As Christians, it is important for us to understand why God gifted us with salvation? Understanding the purpose for your salvation will help motivate you to faithfully and obediently follow Jesus without turning back.
- Was salvation simply so I could receive eternal life and carry on living the way I want?
- Does salvation mean that God works all things for my enjoyment in this life?
- Now that I’ve said the sinner’s prayer, does that mean that I go to heaven following a life of doing as I please and God giving me everything I ask for?
- Does being a Christian mean that I have to give up anything I really like?
- Now that I’ve confessed to being a sinner, will God take all my problems away?
- Does God have a purpose for me as a Christian?
These are common questions which are clearly answered in the Bible. However, the most important question in the above list, is the last one; does God have a purpose for me as a Christian?
The answer is YES! God has a definite purpose for you now that you are a Christian. Salvation is simply the beginning of an eternal adventure for Jesus Christ. In fact, God’s purpose for you existed long before you were even born.
God determined from eternity past for you to respond favourably to Him by you putting faith in his Son Jesus Christ. Consequently, you “believed in him [Jesus], were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit” and became an expression of “the praise of his glory” (Ephesians 1:13-14). That has always been God’s unchanging purpose for your life in Christ. You personally, including everything about you, with all of your struggles and future problems, are now a living, breathing, moving, public statement of “his glorious grace” (Ephesians 1:6).
That means, everything that makes you the unique person that you are, is to be dedicated to speaking and living out the loving grace of Jesus Christ through your daily activities. Our purpose as Christians is for God to get all the recognition, all the thanks, and all the glory for what He is doing in our lives.
Believers in Jesus Christ “are his [God’s] workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10). Long before we showed any interest in Jesus, the Lord was busy arranging the good works He wanted us to be busy with following salvation.
The apostle Peter explains that believers in Jesus are “a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9). Because we belong to Jesus, we commit our lives to telling others of how excellent Jesus is. We are careful not to allow ourselves to become distracted from this because we have made “it our aim to please him” in all areas of our lives (2 Corinthians 5:9).
If you have entrusted your life to Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, there are three basic stages of life which God has planned for you in advance.
1) God planned your salvation
King David observed that the Lord “created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb” (Psalm 139:13). You were not an accident. Even if your parents did not plan for your birth, God did. God was in control of your life from the very beginning within your mother’s womb.
Earlier David said of God, “you hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me” (Psalm 139:5). You see, David understood that it was God who invisibly moved his life into the right places and connected him to the people of God’s choice. Despite David’s wrong decisions at times, God did everything necessary to get David to where God wanted him.
Likewise, “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). God was working on your undeserved salvation long before you realised what was going on. You and I contributed nothing to our salvation. “Even when we were dead in our trespasses, [God] made us alive together with Christ…” (Ephesians 2:5). Salvation was always outside of our grasp or control. Here we see God’s determined grace at work. God never gave up on you, even though there would have been many times when you would have previously rejected Him.
Because we sinners “were dead in the trespasses and sins” of our lives (Ephesians 2:1), we were not able to choose to believe in Jesus as Lord and Saviour. You see, dead people don’t think, they don’t realise that they are dead because they are dead. They don’t desire to be alive because they are unable to reason their way out of being spiritually dead. So, God steps in and makes us alive in Jesus.
Jesus explained to His disciples, that “no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father” (John 6:65). “Did I not choose you?” He then told His disciples (John 6:70). You are a gift from God the Father to God the Son, chosen by God Himself.
But here is an even more wonderful thing that stretches our minds past our ability to fully understand. God did this by giving us the required faith so that we could believe in Jesus. “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8). Because you and I were dead in sin, and dead people have no faith, God graciously gifted us with the faith that we needed in order for us to believe in the Lord Jesus.
God left nothing to chance when it came to getting dead sinners to receive eternal life. In John 1:12-13, Jesus tells us that “as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”
We chose to receive Jesus through believing in Jesus – that was our responsibility.
It was Jesus who entitled us, He gave us the right to be born again (John 3:3) into God’s family as God’s children.
Salvation was not the result of our human will, or of our human efforts.
It was Jesus who made it possible for God’s will to be done in our sinful lives.
If you picture in your mind God’s will and your belief in Jesus working together it will help you to grow in appreciation of the Lord. God made it possible for you to believe in synchronised harmony with His plan for your salvation. Both you and He were engaged with each other to produce the outcome of your surrender to Jesus as Lord.
To use a human illustration, imagine two steel gears spinning. If we move those two gears towards each other until they touch, there would be lots of noise, sparks, and broken pieces flying off as they crashed. That’s what God’s will and our disbelief would have been like if God did not arrange everything that was needed for both to work together in harmony.
Now, imagine those same two steel gears being meshed together in synchronisation before they begin to spin. The outcome is obvious. They work together in perfect harmony while rotating in opposite directions. No crashing, just harmony.
This illustrates God’s ingenious nature. He brings His control into sinful mankind by enabling sinners to intelligently express faith through their individual characters as they willingly believe in Jesus as Saviour and Lord. They do this without realising that they are believing in conjunction with God’s sovereignty, even though they cannot see it at the time. Later, they look back, and see how it was God at work in their lives all along and they were simply following His lead.
2) God planned your life for usefulness
As mentioned earlier in Ephesians 2:10, Paul explained that “we are his [God’s] workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” The Lord intends us to walk with Him through each and every day of our lives as willing and obedient participants expressing the “fruit of the Spirit” (Gal 5:22) doing good works as opportunity permits.
“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps” (Proverbs 16:9). We plan our lives, sometimes other people attempt to alter our plans, and even unexpected circumstances may change our plans. But it’s God who determines and adjusts the outcome and the long-term results of our plans in order to fulfil His will.
The apostle Paul even acknowledges God’s purposes in the painful times of his life (1 Thessalonians 3:3-4). No circumstance in your life is wasted by God as He joins His purposes with the events of your life for His glory. He has calculated all the possibilities. He has even made those calculations allowing for your mistakes and failings. Plus, He includes in those calculations other people’s bad behaviour towards you, and all for the purpose of keeping His plans for your life on track.
In God’s kindness, He has connected you with Christian friends who will be able to assist you to grow in your Christian life. Together, with your fellow believers, you will be a strength to each other as you walk the life of faith together, serving the Lord together.
3) God planned your heavenly home
Romans 8:30 tells us that “those whom he [God] predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.” God’s intention is to get you to heaven. No matter what happens in life, the believer has the hope of heaven and God is committed to getting you there.
The believer’s heavenly destination is as certain as their salvation was. It is God alone “who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy…” (Jude 1:24). There will be difficult times in life that you will struggle with but remember that Jesus Christ is the one who gives you the strength to continue to the end of this earthly walk. His purpose is to introduce you into heaven one day with great joy as God’s child who has been cleansed and prepared by Jesus Himself.
Jesus explained it this way to His disciples, “this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day” (John 6:40). No-one can take Jesus’ gift of eternal life from you. “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand” (John 10:28-29). Christian, you are safe in Jesus Christ! Both God the Father and God the Son have a firm grip on you. Both of them are determined to use all their power to get you into their heavenly presence. Nothing can change that.
We have thought about some big things in this lesson. While we trust God’s Word completely, we ask that the Lord will grow our understanding of how these truths work out in our lives “so, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).
Why am I now a Christian?
The answer is, to bring God pleasure and glory!