A More Excellent Way (The Longer Version)

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

I Corinthians 12:31: But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.

But covet earnestly the best gifts is the way that some people try to find the “so called” best gifts in the Bible. Yet, the Apostle Paul is literally saying the opposite; sure you can try your hardest (and covet earnestly) to get the best spiritual gifts, yet shew I unto you a more excellent way. Paul was writing to an entire church of believers in Corinth, saying that there was another way to conduct their lives, a better way to live than the way they were currently living, a more excellent way. This way is the way of love, to conduct our lives with charity as the following verses in chapter 13 then explain. It is to live in a more excellent way than any other way because living with the love of God in our hearts is the best way to enjoy life and experience happiness.

The basis for Paul explaining to the believers that there is a more excellent way goes back to verse 27–31 of I Corinthians chapter 12, which shows some of the gifts that the believers in the church were coveting, thus prompting Paul’s discourse.

I Corinthians 12:27–30:
-27: Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.
-28: And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.
-29: Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?
-30: Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?

This section of Scripture first states that we are the body of Christ and then that we are members in particular in that body. Each believer is unique within the body and each has a special place that is tailor-made for him or her with room to grow. As Proverbs 18:16 says, “A man’s gift maketh room for him, and bringeth him before great men.” It is this more excellent way of God’s love that allows room to grow and enjoy life as God intended for His children.

Then within this body, there are some ministries given by God in Christ Jesus, such as Apostles and Prophets and Teachers. Also, some believers in the body work miracles very well, such as ministering healing to others. As well, there are others in the body who are very diverse in the use of additional spiritual gifts and manifestations that have been supplied by God’s grace to help us walk with Him and with each other.

The verses above are not a shopping list from which we can pick and choose the ones we personally want to have; rather, God set some, i.e., God gives to His children what is needed at the appropriate time and in the proper measure to supply whatever would fit the spiritual need within the body of Christ. Paul is saying that when and where believers simply conduct their lives in love, they will then have tapped into the more excellent way as God supplies to His church (the body of Christ) the best and most needed gifts, which will be received effortlessly and enjoyed by all.

I Corinthians chapter 13 begins explaining some of the spiritual qualities of charity. The love of God (charity) is the more excellent way because it will bring the most needed and “best gifts” right to you at the appropriate time and in the right measure. The chapter unfolds to the believers the more excellent way with explanations of some of the greatness of God’s love applied, what it will accomplish when acted upon, and also what charity will not do. For instance “{charity} doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;” (verse 5). Chapter 13 of I Corinthians is a wonderful chapter for believers to read and reread over and again.

I Corinthians 13:6: {Charity} Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;

Iniquity means wrongdoing, or unrighteousness. In other words, let us say we see someone who wronged us in some way in the past now going through a hard time and we think, “That is just what he deserves!” This kind of rejoicing in or finding satisfaction with someone’s misfortune is where charity cannot and will not function because that kind of thinking does not emanate out of the love of God. This is because charity thinketh no evil.

“Rejoice” is spiritual joy repeated over and again! We will have and enjoy this continuous rejoicing when and where we have charity in our lives. When we look into the Scriptures, recognizing them as divine truth from God, it will cause our hearts to rejoice. When the truth begins to hold us up, then the love of God in our hearts will also begin to bubble over into rejoicing ― abundantly. I Corinthians 13:8 reads, “Charity never faileth” when active in one’s life. Now, how often will we fail when we have God’s love in our endeavors in life? Never!

How do Christians avoid being failures? Charity never faileth. When and where we have charity in our hearts, we will succeed. If charity could fail just once, then it would be worthless for it could let us down at a most important moment. However, and thankfully, charity never faileth.

Our loving, heavenly Father has given to His children a more excellent way to live, a more excellent way to follow, and a more excellent way to love. All that any believer can do is either walk into the abundance of God’s more excellent way and learn to be loving, or not. However, when you as a believer only try to walk with God in His love, you will assuredly fulfil your God-given talents and gifts as you continue rejoicing in the truth, for you will have tapped into a new spiritual love that will never fail you, for it is God’s more excellent way.

