Making Biblical Decisions: God’s Glory, Our Purpose – June 21, 2024

What is the purpose of your existence? This question has plagued man from the beginning of time. Philosophers and musicians alike wrestle with this question. At some point in life, most find themselves faced with this question. For some, this conflict arises in the middle school years as they transform from a child into a young adult. For others, this question rears its head as a midlife crisis. Unfortunately, many dodge the question and distract themselves from its implications through the variety of vanities this world offers.
Ultimately, man can only answer this question one of two ways: we exist for God’s glory or by accident. Using Darwin’s philosophy, modern culture loudly proclaims the second answer. Yet, because we could never truly accept that we exist by accident and, therefore, have no purpose, people instead live as though the purpose of their existence is their pleasure. The hedonism of our society drives marketing, entertainment, and even politics. Because most people choose not to think about the purpose of their existence, they live as though the ultimate purpose for their existence is themselves. As these individuals make decisions, what would lead to fulfilling their sinful passions drives their choices.
How did we get this way? Genesis 3 reveals the answer. As Satan approached the first people, he tempted them into sin by lying to them about the purpose of their existence. He informed them that they could be a god. Satan told them that the One True God was lying to them out of selfishness. He convinced them that they existed for themselves. And when they sinned through rebellion against God’s good purpose for their lives, they plunged all of us into that same trap (Rom. 5:12). From that moment on, humanity came to the wrong answer to the question about our purpose for existing.
Studying God’s Word teaches us that we exist for an entirely different reason. The Westminster Shorter Catechism perhaps gives the best explanation for human existence. The catechism’s first question asks, “What is the chief end (purpose) of man?” To which it answers, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.” You see, God’s purpose in all things is to declare His ultimate glory. As a result, all creation exists for God’s glory.
Revelation contains John’s vision in which God declares His ultimate purpose for all things. In chapter 4, John glimpses heaven. He sees the wonder and glory of God’s throne room. Redeemed humanity, angels, and fantastic beasts surround the throne, engaging in worship of the Creator. As John observes this fantastic scene, he sees some amazing creatures, which he identifies as the four living creatures. They fly around God’s throne without ceasing, loudly declaring God’s glory. As this happens, John observes that the 24 elders (many think they are the 12 sons of Israel and the 12 Apostles) cast their crowns of reward at God’s feet. As they do so, they cry out, “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created” (Rev. 4:11). We exist because God wants us to exist. And God wants us to exist for His glory.
Ephesians 1 reveals that God redeems man to declare His glory. Verses 5-6 reveal that God predestined believers for adoption through Christ for the praise of His glorious grace. Verses 11-12 reveal that God has given the believer an inheritance so they might be to the praise of His glory. Verses 13-14 informs us that God gives the Holy Spirit to the believer as a seal of redemption to the praise of His glory. God saves man for His own sake so that He would receive all the glory. The chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.
As God’s glory is man’s purpose for existence, God’s glory should impact every decision we make. Elite, successful professional athletes live with one goal: winning the championship. Everything they do funnels through this goal. This is why fans often learn of their favorite athlete’s strange habits. Tom Brady never eats strawberries and loves avocado ice cream. Nikola Jokic lifts weights for almost an hour after every game. Lionel Messi built a full-size soccer field in his backyard so he could have lifelike practices at home. Phillip Rivers built a conversion van in which the entire rear passenger area was an office where he could study film on the way to and from practice. If these athletes take such pains for rewards with little eternal value, how much more should we take pains to fulfill our created purpose of glorifying God?
Over the next few weeks, we will look in greater detail at what it means to glorify God, how we glorify God, and what a wonderful result we will have when we do. I would encourage you to be honest with yourself as we study together. Sometimes, you may come to conclusions that are hard and may hurt. At other times, you may be very encouraged. But in the end, living for God’s glory will result in satisfaction, purpose, and joy.