Eternal Purpose for Your Life
Today we are trained
and educated to evaluate everything from a human point of view and this
results in us groping through life with little sense of purpose. Many get
involved in short-term relationships with no commitment to escape life's
emptiness. Others pursue sex, drugs, alcohol, stoicism, or ego trips to
ease the pain of lack of relationship with God or human beings.
These symptoms are not
new. It is astounding how similar our modern world is to the world in which
the apostle Paul lived. Paul lived in a pagan society that lost its nerve
and was filled with cynicism of people who could not find their way. Their
concepts of God and humanity were distorted.
The people of Paul's
world needed to understand their purpose for being. They could only do
that by seeing themselves from God's point of view. Paul wanted to give
them penetrating insight to their purpose for living.
We can only understand
our purpose for existence as we understand God's purpose for our lives.
In the book of Ephesians Paul reveals God's eternal purpose to unite all
humanity in Jesus Christ for a new creation. In the first chapter of Ephesians
Paul begins to reveal the purpose of God's majestic sovereign power in
our salvation. Paul reveals that God purposed a place of refuge for each
of us and he also reveals how to get into that place of refuge.
It Is Comforting
to Know About God's Sovereignty
When we speak of the
sovereignty of God, we are talking about his personal Supreme rule over
the affairs of the universe. This also includes his Supreme rule over our
personal lives. It is difficult to comprehend, but our lives are ruled
by God's sovereign purposeful eternal choice.
In the Psalms God is
often related to the heavens and the earth. (E.g., Psalms 8, 19) When the
Psalms relate God to the heavens it is usually never a science lesson about
the origin of things, but rather a statement about God's sovereign majestic
rule. In the following Psalm the writer speaks of God's dominion and rule.
As for man, his days
are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth. For the wind
passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no
more. But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon
them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children's children; To
such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments
to do them. The LORD hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom
ruleth over all. Bless the LORD, ye his angels, that excel in strength,
that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word. Bless
ye the LORD, all ye his hosts; ye ministers of his, that do his pleasure.
Bless the LORD, all his works in all places of his dominion: bless the
LORD, O my soul.
Have you ever thought
about how the physical heavens literally rule over the earth? During this
El Nino year we have seen how we are at the mercy of the heavens. They
can ruin us or bless us. Warm us or cool us. Burn us or freeze us. Make
our crops productive or destroy them. We have learned that climate and
atmospheric conditions affect not only our health, but also our psychological
behavior. The writers of Psalms saw God in charge of heavens and the earth.
In Psalms 115:1-3 the heathen are asking, "Where is their God now?" The
psalmist answers, "Our God is in the heavens: he has done whatever he pleased."
To them this a very practical way that God's sovereignty was demonstrated.
Just as God rules the heavens and the earth his sovereignty rules our lives.
Throughout the Psalms
when the writers portray God in the heavens it is actually their way of
declaring their faith and trust in God's sovereign rule. If God commands
the heavens, then he commands our lives. If he has a purpose for the heavens,
then he has a purpose for your life.
The words of Jesus extend
comfort by reminding us of God's sovereign power toward those who follow
him. "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And
I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall
any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater
than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand." (John
How Does God's Sovereign
Rule Effect Our Lives?
Nowhere is God's
majestic sovereign power and purpose for our lives more beautifully portrayed
than in the salvation of our souls. And to me, nowhere is God's
sovereign power concerning our salvation more beautifully portrayed for
all today than in the New Testament book of Ephesians.
And what is the exceeding
greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working
of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from
the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far
above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name
that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:
And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over
all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth
all in all.
In Ephesians Paul teaches
us that the sovereign power of God is far above all principality, power,
might, dominion, every name that is named, in this world and the world
to come. This teaches us that our purpose and salvation rest in the sovereignty
of God, his supremacy, his infinite rule, his authority and power. God
is above the highest creature in authority, nature and being. God is the
Most High Lord of heaven and earth and all creation. God is above angels
and all the heavenly hosts.
God had a purpose
for each of us before we were born. This decision was made in heavenly
places before the foundation of the world was laid. "Blessed be
the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all
spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath
chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be
holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto
the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good
pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein
he hath made us accepted in the beloved." (Ephesians 1:3-6)
God's choice was no
novel ideal or last minute decision. God's purposeful choosing was made
before the foundation of the world was laid. God's community of believers
is no accident of history. God's people come into a relationship with him
and with one another solely as the result of deliberate and well-planned
action by God.
1 Peter 1:18-20
For you know that it
was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed
from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but
with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He
was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these
last times for your sake.
God stood by ready to
help "before the foundation of the world." God knows our nature. The Lamb
for our sacrifice was prepared before the world began. The sacrifice was
prepared in advance to meet our needs.
