God's Purpose In Creation
Purpose in Crisis
At some point in my life, the Lord has led us as a family through a school of trials and affliction where He has taught me many valuable lessons and prepared me for a special calling on my life. The question to which I longed to find an answer during this time was, ‘Lord, what is your purpose for my life? Do I still have a purpose? If not, please take me home! I do not want to continue living without a purpose!
The Earth for Man, or Man for the Earth?
The Lord then led my mind back to Genesis chapter 1 and I began meditating on God’s purpose in creation.
In Gen 1:26-28 we read: “Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth."
What was in God’s mind when He created man? What was the real motive behind God’s creation of man?
We read firstly that He created man in His own image. Secondly, He commissioned man to multiply and rule over creation. From this we can already make important deductions. However, did God perhaps have more in mind than what we generally understand?
The question that remains unanswered in these verses is, did God create the earth for man, or man for the earth? In other words, did God already have in mind to create man when He said in Gen 1:1 “Let there be light …”, or did He first create the earth and then decided to create man to rule over the earth?
The answer to this question makes an enormous difference with regard to your and my purpose as Christians! When I asked God what my purpose in life was, I was thinking in terms of my place in this world. If I was created to rule over the earth, then what was my specific role here on earth? I was ill prepared for the answer to my question which God subsequently revealed to me.
The Lord then took me to Matt 25:34 where Jesus said: "Then the King will say to those on His right hand, 'Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: …” (Emphasis mine.) Also refer the following verses (emphasis mine throughout):
Mat 13:34,35: “All these things Jesus spoke to the multitude in parables; and without a parable He did not speak to them, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: "I will open My mouth in parables; I will utter things kept secret from the foundation of the world."
Eph 1:4: “... just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.”
2 Tim 1:9: “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, ..” (AV)
Tit 1:2: “In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began; ..” (AV)
1 Pet 1:17-20: “And if you call on the Father, knowing that you were ... redeemed ... with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb … He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you …”
Rev 13:8: “All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”
Rev 17:8: “... And those who dwell on the earth will marvel, whose names are not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world, when they see the beast that was, and is not, and yet is."
When was the foundation of the world? The foundation of the world began the moment God said, “Let there be light …” In other words, God already had a Kingdom in mind for man before He created the earth.
The Bible is absolutely clear on this issue, creation of man was planned before the creation of earth! If that is so God must have had a very special purpose and plan in mind with the creation of man — much higher and greater than simply to rule the earth! The fact of the matter is that man was not created for the earth, but the earth was created for man!
A Future Destiny and Purpose
The earth was created as a dwelling place for man and ruling over, and subduing thereof are man’s preparation and training field for a higher purpose! Man is in fact ruling over, and subduing the earth at present as God intended it originally, even though we are living in a fallen world. The development of science, mathematics, engineering, technology, electronics, medicine, education, economics and all the different sciences and trades are proof thereof, while pollution, plundering of resources, maladministration, corruption, crime, poverty, wars, HIV and AIDS, epidemics, and natural disasters are proof and evidence of the fallen world we are living in.
In Genesis chapter 3 we read the account of the fall. What a catastrophe! Have you ever thought what the world would have looked like if the fall had never occurred? No sin, no devil, no death, no disease, no destruction, no poverty, no curse — only perfection! Well, the message of hope the Bible proclaims is that one day, when Jesus Christ returns, life will be as God intended it to be before the fall!
We know from Rev 21:1 that a new heaven and a new earth are coming. God is busy restoring creation from the fall! Redeemed humanity is destined for a restored creation! It is therefore undeniably clear that man was created for a future destiny and purpose! The apostle Paul said in 1 Co 15:19: “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.” The Christian’s destiny therefore is a future destiny. But what exactly is this destiny?
The Bride of Christ
In Rev 5:9,10 we find a profound statement: “And they sang a new song, saying: "You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth." (Emphasis mine.)
We read another profound statement in Rev 19:7: "Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready." And in Rev 21:9 we read: “Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came to me and talked with me, saying, "Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb's wife." (Emphasis mine.)
The reference to “kings and priests” in Rev 5:10 is a description of our occupation or mission in eternity, while the reference to “bride” and “wife” in Rev 19:7 and 21:9 is a description of our status in eternity.
