Faith and the Purpose of God

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What does faith mean to you? Maybe it means having a complete trust or confidence in someone or something? Me too. In the case of the Bible, faith means to have a strong trust in God, the Bible being evidence, or a revelation of Him, so we can believe.

Where do we learn about the character of God so we can have faith in him? The obvious answer is the Bible, in which God reveals himself fully to his followers. Everything we need to know about God is found there, and it is an accurate, in-depth picture of his nature. One of the things we learn about God in the Bible is he is incapable of lying. His integrity is perfect; therefore, when he declares the Bible to be true, we can accept that statement, based on God’s character.

So what is the purpose of God? To fill the earth and the heavens with his knowledge and glory. God created the world so that in the end He might reveal himself to mankind, and that men should accept Him as their Creator, and give Him glory. Nothing and no one can prevent this happening.

This revelation of God is first of all through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will soon return to reign. With him will be those faithful ones whom he has raised from the dead, who will reign with him on the earth. The mortal population of the earth will all at last believe that God does exist, and will enjoy the blessing of perfect government. “Many peoples will come and say, ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.’ The law will go out from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem” – Isaiah 2:3.

Paul tells us that when Christ returns, he will reign on earth until he has subdued all God’s enemies, all who oppose the will of God. This will include the final enemy, death. Then Christ will hand over the restored world to his Father, and the final age of the world will begin, when God will be “all in all” (1 Corinthians 15:24-28). God will be revealed to those from every age of man, who have become His children through baptism into the Name of Jesus Christ, and they will live for ever in His presence. “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God . . . There will be no more death . . . for the old order of things has passed away” (Revelation chapter 21:3,4).

Though God is slow to anger, it is true that He is severe towards those who oppose and defy Him, and we find this in both the Old and the New Testaments: “The wicked will perish, the Lord’s enemies will be like the beauty of the fields, they will vanish—vanish like smoke” (Psalm 37:20).

In such passages as Matthew 5:22, “But anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of the fire of hell”, the word ‘hell’ in the Greek is ‘gehenna’. Gehenna was a place outside the walls of Jerusalem, where fires were kept constantly burning, and where rubbish, and the dead bodies of criminals, were burnt up. It became a symbol of complete destruction, not of torment.

But He is above all a God of love: “He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance”  (2 Peter 3:9). “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” (John 3:16). And from the Old Testament: “The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbour his anger for ever; . . . As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust” (Psalm 103:8-14). Those who approach God with reverence and humility are never turned away. “The Lord your God is gracious and compassionate. He will not turn his face from you if you return to him” (2 Chronicles 30:9). “This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word”  (Isaiah 66:2). We are told God is love in 1 John 4:8. We can understand God best if we simply look at Jesus. He said, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” John 14:9. In other words, Jesus, the Son of God, shows us perfectly what the character of God is like.

There is only one God, and He himself is One. He created the earth, and has a purpose with it and with mankind. The next stage of this purpose will be fulfilled at the return of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, whom He glorified, but who is not His equal. God will finally reveal himself to his people, to whom He will give eternal life. The goodness and severity of God are spoken of in both Old and New Testaments.

Hebrew 11:1 -3 – “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report. Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.”

Faith is a channel of living trust—an assurance—that stretches from man to God. In other words, it is the object of faith that renders faith faithful. To be faithful is to be reliable, steadfast and unwavering, Jesus said in the famous verse from John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” Our faith in Jesus’ death and resurrection is a promise that we will have eternal life with Him. Faith is a powerful force for good—it can give you stability now and a reliable hope for the future. According to the Bible, faith is essential to Christianity. Without demonstrating faith and trust in God, we have no place with Him. We believe in God’s existence by faith.

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