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The Christian’s Purpose

A Gift

A central purpose is an essential ingredient for a meaningful and productive life. Without it, the lesser goals lose their meaning and it is all too easy to lose interest or become discouraged when the going gets difficult. The question: why am I doing this? needs an answer and finds it in that overriding central purpose.

God has, in His love and mercy, supplied such a purpose to all His regenerate creatures. Every Christian is given a task, one that is to be the central purpose in his life. It is specified in the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20) and prioritized in Jesus’ words:

Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat?  or, What shall we drink?  or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness;  and all these things shall be added unto you. (Matt. 6:31-33)

Jesus’ states here in no uncertain terms what the Christian’s central purpose in life should be. It is to seek God’s kingdom and His righteousness as the first priority in life, even before food, drink, or clothing, it’s basic necessities. This would apply to personal life, life with family and associates and in every other activity. It is to be so vital a part of him that deprived of it life would become meaningless.

With it every aspect of life is alive; every event experienced, every word spoken is connected to an eternal thread, ordained by God and filled by His creatures. Life has eternal significance for all but that significance is visible only to those that take His word as a personal letter from Him.

The Lord’s prayer reflects the priority that work toward the establishment of God’s kingdom should hold in the believer’s life:

After this manner therefore pray ye:  Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever.  Amen. (Matt. 6:9-13)

We see here that the first three petitions refer to this central purpose in the lives of God’s people; only after these do we see reference to personal needs.

This sense of meaningful purpose is God’s gift to His faithful servants, something they can devote their efforts toward, something that can give them lasting satisfaction. They can tell their grandchildren that their life has had, and still has, a purpose, one that filled their lives with meaning. They didn’t live the hollow, empty lives so many do today, seeking wealth and pleasures that fade away so quickly. This is truly a magnificent gift, a gift that no one else could give. Another will be coming when He says to us, “Well done good and faithful servant …” (Matt. 25: 21, 23).

Its Reception

God’s ecclesias (His called-out people) began with the understanding that they were the initial outposts of the kingdom of God, the kingdom that would supplant all the kingdoms of this world (Rev. 11:15). The subsequent centuries of clerical rule and its compromise with worldly government has all but buried this goal. It was revived briefly by the early Puritans but for most of the Christian era it was neglected and has not been the central life-purpose God provided for His people.

This has stripped the ecclesia of their God-given, primary purpose in life, to “seek first the kingdom of God.” But God did not create man to be an idle creature; for him life must have a purpose and he seeks it in pursuits other than the one he was created and designed to follow. This then becomes the norm; Christians pursue whatever goal, within limits, appeals to them and even the idea of a future Christian world is lost. Consequently, the great majority of Christians, for most of history, have had little real purpose and little involvement in the building of God’s kingdom.

This is the case today. The ecclesia, God’s chosen force for world renewal, has lost its prime directive and is no longer pursuing the Creator’s purpose. All but a very few of today’s churches have discarded teaching what to them seems to be the impossible goal of worldwide Christianity, as called for in the Great Commission. They instead have settled for a truncated version consisting of evangelism with the goal of personal salvation for a few. For these false teachers civil law is now the province of secular government. The notion of God’s law as the higher law, a view that was popular a century ago, is now considered obsolete.

The law aspect of the commission, which is vital to the growth and vigor of the faith, has been grossly neglected in recent history. This has been expressed as a distorted commission, restated as:

“And Jesus came and said to them, All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me, but I am not going to exercise much of it for a long time.  For now, therefore, just go and make a few disciples of each nationality, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe a select few of the things I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you, kind of, until to the end of the age, when I shall come back, and do it all myself.” [1]

Today’s Christian leaders and teachers seem to have lost all sight of the central purpose behind their very existence. They have forgotten that we were created as a force designed to renew all things, to make this world a Christian world. They react to setbacks by lowering the God-given goal from world conquest to a rescue operation that attempts to save a few souls for Christ. Jesus’ words in The Great Commission have been distorted as follows: “Make all nations disciples” was changed to “make the people of the nations disciples.” This became, “make some of the people of all nations disciples” and eventually “make a few disciples in as many nations as we can.”

Teaching obedience to Christ was gradually de-emphasized and then dropped entirely. The clear statement that Christ is the rightful ruler of the nations was abandoned and the Great Commission reduced to personal salvation for a few.

We can see how detrimental to progress this has been.  Europe, once known as “Christendom,” has essentially left the faith. America still has many Christians but its laws, its schools and its culture have been stripped of their formerly Christian character. How did this happen? How did this once solidly Christian nation fall so low? A major factor has been that the law aspect of the Great Commission has been neglected and unbelief has been permitted to fester. At first it was hidden in the shadows but gradually it grew and gained in numbers, power and influence, until now it commands the nation’s governments, its schools and almost every aspect of public life. These are the consequences of partial obedience (which is disobedience) to God.

Why is this the case? Psychologically, it avoids the recognition of failure by substituting a lesser goal for the greater, seemingly unreachable object. Purpose faded as a consequence of repeated failure followed by discouragement.

The people of God need to get their heads out of the sand and consider the reality that surrounds them. The world is in desperate need of God’s help and only they can supply it. God has placed the future of the world in their hands. They are the body of Christ, the new humanity, empowered by the Holy Spirit. Once started, they will constitute an unstoppable force but they do need to get started! They must accept the responsibility God has placed on their shoulders and stop trying to transfer it to the full-time Christians or anyone else. God’s people need to resurrect a sense of God’s gift of purpose in their hearts, the purpose that they buried long ago.


[1] By Joel McDurmon of American Vision as cited by Sye ten Bruggencate at:


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