The Bible and Jesus have taught us that upon death, we will go to heaven for the rest of eternity and live an eternal life. But if so, what is the purpose of our finite life on Earth if God ends up forgiving our sins and leading us to heaven?
ESV - 43 And he said to him, "Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.
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I would say that God's original intent was that humans live forever on earth in fellowship with Him. After sin made this impossible, and introduced death, the purpose of life on earth became loving God, having faith in Him, and obeying Him during our finite lifetimes, which entailed being good stewards of His creation and observing His commandments, including loving others as ourselves. After God fulfilled His promise of sending a Redeemer to bear the punishment of humanity's sin from eternity past to eternity future, the purpose of human life became specifically having faith in Him (and also bringing others to that same faith) for the attainment of eternal life, which (after death and prior to the bodily resurrection of the dead at Christ's second coming) takes the form of a spiritual life in His presence in heaven (God's abode).
The Bible says that Jesus is coming back to this earth to reward His people as He promised and to take them to heaven (Rev 22:12). He will restore the life full of joy and glory that Adam and Eve lost by sinning (1 Thess 4:16, 17; Phil 3:20, 21). But sadly, not everyone will inherit the kingdom of God (1 Cor 6:9-10). The good news however is that it doesn't have to be this way and God can and will wash away all sins: “But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Cor 6:11) Because of God’s never-ending love for us, He gave His Son’s life for ours sins (John 3:16; 1 John 4:9, 10). We are all sinners deserving death (Rom 3:23). Bud God’s unconditional love saves us from our life of sin (Rom 5:8; 6:23). Christ died to satisfy the death penalty against us - then His sinless life is credited to our account, so we can be counted as righteous and adopted into God’s own family as His children (1 John 3:1). All we have to do is to believe and accept His free offer! We must believe that He died for us, that He forgives us when we confess our sins (1 John 1:9) and He can save us (John 6:47). Our works of obedience cannot justify anyone before God. All who ask for salvation in faith will receive it – even the worst sinner will be accepted (Ephes 2:8, 9). And as we receive Christ in our hearts, He destroys the old sinful self and changes us into a new person (2 Cor 5:17; Gal 2:20).
Yes, Christians (believers in Jesus) will live for eternity (John 3:15-16). However, heaven is only our temporary home. When Christians die our souls ascend to heaven where we worship God and rest from our labours until Jesus comes to earth again. When Jesus makes his second coming, Christians come with him to be reunited with our glorious new bodies which will be like his body (2 Corinthians 15:35-56). Then we will reign with Christ for one thousand years (Revelation 20:1-6). After that, all evil will be judged and vanquished. Then Jesus will create a new heaven and earth and all Christians will live forever with God and serve his purposes on this new earth (Revelation 21:1-5; 22:1-5) The purpose of our human life is to prepare us for eternity. The Holy Spirit moulds and shapes the character of Jesus into our lives. Enjoying an intimate personal relationship with God gives us a foretaste of what eternal life in the presence of God will be like. God sent Jesus to be the Saviour of the world. Through Jesus, God redeemed his creation from the corruption of sin, death and evil forces. Jesus life and ministry showed us what this redemption process looks like. Jesus lived a righteous and holy life, he delivered the gospel message, he healed all diseases and sicknesses, he cast out demons, and he raised the dead. Once we are saved, we become followers of Jesus and partners with God, through the local church, in redeeming his creation. We follow Jesus example, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to set people free from sin, death and evil forces. We help others to live a holy and righteous life that pleases God and fulfills his purposes. Rick Warren wrote a book called “The Purpose Driven Life” now renamed “What on Earth am I here for?” Here are some scripture references he used to help us understand God’s purposes for our lives. 1. Life is really about living for God, not myself (Colossians 1:16) 2. God created me, I’m not an accident (Isaiah 44:2) 3. Living for God’s purpose is the path to peace (Isaiah 26:3) 4. There is more to life than just here and now (1 John 2:17) 5. Life is a test and a trust (Luke 16:10) 6. This world is not my home (2 Corinthians 4:18) 7. Life is all for God (Romans 11:36) 8. I was created for God’s pleasure (Psalm 149:4) 9. God smiles when I trust him (Psalm 147:11) 10. The heart of worship is surrender (Romans 6:13; 12:1-2) 11. God wants to be my best friend (Psalm 25:14) 12. I’m as close to God as I choose to be (James 4:8) 13. God wants all of me (Mark 12:30) 14. God is real, no matter how I feel (Hebrews 13:5) These are just a few examples of a purpose-driven life. There are many more in the book.
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