The Purpose Of Life - Part 2

by Herbert W Armstrong


Very few people give any thought whatsoever as to the purpose of life, or whether they were put on this earth for any purpose whatsoever, what that purpose might be, whether they're fulfilling it. What is our destiny? Do you ever stop to think about that my friends?

You know the older you become, the faster time seems to fly. Anyone who is past fifty years old certainly understands that, and I think anyone even twenty or thirty years of age will realize that time seems to be passing a lot faster now than it did, say ten years ago. And so it's true that, while it's like on a railroad journey if you are taking quite a long trip on the train, it may seem a little while like the journey is never going to end. It's a long monotonous, tiresome journey. And yet all of a sudden you come to the end, you look back on it and it was the shortest trip. It just seemed like it didn't take any time at all after it's all over.

And that's the way with life, it's just here today and it's gone tomorrow and as you do read in the Bible where we're like a leaf or like a blade of grass. We're here today, we fade and we're gone tomorrow. Life doesn't last too long. What's it all for and where are we going? We take a lot for granted. A lot of people seem to take for granted that if they just live right, and they like to kid themselves they are doing that, of course, but God isn't going to be kidded. But if they just live right they're going to get to go to heaven and they'll live in idleness and ease and they'll have luxury all eternity, nothing to do. But they'll have perfect security, nothing to worry about, they'll have plenty.

Now where do you get that idea? I've never found that in my Bible and some people seem to think I understand it pretty well. In fact, I think there are a good many thousands of you that do and I have never found any such thing. I don't find any evidence of it. I've never found any scientist that assures me that that's where I am going to wind up. I don't think there's any scientific evidence that that's where your destiny lies.

The Purpose Of Life Is In The Bible (PLAY FROM 02:33)

Now what is your life all about? Where is it taking you? Where is it going to lead you? You know I think it's about time we did pay a little attention to that sort of thing. A lot of people, when they find death staring them in the face, they get quite concerned. Occasionally, men after they pass seventy or seventy-five begin to get concerned. We like to stuff our minds full of just some little interest here today and you forget all about it tomorrow or next day. It hasn't been of any importance to you. It hasn't contributed anything really to your life, it's just filled up a little bit of time. But the real important thing we very seldom seem to think about.

Now the only place you can find the purpose of your life revealed so you can understand, is in the Bible. What are these inexorable, invisible laws that produce either happiness or pain and sorrow and suffering, that bring real joy or make life morbid and unhappy? What is it that will relieve the emptiness of life and make your life full and abundant? People have a certain amount of ideas but their ideas haven't really panned out, have they, in experience?

Not very many people know the answers to these things. The reason is the answer is in the Bible and it's only there, and not very many people understand the Bible. And because they don't understand it a lot of people don't want to even think about it. Not very many people understand the Bible, but you can understand it. And again, not very many people understand the difference between what is offered us now in this New Testament time and what was offered those who lived in the Old Testament time. The difference between the Old and the New Testament, and that's a mighty important thing.

Now we've come in this very, very important book that has been so neglected. It's one of the reasons you don't understand the Bible because you don't understand this, telling where Jesus Christ has been these 1900 years and what He is doing now. What is Jesus Christ doing now? Well there's the key to a lot of this, the purpose of your life and what it's all about and what it all means.

And so now we're nearing the end of this book of Hebrews. Here we are in the middle of the twelfth chapter and there are just the thirteen chapters. And you know that doesn't mean that it's going to be unlucky for you to read the book of Hebrews because there are thirteen chapters in it, not at all. I don't think it is going to lucky either because actually, when you get down to it, there isn't any such thing as luck. That's just another superstition.

You know a lot of people think that if you read the Bible that's a sign of ignorance, a sign of superstition. And those same people go around believing that thirteen is an unlucky number. Those same people will believe if you pick up a horseshoe it's good luck – or a four leaf clover. Those same people will be absolutely afraid to walk under a ladder. Yeah, they believe if they drop a mirror and smash it, they're going to have seven years bad luck.

