"Perceptions of Purpose"
by Charles Slagle
Dear Silent Reader,
My time spent as a shattered and wiped out basket case in psychiatric hospitals in 1995 and early '96 revealed something to me. It opened my eyes to the stark reality that there are many people in this world, and many of them Christians, who live in despair. And why? It is simply because they have NO SOLID SENSE of having a--good purpose--for being.
Do we have a good purpose for being? If so, can we know what it is and be deeply happy in that knowledge? Has God revealed in Scripture His purpose for creating human beings?
He has indeed! But sadly, at this stage of world history, very few Christians and churches believe what God has clearly revealed. He has made His purpose for creating us abundantly plain in Ephesians 1:9-11 and Colossians 1:15-20 and Revelation 4:11.
These passages show that His purpose for calling us into existence was so that when the times have reached their fulfillment, He could gather "all things" (meaning "all creation") into Christ. That is because "all things" are made by Jesus Christ and "for" Him (an obvious statement of purpose). Therefore God is reconciling "all things" to Himself through Christ's cross, whether they be from the visible or from the invisible realm. And that is because "all things" are made for God's will, desire, and pleasure.
For the exact Scripture references, I will refer you to www.sigler.org/slagle to the title, "Absolute Assurance in Jesus Christ" where you can find the passages I'm referring to listed. (Along with many more like them.) But most of us Christians already know that the Bible teaches that God's "desire" (good pleasure and will) is that all people be saved and come into the knowledge of the truth. And we know that (with this in mind) we are actually to pray for the salvation of all people. Furthermore we know that the Bible says that if we pray anything that accords with God's "desire", we know He hears us and that we have what we have asked of Him.
Also we know that many passages assure us that the Lord will accomplish all of His desire, will, and purpose. Moreover the Bible tells us that God receives NO PLEASURE from the death of the wicked. This would surely include their experiencing "the second death" of the lake of fire, would it not? Hence, we can only conclude that the Lord WILL perform His good purpose for every human being (and angel!) that He has created.
So what does this mean--on a practical and everyday level?
It means YOU have a good purpose for being! That is what it means. You ARE cherished and loved by Infinite Holy Love Himself! And that goes for your friends, neighbors, and loved ones too! You ARE NOT potential "trash" that, more than likely, is headed for some eternal rubbish heap. This rubbish heap is called "hell" by the propagators of religious tradition, and it supposedly has been prepared by our loving (?) Creator for all of the "losers" who failed to demonstrate their love for Him by a certain deadline. Or else it has been prepared for those whom God has chosen not to love for all eternity. (Depending on the theological belief structure the endless hell-message is coming from, and that structure's "explanation" of this horrific scenario.)
So again, the Bible is very clear about God's purpose for creating human beings. And it also makes abundantly clear that He will perform His good purpose. That is because He works "all things" after the design of His desire and will. His counsel will stand. He will do ALL of His desire.
So why does most of visible churchianity seem totally oblivious to this reality?
Why are there so many Christians who are locked into patterns of despair and/or religious Phariseeism BECAUSE they have no solid sense of having a good purpose for being? Tradition is the major culprit. That is because for the last 1500 to 1600 years (visible) Christianity has been proclaiming two entirely different perceptions of God's purpose from what He has actually given us in the Bible.
And here they are for your prayerful review:
1. The purpose of God, "The Great Gambler." This perception of His purpose has been primarily propagated by the 5th Century British monk, Pelagius, and the 16th century theologian, Jacob Arminius. Hence this statement of God's purpose is called "Arminianism" today. What is it? Pure and simple, the churches that follow in the traditions of Pelagious and Arminus tell us that God is omniscient (all knowing)--but His purpose for calling His sentient creatures into being was in order that they could choose between "heaven" and "hell." In other words, God is a Great Gambler who has taken pleasure in creating human "gambling chips" and has given them a "free will" so that they can choose to demonstrate by their faith (as validated by their deeds of obedience) that they love Him before it's "forever too late." And those who fail in this, He (uh, er, reluctantly) consigns to "hell forever." Yes, unfortunately, you WILL hear educated Arminian Bible teachers actually saying that God is a great gambler... I've heard them do this many times.
