What do you consider the two vital words in the Bible? While they may seem superfluous at times, they are the heart and essence of our lives as Christians.
Having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.
1 Peter 3:16
Jesus taught that not “an iota” or “a dot” are insignificant in God’s word. Paul wrote that “all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16-17).
If the smallest letter and a simple dot are that important, how much more the following two words: “In Christ.” Could Peter not have easily left out these words and still have given us the same meaning? While “in Christ” may seem superfluous, it’s the substance of all our good behavior.
The Holy Spirit who inspired Peter made sure He added those vital words. Isn’t the Holy Spirit the One who “will bear witness about me” (John 15:26)? Isn’t He the One who will “glorify me” (John 16:14)? While the Bible may not always add these two words in relation to our good behavior, there’s no denying it. Any good behavior is always “in Christ.” He’s the sole Source of it.
Jesus gave us the best illustration: “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). There’s no good behavior—behavior that’s pleasing and praiseworthy to God—apart from being “in Christ.” He’s the Vine and we need to receive life, growth, and fruitfulness from Him.
Unless we attribute all our good behavior to Christ, we’ve missed the main point of the Bible, relating to God’s people: “Christ is all, and in all” (Col 3:11). The author of Hebrews stated that truth as follows: “Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen” (Heb. 13:20-21). All our good behavior is “through Jesus Christ,” and that’s why He deserves all the glory.
When the Bible states that God will be called “our righteousness” (Jer. 23:6), it’s much more than only referring to our justification, being declared righteous. It also refers to all practical living—partly in our sanctification and perfectly in our glorification.
The Devotional Writer
P.S. click here to get your copy of “Battling Sexual Temptations and Sins.”