Now who's going to work that out for you? Who's going to bring all that bad luck? Is there some power, some force, is there some automatic law? And who set such a law in force and effect? Who's going to take any notice of it if you found a four leaf clover and see that it brings something good and make things break out for you? There would have to be some power, some force, some person, someone with power or something to bring it about.

Is there a law in effect? If so, who created that law? Then you must believe in a God that created a law, but what kind of a God would you be believing in anyway? You know it's about time some of us do sort of come down to earth and have a little horse sense, because you'll find a lot of it in the Bible, if you just understand the Bible.

We Are Incomplete (PLAY FROM 06:29)

Now in this twelfth chapter we had come to the place where it was showing the one thing, perhaps more than anything else, that can cause you to fail of the grace of God. Now we were put here my friends, to become something very, very important and very wonderful. Most of you have no conception. Most of you have no conception of what salvation means. You were put here on this earth for a wonderful and a great purpose.

It isn't the purpose of this program to tell you just what it is (I mean this particular broadcast just now) although it is the purpose of this program to tell you and we quite often do. And I mention that so often about why were you born! A good many of my regular listeners know that I mention that quite frequently and tell you just what it is. We were made mortal but we were made incomplete and we were made to need the Spirit of God.

And you are not really all there, you are not complete as long as you are a mere physical being, until you receive what you were not born with but what you were made to need. You were born to need it and without it you are incomplete, and that is the Spirit of God. And we are made so we can receive the Spirit of God, but there are terms and conditions. The Spirit of God comes only if and after you really surrender to God, to His government, to His authority and to His rule over you.

And that's a voluntary matter because God has made us free moral agents and God has given you a mind. Now it's a carnal mind, it's a material mind. It's the functioning of a physical brain but there's more than just brain, more than just animal brain. Animals have brains but they don't have minds like we do. There is a difference and whether you want to think that that difference is spiritual or whatever it is, man is made in the image of God and animals are not. And man has some of the mind of God, but only to a limited degree.

We, though, can think and plan and design and make things and carry out our plans. We have volition, we can decide. We have the things of character and can manifest them, such as love and hate and anger or patience and gentleness and kindness and mercy and things of character that are completely beyond animals altogether. The things that God has, and yet our minds are so finite and they are so fallible and so incomplete and they are so limited because our fund of knowledge is limited.

Now if you make a wise decision you must make it on knowledge and our fund of knowledge is acquired only through the five senses, what we can see or taste or smell or hear or feel. And you are a material being and you're limited to just those things. Well you can't see spiritual things. You don't hear or taste or smell spiritual principles and your mind cannot receive the knowledge of them unless God reveals it.

Made To Become Like God (PLAY FROM 09:41)

And God is a Spirit and God has set spiritual laws in motion that regulate your happiness. And yet you don't know why you are not happy because you don't understand those things. They are not visible, you don't see them, you can't feel them and you can't take hold of them, not at all. But they are there and they affect you. You can't see wind but you can feel that and you can see what it does and you can see the result of these spiritual things even though you don't understand them.

You can't see gravity but you know it's there. It's there pulling everything right towards the earth, attracting everything to the earth. The law of gravity is there whether you see it or not. And so we need the Spirit of God and we were made, my friends, to become like God. And when God adds His Spirit now, that's only an impregnation, that's only a begettal. And we were made so that we can be BORN of God. We've been born of the human race. We've been born as humans.

Jesus Christ said, "That which is born of the flesh is flesh" (John 3:6), but He said we can "be born again" (John 3:3). And this time born of the Spirit, and God is that Spirit of whom we are born. We can be born of God and become the very CHILDREN of God. Then we'd receive the nature of God. We receive the character of God. We receive the perfection of God, and then our minds will come to have a knowledge of God, knowledge we don't even possess now. Then we'll be given a wisdom that we don't even have now.

