What is the purpose of our lives? I know most of my readers would simply quote the Westminster Catechism which says: “To glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.” Of course that is a correct answer. Unless John Piper is on to something when he rewords the catechism a bit and states says: “To glorify God by enjoying Him forever,”
Our goal, our mission, our purpose is to glorify God. Thomas Watson put it this way, “Our life’s end is to glorify God.”
We are to magnify and reflect the glorious nature of our Majestic God. I always cringe when I hear some say that they want to “bring glory to God.” I think that most times I know what they really mean. Let me say at the outset, that we cannot bring glory to God nor can we make him any more glorious than he already is and has always been.
We cannot add to nor can we diminish God’s glory. He is as glorious as he has ever been and ever will be. God is an unchanging God. He is absolutely immutable. Therefore, our purpose as individual believers or the purpose of the church is not to make God any more glorious.
Our life long pursuit is to magnify the glorious nature of God. How do we do this?
Well John Piper gives an illustration of how we are to do this. He states that we must magnify God like telescopes. He says, “Magnify him, but not like a microscope. You know the difference between two kinds of magnification, don't you? There's telescope magnification and microscope magnification, and it's blasphemy to magnify God like a microscope. To magnify God like a microscope is to take something tiny and make it look bigger than it is. If you try to do that to God you blaspheme. But a telescope puts its lens on unimaginable expanses of greatness and tries to just help them look like what they are. That's what a telescope is for. “
Our job, what a horrible choice of a word – our opportunity, our responsibility, and our life mission is to magnify God’s character by making visible the unimaginable expanses of greatness in God’s character as our lives serve as telescopes.
How do we do this? Peter caught a vision of this as he wrote to the Christians in Asia Minor. Listen to him in I Peter 2:11-12:
“Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.” (ESV)
The word that Peter used for honorable is the Greek word kalos. It be translated a number of ways, but it carries the idea of “ beautiful, handsome, excellent, eminent, choice, surpassing, precious, useful, suitable, commendable, or admirable.” Another way to understand this word is to say something is beautiful to look at, or it is shapely, and magnificent.
Peter is suggesting that his readers, who by the way are undergoing a tremendous amount of persecution to live their lives in such a way that their daily conduct could be considered good, or excellent in its nature and characteristics, and therefore well adapted to its ends.
Peter wants his readers to live their lives even under the most trying and difficult of circumstances in such a way that it makes the character of God stand out to these pagan people. But as the character of God is displayed in these believers lives it will be so attractive or admirable (the character of God not their lives) that the pagans will to “telescope” God’s character on the day of judgment.
With 2009 just two days away from being over and 2010 ready to begin, what is your goal for this coming new year? What will your purpose be for the next 365 days? Let me challenge you to regardless of the circumstances by God’s grace to conduct your life in such a way that it reflects and reveals the magnificent character of our God so that even the pagans will give Him glory on the day of judgment.
What Say Ye?