What Is The Purpose?

2 Timothy 1:9 (NIV)

He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of His own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time…

Our Verse of the Day addresses a perspective on the purpose of life that, perhaps, some of us have missed along the journey of faith.  I would like to look at some key theological points that Paul makes in this passage of Scripture:

2 Timothy 1:6-14 (NIV)

For this reason, I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me His prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the Gospel, by the power of God. He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, 10 but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. 11 And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher. 12 That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day. 13 What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. 14 Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.

Paul speaks about the Holy Spirit a few times in this passage.  In Verse 6, Paul tells Timothy to “fan into flame the gift of God….”  The implication is that Timothy has some degree of influence over the Holy Spirit within him. Here Paul is basically telling Timothy to “get fired up for God.” Why? Well, note in 1 Thessalonians 5:19Paul is giving instructions to believers and admonishes them: “Do not quench the Spirit.” When you quench a fire, you are removing its source of fuel or oxygen. Your purpose is to extinguish it. With the use of this metaphor, Paul indicates that we (believers) can “inhibit” the power and the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.  There appears to be an exertion of the human will that can oppose the will of the Spirit to give us power, love, and self-disciple as Verse 7 mentions. To me, the application is that if we are timid … if we are ashamed of the testimony of our Lord Jesus Christ … if we are unwilling to suffer for His sake … it is not because of His unwillingness to empower us. Verse 8 tells us that God gives us the power “to suffer for the Gospel”. Thus, if we are timid, it is our own unwillingness to “unleash” the Holy Spirit to energize our spirits and guide our souls. Paul tells us – fan into flame the gift of God who indwells us and do not quench Him!

In addition, Paul is affirming the importance of a life of faith … a life filled and empowered by the Spirit of God … who is given to indwell us and to engage us in His purpose.  And what is His purpose? As the text indicates: To save us! Yes, God’s purpose is to redeem us from a life driven by our sinful nature into a life drawn toward His Being … His Nature … His Holiness! Indeed, God has saved us through Christ Jesus and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of His own purpose and grace. I believe the verse is asserting that salvation itself is the primary purpose of God for our lives. It is not what we do that is important; rather, it is who we become as new creations. His purpose for us is a holy life… a life that is sanctified … a life “set apart” for service to Him … the purpose of which is to become ambassadors for Christ and heralds of the Good News!

As I meditated on these thoughts, I discerned that my vocation can be anything I choose. I can utilize every talent, aptitude, acumen, and personality trait that God has wired and equipped me to use for family, community, and vocational roles. But are those roles my “true” purpose? As I have matured in the faith, I have come to believe that who I am, where I live, and what I do are really only a context for my life. These are not ultimately the purpose of my life; rather, they provide the framework or platform in which I am afforded the grace to discover and fulfill God’s purpose for my life. His purpose is salvation and holiness. I have been called to be conformed to the image of His Son in all of those roles. (Cf. Romans 8:29)

As I further contemplated the idea of purpose, I considered the suffering Paul affirmed we will encounter for the Gospel as believers; and it appears to be related to living a holy life! That’s right! We will suffer from endeavoring to be good and to do good for others. Jesus Himself made this clear when He taught:

Matthew 4:10-12 (NIV)

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

My friends, have been called to righteousness and holiness; and that is a difficult thing for any human to attain.  In fact, we cannot do it apart from the power of God through His Spirit within us.  As Jesus asserted, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” (Cf. Luke 18:27) And this power comes to us in the form of grace … a grace that was given to us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time.  And we know that His grace is sufficient because His power is made perfect (complete) in our weakness. (Cf. 2 Corinthians 12:9)

Finally, Paul impresses upon Timothy to “guard the good deposit that has been entrusted to him— to guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.” Yes, the Spirit of God is essential if we are to live out His purpose and grace for our lives.  If you have time, please read the following passages regarding the “deposit” of the Holy Spirit within us: 2 Corinthians 1:21-23; 2 Corinthians 5:4-5; Ephesians 1:13-15 

When you come to faith in Jesus Christ, you are sealed with the Holy Spirit.  He is sent and given to indwell you … deposited into your soul as a guarantee of what is to come – which is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord! For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Cf. Ephesians 2:8-10) Through grace, His Spirit is who you and I have been called to embrace with our entire being! And Paul not only cautions us to not quench the Spirit of God, but he admonishes us to not grieve the Holy Spirit either. (Cf. Ephesians 4:30)

So Now You Know…

Have a Blessed Day!

By His divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know Him, the one who called us to Himself by means of His own glory and grace. And because of His majesty and excellence, He has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share His divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires. ~ 2 Peter 1:3-4

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