A true purpose driven life
2 Timothy 1:9-10
9 He saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given to us in Christ Jesus before times eternal.*
10 This has now been revealed by the manifestation* of our Savior Jesus Christ who abolished death and brought to light [both] life and immortality through the Good News.
Much has been written and discussed for years about Rick Warren’s book The Purpose Driven Life. So many other things evolved out of that theme all the way from the Purpose Driven Church to purpose driven softball! Everybody at some point wants to know the reason for their existence. Churches are really big into finding a “vision from God” and spelling that out into nice vision/purpose statements, so that folks who are church shopping (or hopping as the case may be), can get an idea of who they are and where they are going. Teams of leaders will spend hours upon hours in prayer and on retreats trying to tweak these statements into something very impressive sounding to the church looking consumer. If you are going to catch fish, you must bait a good hook to snag and bag them!
Yet, several thousand years ago, the apostle Paul shed some light on this whole purpose/meaning issue; not just for churches, but for every human being ever created! In fact, he let us know that our purpose was revealed and given to us long before the ages themselves were ever created!
This is what he shares with us in this passage from His last letter to Timothy. Let’s just break it down in a very simplified manner.
“He saved us”. This salvation was not just for a select few, but for all humanity. He did it. We could not save ourselves. The salvation Paul speaks of is a comprehensive term that involves our justification, sanctification, and ultimate glorification. It covers our complete and total forgiveness, our reconciliation to God, and our restoration as the crown of His creation. It also includes the complete restoration of the entire cosmos!
When He saved us, He simultaneously “called us with a holy calling.” When God saved us, He called us to holiness. Holiness is not another term for becoming a puritanical, legalistic, prude. Holiness simply stated is Christlikeness! It is the beauty that Christ is in Himself being expressed through us.
Obviously, this glorious salvation was in no way earned or accomplished by anything any one of us could do. It was not, “according to our works”. So, this salvation and unspeakably glorious calling flowed from another source. What was it? Here is where Paul drops the bombshell!
He tells us that Abba saved us and called us with this holy calling, “according to HIS OWN PURPOSE and GRACE. Ah! This is awesome! But it gets better!
This purpose and grace was “given to US…IN CHRIST JESUS!” Where is our purpose revealed? In Jesus! He Himself is the goal! We were created to become like Him! And what would we need to accomplish this purpose? GRACE!!! Where was this grace going to be found? IN CHRIST!!!
Now listen to this. When was God’s purpose for all humanity determined? BEFORE the ages were ever created!
You see, this all flows back to the loving, lively, laughing, happy, dancing community that the Father, Son, and Spirit were enjoying “before”…before there ever was a second, minute, or hour. Before there ever was anything but them. Yes, they were happy and in love! But, they were not content to keep that life, community and love to themselves! No! They just had to share it! So, God created. But, He created with purpose and intent. Each member of the Godhead had something that they desired, a delightful longing within.
The Father desired a family. But the unique quality about this family is that that they would all be like His Son.
The Son longed for a Bride that he could love and share His glorious Kingdom rule with forever. He also longed for a Body through which He could live His life through and fill the universe with His glory!
The Spirit was fully intent on having a temple built with living stones that He would inhabit and fill, through which He would declare the excellencies of the Father and the Son!
This eternal purpose was set in stone before the ages, and everything that needed to be done to accomplish it was done before anything ever started! Think about that!
There are a thousand different directions I could go in to develop this, but my main point here is to remind you and all mankind, that the reason you exist is to become like Jesus. That is why God saved us. That is why He made us one with Himself through Christ. This is why He reconciled the world to Himself not counting their trespasses against them.
He wants you to experience life as His child. He longs for you to accept His love for you and be transformed by that reality. Jesus wants to live His life through you and express His character and love through your unique personality. He desires with each passing day, to continue the work of transforming you into His likeness as you behold His glory. The Spirit of God delights in filling you with Himself and bearing the fruit of love, His fruit, through you to a needy world, thereby declaring the excellencies of Jesus through you. The world around you sees that fruit and sees how great, good, and loving He really is.
If a gathering of believers (otherwise known in our day as a church), in whatever form it takes, wants to have a purpose or vision, I would suggest God’s eternal purpose might be a good place to start! The way to gauge success would be different though. It would not be gauged by nickels and noses, or bigger and better programs and facilities than the group down the street.
No, it would be gauged by one thing…are we like Jesus? Are we becoming collectively more and more like Him in our character and conduct? Does a watching world see the Abba of Jesus revealed through us, as He was through His Son? Are we bringing life, light, and love wherever we go? Is the world experiencing His all encompassing embrace for all through us? Remember, “as He IS, so are WE in this world” (1 John 4:17).
God is going to get what He is after. The Eternal purpose of the happy Trinity will be fulfilled, and there is no power in any realm, seen or unseen, that can stop it. The Calvinist can scream and pitch a fit all day about how this plan encompasses “all” and not the select elect. The Arminian can protest with great fervor that while the term “all” sounds godly, it can’t include “them” can it? All the “ism’s” in Christianity and the world can stomp their feet and cry aloud that it is not fair, God can’t be that good, ad nauseam. It’s not going to change the fact of His love for all and that what He determined before the world began is going to get done. So, just believe it/Him, and began to experience the reality of His eternal purpose for you! It is an adventure He’s had in store for you for a very, very, long time!
Randy for all