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.

Our Ministry and Word of Reconciliation

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

After our salvation, do we still fall prey to temptations and are we swayed by the sin nature? Yes, all Christians will be tempted and stumble even after salvation, and it is at this point that all too many believers feel that they have lost their salvation, that their relationship with God has been totally severed, and condemnation thus begins reigning in the conscious mind. So what do we do at this point to regain our good standing with God? From the time of our salvation, onward, until Christ returns, we simply confess our mistakes or shortcomings to God in prayer to receive forgiveness. This is a major component of our God-given ministry and word of reconciliation.

I John 1:9: If we confess our sins, he {God} is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

We can say, it just cannot be that easy, but the Bible says it is because God is faithful! The word, confess means to agree in our minds that yes, we indeed have made a mistake. God allows us to honestly admit to Him personally that we have made an error. This is the way God designed our continued forgiveness. God knows that we will blow it from time to time, so He has given to us an easy way back into fellowship with Him. When we become honest within our hearts and simply say something like this: “Yes, I blew it. I am truly sorry. I will try my best to walk with You today. I am honestly thankful that You have cleansed me from any and all unrighteousness, and I thank you for this in the name of my Savior, Jesus Christ.” Then our heavenly Father instantly and faithfully forgives and cleanses us from our shortcomings and again shows us that we have His righteousness to walk with Him in His divine love. The reason that our God can completely forgive us is because of what the Savior from sin has accomplished for us.

Through your continued forgiveness, you may honestly believe that you are never alone, you are not an island unto yourself, you have God in Christ in you, you are a fellow worker with God, your Savior, and with fellow believers. You will never be separated from the love of God or from the love of your Savior (Romans 8:35–39). You are a member in particular of a unified body (I Corinthians 12:27), a “whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love” (Ephesians 4:16). You are in Christ, and thus YOU are GOD’S BEST!

II Corinthians 5:17–18:
-17: Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature {creation}: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
-18: And all things {that have become new to us in Christ} are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;

Jesus Christ has reconciled us to God by what he accomplished for us back in the times of the Gospel period. Now in this time of God’s divine grace that we live in and enjoy, the Epistles make known to us that God has given to us the actual ministry of reconciliation. Indeed, we may help inspire others into their own salvation, and thus show others the ministry of reconciliation they themselves can enjoy in Christ. However, this ministry is primarily given to the individual believer so we may continuously have our own reconciliation that is confirmed before our heavenly Father. When Jesus was physically here he reconciled people back to God, but today in grace we live in the completed work of Christ, enjoying our own reconciliation. This is a God-given right, and we can always walk within our reconciliation before our God.

II Corinthians 5:19:  To wit {to know}, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them {not charging their sins back to them}; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

With the word of reconciliation does not come the permission to impute sins to others; we do not condemn anyone as per instructions from God’s Word ― rather we bless and love one another with the word of reconciliation. All too often in Christian circles, we become proficient at fault-finding and being critical of the sins of others, but God in Christ did not do this ― they did not impute or condemn us, rather they forgave and loved. The Bible says in Romans 2:1, he who “judgest doeth the same thing.” We have been given the word of reconciliation to love, to encourage, to bless, and to instruct people into the ways of God’s love and forgiveness. We should be so thankful that God accepted us and that we have received the grace of God and His forgiveness, and reciprocate these blessings. This is the fountainhead of Christianity, of love, of life enjoyed with our heavenly Father. In the Old Testament we read, “O LORD God, to whom vengeance belongeth” (Psalms 94:1), and the New Testament also says, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord” (Romans 12:19). Vengeance is never given to man to dispense ― ever, in the Bible. We repay “the kindness and love of God” to one another (see Titus 3:1–7), and Romans 13:8 says, “Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.” We owe God’s love to one another; this is what we may repay to our fellow man and in doing so we will have fulfilled the law.

I Corinthians 3:9 informs us that “we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry {garden}, ye are God’s building.” What an awesome privilege! God walked with Adam and Eve in the garden, and today He considers us His very own garden, and we are His building. We walk with God in a very unique way and with incredible privileges because we are labourers together with God. “We then, as workers together with him {God}, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain” (II Corinthians 6:1). To receive the grace of God in vain is to never acknowledge Him and all that we are to Him in grace as His beloved children.

Every time we confess our sin to God, every time God cleanses us from unrighteousness, we are using the ministry of reconciliation, and by being in fellowship with Him, we may help others into this wonderful, cleansing ministry. God has, “quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:5–6). This is God’s elevated view of you and me because we are His garden and His abode; we are members of “the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit” (Ephesians 2:21–22). Can you imagine that we are the actual habitation of God? Well, the Bible says so, so this must be true!

