Being around college students, I hear one question/statement over and over and over again.
It's one that I've asked/said so many times before, especially in the past five years.
"What is my purpose in life?/I just want to figure out what I'm here on earth for."
Wanna know the answer?
Look up Ephesians 2. Specifically verses 8-10.
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith -- and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God -- not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."
Did you get that?
We are created to do good works. That is our purpose.
I've struggled the past several years with the whole faith/works issue. How does it all play together? Paul and James seem to contradict each other. But this little part of Paul's letter to the church at Ephesus clarifies it for me. It hit me like a ton of bricks on Thursday night and somehow just seemed to click like never before.
We know that we are saved by faith. If we believe with all of our hearts that Jesus died on the cross for our sins and was raised on the third day and if we confess with our mouth that he is Lord over everything, including our lives, we receive salvation. By no merit of our own. We don't deserve it. We are filthy, nasty human beings drowning in our own sin. But God showed us mercy (def: not getting the punishment we deserve) and poured his grace (def: an undeserved gift) out on us so that we could be saved from that sin. So that we could be free to live in Him. We don't have to do anything to get that salvation. It's a free gift.
That's the faith part.
Verses 9 and 10 clarify the works part. "Not by works, so that no man can baost." Therefore, we have no right to "boast" in our salvation. It's all because of God. Verse 10 says that we are "created in Christ Jesus to do good works". That is our purpose clause. Because we are alive in Christ now, we are to do good works. Good works are a result of our salvation. Let me say that again -- good works are a RESULT of our salvation, not the MEANS to our salvation. Therefore, I cannot earn my salvation through doing good things. But I can complete my salvation.
You know the story about the tree and the fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit. That means that if we are completely immersed in the purpose that God has made us for, we can do nothing but good deeds. It's just an overflow of his love in us outward.
I don't know why I felt the need to post this today. I went to bed at 8 p.m. last night which is very out of the ordinary for me. I woke up at 2:30 a.m. just thinking about these verses and this concept that I have finally grasped. My dad always tells me that if you wake up like that, that God has as reason for it.
Well, he definitely did this time.