The Expository Files

Life's Purpose According to the Father

 2 Corinthians 5:1-10


There is a reason for it all. There is a reason for the ancient writings of the prophets. There is purpose behind the Son of God coming to our world. There is a rationale behind the preserving of the Bible down to our present age. The remarkable thing about it is that this purpose relates to me... and to you. We are a part of it!

To look at it one small segment at a time is sometimes baffling. For example, if we only looked at the death of Christ apart from everything else we would be unable to assign any sense to it. Or the animal sacrifices of the Old Testament would be only puzzling shadows if they were separated from their New Testament substance; the sacrifice of Jesus. Life is like that as well. To look at life as only a series of isolated incidents from which we randomly bounce from one to another, some good and some not, brings to us uncertainty and insecurity. But once one realizes that there is a purpose behind it all, a common thread leading toward a purposed conclusion, everything becomes more meaningful and results in peace of mind. Life's purpose is not a secret. Philosophers have searched for it as if it were some deep, dark mystery hidden in an almost inaccessible place. Well, I found it, and its not in a hard to reach place at all. It's where you would expect such information to be. It's in the Scriptures which are the word of God.

And what is life's purpose? (I really should charge big bucks for this information, but I won't.) Consider the answer as given by our Creator through inspiring the apostle Paul with the following words: "For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven; inasmuch as we, having put it on, shall not be found naked. For indeed while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened, because we do not want to be unclothed, in order that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now He who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave to us His Spirit as a pledge. Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord- for we walk by faith and not by sight- we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord. Therefore also we have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad." (II Corinthians 5:1-10). So there you have it! There are several things said here about life's purpose. It's to reach the goal of that day when our mortality is "swallowed up by life." It's to be "at home with the Lord." It's to "be pleasing to Him." It's to have a rewarding experience as we stand "before the judgment seat of Christ" and are "recompensed" for our deeds, "whether good or bad."

We Know We Have A Building From God
"For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens." (II Corinthians 5:1). The first five verses of the fifth chapter of II Corinthians sum up the purpose for which God has prepared us. He plans to clothe our spirits one day with eternal bodies so that "what is mortal may be swallowed up by life" (vs. 4; cf. I Corinthians 15:42-44; 50-54). There are three different states of consciousness described in this passage: First, our present state. We are now in "the earthy tent." This means our spirits now inhabit temporary quarters. Our bodies wear out and die. We "groan" at the prospect of death. Second, there is a state after death in which our spirits are described as "unclothed." Death brings a separation between body and spirit (James 2:26). Though we cannot now know what such an existence will be like, the context suggests that the disembodied human spirit is uncomfortable with such a situation feeling exposed. A body is desirable, but our first body is only temporary. Finally, there is the eternal state of the saved. A new, immortal body is given to the spirit. In this new body, mortality is "swallowed up by life." One of the purposes of life is to reach this final state. In Christ it becomes possible. The Holy Spirit has been given to us as a pledge that for those "who walk by faith" that His purpose will be fulfilled.

We Are Of Good Courage
"...for we walk by faith and not by sight- we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord." (II Corinthians 5:7,8). Because of this assurance, we are of good courage. We now see that life's problems are not nearly so bad because we become victors over them all, including death itself. Paul wrote to the Romans about how the disciple of Jesus overwhelmingly conquers "through Him who loved us" and that neither "tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword" shall be able to separate us from the love of Christ (Romans 8:31-39). "If God be for us, who can be against us?" That's the kind of assurance we all need in such a crazy, mixed up world! For those who maintain their walk "in Christ Jesus" our exit from this world is simply a giant step toward being "at home with the Lord."

We Have As Our Ambition To Please Him
"Therefore also we have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him." (II Corinthians 5:9). Tied also to this purpose of God for us is our attitude toward pleasing Him. The word translated "ambition" (NASB; "labor" in KJV) means to "strongly aspire." One must be completely dedicated to pleasing God in his or her life.There is so much said in the Scriptures about "seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness" and about not neglecting "so great a salvation" and "working out our salvation with fear and trembling" (Matthew 6:33; Hebrews 2:3; Philippians 2:12) that it ought to go without saying that possessing this attitude is related to whether we will ever reach our home or not. We simply will not get there by putting things other than His kingdom first. God has prepared a place for us, but we must also make preparation to receive it. Someone once said, "Heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people." An ancient prophet urged the people "Prepare to meet your God!" And Jesus said, "Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day or the hour." (Matthew 25:13; cf vss. 1-12).

We Will Appear Before The Judgment Seat
"For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad." (II Corinthians 5:10). For life's purpose to be fulfilled, it must go well for us at the judgment seat of Christ. Our life's deeds will be considered there. We will be judged according to what we have done, "whether good or bad." But thank God that I can appear there as a forgiven man. Jesus paid the price for my sins. He is my only hope. It would be a tragedy to enter into eternity as a disembodied spirit, exposed and without hope of a new, immortal body and destined to a hell prepared for the devil and his angels (Matthew 25:41). But God has not "prepared" us for that. By faith we are of good courage. We have "a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens." However, to fulfill life's ultimate purpose, we must "put to death" the deeds of the flesh. "But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you... for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God." (Romans 8:11-14).


By Jon W. Quinn
From Expository Files 7.6; June 2000
 



 





 

 

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