… and called us …according to His own purpose and grace. (2 Timothy 1:9 KJV)
Understanding God’s purpose
To know one’s purpose is to know who they themselves are and what they are doing. They also have the determination to accomplish what it is that they are purposed to do. Do you know your purpose? Do you understand what purpose is?
In this day and hour, we live in a time when society is becoming more envisioned to the uniqueness of each individual and the multiplicity of communities. Today more people have a developed understanding and appreciation of the differences that we possess. Yet in the struggle for identification and the battle for equality among races and other facets of society, there has been a deficiency in the comprehension of purpose.
I’d like to address this lack of perception. We have failed miserably as present day Christians if we think that personal or even communal identity and equality is our purpose. This is crucial, we require these things, but these in and of themselves are not the purpose, but the results of the purpose to which we are called.
God’s purpose: A holy calling
If you would permit me, please allow me to share with you what I believe is the truth concerning our purpose. Our purpose, I believe is found in the Word of God, the Scriptures, what humanity has termed “the Bible.” This compilation of 66 books is the textbook of truth which our Teacher the Holy Spirit teaches us from. If we would endeavor to understand what purpose is, we must open our hearts to the great Teacher, the Holy Spirit and have our ears open to what the Spirit has to say. If you will look at our scripture heading listed above you will see a few words stand out. What this scripture here in 2 Timothy 1:9 (KJV) says, is that God has called us according to His own purpose. Right off the bat, from the very get go, we must understand that our purpose is God’s purposes.
Beloved, if we would like to know our purpose we have to know God’s purpose because that is what we are called to. Let’s quote the whole verse here:
Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began. (2 Timothy 1:9 KJV)
The phrase “holy calling” literally means holy invitation. God has called (literally called out to) us a holy invitation. Many translations supply the words “with” or “to” in “called us with an holy calling” whereas they are supplied by the translators for clarification but they are not found in the Greek text at all. God has called out to us a holy invitation. What is that invitation to? It is to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus. When? Before the world began. There is indeed much food for thought here, and riches for our spirit to glean. But let it be for now to deal with the word purpose.
God’s purpose: Greek translation
The word purpose as defined by the Greek scholars is: “The setting forth of a thing,” Vine, Thayer, and Strong all agree essentially with one another on this word as being defined this way: “A setting forth of a thing.” Uniquely enough, the word for purpose in the Greek is prothesin and it is generally translated in conjunction with the “shewbread.” This is because the bread was laid out before the tabernacle at every Sabbath, thus it is bread laid out or bread shown. The purpose of God is laid out or shown in Christ Jesus, the “Bread of Heaven” (John 6:35 KJV, John 6:41 KJV) or the Shewbread. My friend, Jesus is the purpose of God. God’s own purpose is revealed in Jesus Christ. This statement is supported by the Scriptures:
According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Ephesians 3:11 KJV)
Key words to note here in this verse are “purpose,” “purposed” and “in Christ”. The word purpose is again the Greek word prothesin (the setting forth of a thing) and the word “purposed” is epoieesen which means: “carried into effect” (Vincent word studies).
The words “eternal purpose” literally translated read as “the setting forth of the ages”, because the word eternal is the Greek plural word for aion which is a word depicting duration and not eternity. So the ages, that is, the times that God works our His plans and purposes are set forth which He purposed, i.e. carried into effect, in Christ.
Look also at:
For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen. (Romans 11:36 KJV)
And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all. (1 Corinthians 15:28 KJV)
That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: (Ephesians 1:10 KJV)
And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. (Colossians 1:20 KJV)
Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. (2 Timothy 1:9-10 KJV)
And last but not least notice Paul’s revelation on the all-inclusiveness of the purpose of God in Christ:
For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. (Colossians 1:16-17 KJV)
God’s purpose revealed in Christ
All things are set forth in Christ. All the purpose and plan of God is seen and revealed in Christ. We cannot separate ourselves from the purpose in Christ. What is true concerning Him is true concerning us as we are in Christ.
Can you see it? Can you grasp the truth here? Your purpose, my purpose is Christ. Thus if we would desire to fulfill the purpose of God in our life, we must seek out to do so in Christ. For He is the plan as well as the plan worked out. He is not only the purpose but He is the purpose worked out.
He is all things to us who believe and He will, as the Word of God (John 1 KJV) accomplish what He was sent forth to do (Isaiah 55:11 KJV). Jesus, the Word of God, which the Word is the plan and purpose of God made flesh (Christ Jesus) continues to this day.
