What Counts? The End For Which Man Was Created

“God is the only comfort, He is also the supreme terror: the thing we most need and the thing we most want to hide from.” - C.S. Lewis (Mere Christianity)

According to the Westminster Shorter and Larger Catechisms, the chief and highest end of man is to "glorify God, and to enjoy him for ever."

John Calvin, the great reformer, wrote that man was not created for evangelism, but for worship. And John Piper rightly adds that evangelism exists because worship does not. Our God is a God of glory, and he demands nothing less than pure worship from his people. We were created for the glory and pleasure of God. We see this in the worship of God in heaven, where the elders fall down before God, crying, "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created (Revelations 4:11)."

We are called to give glory that is due unto God's name (1 Chronicles 16:29). Just as we ascribe due honor to a king or president, we have to render worship that is appropriate to the Creator of the universe. However, not everyone will be capable of, or willing, to worship God. As sinful man, all of our works and deeds are detestable in the eyes of God (Isaiah 64:6), and our hearts have turned aside (Romans 3:11). The only manner, in which we may offer worship acceptable to God, is through Jesus Christ. And it is through him, that we were bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:20). This ought to move us towards a greater degree of adoration of our God and his works of mercy and grace. We need to respond in gratitude and engage in both direct worship of God as well as worship in all spheres of our lives such as eating and drinking (1 Peter 4:11; 1 Corinthians 10:31).

Interestingly, while we are considering the worship of God in the context of Christians, the first statement of the Catechism has implications for everyone. The subject in the Catechism is not referring to some men, or a large majority of men. But it refers to all man, or mankind as a whole. All of mankind is called to glorify and worship God. This may seem strange, for how can non-Christians worship God?

In Philippians 2:10, it states that eventually, every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess, that Jesus Christ is Lord. It doesn't say some knee, or a large majority of tongues. But everyone will have to acknowledge the God who is. All men, regardless of where or who they are (Psalm 86:9). However, while all man will worship God, not all men will be able to enjoy this act of worship. For the non-Christian, the act of worship will be one of terror as C.S. Lewis rightly noted, for their worship will take place in hell. For the Christian, it will be one of comfort; the two acts of worshipping and enjoying God are inextricably linked. Isn't this amazing?

Our end is in the worship of God. This is the end to which God has called all of us. However, as a Christian are you able to find joy in such worship? Are you able to echo the Scriptures, where "happy is that people, whose God is the LORD” (Psalm 144:15), where there is "fullness of joy” (Psalm 16:11)?

by Mr Ho Zhi Wei