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The Main Thing is Jesus

Why are you a Christian? What is the main goal of Christianity? I think that most Christians would answer this question in one of two ways: to get to heaven, or to have eternal life.

Paul tells us (Rom. 5:21) that the power sin has over us, is the power of death. We all have an innate desire to live and to avoid death. Heaven represents the ultimate expression of that desire.

Since we were little children, we have had heaven dangled in front of us like a carrot stick. In heaven, we will live in mansions where the streets are paved with gold; there will be no sickness or death; we can play with lions and lambs; we will be able to travel at the speed of thought and fly like angels; we will be able to visit other worlds and be able to spend time with family and friends without ever having to worry about time running out.

All that certainly sounds wonderful. But is getting to heaven and having eternal life the main goal? We have just gotten through one of the most intense, heated, and divisive elections our country has ever seen. And although we live in arguably the best country in the world, lots of people threatened to leave the USA and move to Canada or some other country if Donald Trump won the presidency. Why? Because in their mind, living in America means nothing if they can't stand the person in charge and the influence they would have over our country.
The point is that heaven and eternal life mean nothing if you don't like the one in charge. As Adventists, we don't believe in the existence of an eternal hell. But what would you call it if you entered into eternal life under the rule of someone you couldn't stand? Wouldn't that be likened to eternal hell? In Steps to Christ (p. 17,18), Ellen White states that if God were to save sinners, heaven would be a place of torture to them.

If getting to heaven is the all important goal of being a Christian, then you can start to see how everything about Christianity would revolve around the preoccupation of how to get to heaven and whether you've achieved it or not. However, when we look at the bible and the testimony of Jesus, we find something else. The main goal isn't getting to heaven or eternal life.

What is the main goal of marriage? Is it merely to get married? Marriage comes with a lot of benefits like tax breaks, companionship, increased financial stability through dual incomes, the ability to raise a family, and so on and so forth. But really, isn't the most important thing about marriage, the person you marry? Solomon laments over the misery of marrying the wrong person (Prov 21:19; Prov. 27:15-16; Prov. 25:24; Prov. 12:4).

Let's look at this from God's perspective. What is the most important thing to God? More than anything else, it’s a relationship that God seeks. Once upon a time, there was peace, joy, and trusting relationships in God's family. But after the fall of Lucifer and the start of the great controversy, the relationship that God desires with His family has been in need of repair. Therefore, the thing that God has been working on since the fall of Lucifer, has been reconciliation with his family. The plan of salvation is not just about reconciliation between God and humanity. It is about reconciliation with the entire universal family (Col. 1:19,20).

So how does God accomplish this reconciliation? Through revelation. Satan has been deceiving the world and the universe into believing that God is to be feared and that He is "severe and unforgiving. Satan led men to perceive God, as a being whose chief attribute is stern justice—one who is a severe judge, a harsh, exacting creditor. He painted the Creator as a being who is watching with disapproving eyes to discern the errors and mistakes of men, that He may visit judgments upon them.

It was to remove this dark shadow, by revealing to the world the infinite love of God, that Jesus came to live among men." (Steps to Christ p. 10,11) It is only by revealing the truth about God, that God has a chance to set the record straight and to draw all back to Himself (John 12:32).

The ultimate goal of Christianity is not heaven or eternal life. The ultimate goal is a relationship with God, through the person of Jesus Christ. The Bible refers to the second coming of Jesus as a wedding and all of us as His bride (Rev. 19:7,9; 2 Corn 11:2; Isa. 62:5). Heaven and eternal life are merely fruits of our relationship with Jesus. Make no mistake about it—the main goal is relationship with Jesus.

In his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey said, "The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing." Seek to know Him and decide whether this is someone you want a relationship with. And if so, pursue Him with all of your heart. There are no clear-cut instructions on how to go about having a relationship with Jesus. Relationships are complicated and messy so don't expect your relationship with Jesus to be any different. But once you've decided that He is someone you want a relationship with, pursue that relationship with reckless abandon. If you fall into the trap of pursuing a relationship with Him just so that you can get into heaven and have eternal life, you've fallen back into the trap of not keeping the main thing the main thing.

The main thing is Jesus.

Jimmy Kim was the youth pastor at Atlanta Korean SDA Church from 2001-2011 and is currently the youth pastor at Marietta Korean SDA church since 2011. He is serving as Chair of Administration for the East Coast Korean Campmeeting English Division since 2011 and his passion is youth ministry. He is also a licensed chiropractor and is the owner/general manager of a real estate investment company.


Comments

Great quote. And great article! Thanks Pastor Jimmy!

Roy Kim (#1) – December 02, 2016

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