Paul has an unchanging message no matter who he is writing or talking to – integrity in Christ. He exhorts everyone to live worthy of their calling; live worthy of the gospel. What does ‘worthy’ mean? The root word – worth – means value. The value we place on the gospel of Christ; on Jesus work on our behalf; and, on His calling on our lives will be reflected in our walk. It is not our worth – it is the value we place on the work of Christ. If we value that more than anything there is, our life will reflect that.
“We rejoice in saying with complete honesty and a clear conscience that God has empowered us to conduct ourselves in a holy manner and with no hidden agenda. God’s marvelous grace enables us to minister to everyone with pure motives, not in the clever wisdom of the world. This is especially true in all of our dealings with you.” 2 Corinthians 1:12 TPT
By Grace Alone
Here in 2 Corinthians Paul shows how his life and honesty, his clear conscience and conduct, are all connected. The value Paul has placed on the work of Christ in his life is obvious in each of his letters. Paul took no credit. It was God’s marvelous grace that allowed him to minister with pure motives. He was calling God’s people to live upward! The only way we can do that is in Christ. With Him, we can live upward. Jesus is our highest value and we are constantly moving upward toward Him. He lives in us and then the Holy Spirit overflows out of us into the world around us. Jesus lived upward – toward His greatest value – to please the Father.
We Can Live Upward
Paul isn’t exhorting us to start working ourselves to death trying to be worthy. We will never be worthy in and of ourselves. Everything, all, is Him! Then, because He has enabled us and given us everything we need we can live in the way He is asking us to.
“By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence.” 2 Peter 1:3 TPT
Paul is asking us to make an effort.
Paul was living a life worthy of the gospel.
“Whatever happens, keep living your lives based on the reality of the gospel of Christ, which reveals him to others. Then when I come to see you, or hear good reports of you, I’ll know that you stand united in one Spirit and one passion—celebrating together as conquerors in the faith of the gospel.” Philippians 1:27 TPT
“Above all, you must live as citizens of heaven, conducting yourselves in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ. Then, whether I come and see you again or only hear about you, I will know that you are standing together with one spirit and one purpose, fighting together for the faith, which is the Good News.” Philippians 1:27 NLTLive as citizens of heaven. Live your lives based on the realities of the gospel of Christ. This is Paul’s unchanging message. 'Conduct yourself' means to make an effort. Keep living your lives based on the reality of the Gospel. You… Click To Tweet
This is what it looks like:
“I was circumcised when I was eight days old. I am a pure-blooded citizen of Israel and a member of the tribe of Benjamin—a real Hebrew if there ever was one! I was a member of the Pharisees, who demand the strictest obedience to the Jewish law. I was so zealous that I harshly persecuted the church. And as for righteousness, I obeyed the law without fault.
I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ.
For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith. I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead!”
Philippians 3:5-11 TPT
Then he goes on:
“I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” Philippians 3:12-14 TPT
Everything Points Toward the Infinite Value of Knowing Christ
When Paul rebukes the Corinthians, this is what he has in mind for them. When Paul writes to the Philippians, exhorting them to change, this is what he has in mind for them. In everything he wrote and said, this was what he had in mind for everyone. It is Paul and God’s desire that everything in this life is worthless in comparison to the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus.
When Paul tells us and the Corinthians why he has a clear conscience, this is the basis of his statement, As he challenges us and the Corinthians to conduct ourselves in manner worthy of the gospel, this is the basis of his statement. There are no works. There is just Jesus. Nothing else matters. Live according to the value you place on Him. It won’t be hard since you will do it because of love. He will help you because of love. Your conscience will be clear and your heart will be pure. Will you be perfect? Yes and no. We are perfect in Christ and imperfect in our flesh.
Stop Trying to Be Good Enough
As we co-operate with the Holy Spirit in the renewing of our mind and conscience, we are doing so because of love. We want to be like Him, to know Him, to be with Him, to serve Him. We want what He wants for us and renewed minds are one of those things. He wants us to be relieved of the heavy burden of trying to be good enough. We can’t be but we are! So relax and enjoy it. The effort we put forth to walk worthy of His calling is not carrying the weight of the world toward some invisible finishing line. It is a journey of love with a heavenly destination and our effort is based on hope and the assurance of His love for us.
Why do you think the Bible contains stories of so many flawed people? From beginning to end, they are all there with their lives exposed for thousands of years. From the first family with their murderous son to the highly flawed disciples and first Christians, God demonstrates repeatedly that our relationship with Him never has been and never will be based on our perfection or worthiness. So, stop trying to earn God’s love. All the Bible Studies, books, and messages exhorting us forward are simply meant to encourage us to take advantage of living fully in God’s love. We get to ‘use’ His love. It covers our sin, gives us hope, gives us strength, imparts worth and value to us, makes us special in God’s eyes. All we have to do is respond in love.
Put on Christ
I am not trying to minimize the fact that we are to make sacrifices, repent, suffer hardships or any of the difficult realities of life. What I am trying to help us see is that WE CAN DO THIS! We can throw off guilt, worthlessness, inadequacy and all the other lies we believe. We can put on Christ Jesus.
“Instead fully immerse yourselves into the Lord Jesus, the Anointed One, and don’t waste even a moment’s thought on your former identity to awaken its selfish desires.” Romans 13:14 TPT
“Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.” Romans 13:14 NIV
Jesus’ prayer in John 17 is incredibly beautiful and I encourage you to read all of it.
Here is one excerpt:
“But now I am returning to you so Father, I pray that they will experience and enter into my joyous delight in you so that it is fulfilled in them and overflows. I have given them your message and that is why the unbelieving world hates them. For their allegiance is no longer to this world because I am not of this world. I am not asking that you remove them from the world, but I ask that you guard their hearts from evil, For they no longer belong to this world any more than I do. “
Your Word is truth! So make them holy by the truth. I have commissioned them to represent me just as you commissioned me to represent you. And now I dedicate myself to them as a holy sacrifice so that they will live as fully dedicated to God and be made holy by your truth.” John 17:13-19 TPT
Living Life Worthy of the Gospel
Dear reader, please be encouraged. You are the one Jesus is praying for! This is what He wants for you. The value He placed on us was so high that He was willing to die. He is our highest value and we die to ourselves to live for Him! This is living a life worthy of the gospel of Jesus.
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**We use verses from different Bible translations.
To see more information about the copyright for each one, please visit our Scripture Citations.
Here are links to each blog in the series:
Day 1 – 24 Day Challenge – Renewing Your Mind and Conscience
Day 2 – Living By the Golden Rule
Day 3 – Being Falsely Accused
Day 4 – A Personal Testimony of Salvation
Day 5 – Knowing Right From Wrong
Day 6 – What is the Power of the Holy Spirit?
Day 7 – Submitting to Authority
Day 8 – What is a Weak Conscience?