The word committed in II Corinthians 5:19 above, means to put into ― us, and what God puts into us is His Word, the Word that gives us the God-given right and permission to continually be reconciled to God. The Word of reconciliation would almost be totally worthless if it came without the ministry that allows us to use it. The word ministry means to have a service for benefit that can be fully applied. It also comes with the God-given permission to walk within our calling of God in this ministry.

Within the ministry of reconciliation that each of us has, we also have been given the Word, placed within our hearts, and this is what gives us the ability to be reconciled. You see, we have Christ in us (Colossians 1:27), and he is the Word (John 1:14), and thus we have the Word in us. Spiritually speaking, we are inseparable from God by being in Christ and by being heirs of heaven itself (Romans 8:16–17). The more we learn about the Christ within, the more of the Word of reconciliation we can aspire to for daily use as we become ever more gentler, Christ-like people, and certainly more happy in our daily travels.

II Corinthians 5:20: Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you {call you} by us {the Apostles}: we pray you in Christ’s stead {place}, be ye reconciled to God.

With the ministry and Word of reconciliation, we have been given an appointment, a God-given ambassadorship to live here on earth in Christ’s stead, enjoying the true reconciliation that Christ made available for us. We being ambassadors for Christ today represent his completed work not only for ourselves, but also for the people we know and talk with, and we may witness to them with all the authority God has commissioned and given us as Christ’s own ambassadors who “shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life” (Philippians 2:15–16).

We are citizens of heaven itself (Colossians 1:13, I Thessalonians 1:12), and we are ambassadors here on earth for Christ (II Corinthians 5:20), and we are commissioned to share the Gospel with others. God has given to us diplomatic immunity from the course and evils of this world (Ephesians 2:2–6), from the old man nature (Romans 6:6–12), from sin that can so easily beset and entangle us (Hebrews 12:1), so we may be free to serve Him and enjoy our lives immersed in the graces of God.

II Corinthians 5:21: For he {God} hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Jesus took our sins, becoming sin for us, so that we might be made the righteousness of God in Christ, who is now in us, with the Word and ministry of reconciliation. This is what allows each believer to maintain their fellowship with God; we have the ability to continually be renewed in the spirit of our minds by the Word that we have received, and that Word becomes manifested as we believe that we have been given the ministry and Word of reconciliation. Thus, we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.

II Corinthians 5:17–21 (The Amplified Bible)**:
17: Therefore if any person is [ingrafted] in Christ (the Messiah) he is a new creation (a new creature altogether); the old [previous moral and spiritual condition] has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new has come!
18: But all things are from God, Who through Jesus Christ reconciled us to Himself [received us into favor, brought us into harmony with Himself] and gave to us the ministry of reconciliation [that by word and deed we might aim to bring others into harmony with Him].
19: It was God [personally present] in Christ, reconciling and restoring the world to favor with Himself, not counting up and holding against [men] their trespasses [but cancelling them], and committing to us the message of reconciliation (of the restoration to favor).
20: So we are Christ’s ambassadors, God making His appeal as it were through us. We [as Christ’s personal representatives] beg you for His sake to lay hold of the divine favor [now offered you] and be reconciled to God.
21: For our sake He made Christ [virtually] to be sin Who knew no sin, so that in and through Him we might become [endued with, viewed as being in, and examples of] the righteousness of God [what we ought to be, approved and acceptable and in right relationship with Him, by His goodness].

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

For Us He Became Sin

“II Corinthians 5:21 informs us that Jesus became sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. Jesus did not have to identify with mankind ― souls born into the nature of sin (Romans 5:12-14). Jesus was sinless; he was perfect, but for us he became sin, the righteous one for unrighteousness ones as he totally identified with man and literally tasted death for all (Hebrews 2:9). Jesus did this unselfishly because he loved you and me! We may now identify with him, yes we can ― we have been enabled to because of the love of God in us, which when applied will place us directly in Christ (II Corinthians 5:17).” ~LMJ~

The Right to Our Righteousness

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

Righteousness is a God-given right to walk before our heavenly Father without any fear of unrighteousness, condemnation, or guilt from sin. We now know that Jesus bore our sins upon the cross, becoming the complete payment for our sins. By Jesus Christ having done this for us, we can now receive the righteousness of God and eternal life, a life that is free from judgments and condemnation and we have now received the spiritual rights to accept all of God’s love.

