(Friends: this is actually a repeat from last year that addresses the issue we've considered the last few days, with the added element of how it relates to God's working in our own hearts and growth in His likeness. Thanks, Glen.)
"Character, Capability, Conduct"
In God, character always precedes and motivates His capabilities and conduct. Who He is guides and empowers what He does. Through His redeeming grace in the Lord Jesus Christ, He also works in us to establish the same order of being and doing.
"All His works are done in truth… The Lord is righteous in all His ways, and holy in all His works… Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" (Psalm 33:4; 145:17; Genesis 18:25).
"Now are ye light in the Lord. Walk as children of light" (Ephesians 5:8).
We do well to pause for a moment and offer praise and thanksgiving that our Lord always acts in accordance with who He is. He never behaves capriciously, arbitrarily, or in any manner that does not perfectly align with His nature of loving goodness, righteousness, and holiness. Were this not the case, the thought of an all-powerful deity could only elicit sheer terror and dread. If God's power served as His first characteristic, He might well exercise His capacity to wreak eternal havoc upon the creation that rebelled against Him. Consider the cross of the Lord Jesus, whereupon our Savior declared that legions of angels were ready to heed His call to end the suffering (Matthew 26:53). Instead, the primacy of God's character led the Savior to endure the entirety of the cross in order to fulfill the Divine promise and purpose of redemption. Thus, the Lord Jesus stayed His prayer, the Father stayed His hand, and the angels stayed in Heaven rather than execute the power of God to destroy His Son's cruel torturers. Yes, in our Lord, character guides and empowers capability.
The same order must increasingly characterize God's trusting children in Christ. We must act, as led and empowered by the Holy Spirit, in accordance with who we are in Christ. Being must motivate and enable doing. Holiness involves the faithful manifestation in and through us of our Christ-inhabited spiritual essence. Our Father calls us to be who and what we are, just as He always acts in accordance with who He is. "It is written, Be ye holy, for I am holy" (I Peter 1:16). Thus, we must know our character, as birthed in us through Christ. We must also respond by thinking, speaking, acting, and relating accordingly: "Put ye on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness" (Ephesians 4:24). We must believe the Word of God in the face of anything that contradicts. We are not who we were before we believed. The Lord Jesus was tortured to death not only to forgive our sins, but also to forge our character in the furnace of His sorrows. Our blessed Lord made possible the newness of being we freely received when we believed. "If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature" (II Corinthians 5:17). Thereby He enables us to walk in accordance with His character, and with our character as formed by His living presence in us. Character. Capability. Conduct. This is the order of holiness in God, as perfectly fulfilled in His being, nature, and way. The same order exists in us, making possible a life lived for our Lord's glory and a walk more and more reflecting the truth of our being in Christ.
"If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit."
Weekly Memory Verse
"Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God, and every one that loveth is born of God and knoweth God."
(I John 4:7)