September 06, 2008

The Goal of the Gospel

Philippians 1:9-11

This is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight.
Philippians 1:9


In its first year, a new sports team may simply want to establish its place in a league. With each new season, though, it hopes that new milestones will be reached. Ultimately, each step is directed to a specific goal—the conference championship.

Followers of Jesus are also to be goal oriented. The goal of the gospel of Jesus Christ is that believers grow into Christlike maturity. This is a theme repeated throughout the Bible, and it is the essence of Paul’s prayer for the Philippian believers.

What is Christlike maturity? First, it is a love relationship defined by a growing loyalty to Jesus and his purpose. Second, this maturity demonstrates a growing love for God’s truth, which blossoms into insight for Christian life and thought. Finally, it is revealed in the natural passion to live a holy and pure life. In essence, a mature Christian is to be clothed with Christ in mind, heart, and behavior.

The Bible teaches that the most joyful life is the one lived in and for the Lord. Sin debilitates, but salvation in Jesus Christ rehabilitates.

To be truly human is to set this as your personal goal: to affirm and seek to grow, in God’s strength, into the likeness of Jesus Christ. (See 2 Corinthians 3:18.)

For what do you pray? What is your ultimate goal?

Dear Lord, turn my heart away from old ways and toward your transforming grace. I rejoice in your Word, and I look forward to growing in your will. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

About the author — Calvin Hoogendoorn

Rev. Calvin Hoogendoorn serves as senior pastor of First Christian Reformed Church in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Previously he served two churches in Illinois. He and his wife, Carla, have three daughters.

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