Why we are only the beginning, just the beginning of what we can be and we were put here to become something tremendously great. You have no conception of it. That's what you were put on this earth for, but it's something we have to get busy with and work on. You have to make a start. And when you are first converted and receive the grace of God, unmerited pardon, a free gift that you don't deserve, which is the forgiveness of all your past transgressions of God's law – because God allows you to transgress, He doesn't make you obey Him. He's commanded you to but He doesn't enforce that command, He just lets the law collect the penalty.

And so you can refuse to obey God, but you'll pay the penalty if you do. But listen, if you do repent in time of that and change your mind in time, He sent Jesus Christ to pay the penalty in your stead and then you won't have to pay it after all. And you can be forgiven and you can be justified of your past guilt. You can be reconciled to God. And when you are reconciled to God, then by faith in Jesus Christ, and by your believing once you have surrendered and repented, you can receive the gift of God's Holy Spirit.

We Can Worship God in vain (PLAY FROM 12:32)

Then you come under His grace. But grace is something also that you can lose. Just like a baby can be begotten, but also it can die and there can be a miscarriage. And we can be begotten, conceived as the very children of God until we are, literally, the children of God now because His Spirit has come inside of us; Because our minds have become illuminated by the very Spirit of God and His nature has come into us. Of course the human nature is still there too, struggling against the spiritual nature, but your mind is the arbiter of it all and you can still make your own decisions.

But my friends, still we can lose all of that, and so we have been seeing here the past several broadcasts in this daily series, "looking diligently" here in verse fifteen (Hebrews 12:15). We are told to "Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord" (Hebrews 12:14). And He's going to be invisible to your eyes otherwise. However, all eyes are going to see Him but in the manner that it means here, to see Him here, it means to see Him by being made immortal and by being converted and changed from human to divine. In other words from mortal to immortal.

"Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God." (Hebrews 12:15)

And so you can fail of the grace of God and I've given you plenty of other scriptures that show how that can be done too. Jesus Christ said that a lot of people worship Him in vain. You can accept Christ. You can receive Christ, as you say. You can profess Christ. You can worship Jesus Christ and still not be saved at all. You can do it all in vain, Jesus said so in the seventh chapter of Mark. It says so right here. It says so in many places in your New Testament.

"Lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled." (Hebrews 12:15)

That, my friends, is one of the greatest things that is causing more to fall than anything else. You just become disgusted or angry, resentful, and you let it make you bitter. You let it make you sour and you're all embittered. You begin to shrivel up within your soul. Oh that's not good. Well we've had a lot to say about that. Then it goes on;

"Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for [a] morsel of meat sold his birthright." (Hebrews 12:16)

And you can sell off your birthright into the kingdom of God for, yes, for a morsel of food too, or if it's the wrong kind, under the wrong temptation with the wrong people, or the wrong place or the wrong thing, by committing sin in something that is not right.

"For ye know how that afterward, when he [that's Esau] would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place [for] repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears." (Hebrews 12:17)

Repentance Brings You Back (PLAY FROM 15:26)

But it was too late and it can become too late for you. Now don't misunderstand me because maybe you have, well, to use the language that some people use in religious language, they talk about backsliders, and you may think you have backslidden, or in other words, you've sort of neglected some of these things a long time and you think it's too late. It isn't necessarily, don't misunderstand that. But it can be, so you better take warning.

And if you are in any way worried about it now, it's not too late, I can tell you that. If you're concerned in any manner about it, it's not too late. When it's too late you won't ever be concerned any further. Now just let me put it that way and if you are in any way worried, you put that worry away because the very fact that you are and that you are concerned, means it's not too late. You can repent and you can come back.

