At the end of our Christian lives what should we be like? In life we have goals for all we do. The great goal for the Christian is not wealth, health and long-life, high education, marriage and children. But –
(1) To be like God in holiness (Matthew 5:48, 1 Peter 1:15-16, 1 John 2:29). God chose us with the purpose to make us holy and blameless (Ephesians 1:4). Christ loved us and died for us for the same purpose (Ephesians 5:25-27). We must pattern our lives on how God has revealed Himself in the Bible, for example, in kindness, tenderheartedness, forgiveness (Ephesians 4:32-5:1).
(2) Like Christ (Romans 8:29, 1 John 2:6, 3:3). God’s purpose is to make us like Christ in His human nature, which will be completed on the last day (Philippians 3:20-21, 1 John 3:2). We must imitate Christ, for example, His love (Ephesians 5:2), His humility (Philippians 2:5ff.), His attitude to suffering (1 Peter 2:21ff.).
NECESSITY. This likeness to God and Christ is necessary in order to enter heaven (Matthew 5:8, Hebrews 12:14). Such likeness will not be perfect in this life, but there must be a great difference from before becoming a Christian. Holiness must be the one great mark of our Christian lives.
assurance. Is it possible to be sure of reaching this goal? Yes, because no one who is a true believer can be lost. Read John 10:28-29, 1 Corinthians 1:8-9, Philippians 1:6. But how can you know if you are a true believer? Note what the following verses say about who will be saved in the end: “he who endures to the end will be ssaved (Matthew 24:13); “if we hold our first confidence firm to the end (Hebrews 3:14). This is the doctrine of the PERSEVERANCE OF THE SAINTS.
HOW YOU WILL REACH THIS GOAL OF THE CHRISTIAN LIFE?
(1) Use the Means of Grace. In order to persevere to the end you need continual supplies of the grace of God. How does God give grace to us? It is not automatic with no effort on our part. There are public and private means of grace, centred in the Word.
Be committed in attendance at worship (Heb.10:25). It is through the reading and preaching of the Bible that you will know the promises and commandments of God.
The ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper are the same Word in the form of symbols. As you respond to the Word in faith it will be a means of grace to you.
Constant fellowship with other Christians is a great blessing (read Hebrews 3:12-13).
Then there is the encouragement of praying together (Acts 2:42). PRIVATE.
• Read the Word of God consistently, let it dwell in you richly (Colossians 3:16). What benefits come from the Word in the following verses from Psalm 119? Guard the heart (v.9); not sinning (v.11); in affliction