molding each believer are seen in the following acrostic:

          Spiritual Gifts Ė 1st Corinthians 7:7b
          Heart Ė Ephesians 6:6; Philippians 2:13
          Abilities Ė 1st Corinthians 12:6
          Personality Ė 1st Corinthians 2:11
         Experiences Ė Spiritual, Hebrews 5:12, 12; Painful, 2nd Corinthians 1:4; Educational, Proverbs 4:13 and Ministry, 2nd Corinthians 9:13.

       An understanding of these five areas in our life will determine what our ministry is to be. "The will of God" is not so much the geography of where we are as it is what we are to do wherever we are. Success in Godís purpose in my life is faithfully being what God wants me to be and doing what God wants me to do.  Every sincere Christian should seek the knowledge to see how God has been shaping them for the unique ministry He has for them.

     To completely understand Godís purpose for us we need to be aware that God sees each believer as a member of Christís spiritual body. Even as our physical body has eyes, ears, nose, mouth, hands, feet ,etc. even so every believer is a living member in Christís body. "For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another."   Romans 12:4,5 (See also 1st Corinthians 12; Ephesians 3:6; 4:4, 12,16; 5:23,30; Colossians 1:18; 2:17, 19, 3:15).

     These scriptures also reveal that Christís body is the church in its entirety as God sees it. The local church is the manifestation of Christís body, the church, as man sees it. The New Testament reveals that God has five purposes for the church: evangelism (telling the good news of Christ); discipleship (growing from a newborn babe in Christ to spiritual maturity); ministry (serving the needs of others with our spiritual gift(s); fellowship (entering into a spirit of community with fellow believers) and worship (admiring, loving and praising our God).

     When a believer begins to grasp how God has uniquely shaped them and that they are a vital member of Christís body contributing to the five purposes of the church they will truly begin to find peace in their purposes.

Copyright © 2002 Thomas E Berry
All Scriptures quoted from NKJV unless otherwise noted