Who is the Bride? The Bride is none other than the Church of Jesus Christ from all ages (the Ekklesia — the called-out ones) that will be united with Him at His return. Jamieson Fausset and Brown describes the Bride as the “Triumphant Church.” 1
The Primary Purpose of the Gospel
What then is man’s higher purpose? In my search for purpose I came to some radical conclusions. This may shock you, but hold onto your chair. I came to the radical conclusion that the primary purpose of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is not to save me from hell (although it does!), neither to save me from sin (although it does!), nor to let me go to heaven one day (although it does!) — but to be the Lamb’s wife and reign with Him in eternity! Man’s ultimate purpose in creation and the primary purpose of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is to produce a Bride for the Son! When God said, “Let there be light …”, He had in mind to create a Wife for God the Son to co-rule with Him over creation in eternity! The ultimate purpose of the Church is to be the Wife of Jesus Christ and co-rule with Him over creation in eternity!
The primary purpose of the Gospel is not to save souls (although it does that!), but to produce a Bride for God the Son! The primary purpose of my and every other person’s salvation is not simply to go to heaven one day, but to become the Wife of God the Son!
During my time of purpose in crisis and spiritual wrestling with God, the Lord again focussed my attention on the writings of Paul Billheimer and I once again began reading his books. The Lord used this man of God to open my eyes to truths I professed to know and even taught, but somehow previously have failed to fully comprehend. This is one of his profound statements: “The author’s primary thesis is that the one purpose of the universe from all eternity is the production and preparation of an Eternal Companion for the Son, called the Bride, the Lamb’s Wife.”
I always knew this, but had somehow pushed it to the back of my mind as if this was some fringe benefit of Christianity I don’t have to take too seriously right now. It is impossible in any event to imagine what it will be like to be the wife of Jesus Christ one day, I will just lay the though at rest until I get to heaven. There I will find all the answers that are too difficult for me right now! As long as I can just get to heaven I will be happy! Is that what you are thinking too?
Are You Happy Just to be Saved?
Just meditate on this thought for a moment. What an awesome and glorious purpose! You and I were planned … before the creation of the world … to be united with Jesus Christ as His wife in a heavenly marriage, and to reign with Him as kings and priests over God’s creation through eternity! This is mind-boggling!
Read John 3:16 again in the light of what we have just said. Let me paraphrase it for you: For God so loved the world, (because He created man for the purpose of being a wife for God the Son, who subsequently gave His own life to purchase His bride with His own precious Blood) that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (and reign with him in eternity.)
Jesus Christ sacrificed His life for the world to die on the Cross, shedding His own precious Blood, in order to redeem and deliver you and me from the penalty as well as the power of sin and Satan, not only to go to heaven one day, but to be united with Him in a heavenly marriage in order to reign with Him over creation in eternity!
Let me repeat Mat 25:34 in the light of what we have said so far: "Then the King will say to those on His right hand, 'Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: …” And Rev 5:9,10: “And they sang a new song, saying: "You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth." (Emphasis mine.)
Dear child of God, do you understand that your purpose is to become the Wife of Jesus Christ and to reign with Him on His throne over creation in eternity! Your status as Christian is much higher and greater than simply a poor sinner saved by grace! Please don’t misunderstand me — you and I are poor sinners saved by grace — but for the purpose of becoming kings and queens of Jesus!
Through the blood of Jesus Christ and regeneration by the Holy Spirit you have become part of God’s Royal Family and you are a prince and princess in God’s eternity school, being prepared for a position of kingship and dominion over creation with Christ. Every facet of your and my earthly existence is standing central to this great and glorious purpose of God for your and my life!
The Complete Gospel Message
Some Christians superficially judge the above statement as being a man-centred and a cross-less religion. Not so at all! The contrary is actually true. I admit that a danger exists for some Christians to become self-centred and arrogant if this is the only ’gospel’ they hear, but only if these truths are substituted for the Cross of Jesus Christ. What we have said thus far does not, and may never be taught as a substitute for the Gospel of the Cross of Jesus Christ.
When we speak about the Christian’s higher calling as prince and princess of God, it reflects first and foremost on who God is! If I am a child of God and my Father is God through Jesus Christ, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, what an insult it is to God if I continue to view myself as a little worm, as a nothing, only a poor sinner! Then I must not call God my Father, for God does not have worms and sinners for children!
If God is my Father, I am a new creation, and that new creation is a prince and princess of God, because the King is my Father! I am victorious over Satan, sin and the world because I am a prince and princess of God. The Holy Spirit is now living within me, I am being recreated in His image and He is transforming me more and more into the image of God as I grow in grace!
It is of course true that I am not yet a king — that I will only be in heaven. But I am a prince — a king in the making! This does not give me any cause for pride or arrogance — but it does give me a foundation for conquering faith!
