What's the Goal?
What’s the goal of the Christian life or What’s the purpose of being a Christian? Is it just so that we can go to heaven and not hell? If this is the case, then why do we remain on this earth after we put our faith in Jesus? These are important questions, and I would dare to say that many Christians have never thought about these questions. Most times when the Gospel of Jesus is explained, we talk about God saving us from our sins; we have eternal life, and we will not go to hell. In some ways, we scare people into being a Christian. But again, what is the point of the Christian life?
Let me begin by saying that being a Christian is much more then just having “fire insurance,” not going to hell. This is highlighted in the Bible by the fact that Jesus never called His followers “Christian,” but used the term “disciple” instead. What is a “disciple”? In the first century, a disciple was a learner or an apprentice. We have people like this nowadays. If a person wants to learn a trade like wielding, they come alongside a person who already knows how to wield. That teacher then teaches the student how to wield. The interesting thing about being a disciple or apprentice is that this person learns how to do the task just like their teacher. In the first century, not just the trades had apprentices, but also other professions like religious teachers had disciples. These individuals would sit under the teaching of these individuals and be taught their religious ideas. Therefore, in the New Testament we find the Pharisees having disciples (Luke 5:33) and John the Baptist having disciples (Luke 5:33). These disciples were individuals who sat under the Pharisees and John’s teaching, so that they could learn from them and ultimately be like them.
Jesus’ disciples were the same; men and women who identified themselves as Jesus’ followers, sat under Jesus’ teaching and became like Jesus in their lives. Do you realize that this is the goal of being a Christian; to become like Jesus in every part of our lives. As Paul says in Romans 8, we are “to be conformed to the likeness of his Son…” Are we moving toward that goal of Christ-likeness because this is the purpose of being a Christian or a disciple of Jesus?