I Peter 4: 8–11 (The Amplified Bible):**
-8: Above all things have intense and unfailing love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins [forgives and disregards the offenses of others].
-9: Practice hospitality to one another (those of the household of faith). [Be hospitable, be a lover of strangers, with brotherly affection for the unknown guests, the foreigners, the poor, and all others who come your way who are of Christ’s body.] And [in each instance] do it ungrudgingly (cordially and graciously, without complaining but as representing Him).
-10: As each of you has received a gift (a particular spiritual talent, a gracious divine endowment), employ it for one another as [befits] good trustees of God’s many-sided grace [faithful stewards of the extremely diverse powers and gifts granted to Christians by unmerited favor].
-11: Whoever speaks, [let him do it as one who utters] oracles of God; whoever renders service, [let him do it] as with the strength which God furnishes abundantly, so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ (the Messiah). To Him be the glory and dominion forever and ever (through endless ages). Amen (so be it).

**Scripture taken from THE AMPLIFIED BIBLE.
The Amplified New Testament copyright (c) 1958, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation.
Used by permission.

The Alpha and Omega – The Beginning and the End, the First and the Last (The Longer Version)

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

Revelation 22:13:
I {Jesus Christ} am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.

The phrases Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last were well known to the people in the biblelands. Besides the obvious usage of alpha and omega as the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, they also have a dynamic representation in the Scriptures.

The following Alpha and Omega story was told by Bishop K. C. Pillai, DD (c. 1900–1970), who converted to the Christian faith from Hinduism in India. He had a wealth of practical understanding in so many customs of the biblelands. Dr Pillai opened up a new and fascinating field of study from the customs, cultures, and manners of the people in the biblical lands, having lived and learned them from his childhood. Dr Pillai taught and inspired many in the United States until his passing. (Three of his published works are cited at the end of this study.)

Bishop Pillai told the story of what the Alpha and Omega meant to the people of the first century as follows. “When a foreign nation was about to attack a certain region, they who were about to be assaulted would commission a messenger who would then run throughout the different towns and villages and herald the warning of the danger. This messenger would yell out: I am the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end, your first and your last warning that the enemy is coming, then he would run on to other villages and towns in the enemy’s path and repeat this warning.”

This was perhaps similar to Paul Revere’s ride when yelling out: The British are coming! The British are coming! The messenger was the only one who would come; there would be no other messengers to follow, and thus he was the first and the last. Then the people could either prepare for the imminent danger of attack on its way or reject their only chance to defend themselves.

In the Bible, the Alpha and Omega is in reference to Jesus Christ who brought the one and only salvation for all men and women. Jesus is the First and the Last, the Alpha and the Omega, our messenger traveling in prophecy throughout the Scriptures from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21, and thus he is the Beginning and the End. We can track God’s messenger, the “forerunner,” Jesus Christ, through the entire Word of God, for he is the Golden Thread. Jesus is spun into every fiber of prophecy in the tapestry of life, as he runs through and spans the ages of time in Scripture revealing him as man’s complete Savior.

Acts 4:12:
Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name {than Jesus Christ} under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

When Jesus had told the Apostle John that he was the Alpha and Omega in Revelation, Jesus was saying that he was the only hope of the ages, the only entrance into the everlasting graces of the Creator.

In the Gospels, Jesus preached about the end of the world, and the termination of life as it currently exists (Matthew 24:3ff). The Alpha and Omega heralds out that through him there is a harbor of refuge and a heavenly entrance, giving those who will believe on him a safe passage (Matthew 13:25-30, 36-43, and John 3:16-21), for he is humanity’s preservation and salvation.

Jesus Christ is the one great subject in the Word of God, for he is the prophesied Promised Seed of the woman. He is the Master’s master key who unlocks the divine revelation in the Word of God. The entire Bible is about him either directly or indirectly. Everything written in the Scriptures is subject to him and centers in and around him. Whether the references are explicit or implicit, the topic of all the content of the Bible is Jesus Christ, and without him, man cannot fully understand or appreciate the Scriptures in their fullness or detail, for Jesus is the mediator between God and man.

With the Alpha and Omega revealed in the Word of God, we can further learn that through Christ, man has his own Genesis, his beginning commencing in divine purpose and fully completed as is revealed in the Book of Revelation with culmination into an eternity of divine grace. The Book of Revelation is the complement and completion to the Book of Genesis; without the Book of Genesis the Book of Revelation would be incomplete and left wanting, and vice versa.

