[Note: Our featured guest columnist, Curt Blattman, is a Messianic Jew from New York City who became a passionate follower of Jesus in 1981. The retired vice president of a leading New York bank, he specializes in Christian Apologetics and maintains a dynamic website blog Bible Apologetics. The author’s John Piper citations were taken from his sermon entitled “God’s Ultimate Purpose” delivered on February 23, 2003.]
Does the Creator of the universe have an ultimate purpose? And do we play a role in this ultimate purpose?
I believe that the answer to both of these questions is a resounding YES! And perhaps one verse that is not always memorized by Christians — but should be — gives us the answer. For we read in Romans 9:23, “and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory.”
I love what John Piper says regarding Romans 9:23, “If you are a Christian today — if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead — this is what you are: a vessel of mercy prepared before the creation of the world for glory — that is, to know the riches of the glory of God.”
Have you ever thought about yourself as the object of God’s ultimate purpose and that as a Christian you are indeed a vessel of mercy! My friends, our salvation is all about God looking down the corridor of time and choosing to lavish His awesome mercy on us. We are not saved by our good works but only through God choosing us to be a vessel of His mercy. John Piper again adds insight here, when he shares:
“We do not deserve to be Christians. We do not deserve to be chosen or called or saved or transformed or heaven-bound. It is all mercy. Undeserved. Oh, may believers hear this as humbling, and unbelievers hear it as hopeful! Nothing in us was the decisive influence on God to make it happen. That we have received anything good; any forgiveness, any acceptance with God, any glimpse of His glory, any hope of everlasting joy — this is all mercy.”
So, we see that God created us to not only know Jesus as our Lord and Savior, but to know the glory of God; which He prepared for us to experience before the creation of the universe! Again, Romans 9:23 says, “and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory.”
As a vessel of mercy, God has given all Christians the ability to experience the incredible blessings of knowing the riches of His glory, now and for eternity! So, God’s ultimate purpose is to create humanity so He can showcase His glory to His precious children.
God created us with a capacity to know His glory. While we remain in these finite and frail bodies we will never be able to fully know His entire glory, but if we pursue His glory with utmost passion, then I believe we will always stand in awe at just how glorious and wonderful Jesus is. You not only are created in the image of God but you are created to know, treasure, and enjoy His glory!
Have you ever looked up and pondered the beauty of the stars above? For when you do this you get a tiny glimpse of the glory of God. Psalm 19:1 says it so wonderfully, “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork.” Or have you ever read the Bible and come away realizing that you are being treated to divine revelations and conversations with God! Or have you ever contemplated just who you are in Christ?
I challenge you to meditate on Deuteronomy 7:6 and begin to let God’s infinite glory penetrate into your heart. This amazing verse says: “For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession.” Imagine the Creator of the universe considers you “His treasured possession!”
God loves you so much that it is His great delight to make known to you the riches of His glory. As you look at the world around you, why not behold the beauty it contains. And, when you look at your relationship with Jesus, I urge you to get lost in the knowledge that our inheritance in Him is infinitely greater than all the riches our planet contains.
I close with this thought. I know that life has its trials and tribulations. But, even reflecting on these difficulties can lead us to glimpses of glory that can’t be measured. Second Corinthians 4:17 says: “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” For you see as a Christian the glory of God, and the awe and wonder of this glory, is why you were created: to experience it now and forever!