Indeed the man Christ Jesus is sitting at the right hand of the Father, and truly He will be returning one day from the heavens to gather those living on the earth in Christ and those asleep in Christ. But He, as the Word of God, continues to dwell by means of the Holy Spirit within us, the “Christ in you” (Colossians 1:26-27 KJV). The Holy Spirit, the spirit of the Father and the Son dwells within us, and we as the Body of Christ are just that… His body! Our head is in Heaven (the man Christ Jesus) but His body (the Church) is here on earth.
God’s purpose: The body of Christ
Therefore we must endeavor to be Christ’s functioning members here on this earth. Indeed we are to be His hands extended, His footsteps to where He would have us to go. We must be His heart and compassion extended to all, whether black, white, red, yellow, green, straight, gay, bi, tall, short, fat, skinny, ugly or beautiful. We must walk even as He walked, live as He lived.
Do you understand how Jesus Christ lived? Not just day to day living conditions, but the quality, essence and nature of the life of how He lived? Jesus said, “I live by the Father.” (John 6:57 KJV) If Jesus lived by the Father and we are called to walk and live Christ shall we live out His life in us any less than He did? God forbid it. If Jesus Christ necessitated the Father’s life, we also are compelled to do so. What is the purpose of God for your life? Christ! He is the purpose.
We now see that Christ is the purpose and the practicality of Christ being our purpose. When you begin comprehend that you are now the conduit, the means of the life of Christ (which is the life of the Father) to be lived out in and through you, purpose then takes on a new meaning.
You see, the Scriptures are clear that there is only one God, out of whom are all things. All things and all people have a purpose and the purpose is found in their Originator, The Lord God.
God set forth the plan in Christ. Christ is the plan and the purpose of God. What you have to do is get in Christ. The word “in” is a locative word meaning “in the realm/sphere of”. To be in Christ is two-fold:
- Principally done by Calvary obtained by faith in the finished work of Christ. This is us sharing in His life, death, burial and resurrection. This is nothing that we did, but what God did in Christ by reconciling us to Himself.
- Walking in the Spirit. That is, walking in the realm and sphere of the Spirit. That means letting the Spirit of God be your teacher, leader, guide, counselor, etc.
God’s purpose: Walking in the Spirit
To walk in the Spirit is simply to be led of the Spirit in your life. One must cultivate a relationship with God and begin to respond to the Spirit’s beckoning. The Spirit of God will lead and guide us. All we have to do is respond. It is when we try to get ahead of the Spirit of God, we stumble and fail.
Friend, don’t discard this truth. Don’t just simply put this off as mumbo jumbo. Too often Christians push aside this pertinent truth of the leading of the Spirit. We cannot disregard this truth. It is essential. But many discount this aspect of our Christian walk because it is seemingly too hard. It isn’t brutal, but it calls for the denial of the carnal nature (the nature that opposes God) and its appetites.
Have you ever known someone that you wanted to speak to but yet were afraid to approach them? When you finally do get the nerve to approach them, you struggle at first to converse with them, and as time goes on, perhaps after future meetings with this person, you become less concerned with the struggle you originally had.
Granted this is somewhat different, but the principle applies as well. As you begin to respond to the Spirit and yielding to the Spirit, you will find the struggle within you to obey not as difficult as you first made it. This is not to say that one does not sin or stumble. Those are “side-issues”, but they do not negate your relationship with God, your Heavenly Father. They may hinder it, if you allow them to, but these will never negate it.
God’s purpose: The essentials
Remember I referenced Christ as the “bread of God”? Well if we would live, we must have the nourishment that we need to live. We need food, water and air. The three essentials.
Christ is our Food, the Bread of heaven. He is our Water supply, for as Jesus told the woman at the well:
But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. (John 4:14 KJV)
The Spirit of God which is the Spirit of the Lord Christ (2 Corinthians 3:17 KJV; Colossians 3:24 KJV) is the air that we need. God supplies us Christ as food, water and air. If would seek to feast on Christ, we must do so by not just knowing “about” Him, but knowing Him experientially and by feasting on Him as He is revealed to you in the Scriptures as well as in your daily life.
We feast on Christ, eat His flesh, drink His blood by consuming the life that He lived and the life He now lives in His people.
Follow then after Christ by the Spirit and you will discover the life of God anew and afresh and thus fulfill your purpose.