Practicing the Better: Beyond Jesus

Light, life, and love continued to be expressed in the first Christians.  The main evidence for their practice of the better was the inclusion of the Gentiles (Acts 15) and the sense of oneness that characterized their life together (Galatians 3:28).

Their guide after Jesus was the eternal Christ who, through his ascension, returned to the right hand of the Father to pray for us (Romans 8:34, Hebrews 7:25). The believers took their cues from their vision of him in glory (Colossians 1:15-20) and practiced the better through the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18) which moved the world along the trajectory Christ himself had set (Colossians 1:20).  They were Christ’s ambassadors announcing and inaugurating the new creation, life in Christ, in which the old passes away and the new comes (2 Corinthians 5:17)

In doing this they were convinced that they were instruments of God’s peace, cooperating with the Spirit in the fulfillment of God’s eternal plan–to unite all things in heaven and on earth in Christ (Ephesians 1:9-10).  The believed this so much that they were willing to present themselves to God as living sacrifices (Romans 12:1) and endure sufferings, imprisonments, and even death to see the Kingdom of God advanced.

We could spend weeks exploring all the ways they did this, but when we see that being light, offering life, and giving love is the essence of practicing the better, we have the means to see disciples doing so all the way up to the present.  And through the encouragement of the great cloud of witnesses, we have our marching orders to run the race which is set before us (Hebrews 12:1).

About Steve Harper

Dr. Steve Harper is retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 45 books. He is also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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