I have been asking in this series of blogs, “what is the purpose of the Christian life?” To this point, I have been suggesting that it is to imitate and fulfill the mission of Jesus. In the last post I argued that the coming of Jesus was in fulfillment of all that the OT promised. In order to understand the mission of God’s people, however, we need to go deeper for a bit.
God dwells among us
The God of Christianity is worth knowing. He is transcendent. He is glorious. He is Holy. And He is love. This God, and we could go much further in our description of His magnificence, desires to be made known. God is not simply concerned about making sure we go to heaven when we die, or that we don’t go to hell. He desires to be in relationship with us.
One of the great promises of Scripture, often deemed the “Immanuel Principle,” is found in Leviticus 26:11-12, “Moreover, I will make My dwelling among you, and My soul will not reject you. I will also walk among you and be your God, and you shall be My people.”
We see here that God’s desire is that we might dwell with Him, or He with us! This promise reverberates throughout the OT and finds expression in the great covenant promise of Ezekiel:
“My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd; and they will walk in My ordinances and keep My statutes and observe them. They will live on the land that I gave to Jacob My servant, in which your fathers lived; and they will live on it, they, and their sons and their sons' sons, forever; and David My servant will be their prince forever. I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant with them. And I will place them and multiply them, and will set My sanctuary in their midst forever. My dwelling place also will be with them; and I will be their God, and they will be My people” (Ezek 37:24-27).
Now at this point, it might be easy to jump to the book of Revelation and see that the ultimate fulfillment of this promise is present in the description of the New Jerusalem:
“And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them. . . . He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son” (Rev 21:3, 7).
The purpose of the Christian life, then, is to imitate Christ and fulfill His mission which was to make God known.
In order to understand the significance of this promise for the life of the people of God today we must reflect on two key elements of the Immanuel Principle. This will be my next two posts.