Righteous Living and Honouring God

The supremacy of God and Christ in Colossians, are exhorted to put off sin and be clothed with righteousness (Col 3:5-17). The exhortations are punctuated with the words, “And everything, whatever you do, whether in speech or work, do all things in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Col 3:17).

We could scarcely claim, therefore, that ethics can be divided from the preeminence of Christ, for everything done by believers is to be done in the name of Jesus and for His honour. There is no conception here of doing what is right simply because it is the right thing to do, or of duty for duty’s sake. A similar statement comes near the end of Paul’s discussion of food offered to idols in 1 Corinthians 8-10. He sums up by saying, “Whether then you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all things for the glory of God” (1 Cor 10:31).

In Colossians we observe that there is no activity in life, no realm of existence that is outside the sphere of God’s rule. Even the ordinary actions of eating and drinking should be done to honour God. That honouring God should be the goal of ethics is unsurprising once we grasp that dishonouring him is the root of all sin.

The wrath of God is visited on the world (Rom 1:18-25) because people have rejected him. They know he is God but they refuse “to glorify him as God or give thanks” (Rom 1:21). They abandon the glory of God and turn to the worship of idols (Rom 1:23). They “worshiped the creature rather than the creator” (Rom 1:25). Because God has been rejected as God, he hands human beings over to all the other sins that blight human existence (Rom 1:24, 26, 28). The fundamental sin, however which is the root of all others is the failure to honour, praise and glorify the one and only true God. It is fitting, then, that a life pleasing to God is marked by doing all things in his name, by the desire to honour him in all things.

In addition, Paul warns the Corinthians about the dangers of sexual immorality, employing a number of arguments against sexual license (1 Cor 6:12-20). He concludes, though, by reminding the Corinthians that their lives are not their own. They have been purchased with the price of Christ’s blood. He draws the final conclusion in verse 20, “Therefore glorify God with your body”

The fundamental reason for sexual purity is that such a life honours God, showing that the person who lives chastely trusts that following God’s will is the path to joy. The Corinthians are exhorted to give generously so that thanksgiving might be rendered to God (2 Cor 9:11-12) and so that he will be honoured and glorified (2 Cor 9:13).

Paul thanks the Philippians for their generosity to the gospel cause in Philippians 4:10-20. Paul is exceedingly careful, for he does not want the Philippians to think that they put God in their debt, and yet at the same time he is genuinely grateful for their assistance. He reminds them that God will supply all their needs, and thus “to our God and Father belongs the glory for all the ages, amen” (Phil 4:20). The ultimate source of every gift is the one who is to be praised for his lavish generosity.



Categories: Theology

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