What does the Bible say about purpose?
“Without God, life has no purpose, and without purpose, life has no meaning. Without meaning, life has no significance or hope.” So said Pastor Rick Warren at the end of the 20th century in his New York Times best seller book The Purpose Driven Life.
Warren’s book seeks to answer and empower people toward their purpose in life. But what is that purpose? How can we find our purpose? What does the BIble say about it?
Christian quotes about purpose
“Without God, life has no purpose, and without purpose, life has no meaning. Without meaning, life has no significance or hope.” Rick Warren
“The purpose of God isn’t to save us from Hell. The purpose of God is to make us like Christ.” Aiden Wilson Tozer
“God has given all of us great purpose.”
“As Christians we are not here for our own purpose at all—we are here for the purpose of God, and the two are not the same.” Oswald Chambers
“This is God’s universal purpose for all Christian suffering: more contentment in God and less satisfaction in the world.” John Piper
“God has a purpose behind every problem. He uses circumstances to develop our character. In fact, he depends more on circumstances to make us like Jesus than he depends on our reading the Bible.” Rick Warren
“The purpose of God’s discipline is not to punish us but to transform us.” Jerry Bridges
“God is calling you, equipping you, preparing you, according to his purpose.”
“The purpose of the Christian life is to reveal Jesus Christ to the world.”
What is the purpose of the Bible?
Beginning with the Bible, we discover within that we find the answers to our questions about purpose. In fact, God’s purpose in the Bible is to reveal Himself (His character, His attributes, His love) and to reveal His plan for humanity.
“and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:15-17 ESV
“How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.” Psalm 119:9
Theologians call the Bible God’s special, or specific, revelation. God reveals Himself generally through His creation (ref Psalm 19) and He reveals Himself specifically through His inspired Word (ref Heb 1:1). This is His purpose for the Bible, so people would know Him and His desires for His people.
1. 2 Timothy 3:15-17 “and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
2. Psalm 119:9 “How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word.”
3. John 20:31 “But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”
4. Ephesians 6:13-17 “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
6. 1 John 5:13 (NIV) “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.”
7. Psalm 19:7-11 (NASB) “The Law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul; The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. 8 The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. 9 The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the Lord are true; they are righteous altogether. 10 They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much pure gold; Sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. 11 Moreover, Your servant is warned by them; In keeping them there is great reward.”
8. Matthew 4:4 (KJV) “But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”
9. Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
11. 1 Peter 1:23 “For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.”
12. Romans 15:4 “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.”
What is the purpose of man according to the Bible?
One of the questions the Bible answers for us is the purpose of humankind. Why are we here? Why am I here? What is my purpose?
To find the answer requires us to go back to the beginning in Genesis 1. There we read:
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
27 So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 29 And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. 30 And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. 31 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. Genesis 1:26-31 ESV
Here we see a threefold purpose for humanity:
- To reflect the Image of the Creator, or glorify God – Obedience
- To have dominion, or management, of the earth and its resources – Work
- To be fruitful and to multiply, or to recreate out of what God has created – Community/Family
This threefold purpose statement from Genesis 1 is then reiterated throughout Scripture as God reveals more and more about why He created humankind.
Humans are called to glorify God
“Ascribe to the Lord, O clans of the peoples, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength! Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; bring an offering and come before him! Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness;” 1 Chronicles 16:28-29 ESV
“For a man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man.” 1 Corinthians 11:7 ESV
“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31
Humans are called to work, or manage, creation.
“Behold, what I have seen to be good and fitting is to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of his life that God has given him, for this is his lot. Everyone also to whom God has given wealth and possessions and power to enjoy them, and to accept his lot and rejoice in his toil—this is the gift of God. For he will not much remember the days of his life because God keeps him occupied with joy in his heart.” Ecclesiastes 5:18-20 ESV
“For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.” 2 Thessalonians 3:10 ESV
“And to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you,” 1 Thessalonians 4:11 ESV
Humans are called to recreate.
“Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.” Psalm 127:3-5 ESV
“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.” John 15:16 ESV
“And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” 2 Timothy 2:2 ESV
13. Isaiah 43:7 “everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”
14. Ephesians 2:10 “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance as our way of life.”
15. Psalm 100:2-3 “Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. 3 Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.”
16. Psalm 8:4-6 “what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? 5 You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor. 6 You made them rulers over the works of your hands; you put everything under their feet.”
17. 1 Chronicles 16:28-29 (NKJV) “Give to the Lord, O families of the peoples, Give to the Lord glory and strength. 29 Give to the Lord the glory due His name; Bring an offering, and come before Him. Oh, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness!”
18. Ecclesiastes 12:13 “The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.”
19. 1 Corinthians 10:31 “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all things for the glory of God.”
20. Isaiah 43:21 (NLV) “The people whom I made for Myself will make known My praise.”
21. Isaiah 42:12 “Let them give glory to the LORD and declare His praise in the islands.”
God’s purpose of salvation through Christ.
When Adam and Eve sinned and plunged the image of God and creation into a diminished version of its true created purpose, God began to set into action His plan of saving His image in creation. God does this by rebirthing people by the Holy Spirit through the forgiveness of sins in Christ.
Jesus said in John 3:
“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” John 3:5-6 ESV
Peter speaks to one of the reasons why God is saving a people is to set apart a people for His own purposes:
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 11 Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. 12 Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.” 1 Peter 2:9-12 ESV
This connects to His original purpose for the Jewish Nation:
“Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; 6 and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” Exodus 19:5-6 ESV
“I am the Lord; I have called you in righteousness; I will take you by the hand and keep you;
I will give you as a covenant for the people, a light for the nations,” Isaiah 42:6 ESV
Another reason for God provided salvation through Christ is for the purpose of bringing Himself glory, as Paul writes in Romans 3:
“whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” Romans 3:25-26 ESV
And finally, God’s purpose in salvation through Christ is because of His forbearance, mercy and love.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” John 3:16-17 ESV
“But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” Titus 3:4-6
22. Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, that no one should boast.”
23. Titus 3:5-7 (NET) “he saved us not by works of righteousness that we have done but on the basis of his mercy, through the washing of the new birth and the renewing of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us in full measure through Jesus Christ our Savior. 7 And so, since we have been justified by his grace, we become heirs with the confident expectation of eternal life.”
24. Acts 16:31 “And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”
26. 1 Peter 2:9-10 “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.”
27. 2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”
28. John 3:3 “Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”
29. John 3:5-6 “Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.”
30. Acts 4:12 (ESV) “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
31. Romans 8:29 “For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren.”
32. John 3:16-17 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
33. Romans 5:18 “Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people.”
34. Romans 3:25 “God presented Him as the atoning sacrifice through faith in His blood, in order to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance He had passed over the sins committed beforehand.”
What is God’s purpose for my life?
Many believers ask the question: What is God’s purpose or will for my life?
Rest assured that the Bible has provided all you need to know God’s purpose for your life. The beginning point of understanding ourselves and our world is always God. Proverbs 9:10 states that “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.” (Proverbs 9:10 ESV)
As we fear the Lord, seeking to glorify Him in all we do, and seeking a loving relationship with Him, we find ourselves fulfilling the purpose for which we were created. As the Westminster Shorter Catechism so adequately states: “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever”.
However, there are also specific works for which the Lord, before the foundation of world, has set out for each of His children to do. We read in Ephesians:
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10 ESV
But how do we discern what those works are? This verse is found in a greater passage where Paul is discussing the family of God and how believers find their purpose within the church. He will go on in chapter 4 to write about gifts from the Spirit which equip believers to acts of service and leadership.
So part of God’s purpose for us is wrapped up in how He has gifted us and the passions He has placed upon our hearts to do.
