Thursday, October 19
When a person comes face to face with God and understands his inability to qualify for heaven, he has to choose—between trusting God for his salvation or rejecting it. To him, the only issue is his own fate. But God has more in mind than that. When Christ made contact with Saul on the road to Damascus, he was interested in Saul’s salvation, but he was also concerned for thousands of Gentiles that needed the gospel. Saul was to be his man to reach the Gentile world. So when Saul was converted, God put him through a concentrated course in the Arabian desert to prepare him for his future work. God does the same thing for us. He is not content to spare us from eternal judgment and prepare us for heaven. He has a job for us to do. The sanctification process prepares us for the work ahead of us. We learn humility, dependence on God, how to deal with adversity and persecution, how to pray, how to deal with sin, how to encourage our fellow believers, in short, how to live a godly life. We develop godly traits “so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Tim. 3:17) This entire process is virtually unknown at the point of conversion. One’s eternal destiny is the first focus. But then the focus expands. God has redeemed us for purposes beyond our personal salvation. It’s interesting that many new converts instinctively know that and want to share the good news with others—just as Andrew and Philip did (John 1:40-45). So already the indwelling Holy Spirit is doing his job. Underlying all this is a third purpose, more important even than the first two. It all is to glorify God. As John Piper would say, glorifying God is what gives us true happiness.