If you were to sum up the goal of the Bible in one sentence, how would you describe it? Could you describe it?

From the Garden of Eden in Genesis to the New City of Revelation, God desires to have personal communion with his people. The Bible begins with God’s presence as he walks in the cool of the day to meet with Adam and Eve (Gen. 3:7) and ends with God dwelling with his people forever (Rev. 21:3). The Bible is the true story of how God is overcoming the problem of our sin and rebellion so that he can commune with us. The presence of God appears powerfully in covenant ceremonies (Gen. 12-15), burning bushes (Exod. 3), mountaintop law-giving ceremonies (Exod. 19-24), his glory in the tabernacle (Exod. 40ff), the temple (2 Chron. 6), and culminating in the presence of Jesus, the God-man, who tabernacled among us (John 1:14).

The Bible makes it clear that one of the most devastating effects of sin was the loss of God’s presence. When the glory of the Lord departed the temple (Ezek. 101-11) and the people were in exile far from God and forced to sing the temple worship songs (Ps. 137), the people mourned.

The Bible makes it plain that the presence of the Lord is the strength of his people (Isa. 40:31). To dwell with God is David’s delight in Psalm 23 (And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever). The Bible makes it clear that God’s goal is that his people would glorify him by being in his presence forever.

Unfortunately, many people have disassociated the presence of God with heaven. Heaven is perceived to be this ethereal place that we live as disembodied spirits, floating around and living life as though we could be perfectly happy without God. Former pastor and author John Piper captured the problem of this kind of thinking in his book God is The Gospel:

“The critical question for our generation—and for every generation—is this: If you could have heaven, with no sickness, and with all the friends you ever had on earth, and all the food you ever liked, and all the leisure activities you ever enjoyed, and all the natural beauties you ever saw, all the physical pleasures you ever tasted, and no human conflict or any natural disasters, could you be satisfied with heaven, if Christ were not there?” [1]

If the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever, then there can be no enjoyment without his presence.

So whether it’s coming to worship on Sundays, opening your Bible during the week, sitting to pray, or seeking to live out your Christian life on a day-by-day basis, our aim ought to be the same as our Father’s: that I might dwell in his house and that I might gaze upon his beauty forever (Ps. 27:4)!

See you Sunday,

~ Pastor Andrew

[1] John Piper, God is the Gospel God Is the Gospel: Meditations on God’s Love as the Gift of Himself (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2005), p. 15.

Prepare your heart for Sunday by reading the passage and listening to the songs we’ll sing.