June 2, 2024

Living for Christ: A Believer’s Purpose

Written by:
Rev (Dr) Prabhudas Koshy

In Romans 14:7-8, the apostle Paul reminded the Roman Christians of the powerful reality of every believer’s perspective about his life and its purpose. “For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.”

Living for Christ

Paul here laid out the fundamental truth that Christians ought not to live or die for themselves. Because we belong entirely to the Lord Jesus Christ, our commitment to God stretches far beyond just existing. It means surrendering our desires, choices, and even the timing of our death to God’s will.

Imagine life not as a solo journey but as a partnership with God. We’re not the captains charting our course; we’re instruments in His hands. Romans 14:7 emphasises this: “For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.” We can’t live life on “autopilot”, following societal expectations or our own whims. Every decision, from our careers to our relationships, should be guided by God’s Word and the Holy Spirit’s leadership.

This concept might seem radical at first. But consider the sacrifice Christ made for us. As 1 Corinthians 6:20 reminds us, “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” Through His death on the cross, Jesus has redeemed us from sin and darkness. We are no longer our own; we are His possession, bought at a precious cost.

This idea of belonging to God extends beyond life and encompasses death as well. We don’t get to choose when our time of departure comes. That decision rests with Him. It’s a humbling thought, but it also brings peace. Our lives are in His capable hands, from the very first breath to the very last.

Unfortunately, the world shouts a different message. The constant focus on self-fulfilment and personal gain can easily cloud our judgment. But living for ourselves essentially means living for fleeting pleasures, worldly ambitions and, ultimately, emptiness! True fulfilment comes from living for Christ. This means denying our selfish desires, taking up the cross of obedience, and serving Him with all our heart, mind and soul.

Living for Christ isn’t about convenience; it’s about complete surrender. We recognise Him not just as our Saviour, but also as our Lord. This complete devotion means sacrificing our plans, and embracing His will, even when it’s difficult.

Living a life completely dedicated to God can seem daunting. There will be moments when our resolve is tested, with the allure of self-preservation whispering in our ears. But we shouldn’t let fear stand in our way. Let’s pray for the strength to overcome reluctance and to embrace God’s will. Let’s ask Him to equip us with the courage and wisdom to offer ourselves completely to Him.

One day, our loyalty to God will be questioned. Will we be able to boldly declare, “If I live, I live to the Lord. If I die, I die to the Lord. So, whether I live or die, I belong to the Lord” (cf. Romans 14:8)? Let’s live every day in a way that allows us to answer with a resounding “Yes!”

A Believer’s Purpose

We are not our own, but we belong to God. This profound truth is echoed in Romans 14:8- “For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.” This truth echoes throughout Scripture, just like Jeremiah’s comforting words in 32:38 – “They shall be my people, and I will be their God”. This is a divine covenant, which establishes a deep connection between God and believers, offering a sense of belonging, strength and solace.

For Christians, this relationship translates into a clear purpose: to live for Christ. Unlike the world’s focus on self-gratification, our lives should be dedicated to fulfilling God’s will. The world’s allurements often steer us towards fleeting pursuits with little eternal value. But as Christians, we must resist these pressures and choose a path that glorifies Christ.

The apostle Paul himself served as a powerful example. In Galatians 6:14, he declared, “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” This statement signifies a complete severance from worldly pursuits. His sole purpose was living for Christ. 

Let us reflect on our own lives. Do our actions at work, school, or home bring honour to Christ’s name? Or do we succumb to worldly pressures and temptations?

This commitment to Christ extends beyond life. Paul expressed this beautifully in Philippians 1:21: “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” This unwavering devotion to God means even death becomes an opportunity to magnify Him. Paul considered death a “gain” because it leads to eternal union with Christ. This underscores the profound truth – for those who belong to God, death holds no fear; it opens the door to everlasting life with Him.

Therefore, it’s crucial to surrender to God’s will, both in life and death. We must reject the desire to control our own destinies; we must rather trust in His sovereignty. As Christians, we can find comfort in knowing that He determines our life’s course and even the manner of our passing.

Our journey with God doesn’t end with our earthly lives. We have the blessed opportunity to experience His power and glory, now and in eternity. May our desire and prayer be: “Let it be life or death, I shall live unto Him – nothing else.” We must resist the world’s pull that seeks to separate us from Christ. Let us prioritise Him above all other desires and expectations. Our lives, present and future, are solely for His glory.

Gethsemane Bible-Presbyterian Church adheres to the system of faith commonly known as the “Reformed Faith” as expressed in the Westminster Confession of Faith together with the Larger and Shorter Catechisms.
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