I John 4:10 – Herein is love, not that we {first} loved God, but that he {first} loved us {Ephesians 1:4}, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

The word propitiation means that the payment for our sins has been paid in full, and that the Son of God was that payment, not only for our sins that we have past committed, but indeed for every sin we will ever commit. This, of course, is not a license to sin but a license to accept and believe in the gracious gift of righteousness that our God has given to us because Jesus did indeed give himself for our sins, and bore our sins, and he was also the payment for our sins upon that cross.

Romans 3:25-26:
-25:  Whom {Jesus Christ} God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare {make perfectly clear} his {God’s} righteousness for the remission {a total washing away} of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
-26:  To declare, I say, at this time {in God’s grace} his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him {i.e., us} which believeth in Jesus.

In I John we saw that Jesus was the propitiation, the complete payment for our sins, and here in Romans we see that this was “to declare God’s righteousness.” We are now clothed in God’s righteousness to have and enjoy. Adam and Eve lost the righteousness of God upon and in their lives when they fell in Eden. Their covering of fig leaves was a figurative attempt to put on a manmade righteousness, apart from God’s favor, for by their win they lost God’s own righteousness within. Today, because Jesus was a totally sinless man, he was able to be our propitiation, purchasing again God’s complete righteousness for men and women that comes to us without works, but by the grace of God in Christ who is now in our hearts. We can (and do) walk with God equally and proportionately to the same fellowship, union, and serenity that Adam and Eve originally had when they walked hand in hand in the garden with their heavenly Father.

I John 2:1-2:
-1:  MY little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate {a defender, who is Jesus Christ and he stands at the right hand of God continually making intercession on our behalf} with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous {one}:
-2:  And he is the propitiation for our sins {that man inevitably will make, because we are not perfect}: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

The entire world is not saved; however, whenever someone becomes saved they also receive forgiveness and the righteousness of God. This is why Jesus Christ, the righteous one, was and is the propitiation and the complete payment for the sins of the world, including yours and mine.

The Gifts and Calling of God

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

When Jesus was physically here walking upon the earth, everything he did was perfect and complete. His life totally exemplified the prophecies written about him as he redeemed us from our sins. Today we know that his mission was successful, and we now belong to God through the accomplished work of Jesus Christ our Savior. We are saved by believing in and confessing the Savior from sin (Romans 10:9-10), for Jesus Christ is our Savior from not only the sin of the world, but also the sin nature implanted in man since the fall of man in Genesis.

Acts 3:18-19:
-18:  But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled.
-19:  Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out {washed away totally leaving no stain whatsoever}, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.

Jesus Christ had fulfilled every legal requirement needed to bring salvation to humanity, giving us total access into God’s family. Now that we are saved, we can spiritually take our rightful place at God’s right hand with Christ. To repent or repentance (contrary to some beliefs) can only be done once because when we repent we are saved for eternity. Repentance is when we confess the Savior from sin. We cannot lose our eternal sonship right of being God’s children because He will never take back our eternal life – this is why our salvation is referred to as “being born again” in I Peter 1:23. “For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance” (Romans 11:29), means that our God will never repent from calling you, nor will He ever regret giving you His gift of eternal life, or all His blessings, or your free and total access to His throne and His heart.

After our salvation, do we still fall prey to temptations and are we swayed by the sin nature? Yes, all Christians will be tempted, and blow it even after salvation, and it is at this point believers feel that they have lost their salvation, that their relationship with God has been severed, and condemnation thus begins reigning supreme in the conscious mind. So what do we do at this point to regain our good standing with God? From the time of our salvation, onward, until Christ returns, we simply confess our mistakes or shortcomings to God in prayer to receive forgiveness.

I John 1:9 – If we confess our sins, he {God} is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

The word, confess means to agree in our minds that yes, we indeed have blown it. God allows us to honestly admit that we made a mistake. This is the way God designed our forgiveness. God knows that we will from time to time blow it, so He has given to us an easy way back into fellowship with Him. When we become honest within our hearts and simply say something like this: “Yes, I blew it. I am truly sorry. I will try my best to walk with You today. I am honestly thankful that You have cleansed me from any and all unrighteousness and I thank you for this in the name of Jesus Christ.” Then our heavenly Father instantly and faithfully forgives and cleanses us from our shortcomings and again shows us that we have His righteousness to walk with Him in His divine love. The reason that our God can completely forgive us is because of what the Savior from sin has accomplished for us.