Tag Archives: Intent

Purpose

John 15:11 I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.

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Verse 11 is an unfamiliar place to look for a connection to Advent but we have history and hindsight to remind us God had a purpose in sending Christ as a new born baby.  John recorded this statement as part of the narrative of the purpose of the life of Christ.  Jesus clearly said what the purpose of His teaching was.  That’s a lot of “purpose” from a one-sentence verse but when I read the definition of the two grammatical parts of “purpose” it became my purpose for this second Advent post.

Purpose
noun: the reason for which something is created or for which something exists.
verb: have as one’s intention or objective.

God’s purpose for the birth of Jesus into our world as a baby was to provide a visual experience of new life and growth with all the perfection that had been lost back in the Garden of Eden.  That is the renewal of purpose we celebrate during Advent.  John is a respected expert on the purpose of the life of Jesus from the moment of His conception in the mind of God through His birth, life, crucifixion and resurrection.  

Verse 11 might actually be the bottom line purpose of why we celebrate Advent year after year.  There are so many good things that appeal to us emotionally and visually during the preparation for Christ-mas but don’t ever leave out that  “-.”  Christ was “created” and “exists” [the noun] as the reason for this season but  His ”intention or objective” [the verb] for your life lasts far beyond Advent – “that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.

Assurance –

Philippians 2:12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

That phrase “continue to work our your salvation with fear and trembling” always catches me when I read it because of that other phrase “as you have always obeyed.”  Long before we even had a conscious awareness of our salvation we were learning there were times we could be disobedient and get away with it. Paul is challenging us to consider situational ethics and our faith. God has swept away old boundaries and brought new freedom to our lives. We have our doctrines, we have our statements of belief, we have God’s truth…but we still have our options.

I try not to be a “canned” Christian but it’s so easy to spout the truth you know as if you’ve really figured out how to live it. That’s the challenge of situational ethics. This last year our Pastor quoted someone-or-other with this [paraphrased] statement: “We judge others by their behavior and ourselves by our intent.”  Our freedom in Christ has faced us with options and our situational ethics. That’s why we need to “continue to work out [our accomplished] salvation with fear and trembling.” You don’t think God misses those times when you still get away with misusing your freedom do you? Not a chance! That’s the “fear and trembling” part but we have these words of assurance from Paul.  In the midst of working through matching up our situational ethics with our freedom we don’t have to rely on our doctrines or our statements of belief or our own will. This is God’s truth…”it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.”  You can’t do it alone.