Heart of God: Purpose-driven life

Howard Culbertson
Monday, March 2, 2015

"He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles." -- Galatians 3:14

Want to know God’s will for your life? Start with Galatians 3:14. Paul originally directed that verse to congregations in what is now central Turkey. The Holy Spirit, however, had a much wider audience in mind. Thus, this divinely-inspired letter to the Galatians became part of the written Word through which God wishes to speak to people everywhere in every age.

Read Galatians 3:14 along with the Great Commission in Matthew 28:19-20, the Pentecost promise in Acts 1:8 and the approximately 180 other world-missions-related Bible verses (http://tinyurl.com/dkvu2m). That will make it clear that God wants all His people supporting and participating in the effort to proclaim the Gospel all over the earth (Dr. James Dobson on YouTube: http://youtu.be/bCvQEwsZZy4).

ImageFrom time to time I hear or read people saying that believers are “blessed in order to be a blessing.” That saying is accurate, and it does reflect the thought in Galatians 3:14 that our embracing the Gospel has obligated us to pass it on to all those who have never heard. When divine blessings flow toward us we must not start building a pond so we can keep that flow of blessings for our own personal enjoyment. We are not supposed to be pond builders. Instead, we are supposed to be making irrigation canals so that the water of life will flow on through us to a dry and parched world.

I do not disagree with those who say that lovingly sharing Christ with those closest to us is very important. The Bible has plenty to say about our responsibility for that. However, the word “Gentiles” in Galatians 3:14 clearly points to people other than “our own kind.” To first-century Jewish Christians, “Gentiles” did not mean their relatives or the people next door or even those on the other side of town. “Gentiles” were the whole rest of the world. Paul’s declaration in Galatians 3:14 is that God redeems us “in order that” the whole world might hear the Gospel.

Some years ago California pastor Rick Warren wrote The Purpose Driven Life. That book sold more than 30 million copies and thus repeatedly made the New York Times bestseller list. Rev. Warren insists that members of his congregation support and engage in world evangelism. So, I’m sure he would not mind us saying that his book title -- Purpose Driven Life -- could be used as a label for Galatians 3:14. The “in order that” of Galatians 3:14 clearly points to world evangelism as a life purpose for all God’s people.

What purpose drives us? Is our purpose centered on us and our personal happiness and success? Or, are we driven by the Galatians 3:14 purpose of getting the Good News of the Gospel to everyone on the face of the earth?