As I finished up my last article, which was about the absolute greatest attribute of God which is that He is Holy and that He has also called Christians to be holy (set-apart/sanctified), I started thinking about all the other attributes, qualities, and values that Christians are to possess and demonstrate along with the things that define us. I felt like I opened up a can of alphabet soup when I looked at everything before me.
God has called us to possess the Fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control) as outlined in Galatians 5:22 that the Holy Spirit bestows for us to be known by (Matthew 7:15-20). Then there are the things all Christians should demonstrate such as Integrity, Discernment, Trustworthiness, Truthfulness, Forgiveness, Humility, Compassion, Generosity, Boldness, Approachability, Confidence, Courage, Respect, Fear of God, etc. The bar is raised for Christian Leaders to set an example by also being Blameless, Vigilant, Sober, Of Good Behavior, Given to Hospitality, Apt To Teach, Able to Raise Others Up To Teach, Above Reproach, Not Quarrelsome, Not Violent, Not a Lover Of Money, Not Greedy For Dishonest Gain, Not Given To Too Much Wine, and Able To Manage Their Family Well With Dignity. All Christians, whether in leadership or not, are to be obedient where obedience is due and we are to resist evil and hate sin.
Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. (Philippians 4:8 NLT)
Then there is the great ‘Love’ chapter (1 Corinthians 13), the great ‘Faith’ chapter (Hebrews 11), and the great ‘Works’ chapter (James 2).
We know that it is by ‘Faith’ that we are saved. 1 John 5:4 says,”And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.” So why is it said that ‘Love’ is the greatest of all?
Three things will last forever — faith, hope, and love — and the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:13 NLT)
Could it be that even though ‘Faith’ is what gives us victory in this life, it is really all about God’s ‘Love’ and that it is God‘s ‘Love’ that gives us the ability to help others to have the victory in this life and it is what carries us all on into eternity?
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16 NKJV)
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8 NKJV)
He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:8-10 NKJV)
Where does ‘Hope’ come in? Biblical ‘Hope’ is a reality and not a feeling. Even though we do not see with our eyes, we see in our spirit just as if it is there. Hope is the catalyst behind the resin of faith:
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1 NKJV)
Just think, once we are ushered into eternity, we will no longer have to strive against the enemy to exhibit the traits of a Christian, living everyday life with its ups and downs and its tears and sorrows. We will be sealed in ‘Faith’, ‘Hope’, and most importantly ‘Love’. We will be living with the ‘Prince of Peace’ in the presence of a ‘Holy God’ forever and ever! Amen!
And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him. They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads. There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever. (Revelation 22:3-5 NKJV)
So where does ‘Works’ come into the equation, since we know that we are saved by grace through faith and not of works? Simply put, works must be the visible results of our faith:
Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. (James 2:21-22, 26 NKJV)
I don’t want to forget to mention the first eight chapters of Romans that are the great ‘Righteousness’ and ‘Justification’ chapters. Paul goes to great extent to explain how the blood of Jesus makes us ‘Righteous and ‘Justified’ before the Father.
Then there is the interesting words of Jesus of how we are to deal with the things of this world even though we are not of this world:
“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” (Matthew 10:16 NKJV)
Probably my favorite and reassuring verse of the Bible that describes our ability to be steadfast Christians is:
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV)
I want to finish with two things. First, we always need to examine our self. Our faith must be unshakable and our hearts must be pure:
Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? — unless indeed you fail to meet the test! (2 Corinthians 13:5 ESV)
Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. (James 4:8 ESV)
Second, in order to be victorious as Christians in this life, the best advice I have found is in this short article by David Wilkerson: