Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
Our Epistle reading, from Ephesians 4, tells us to live a life worthy of the calling we have in Christ. This is a tremendous demand, easily misunderstood. What are we commanded here? After all, Christ, God the Son, is the all-powerful creator, sustainer, and redeemer of all heaven and earth. We might easily be tempted to seek some sort of royal honor, a dictatorial power, a social excellence which exceeds all our normal ambitions. Surely that would be a life worthy of Christ.
Many in our modern Western world would reject this out of hand. Those who see Christianity as an oppressor would resist, kicking and screaming. After all, who died and made you God?
That’s a legitimate concern. Maybe we need to understand what Paul meant when he said Christians should live a life worthy of our calling. He goes on to describe a Christ who ended captivity, who gave gracious gifts to people, who has made all one in him, who brings all who trust in him into unity in the fullness of the image of Christ. In short, Jesus changes his people into his image of gracious love and compassion. When we live a life worthy of that calling, we prefer others above ourselves. When we live a life worthy of that calling, we work diligently to rescue others from the sin that destroys them. When we live a life worthy of that calling, we build one another up in the truth of God.
In short, the Christian uses the power of God not for oppression, but for good, to care for those who are suffering in this fallen world. It isn’t “anything goes.” It’s “do good because Jesus has shown you good.”
What about those times when we fail? We don’t really live in a way that is worthy to be called after Christ the savior? We remember that he is also the God of all mercy and forgiveness. We throw ourselves upon his mercy and receive his grace. He has shown us his good pleasure, which is to redeem the world.
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