GIFTS YOU WON’T RETURN—THE GIFT OF PURPOSE
One of the things that makes life worth living is a sense of purpose. So many go through life and find it meaningless. Apart from God’s grace, that will always be the case. God had a specific purpose for the Apostle Paul—and He does for each of us. In Romans 1:5, he mentions his “apostleship.” The word literally means “a sent one.” In the absolute sense, there were the first-century apostles and when they died, the office died with them. Yet, in a lesser, but still actual way, we too are sent ones—every child of God. Jesus said to His followers, “As the Father has sent Me, I also send you” (John 20:21b). It is this awareness of God’s intention for us that gives meaning to life.
One purpose we can be assured of is that God has set us apart to be His witnesses—calling people to “the obedience of faith.” It isn’t our good works, but Christ’s gracious work that saves us—and we obey the Gospel when we place our faith in Christ alone—nothing more, nothing else. Still, we see that obedience and faith are intertwined. D.A. Carson notes that, “Believing and obeying are two different activities, but for Paul they were always inseparable: people cannot truly obey God without first bowing the knee to the Lord Jesus in faith; and people cannot truly believe in that Lord Jesus without obeying all that he has commanded us (Mt. 28:20).” Faith is the root of our Christian life and obedience is the fruit. One is the cause and the other the effect. These are two sides of the same coin of Christianity. As the old hymn aptly states, “Trust and obey, for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.”
The Great Commission is to take this Gospel to the whole world. It is in the name of Jesus that we go (with His authority), proclaiming the name of Jesus (for there is no other name under heaven, given among men, whereby we must be saved), and all for the glory of that name! This gives purpose to life—what a gift!