2. The purpose of God, "The Great Holy Horror." I realize this is a shocking title, but bear with me and you will see that this IS exactly how 4th century Augustine, and over a thousand years later, John Calvin have depicted our Heavenly Father. Though not in the majority today, there are still a significant number of churches that advertise this perception of God's purpose in creation. Pure and simple, His purpose is stated thusly: God is not just Love, more than that He is HOLY. Therefore His purpose is to glorify "Himself" eternally by trashing and burning most of His sentient creation and loving and helping only a few whom He supposedly has "elected" for eternal bliss in a heavenly "pie in the sky."
Yes, I realize that I'm not polishing up these horrifying perceptions of God's purpose so as to make them appear lovely and respectable. No, I'm being totally "bottom-line" in my description of these supposed purposes. Even so--no matter HOW--a person might choose to polish them up, they still boil down to one of the following summations:
a) God's purpose for creating us was so that He could gamble with our eternal destiny and send the message, 'You had BETTER love Me, before it's too late! You SEE what happens to those who do not!"
Before going on to "b" I will observe that this perverted concept portrays our Loving Creator as being a rapist and extortionist--either of which are intrinsically unlovable and untrustworthy. This perception is truly nauseating. Right? Use your conscience--and don't throw your common sense out the window! So where does this perception come from? Is it from Our Father whose "tender mercies are over all His works"? Or is it of Satan, who is committed to maligning God's character before a hurting and needy world?
And now for Calvinism's "purpose of God" in a nutshell:
b) His purpose for creating us was so that He "glorify Himself" by loving a few of His human offspring and forever hating all of the others and trashing them to agonize for eternity in never-ending fire.
Isn't it obvious that this perception of His purpose represents God as being the Horror and Never-ending Nightmare of most of His sentient creation? This misrepresentation of His character and purpose is horrifying beyond the power of words to describe. Or don't you agree? Would you love your parents, and feel closely heart-bonded with them, had they told you that they conceived and birthed you in order to love and cherish you, but that they had given birth to your brothers and sisters so that they could "glorify themselves" by slowly burning them alive? So again... Prayerfully consider. Is this perception from the God who is "Love Personified", or is it from Satan the father of lies?
Our Creator's character... This is the issue. How can we rightly perceive His character as long as we labor under a warped perception of His purpose? His purpose DECLARES His true character. How could it be otherwise? Our purpose for being... This is the issue as well. How can we rest in a deep sense of having a GOOD purpose for being as long as we remain oppressed by religious lies about our Heavenly Father's purpose in creating us?
Signing off, I will simply encourage you to seek Him. Get quiet before Him and hold this issue before Him. Yes, allow for days or weeks or months to pass in your quest to discover His one true purpose. Ask Him! "Heavenly Father, do you have a good purpose for creating human beings? And will you perform that purpose?"
Having related to Him in my own scruffy and bungling way over the years, I know that our Good Father DELIGHTS in hearing us voice those kinds of questions. He WANTS all of us to have a deep and abiding sense of having a good purpose for being. But you'll have to find that out for yourself. There is no way that I can discover it for you and cause you to know it. That is the Holy Spirit's work.
Finally, I leave you with a chorus that was born in early Charismatic Renewal days in the early 70's. It is based on Revelation 4:11, and it sprang to my spirit with NEW AND WONDERFUL MEANING when God finally ravished my heart with this revelation of His unfailing love to reconcile ALL the worst sinners to Himself. And here it is--
Thou art worthy,
So WHY is God worthy of glory and honor?
Because He as created ALL of us for His good pleasure, will and desire--that is why. Any "God" less than the One celebrated in this song is not worthy of worship.
Love to all with prayers too!