What is the point of life?

First printed in HAVEN NEWS JULY 2016

Some people spend their lives looking for treasure, for riches, for pearls and diamonds. Some chase after big houses and fast cars, the latest gadgets and the champagne lifestyle. All kinds of thing are said to be worth their weight in gold which is so valuable that an average person carrying all they could might be able to lift somewhere between half a million and a million pounds’ worth of gold. We could call these expensive items priceless if we didn’t have a price for them. But surely there are some things in life which are much more precious than any objects.

What is the point of life? Surely life is about more than money or possessions. Some things in life are more valuable than all the money and all the objects anybody could ever have. So many people in Britain today are materially overfed but spiritually starving. So what is the point of life?

Jesus said in John’s Gospel chapter 10 verse 10, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (New International Version). Other translations use other words. Jesus came so we might “have life and have it more abundantly.” (Revised Standard Version) That is the amazing free gift which God wants to give us all through Jesus. “Life in all its fullness.” (Good News Bible) “A rich and satisfying life.” (New Living Translation)I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.” (The Message Translation)

This life in all its fullness brings us so many wonderful blessings. Love: we know that God loves us and that His love will never let us go. Joy: not the passing happiness which so many people look for in false gods such as Money and Entertainment, but true joy which no-one and nothing can take away. Peace: the inner calm of knowing that everything is safe in the loving hands of Almighty God. Freedom: to live life in a way which is pleasing to God. Jesus said, “If the son shall set you free you will be free indeed.” (John 8:32)

Jesus explained what eternal life and life in all its fullness are really about in John 17:3. Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” That is what eternal life is: the joy of experiencing a personal relationship with God.

Three hundred years ago churches were drawing up a statement of what Christians believe and they asked this question. “What is the chief end of man?” In today’s language  what are human beings created for? What is their purpose?

What is the destiny of human beings? What is the point of life? And the answer they came ups with was this. “The chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.”

Even earlier, back in the fifth century Augustine said this. “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in you.” This is the truth about the point of life. Human beings were created to experience a relationship with God. Without God our lives will never be complete. We will always have a ‘God-shaped gap’ in our lives which nothing but God can fill.

In the seventeenth century the French mathematician and Christian philosopher Blaise Pascal explained it like this.
“What else does this craving, and this helplessness, proclaim but that there was once in man a true happiness, of which all that now remains is the empty print and trace? This he tries in vain to fill with everything around him, seeking in things that are not there the help he cannot find in those that are, though none can help, since this infinite abyss can be filled only with an infinite and immutable object; in other words by God himself.”

What is the point of life? It is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. It is to receive that eternal life which consists of a personal relationship with the Living God: life in all its fullness. God has made it possible for human beings to know Him through Jesus Christ. Through Jesus, God has made a way to forgive our sins. There’s no real point in being forgiven in and of itself. The whole point of forgiveness is that God has dealt with the sin which separated fallen human beings from the Holy God. The purpose of forgiveness is so that we can experience a relationship with God; that relationship with God for which we were designed and created. Sin has spoiled humanity’s relationship with God. But now the barrier of sin has been removed we can come to know God as He knows us. Every human being can enjoy this personal relationship with God.

And it is knowing God which bring us love and joy and peace and freedom. Our relationship with God is not some means by which we can enjoy blessings like love and joy and peace and victory and freedom. Knowing God is not a means to anything. Knowing God is the most worthy and desirable and glorious end in itself. All the wonderful blessings which make up salvation are all wrapped up in the greatest blessing which is the blessing of knowing God. Eternal life consists of that relationship with God. Knowing God makes life worthwhile and gives life its true meaning. That is the real point of life.

 

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