I taught my Sunday School class yesterday. I had to make some admissions to begin though. First off, I don’t really study in preparation for a class other than mentally. You never know how long it will be since we start when everyone’s settled down and we can have discussion. Secondly, I tend to be lazy anyway. Overall though, it worked well. My first question was “What is the goal of the Christian life?”
This is an appropriate question we should ask of anything. However, there are a number of answers that I would like to say right off are the wrong answer. The first one is the one I thought would be first mentioned and yet, I had to supply it when I asked for possible answers and that was the goal of getting to Heaven.
I think getting to Heaven is a by-product of the goal, but it was never the aim in the evangelism of the apostles. Heaven is important, but we are in this for more than just the reward, although Jesus was there to tell the apostles when the rich man left that yes, there definitely is a reward.
Now someone might think that winning souls to Jesus is the goal. That’s an objective of the Christian life, but it is not the goal, and I think this helps shed insight into the problems with the naturalistic view of life. The view that we are to win souls to Jesus paints Christianity as a kind of club.
The goal of this club is to get other people to join the club. However, if the club is not going anywhere, what is the point of growing membership. Are we multiplying ourselves simply for the sake of multiplying ourselves? We can only view winning souls to Christ as a part of the mission on the way to the goal.
Yet is this not the problem of naturalism? What is the point of humanity? Well, we survive. Why? So the next generation can survive. Are we surviving merely to survive with no goal in mind? Are we Sisyphus rolling the boulder up the hill? Are we doing what Ecclesiastes says and just “Chasing after the wind?”
Why should survival even be a goal? If good and evil are merely illusions, then why should I care about them? Why should I care about the good of the human species. At least the wrong Christian answer has the betterment of the species in mind. The naturalistic answer will just be “Live.” Now some might prescribe ways to live, but there is no authority behind the doctor’s note.
But each of these answers doesn’t yet get us to the goal? What is the goal of the Christian life? Why are we running where we are running? The goal is quite clear really.
We are to be like Christ.
Our goal is to be perfect reflectors of God. We are made in his image and God is taking away everything from us that does not reflect that image. However, we must be willing in this act. This is the beauty of the process. God wants us to be like him, but he wants us to be us as well. His plan makes us more us than we were before. He will make us into the you we were meant to be.
This is pure excitement if we will think about it. The Christian title for the doctrine is perichoresis. It refers to us sharing in the life of God. When we are made totally Christlike, we will be participating in the life of God as much as we can. There will be nothing in us that hinders the love that we can receive from him.
To be sure, this is a far cry from the Mormon idea of becoming a separate god. This is to experience life from the source of all life. The Mormon idea I find unsupportable on so many levels anyway, but that would be a blog, or rather a few blogs, for another day. Today is on the goal.
Knowing this as our goal, how ought we to live? We ought to live each day with the goal in mind. We ought to look at each action and see if it will get us closer to the goal or farther from the goal. My concern here is that we will make this something legalistic though. It has been my tendency in the past. I don’t think this means we hesitate from enjoying other things though as even Christ did and the Bible says they are ours to enjoy.
So what do we do? We live as we ought. We practice Christlikeness, we pray, we study Scripture, and do as we ought. We have an exciting future ahead of us as God will ensure that we reach the goal as we keep trusting in him.