A New York businessman
who commuted to work by ferryboat noticed a new passenger one-day--a youngster
with a shoeshine kit. The man spoke kindly to him and paid him to shine
his shoes. From that day on, whenever the businessman boarded the boat,
the boy always approached him with a happy smile. He would offer to carry
his briefcase and would brush off his clothing without expecting any reward.
After a week or two, the man asked the youth what made him so attentive.
"Sir," he replied, "the first time you met me you called me 'my boy.' Till
then I didn't think I belonged to anyone, 'cause my parents are dead. But
you're so kind, and you always call me your boy. There's nothing I wouldn't
do for you!" Needless to say, the businessman was deeply touched. Soon
he made arrangements to see that the young fellow would be well taken care
Since the man was a
Christian, the experience brought to his mind the Scripture that reads,
"And [I] will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters"
(2 Cor. 6:18). He thought how blessed it is that God has chosen to be our
Father. He tells us as believers in the body of Christ that we are not
orphans in the storms of life, for we have a Father who loves us. As His
blood-bought children, we are assured that we will be "abundantly satisfied"
(Psalm 36:8), safely guided, and never forsaken.
How Was God's Sovereign
powerful eternal purpose for our lives was worked out according to the
counsel of his own will. "In whom also we have obtained an inheritance,
being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things
after the counsel of his own will: That we should be to the praise of his
glory, who first trusted in Christ." (Ephesians 1:11-12)
Jeremiah wrote, "Thus
saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the
mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches:
But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth
me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness,
in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD." (Jeremiah
Today, when we want
great things done, we look for great people to do them. But God is different.
When God spoke to Israel in the Old Testament he said, "The LORD did not
set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than
any people; for ye were the fewest of all people: But because the LORD
loved you . . . (Deuteronomy 7:7-8)
Throughout the Old Testament
God never chose extraordinary people to do extraordinary things. He chose
ordinary people to do the extraordinary. He called Abraham from an idolatrous
past; God chose cheating Jacob to carry on his cause; God chose Joseph
sold into slavery; God chose the outcast in Egypt, the Israelite slaves
through whom to work his mighty wonders; God chose fearful timid Gideon
and 300 men to route a Philistine army of tens of thousand, God chose the
shepherd boy David to deliver Israel from the giants, God chose to save
you in Jesus Christ.
Sometimes we are like
the Corinthians who liked to emphasize their own importance in the body
of Christ. But Paul reminds us that it's because of God's good pleasure
and choice that we are in Christ Jesus.
1 Corinthians 1:27-31
But God chose the foolish
things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the
world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and
the despised things-- and the things that are not-- to nullify the things
that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him
that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from
God-- that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as
it is written: "Let him who boasts boast in the Lord." (Emphasis mine)
Paul reminds us that
God purposed each person to be in Christ and it was according to the good
pleasure of his will. It is not because of who we are or what we have accomplished.
" . . . He predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ,
in accordance with his pleasure and will-- (Ephesians 1:5)
Why Was God's Sovereign
powerful purposeful choice was to freely give us salvation in Jesus Christ.
(1:6) God's sovereign choice had nothing to do with how good or
bad anyone has lived. It has to do with God's choosing not ours. God chose
that he would count every person in Christ holy and blameless. This decision
was made before the first man took his first breath, before the earth was
created. It was purposed in eternity.
In the first verse of
Ephesians Paul spoke "to the saints in Ephesus." Don't be misled by the
world's concept of sainthood. In our world Sainthood is something reserved
for people who have lived extraordinary lives. Someone like Saint John,
Saint Paul, Saint Peter. Sainthood is only conferred upon certain dead
people by some ecclesiastical body. Saints are dead people to whom some
pray. But according to God's Word, all believers are already saints. We
are not holy because of our own good works or righteousness. The Bible
tells us that "all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment." (Isaiah
64:6) We are righteous because Jesus Christ died on the cross so that he
could give us his righteousness. God made him to be sin for us, he became
sin on our behalf, that we might be the righteousness of God in HIM. (2
We may have enough money
to buy every cow in Texas, make a ski resort out of Mt. Everest, or hire
the Green Bay Packers as our personal bodyguards. But we do not have enough
money to secure personal freedom from sin, even one sin.
My favorite verse in
Ephesians is 1:7; " . . . he has made us accepted in the beloved." This
is really my favorite verse in the Bible. It says so much. The verse tells
me that what I couldn't do God chose to do through his majestic sovereign
power. He made us saints: he made his child; he made provisions for the
forgiveness of my sins; he made the purchased price for my sins; he made
himself a Lamb sacrifice for my sins; he has made provisions for my eternal
home and he has made me acceptable to live there with him eternally. Praise
be to God, he has made me acceptable in the beloved.
