Things More Excellent

By Justin Johnson

Paul prays that the Philippians would approve excellent things:

“And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent;…” – Philippians 1:9-10

While all scripture is profitable for us, God’s further revelation is more excellent than what was before.

In Moses’ time Israel was given an advantage over the other nations by the revelation of God’s righteous law.

Israel was given information that was more excellent:

“Behold, thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God, And knowest his will, and approvest the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law;” – Romans 2:17-18

However, this first covenant with Israel was only temporary and would be replaced by something even more excellent.

“But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.” – Hebrews 8:6

Through their covenants Israel would receive its promised position of eternal excellence on the earth.

“Whereas thou hast been forsaken and hated, so that no man went through thee, I will make thee an eternal excellency, a joy of many generations.” – Isaiah 60:15

Yet it was to Paul that God revealed his eternal purpose that both heaven and earth would ultimately be gathered together in Christ (Eph 1:10).

It was through the mystery of Christ that we learn about the manifold wisdom of God even for the heavenly places (Eph 3:10).

It is by the mystery of the gospel that we learn about the excellency of the knowledge of Jesus Christ that has a breadth, length, depth, and height that was kept secret since the world began (Eph 3:18, Phil 3:8-9).

Paul explained how all men could receive salvation(2 Tim 2:7-8). How much more excellent is this glorious gospel!

The revelation of the mystery of Christ to Paul is not a discontinuity in scripture. God has progressively revealed things more excellent in the scripture from the law, to the new covenant, to the manifold wisdom of God in Christ.

The mystery of Christ is not just about things that differ, but about things more excellent.

Like the Philippians, the church today would benefit from recognizing that God has revealed things more excellent about Jesus Christ in Paul’s epistles.

“But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.” – 1 Corinthians 12:31

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Published: May 7, 2011
Last Modified: November 29, 2016
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