I have a strong suspicion that one of the reasons the Church of Jesus Christ is so powerless and ineffective in reaching the world for Christ is because we don’t know who we are! We preach an incomplete Gospel message. We often glory in the fact that we preach Christ, and Christ alone. But we don’t always understand what we are saying. Jesus Christ and the Gospel message can never be separated from Genesis chapter 1 and Revelation chapters 19 to 22.
Let me explain. We often begin our Gospel message with Genesis 3, the fall and sin. We explain that Jesus came to die for sinners and to give us eternal life. Again, we stop at Joh 3:16 instead of Revelation 19 to 22. We think we are preaching Christ alone.
The complete Gospel message is that God created us to reign as kings and priests over creation with Jesus Christ on His throne as His bride and wife. Because of the fall, sin caused us to forfeit our Divine Royal position and instead fall under the judgement of God. However, Jesus Christ died a substitutionary death on Calvary in our place, paying the penalty for, as well as breaking the power of sin, Satan and death, making perfect provision for humanity’s restoration from the fall. Man can now once again not only have eternal life, but restoration of his Divine Royal position in heaven through faith in Jesus Christ.
The complete Gospel message is like a sandwich. It is the message of the Cross served in between Genesis 1 to 3 and Revelation 19 to 22. When we preach the message of the Cross without reference to Genesis 1 and 2 and Revelation 19 to 22, it is like serving the filling of a sandwich without the bread. When we preach the Cross without Genesis 3, it is like offering a synthetic filling that is indigestible; and if we preach Genesis 1 to 2 and Revelation 19 to 22 without Genesis 3 and the Cross, it is a fake gospel!
God’s Purpose for Your Life
Although this book focusses on the Church in the collective, it is nevertheless important to briefly reflect on God’s purpose for the individual. The Church of Jesus Christ is made up of individuals and if an individual Christian does not understand God’s plan for his or her life, no wonder the Church as a collective does not understand its purpose.
In Gen 1:26-28 we find two important truths we have to understand: “Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; … Then God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion ..."
The first is that God made man in His own image. From this we know that it is God’s will that man should be an image bearer of God. The fall is the reason why every human is born in sin and inherits a fallen image or nature from Adam. It therefore follows that one of the primary areas of restoration Jesus accomplished on the cross of Calvary, was the restoration of man’s fallen image or nature.
God’s Purpose Number One
The first purpose of God in the life of a Christian is to restore his or her character into the image of God’s love, righteousness and holiness. Regeneration or the new birth restores man’s status as a child of God, but sanctification restores man’s state into the image of God.
It is not enough to have your status restored as a child of God, you also have to have your character restored into the image of God. Jesus Christ died on Calvary to restore your position as conqueror — conqueror over sin, Satan, the world, and life.
You are destined to become part of the Bride of Christ. The Bride of Christ will be pure in character. The Bride of Christ will be restored into the image of God’s love, holiness and purity! The Bride of Christ will be wearing white robes: “Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, "Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?" And I said to him, "Sir, you know." So he said to me, "These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” Rev 7:13,14.
Becoming a child of God is only the very beginning of God’s purpose for your life. God wants to restore you into His image in preparation for bridehood!
God’s Purpose Number Two
The second purpose of God for your life that Jesus Christ came to restore on Calvary, is your spiritual fruitfulness. God wants you to multiply spiritually. God wants to produce a Godly offspring through you!
Firstly, this implies that God’s plan for your life involves a Godly marriage and that you should produce a Godly family by bringing up your children in the fear and knowledge of God.
But secondly, it implies your spiritual fruitfulness and that you must be His instrument through whom He wants to reach the whole world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." Act 1:8.
Are you living your purpose? You may be successful, you may be prosperous, you may be healthy, you may have achieved much in this life, you may be famous in this life, you may be important in this life, you may be happy for now — and yet missing your purpose! You may even be in God’s service, you may by a pastor, minister, or missionary — and yet be missing God’s perfect purpose for your life.
Food for Thought ...
The only life that will withstand the test of time, is the purpose driven life! A career-driven life will fail you. A success-driven life will fail you. A business-driven life will fail you. A prosperity-driven life will fail you. An achievement-driven life will fail you. A knowledge- and qualification-driven life will fail you. A pleasure-driven life will fail you. A religious-driven life will fail you. Only a Godly purpose-driven life will never fail you!
Lord, please fulfil Your grand purpose in creation in and through my life! I fully surrender myself to You and Your purpose for my life!
Take a few minutes of prayer to express the prayer burden on your heart to God right now.
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