A Christian Life-Style

MEMORY SELECTION: “Whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus.” —Colossians 3:17

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: Titus 2:1-8; Colossians 3:12-17

WE THINK that perhaps a better title for this study would be The Christian Life-Style, for it is the principles set forth in our selected scriptures that provide the standard of true Christian conduct.

In Colossians 3:1-3 the Apostle Paul identifies those Christians who are responsible for their conduct before God: “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.”

The Apostle Paul, in another text, likens the transfer of the affection of a Christian from worldly things to heavenly things as baptism: “Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.”—Rom. 6:4-6

In these texts we see that the true Christians, those who are endeavoring to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, consider everything associated with the flesh as dead, and have taken on a new outlook with new and elevated values. The Apostle Paul, in Romans 12:2, describes the transformation thus: “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

The thought is that previously the Christian’s thoughts could have been motivated by self-interest and thus engaged in devising all manner of ways to satisfy the lusts (desires) of the flesh. But having received of the Lord’s spirit, we are to put to death the old man—that is, the carnality of the mind—and substitute instead spiritual thoughts and spiritual aspirations. And, of course, at the same time that the Christian is putting to death his carnal thoughts he is to spend the vitality of his flesh in the service of the Lord, the truth, and the brethren.—Rom. 12:1

Starting with the 12th verse of the 3rd chapter of Colossians, the apostle begins to enumerate some of the positive traits of character that are identified with a renewed mind. “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering.”

“Bowels of mercies” is an old biblical expression that denotes a feeling of inward affection, also pity and sympathy. The true Christian, because he enjoys the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, is able to put fallen man in his proper perspective, and he should be moved to feel compassion and sympathy for him. Even the brethren, who have the treasure of enlightenment and of the Holy Spirit, have this in earthen vessels. Therefore they are subject to allowing the old man to have ascendancy in moments of weakness. To these, also, the true Christian should show sympathy and compassion, for all suffer like passions—yes, even all.

Kindness carries the thought of gentleness and consideration. Humbleness of mind means the quality of being teachable, easily entreated, and not having an exaggerated opinion of the merit of one’s own thoughts. Meekness has to do with conduct, and it denotes a proper evaluation of one’s self and abilities when compared to the perfect standard, Jesus. Longsuffering, almost more than any of the Christian graces, illustrates a mature faith and a willingness to wait on the Lord and his overruling providences.

In verses 13,14 the apostle continues enumerating the necessary Christian graces: “Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity [love], which is the bond of perfectness.”

Love is the ultimate expression of all the Christian graces, for, fully developed and expressed in the Christian’s life, love reflects godlikeness, because God is love.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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