But there comes a time when you've gone PAST repentance and you never will, and you won't care when you get to that place. Because, now notice this eighteenth verse n the twelfth chapter of Hebrews:

"[Because you] are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest." (Hebrews 12:18)

He's speaking there of the way the children of Israel came to Mount Sinai back there in the time of Moses. That was a physical mountain that they could reach out and touch, and so on. You haven't come to some mountain like that that is a physical thing like the children of Israel.

In other words, we are in the New Testament time when WE have the Holy Spirit. They were in the Old Testament time when they had only material and physical things. But WE now have the SPIRITUAL things that could not come until Jesus Christ had come and had DIED for the sins of the world and had been resurrected and ascended to heaven to send the Holy Spirit for us. So, you are not come unto the mount that can be touched, or a physical mountain like they did in Moses' time. And now verse nineteen:

"And [to] the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words [such as they had at that time back there]; which voice they that heard intreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more [they heard the very voice of God in thunders and lightnings out of Mount Sinai back there]: (For [in parenthesis here, for] they could not endure that which was commanded, And if so much as a beast touch the mountain, it shall be stoned, or thrust through with a dart: And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake)." (Hebrews 12:19-21).

All of that just thrown in showing how the people were struck with terror, and that was only physical signs back there. Now in Moses' day God manifested Himself to those people, my friends, in a physical manner. And by physical signs and by thunderings and by lightnings and by a voice that was a voice like thunder and the people were frightened. And even Moses was frightened and Moses had to stand between the people and God because they were so frightened.

So they were a physical people, they didn't have the Spirit of God. It was a physical congregation, or church - congregation means church. So God had to deal with them physically. He manifested Himself to them with physical manifestation - the things that could be seen, the things that could be heard, things that could be touched, and so on.

Faith And Belief (PLAY FROM 18:49)

But my friends, we, if we are converted and have the Spirit of God. We then are to become spiritual and God deals with us in a SPIRITUAL sense, not by feel or by sight. Notice for instance, back to John, the twentieth chapter of John and the twenty-ninth verse. John 20:29.

"Jesus [said to] ...Thomas, because thou hast seen me..." (John 20:29). This was this doubting Thomas you know, after the resurrection of Christ. Well Thomas wouldn't believe unless he could see or feel or something. He didn't have any faith. He had to see, he had to feel, he had to smell or taste or something that was physical before he would believe.

"Then [Jesus said to] Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. [Then] Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God." (John 20:27-28)

Now he finally believed when he had the physical evidence but he didn't have any faith. No, he wanted to see it, he wanted to feel it, he wanted to have physical evidence.

"[Then] Jesus [said to] him, Thomas, because thou hast SEEN me, thou hast believed [And he had felt Jesus with his finger. He believed, he had physical evidence. Listen now]: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed." (John 20:29)

Blessed are they that have NOT seen, and yet have believed. You have not seen Christ, have you? You have not seen Christ. Blessed are you if you believe not having seen. Now there's a reason, my friends. I'm going to talk on that some of these times. There is a reason why God hides Himself. There is a reason why God does not appear to us physically. We always want the physical evidence. Salvation is a spiritual thing and you have to receive it on faith. It wouldn't mean much otherwise. And that's one of the reasons that God hides and lets you take Him on faith and not in any other way.

Now notice, we are not come to something physical like that. God manifested Himself physically. Jesus said we should come by faith, so, verse 22: " are come unto [the] mount Sion..." (Hebrews 12:22). Not Mount Sinai but Mount Sion. You know what Mount Sion is? That always represents the church, the spiritual church, not flesh born Israel or Judah, not the Jewish nation. Not the Israelitish people as a nation, but the church that has the Spirit of God and it includes Christ who is the Head of that church and is a part of it and the very Head of it. " are come unto mount Sion."

The Church Is A Spiritual Organism (PLAY FROM 21:52)

Now this may be a sort of a figurative type of speech, or allegorical, but I think you can understand it, it is very plain too. They came to a literal mountain back there, we're come to the so-called spiritual mountain, and always in the Bible, Mount Zion represents the church. And those who have the Spirit of God - now I don't mean when I say 'the church,' I don't mean all the sects and denominations with their physical buildings and the physical people that you see visibly in the prominent street corners of cities all over the United States and even in foreign cities with their great cathedrals.

I'm not talking about organizations, religious organizations of men. I am talking about the spiritual Church of God that composes all of those that really have and are led by the Spirit of God. The true Church of God is made up of those who have and are led by the Spirit of God.

"If [you] have not the Spirit of Christ, [you] are none of his" (Romans 8:9). You're not a Christian. I don't care how many religious organizations or denominations you belong to or whether you're very active in one. Romans the eighth chapter and the ninth verse says that "if you have not the Spirit of Christ, you are none of his" (Romans 8:9), and it is those who: "...are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God" (Romans 8:14). And those that are the begotten sons of God constitute the church.

It is the literal body of Christ. But it's that body, that collective body of human bodies collectively, in which and through which, the Spirit of God is moving and functioning and performing the WORK of God. And there's a great commission that is to be carried out. And that body of people, wherever it is, is carrying on the WORK of God, the commission of God and is carrying the gospel of Christ.

I don't mean a gospel of men about Christ, not just teaching about Christ, but the message of Christ, the message that God sent BY Jesus Christ which has been hidden for 1900 years. It will be proclaiming that message to all the world as a witness today because your Bible says so, because Christ Himself says it should do that. And it is going around the world today my friends. Prophecy is being fulfilled this very instant in your ears if you can understand and comprehend.

The Heavenly Jerusalem (PLAY FROM 24:17)

Now, IF you are - "you", when it says "ye" - "you" or "ye" in New Testament language means Christians; those that are in the true church, those who have been converted, who are being led by the Spirit of God, and God gives His Holy Spirit only to them who obey Him. Listen:

You then, that's who he is talking to: "...are come unto [the] mount Sion, and unto the city of the LIVING God [now it's a city that he speaks of, the city of the living God], the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels." (Hebrews 12:22)

Well let's just pause a minute, the heavenly Jerusalem, you find it over here in the twenty-first chapter of Revelation where John says;

"I saw a new heaven and a new earth [and so on], And [then] I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband." (Revelation 21:1-2)

Now that doesn't mean there are people in heaven. Jesus Christ Himself said that no man had ascended up to heaven but He that came down from heaven, even He Himself (John 3:13). And that was hundreds of years after Elijah was caught up in a whirlwind into heaven and after God had taken Enoch and translated him that he should not see death.

Did they go to heaven? Jesus plainly said they did not go to heaven. Now there's some mix up some place and there's no contradiction in your Bible. Jesus said no man had ascended up to heaven but He said that they that are in their graves, that's where they are, the "they" that is conscious are in their graves and they will hear His voice and come forth. That's at the time of the resurrection and that's yet in the future and has not even happened even yet (John 5:28,29).

Now our citizenship is reserved for us in heaven and it comes down and the holy city, new Jerusalem will come down from God out of heaven. Now in another place you find that Jerusalem above, and that's the holy city, new Jerusalem, is the mother of us all (Galatians 4:26). In other words it is the church. And you find that the new Jerusalem is the church. Well I think that's described here in the twenty-first chapter of Revelation, the {1} ninth verse. He said;

"Come hither and I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb's wife." (Revelation 21:9)

Now we know the bride, the Lamb's wife is the church and he showed him the heavenly Jerusalem. So it is mount Zion, which is the church, it's the mother of us all. And as the mother my friends, the expectant mother, in her body must nourish and feed on physical nourishment, the unborn baby. So the church feeds those in it with the spiritual food. And God has set ministers for that purpose in His church. Well I'm going to have to break off there. Oh we've just come to the interesting place here. This heavenly Jerusalem that we're come to that means eternal life for all of us.


{1} Mr Armstrong said "tenth" verse here but quoted from the ninth.