What completes all that was written in the beginning (in the Book of Genesis) is Jesus Christ (in prophecy). What fulfills all that is written for the end (in the Book of Revelation) is Christ Jesus (in fulfillment of prophecy).

To illustrate, in the Book of Genesis, we learn of man’s banishment from Paradise and expulsion from the tree of life (3:24) while in the Book of Revelation, we see man welcomed back again into Paradise with free access to the tree of life (22:14).

In Genesis, the curse of the ground and man’s curse is pronounced (3:14, 17) while in Revelation we find no more curse at all (22:3).

In Genesis, we encounter man sentenced to sorrows, sufferings, and death (3:17, 19) while in Revelation we witness man’s acquittal and freedom to live life without sorrows, sufferings, and death (21:4).

In Genesis, there is night (1:5) while in Revelation there is no more night (21:23).

In Genesis, we observe the sun and moon for physical light (1:16) while in Revelation we see that we do not need the sun and moon because we will be living in the light of God (21:23).

In Genesis, we come across the seas (1:10) while in Revelation there are no more seas (21:1).

In Genesis, we have a river for the Earth’s blessings (2:10-4) while in Revelation we have a river for the new Earth’s blessings (22:1-2).

In Genesis, we have the entrance of sin and man’s fall from grace (3:14, 17) while in Revelation we have the end of sin and man’s complete restoration into God’s grace (21:3, 22:3).

In Genesis, we have the rainbow as a visible token of God’s covenant with the Earth (9:13) while in Revelation we have the rainbow in recognition of God’s covenant (4:3, 10:1).

In Genesis, we have the marriage of the first man ― Adam (2:18-23) while in Revelation we have the marriage of the last Adam ― Jesus Christ (19:1-9, also see I Corinthians 15:45).

In Genesis, we have man driven from Eden (3:24) while in Revelation we have man restored to a new paradise (22:1ff).

In Genesis, we discover Satan’s rebellion (between verses 1:1 and 1:2, also see Revelation 12:7-9, Ezekiel 28:15-18, and Isaiah 14:12, while in Revelation we are shown Satan’s final rebellion and destruction and a new Earth (20:7-10, 21:1). Please note in Genesis 1:1 the Earth was complete and perfect, created “not in vain” (Isaiah 45:18), but then in Genesis 1:2 the Earth became “without form and void” (Jeremiah 4:23). Then beginning from Genesis 1:3 through Genesis 2:3, God began putting the Earth back together for man. (See also II Peter 3:5-7, and See also the study titled: Geneses, written by the same author.)

In Genesis, we have the Earth created (1:1) while in Revelation we read that the Earth passed away (22:1).

In Genesis, we have the sun, moon, stars associated with Earth’s government (1:14-16), while in Revelation we have the sun, moon, and the stars associated for earth’s judgment (6:12, 8:12, and 16:8).

In Genesis, we have man created in God’s image (1:26) in charge over the earth, while in Revelation we have another man in charge over the earth in Satan’s image (13:11-16).

In Genesis, we have the future prophecy of “the woman” (Mary) and of her Son (Jesus) foretold as a future tense promise and their conflict with (the Dragon) the Serpent (3:15), while in Revelation we again have “the woman” (Mary) and her Son (Jesus) as a past tense reality of the promise fulfilled and their conflict with (the Serpent) the Dragon (12:1-6).

In Genesis, we have man’s dominion completely diminished and the beginning of Satan’s dominion (3:24) while in Revelation, we have Satan’s dominion ended and man’s dominion completely restored (22:1ff).

In Genesis, we have the doom of the Serpent pronounced (3:15), while in Revelation, we have the destruction of the Serpent executed (20:10).

Thus, we have the beginning and the end with all that was introduced (formed, made, and created) in the Book of Genesis 1:1-2:2 completely fulfilled in an endless life because of Jesus Christ, culminating in the Book of Revelation 21:1ff complete with a new Heaven and Earth.

Without Jesus Christ, both Books are just books – (and every book between, flawed!) – and man hasn’t a prayer, a hope, or a Savior. With Jesus Christ, man has a harbinger of true opportunity, a lively hope, and a risen partnership with and in Christ Jesus for all eternity. Both Books were produced generations apart and no amount of human genius or intervention could have schemed out this awesome bond with intellect only, for both Books are perfectly entwined way beyond what you or I could ever dream up.