Furthermore, Paul writes in Romans 12 that we can discern God’s will for our lives. We read there:
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2 ESV
Here Paul contrasts renewing of the mind as opposed to being conformed to the world, or to the patterns of the world. We are to renew our mind, or our thinking processes, in godly patterns, which we learn through the study of God’s Word. As we study God’s Word, we get to know God’s heart and His desires then become our desires. So when we are presented with opportunities for service or employment, we can discern those opportunities with God and His desires driving the decision making process.
When it comes to God’s purpose for one’s life, His purpose could be found in many avenues of work and life. So maybe it is better that we know when we are not fulfilling God’s purpose. We are not fulfilling God’s purpose for our lives when we live outside His plan for our life, or in other words, living in disobedience to His Word or in outright rebellion.
35. Ephesians 2:10 (KJV) “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
36. Psalm 57:2 (NLT) “I cry out to God Most High, to God who will fulfill his purpose for me.”
37. Psalm 138:8 “The LORD will fulfill His purpose for me. O LORD, Your loving devotion endures forever–do not abandon the works of Your hands.”
38. Matthew 28:19-20 “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
39. Proverbs 19:21 (HCSB) “Many plans are in a man’s heart, but the Lord’s decree will prevail.”
40. Micah 6:8 “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?”
41. Colossians 3:2 (NLV) “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”
42. Romans 12:2 (NKJV) “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
43. 1 Peter 2:4-5 “As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, 5 you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”
44. John 15:1-4 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.”
45. Hebrews 10:5-7 “Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said: “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; 6 with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased. 7 Then I said, ‘Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll— I have come to do your will, my God.”
46. 2 Corinthians 4:10 “We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.”
What is the purpose of suffering?
An age old question is: Why is there suffering? If God is sovereign and could prevent suffering, then there must be a reason or purpose behind the suffering. The Bible does have some answers and what we discover is that God uses suffering in the life of the believer as an act of sanctification and in the life of a non-believer as a means to stir their hearts to eternal matters. Consider the following verses:
Psalm 119:67, 71, 75
Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word.
It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes.
I know, O Lord, that your rules are righteous, and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me.
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
“we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
1 Peter 4:12-16
“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. 16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.”
An oft quoted passage from “A Grief Observed” by CS Lewis summarizes these passages and others up well: “I suggest to you that it is because God loves us that he gives us the gift of suffering. Pain is God’s megaphone to rouse a deaf world. You see, we are like blocks of stone out of which the Sculptor carves the forms of men. The blows of his chisel, which hurt us so much are what make us perfect.”
47. James 1:2-4 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
48. Romans 5:3-5 “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”
49. 1 Peter 4:12-16 “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: 13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. 14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters. 16 Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.”
50. Philippians 3:10 “that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death.”
51. 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”
52. 2 Corinthians 1:8-9 “We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. 9 Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.”
53. Hebrews 5:8-9 “Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered 9 and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.”
54. John 11:1-4 “Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.) 3 So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.” 4 When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.”
God will accomplish His purpose
The doctrine of the sovereignty of God teaches us that God can and will accomplish everything that He has proposed. This is a comforting thought to the believer who can trust that God will fulfill all His promises.
“Then Job answered the Lord and said: 2 ‘I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.’” Job 42:1-2 ESV
55. Psalm 33:11 “The counsel of the LORD stands forever, the plans of his heart to all generations.”
56. Proverbs 19:21 “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand.”
57. Isaiah 46:10 “I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.”
58. Proverbs 16:9 “A man’s heart plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.”
59. Job 42:1-2 “Then Job answered the Lord, and said, 2 I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee.”
60. Job 25:2 “Dominion and awe belong to God; He establishes harmony in the heights of heaven.”
61. Psalm 135:6 (NASB) “Whatever the Lord pleases, He does, In heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all deeps.”
62. Jonah 1:14 “So they cried out to the LORD: “Please, O LORD, do not let us perish on account of this man’s life! Do not charge us with innocent blood! For You, O LORD, have done as You pleased.”
63. Luke 1:37 “For nothing will be impossible with God.”
64. Genesis 17:21 “But I will establish My covenant with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you at this time next year.”
