|Posted on January 22, 2020 at 12:00 AM|
If we are going to strive for the “prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (what I have identified simply as being Christ), we are going to have to do more than just express the character of Christ. We are going to engage in and do the very “works of Christ”. To encourage his worried disciples Jesus promised they would be doing his works, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.” (John 14:12). He had shocked them with the announcement that he was leaving them here to love others like he had done and promised they would do “greater works than these” because he was going to the Father. Those works would only be greater in the sense their ministry would be longer than his as he was going back to the Father, but they would continue doing his works for the rest of their lives.
It is our privilege in fulfilling our own high calling of God in Christ Jesus to do the works he did while living in this world. We, too, are to seek that which is lost and to minister to their needs. Like Jesus we are to spiritually open the eyes of the blind, strengthen the paralyzed, cleanse the leper, feed the multitudes, raise the dead, etc. While we may not actually do the miraculous feats, he performed as signs from God, our ministry will accomplish the same spiritual purpose as his in loving others. This is all part of “being Christ” in this world.
Being Christ by doing his works needs to be defined in relational terms of grace as opposed to the religious terms of performances and job descriptions. First, they are words and actions that are expressions of the love of Christ in our relationships. Rather than simply record a list of rituals and religious activities to be performed, the Bible defines our ministries in terms of relationships. In every book or letter of the New Testament there is at least one major passage devoted to describing the way God wants us to relate to one another. In addition to loving one another, we are called on to forbear one another, in honor prefer one another, forgive one another, exhort one another, be kind to one another, encourage one another, speak the truth with one another, weep and rejoice with one another, warn one another, comfort one another, pray for one another, confess our faults to one another, support one another, as well as a host of others. Clearly, God is concerned about how we relate to one another! It is in our relationships that we are going to be doing the works of Jesus and, therefore, “being Christ to others”.
It is comforting to know that God has ordained these good works for us to do just as Jesus promised all who believe on him would do his works. We do not have to worry about identifying them or trying to do them on our own. We are God’s “workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God had before ordained that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2: 10). As always, our responsibility as Christians comes down to one thing and one thing only…believe! Trust what he says is true about us being Christ to others and trust the indwelling Spirit of Christ guiding us daily to do the good works he has planned for us to do.