I wish to encourage you to live for the excellence of Christ. It’s an immutable fact that Yahweh is an excellent God, and the God of all excellence. For those who have put repentant faith in Jesus Christ as Lord, His (God’s) divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence (2 Peter 1:3). As Christians, we’ve not responded to some second grade or wishy washy calling. Ours is not a general invitation with multi-choice options as to the degree to which we may or may not respond. Ours is not some half-hearted, vague request that accidentally fell from the heavens, or that we dreamed up. No, we are called to the highest of Heaven’s divine aspirations, to live the very glory and excellence of our Great God and Saviour Jesus Christ (Titus 2:13).
The zenith of our Lord’s excellence is seen at the cross and in the gospel, bringing salvation into unbelieving sinners lives. At the very least, mankind was created for the purpose of manifesting the Image of God (Genesis 1:27), of which humanity has failed miserably at every level. God didn’t simply send an invitation to us, then sit back and wait for a response. No, He called (Like 5:32) us sinners, He implanted faith (Ephesians 2:8) within us so that we could believe in Christ’s substitutional death (1 Peter 2:24), He generated the necessary repentance within us (2 Timothy 2:25) so that we could turn from sin to Christ as Lord. Paul and Barnabas record that …as many as were appointed to eternal life believed (Acts 13:48). Our Saviours sovereign excellence is seen and experienced by we believers, who are the evidence that what God determines comes into being and for the primary purpose of us becoming the living manifestation and mouthpieces of His praise and glory. Salvation is all about God, not us. We are simply the blessed recipients of His gracious mercy. Surely, this is the greatest, the highest; the most excellent of reasons any human being could have for living in surrendered obedience to their creator.
Now, here’s the implication. You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light (1 Peter 2:9). The redeemed have been translated out of spiritual darkness to specifically become proclaimers of the infinite, multi-faceted (Ephesians 3:10) excellencies of God’s character and deeds. Paul, explains, …whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things (Philippians 4:8). We are to replace frivolous, juvenile, and foolish thinking (Romans 12:1), worldly thinking that is selfish and tends to revolve around fleshly pleasures and pursuits, with thinking that is directed by the values learned from God’s Word. We think of the activities of life with Christ centred values, looking for opportunities to live out His love, His truth with His grace in the strength of His Holy Spirit. We correct ourselves by exchanging habitual thoughts of self, sinful motives and desires, memories of sinful activities, sinful responses to others, with thoughts that arise from our reading of Scripture, thoughts of God, of Christ, of Heaven, of Calvary, of ambitious opportunities to serve our Saviour.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:10). Beloved, to live is Christ (Philippians 1:21). We worship purely for His pleasure, not ours. We grow through the metamorphosis of our beliefs for His glorification in the truth of His Word as it permeates our beliefs. We serve for the betterment of others. We fellowship for the encouragement and edification of fellow Saints. We evangelise the lost to witness God’s will being worked out in unsaved sinners, for His glory. We disciple the young in Christ to see Christ mature them in developing His holy character in them. So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31). Our experience during this walk is of little significance, but our Lord must be glorified with excellence!
Be encouraged today, to surrender every molecule of yourself to beholding the glory of the Lord, (to) being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:18). Find ways today, of sharing this wonderful privilege with others. And always speak well of the Saviour.
Together for Christ: Lincoln Forlong