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In what sense are Christians worthy of God or of Christ or of their calling? And in what sense are we unworthy?

On the one hand, Jesus and Paul both teach that we must be “worthy” of Jesus and his calling.

Jesus:

Jesus says that in Sardis there are “people who have not soiled their garments, and they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy” (Revelation 3:4).

“Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me” (Matthew [10:37]–38).

“Those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage” (Luke [20:35]).

“The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy” (Matthew 22:8).

Paul:

“Repent and turn to God, performing deeds worthy of repentance.” (Acts [26:20]). Similarly John the Baptist had said: “Bear fruit worthy of repentance.” (Matthew 3:8).

To the Jews in Antioch of Pisidia Paul said, “Since you thrust the word of God aside and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles.” (Acts [13:46]).

“Walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called” (Ephesians 4:1).

“Let your manner of life be worthyof the gospel of Christ” (Philippians [1:27]).

“Walk in a manner worthy of the Lord” (Colossians [1:10]).

“Walk in a manner worthy of God” (1 Thessalonians [2:12]).

“May God may make you worthy of his calling and fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power” (2 Thessalonians [1:11]).

“Your suffering is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering” (2 Thessalonians 1:5).

In all these passages being “worthy” is something expected and necessary in the Christian life.

But on the other hand, Jesus commended the Centurion’s faith as unparalleled for humbly confessing hisunworthiness. “‘Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof. . .’ Jesus said, ‘Not even in Israel have I found such faith’” (Luke 7:69).

Written by John Piper
Read more at Desiring God

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