65. Matthew 19:26 “Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
66. Genesis 18:14 “Is anything too hard for the LORD? At the appointed time I will return to you, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.”
67. Genesis 18:10 “Then the LORD said, “I will surely return to you at this time next year, and your wife Sarah will have a son!” Now Sarah was behind him, listening at the entrance to the tent.”
68. Jeremiah 32:17 “Oh, Lord GOD! You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too difficult for You!”
69. Revelation 17:17 “For God has put it into their hearts to accomplish his purpose by agreeing to hand over to the beast their royal authority, until God’s words are fulfilled.”
Walking in your purpose
“Walking in your purpose” is a popular phrase that is not actually in the Bible, however it is used to convey the sense of living a missional life that is guided by God’s Word and aligned with sets of values and goals that are important to the individual. Consider the following verses:
70. Psalm 90:12 “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.”
71. John 15:16 “In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will.”
72. Ephesians 1:11 “In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will.”
73. Ephesians 5:15-17 “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”
74. Matthew 6:33 “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
75. Galatians 5:16-18 “So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.”
76. Colossians 3:16 “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”
Satan’s purpose and avoiding his traps
A whole article can be devoted to the reason why satan exists, but here we will attempt to understand satan’s purpose, or his goal, in the life of a believer and scripture which points to how one can avoid satan’s purpose for them.
The Bible teaches that satan’s purpose is to accuse and discourage the children of God:
“And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God.” Revelation 12:10 ESV
The Bible also teaches that satan’s purpose is to deceive:
“And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness.” 2 Cor 11:14
“And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.” Rev 12:9
And it seems that satan, under the soverignty of God, can also bring suffering into people’s lives:
God allowed satan to causes suffering in Job’s life as we read in Job 1: “And the Lord said to Satan, ‘Behold, all that he has is in your hand. Only against him do not stretch out your hand.’ So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.” Job 1:12 ESV
“So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited.” 2 Corinthians 12:7 ESV
Finally, Satan also tempts people to evil:
“For this reason, when I could endure it no longer, I also sent to find out about your faith, for fear that the tempter might have tempted you, and our labor would be in vain.” 1 Thessalonians 3:5 ESV
But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land?” Acts 5:3 ESV
Jesus provides the perfect picture of what it looks like to resist satan’s purposes to discourage, deceive and tempt you. We read this in Matthew 4:
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” 4 But he answered, “It is written,
“‘Man shall not live by bread alone,
but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple 6 and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written,
“‘He will command his angels concerning you,’
“‘On their hands they will bear you up,
lest you strike your foot against a stone.’”
7 Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” 8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” 10 Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written,
“‘You shall worship the Lord your God
and him only shall you serve.’”
11 Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.
We see here that Jesus’ immediate reply every time satan tempted him was to go to God’s Word. This is the best tool we can use in our defense against satan. As well, we can find help from these other passages:
77. Matthew 26:41 “Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
78. 2 Corinthians 2:11 “So that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.”
79. Ephesians 4:27 “And give no opportunity to the devil.”
80. Ephesians 6:11 “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.”
81. James 1:14-16 “But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers.”
82. 1 Peter 5:8 “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”
83. James 4:7 “Submit therefore to God. But resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
84. Ephesians 2:2 (ESV) “in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience.”
God’s purposes are perfect
When one says that God’s purposes are perfect, they mean His will is perfect, His plan is perfect because He is perfect in all of His ways. Consider the following verses:
85. 2 Samuel 22:31 “This God—his way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.”
86. Psalm 18:30 “This God—his way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.”
87. Deuteronomy 32:4 “He is the Rock, His work is perfect; all His ways are just. A God of faithfulness without injustice, righteous and upright is He.”
88. Psalm 19:7 “The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.”
89. James 1:17 “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”
90. Psalm 111:7 “The works of His hands are truth and justice; all His precepts are trustworthy.”
In Christ, men and women find their purpose. Without Christ, life is lived in vain.
At the end of his treatise on the resurrection, Paul concludes this way:
“Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:58 ESV