We sing a song, "Oh,
what wondrous love I see, Freely shown to you and me. By the One that did
atone. Just to show His matchless grace, Jesus suffered for the race."
No wonder John could
say, "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that
we should be called the children of God." (1 John 3:1)
God purposed our
salvation in Christ that all creation might know the intent of his eternal
purpose from very the beginning. Salvation in Christ has always
been in God's plan. God's plan for our salvation was mysterious until Christ
came. It was a mystery, but now the mystery is revealed through Christ
for all creation to behold as the gospel is preached.
And to make all men
see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of
the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:
To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places
might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, According to the
eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: In whom we
have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.
God purposed our
salvation in Christ so that we might have boldness and confidence through
faith in Christ as we approach him. Paul makes it clear that the
purpose of God's decision was to provide salvation in Christ. (Ephesians
1:3) It is in Christ that we have been adopted as sons. (1:5) It is in
Christ that we have received God's glorious grace. (1:6) It is in Christ
that we have been redeemed by the precious blood of the lamb. (1:7-10)
God has chosen to make us accepted in the beloved. (1:7)
A wealthy man once called
his faithful assistant into his office and said, "I've put your name in
my will, and you will get $10,000 when I die. As it may be some time before
you get that legacy, I want to make you happy by paying you each year the
legal interest on that amount. Here is a check for $600 as a starter."
The clerk was doubly gratified. The prospect of the inheritance was good
news, and the money he received in advance assured him of the reality of
his joyous hope for the future. In a higher sense, this is the believer's
position. The spiritual blessings that God's grace imparts are the interest
and promise of "a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory" which
the heavenly Bridegroom will one day share with the heirs of salvation
(2 Cor. 4:17).
Blessed be the God
and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual
blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us
in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without
blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of
children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of
his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made
us accepted in the beloved.
choice was to give us every spiritual blessing we need in Christ.
Try to imagine having a bank account with unlimited funds. No matter what
you need the funds are always there. You don't have to worry about negative
balances; in fact you don't really have to worry about keeping tract of
what you spend because you know what you need will always be there.
Have you ever noticed
those on television who have won a $10,000,000 sweepstake. The first thing
they say is "I can't believe it." Likewise, "Many of us have trouble believing
the extravagant goodness of God toward us personally. The idea that God
would lavish extravagant blessings on us is something we find hard to believe.
It seems that we have been conditioned to think of ourselves as unworthy
creatures. We are not good enough, or holy enough, or sincere enough to
get the really good things from God - That is our thinking. Who are we
to presume upon the goodness of God? But the fact remains that all of us
have a rich and extravagant inheritance in Christ. In fact, we may respond
by saying, "I can't believe it." We may not be able to believe it, but
it is true."
For Whom Was God's
Sovereign Decision Made? (1:9-10)
God has purposed
to unite everything in heaven and on earth into Jesus Christ making one
new creation. (Ephesians 2:10) This leaves no one out. It is not
that some are chosen and some are not.
Ephesians 1:9-10 And
he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure,
which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will
have reached their fulfillment-- to bring all things in heaven and on earth
together under one head, even Christ.
God made a choice to
bring all things in heaven and on earth together in Christ. He also chose
to reveal this mystery of his will, which is now the revealed gospel, through
weak sinful people whom the Bible speaks of as the saints of God. God has
chosen to reveal the wisdom of his power and eternal purpose to the world,
principalities and powers in heavenly places through you and me. He has
purposed our lives as a spectacle to the world. And the beauty of it all
is that everyone can be included in the salvation that the majestic sovereign
ruler of the heavens and the earth has purposed to give in Jesus Christ.
choice includes each of us who choose to believe and follow Christ:
"And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth,
the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with
a seal, the promised Holy Spirit . . . (Ephesians 1:13)
Must hear the word of
truth. Jesus said, "You shall know the truth and it shall set you free."
(John 8:32) Jesus prayed that we might be sanctified through the truth.
(John 1:17) Jesus said that the words he spoke to us are "spirit and they
are life." (John 6:63) Paul says that we are "saved by grace through faith."
(Ephesians 2:8-9) In Romans Paul declares that faith comes by hearing and
hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:17) Paul declares that we put on
Christ as we are baptized into Christ. (Galatians 3:26-27)
volumes to those who feel forgotten by God. Those who feel that they have
been dealt a rotten hand, so to speak. Sin deals each of us a rotten hand
but God's eternal purpose salvages our lives. You can know that God has
a purpose for your life. Remember if God can rule the heavens and the earth
he can bless your life.
God's sovereign power
and purpose provides a place of salvation, which is in Christ, but it is
through the power of human choice that we take advantage of this salvation.
God has offered each of us a refuge in Christ but it is up to each of us
to seek refuge.
God's eternal purpose
provides a purpose for your life in that he wants you become his new creation