The Book of Revelation for the Christian believer is not a disparaging book of doomsday (as we will learn through our series on The Golden Thread), but rather it reveals an incredible amount of good news, relinquishing fears and bestowing on humanity a magnanimous amount of spiritual insight regarding the Revelation of Jesus Christ.

We have Genesis, the Book of the beginning, and we have Revelation, the Book of the end; both complement and augment each other to reveal Christ as our Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last. Jesus Christ fills to the full all the Scriptures and assures men and women of their salvation through his accomplished redeeming work.

The Bible, I believe, is His-story (God’s) in the making and that Jesus Christ is the true essence of His-story, man is the ultimate purpose and reach of His-story, and the Scriptures contain the true history of creation and man. It evidences the record from the dawn of time to eternal bliss, from the alpha of Lucifer to the omega of his total demise in the lake of fire, from the beginning of man and his struggle with sin and death to his ultimate victory in an endless life. The content within the Scriptures give an overview of all time showing the individual ages in the scope of the larger picture of eternity and man’s individual part he has in all God’s creation with the Savior.

Isaiah 43:10:
Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant {Jesus} whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.

Before me and after me are representations of God ― the Supreme Alpha and Omega.

Between the Alpha and the Omega is the servant of God ― Jesus Christ, chosen: that ye may know and believe in God. Jesus is the “Servant” chosen to reveal God. Jesus makes known the heavenly Father to those who want to know, and they who discover Christ become genuine witnesses of God’s brilliant creative power.

It is interesting to note that the Book of Isaiah is within the core (or center) of the Bible, and from this center God said in Isaiah 48:12, “I am he; I am the first, I also am the last.” God is the Creator, and thus He is the Alpha and Omega of creation, while the Son of God is the Alpha and Omega to knowing Him personally Who has the power of creativity.

To truly know God intimately is to first know the Son, for in him we are lovingly shown the Father, “And such trust we have through Christ to God-ward” (II Corinthians 3:4).

II Peter 1:2-3:
-2: Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord.
-3: According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:

What a honorable privilege we have to know Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, and oh, how thankful we can become to have been given such wonderful understanding from the Word of God that reveals to our hearts the truth, the love, and the light of God Himself through the great revealer ― Jesus Christ.

*******

Pillai, K.C. Orientalisms of the Bible, Volume 1. Fairborn: OH:
Mor-Mac Publishing Co., 1969.

Pillai, K.C. Light through an eastern window. 14th Printing.
New York: Robert Speller & Son, 1976.

Pillai, K.C. Orientalisms of the Bible, Volume 2. Fairborn: OH:
Mor-Mac Publishing Co., 1974.

Relations – but Not Family!

“We, modern man or better yet I should say, we Adamic man, are related to a dinosaur ― indeed, we certainly are! We, Adamic man, are related to a chimpanzee ― indeed, we certainly are! We, Adamic man, are related to Lucy ― indeed, we certainly are! We, Adamic man, are related to a worm ― indeed, we certainly are! We, Adamic man, are related to a one celled organism ― indeed, we certainly are, but BUT – BUT only because we all have the same Creator Who used the same basic elements or as science likes to say, ‘DNA reveals the building blocks of life.’ DNA is claimed to be the building blocks of all of life, although from a biblical viewpoint DNA is to be understood as the identifying code that links all individuals and all species’ bodily parts to their Creator. When we are born again, we become more than the fallen kind in Adam’s image (Genesis 5:3); through faith we become born of God as His children and freed from the impulse of the fallen nature to always reject truth with a new divine nature– II Peter 1:4, That which is born of the flesh is flesh {this is the fallen nature}; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit {this is the spiritual nature}- John 3:6. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit– Romans 8:5. The truth is, no other living thing was created in God’s image, likeness, or His similitude; not a dinosaur, not a chimpanzee, not Lucy, not a worm, not a one celled organism. This is the one difference that most of science overlooks and is the most important founding conclusion of all logical and biblical reasoning, and man’s most basic premise for separating himself out from everything else created or discovered in the entire universe from the smallest microorganism to the largest living entity. And we should separate ourselves out and above any other kind of species because God has (See, the entire Bible)! Thou madest him {man} to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas– Psalms 8:6-8.” ~LMJ~