Summary: The PURPOSE of the Father is to transform us into the likeness of the CHARACTER of Christ, which is expressed by the FRUIT of the Spirit. We are to heed God's call by surrendering to Him, cooperating with Him, and remaining in Christ.
In today’s world, the emphasis on good character is being gradually eroded.
• In the past, we look at leaders as people with good character and high moral standing. Now we expect them to be competent, capable and intelligent.
• Their private lives and conduct are quite irrelevant, or rather we do not want to question too much, so long as they can deliver the goods and produce results.
• If they have good virtues, well, that’s a bonus.
As Christians we can also be influenced by such a culture, and begin to value competence, talents and accomplishments above everything else.
• There was a study done on theological education over the past 200-300 years and they noticed a paradigm shift – from the early period of an emphasis on piety, to scholarship (focus on academics), and to the recent emphasis on professional training (skills set).
• The emphasis has been shifted from spirituality to scholarship to skills.
There is nothing wrong with being competent or successful, but we’ve to ask the question: “Is that all? Is this the Father’s purpose for our lives?”
THE PURPOSE OF THE FATHER
The Scriptures tell us otherwise. Salvation is not merely a change in our final destination.
• We are on the train to hell; we pray to receive Christ into our hearts and walked over the platform and took another train – one that is going to heaven.
• This is true, but this does not tell the whole story.
• There is a book entitled: ‘plunder hell and populate heaven’? This is true numerically, but it is not the purpose of God.
What is the Father’s purpose for us? What is the sum total of our salvation?
• It has more to do with our LIFE IN CHRIST than our WORKS FOR GOD, WHO we are than WHAT we can do; about our BEING more than our DOING, about what we have BECOME than what we can ACCOMPLISH for Him.
• God is concerned, not just in changing our destination, but in changing us!
A quick way to understand it will be this:
• Justification - “Changing our destination”. God forgives us and removes our sin, giving us the right to enter heaven. He frees us from the penalty of sin.
• Sanctification - “Changing us”. God heals us from the damage caused by sin and changes us into the likeness of His Son. He frees us from the power of sin.
• Glorification – when the restoration is complete, we’ll take on a new body and be with Him, free forever from the presence of sin.
In other words, God is doing something even as He brings us to heaven.
• If you see the Christian life as simply getting a one-way ticket and an easy ride to heaven, in a ‘first-class cabin’ where we are served and our every need is met, we are missing a large part of God’s purpose and plan for our lives.