1 John 2:6
Whoever claims to abide in Him must walk as Jesus walked.
Sermons
Abiding in Christ to be Demonstrated by Walking as Christ DidIsaac Barrow, D. D.1 John 2:6
Christian Profession and Consequent ObligationsW. Jones 1 John 2:6
Imitation of ChristB. W. Noel, M. A.1 John 2:6
Imitation of the Example of Christ in His Temper and LifeJohn Hubbard.1 John 2:6
In Him: Like HimC. H. Spurgeon.1 John 2:6
Inward Grace Manifest in the LifeA. R. Cocke, D. D.1 John 2:6
Of the Imitation of Christ in Holiness of Life1 John 2:6
The Christian WalkBp. Ryle.1 John 2:6
The Christian's Imitation of ChristWm. Fenner.1 John 2:6
The Christlike Walk of One with Guileless Spirit Abiding in GodR. S. Candlish, D. D.1 John 2:6
The Example of ChristD. Duncan.1 John 2:6
Believers Exhorted not to SinB. W. Noel, M. A.1 John 2:1-6
Christ Our Advocate1 John 2:1-6
Christ Our AdvocateW. F. Ireland, D. D.1 John 2:1-6
Christ Our AdvocateJ. Gibbs.1 John 2:1-6
Christ Our Advocate with the FatherJames Fenton, M. A.1 John 2:1-6
Christ Our PropitiationE. Hoare, M. A.1 John 2:1-6
Christ Our Propitiatory Sacrifice and Our AdvocateD. Inglis.1 John 2:1-6
Christ the Advocate of SinnersEssex Remembrancer1 John 2:1-6
Christian SinDudley Kidd.1 John 2:1-6
Christians have Delicate Perceptions of SinSteinhofer.1 John 2:1-6
Christ's Acquaintance with Man's CaseC. Stanford.1 John 2:1-6
Christ's IntercessionS. Charnock, D. D.1 John 2:1-6
Christ's Intercession1 John 2:1-6
For the Sins of the Whole WorldSword and Trowel.1 John 2:1-6
Insufficiency of the Subjective View of the AtonementG. S. Barrett, D. D.1 John 2:1-6
Is There a Doctrine of the Atonement in ScriptureJames Denney, D. D.1 John 2:1-6
Man Lives in a Redeemed WorldR. W. Dale, LL. D.1 John 2:1-6
Man's Advocate with the FatherD. Thomas, D. D.1 John 2:1-6
Nature and Ground of Christ's Advocacy as Meeting the Need of the Guileless SpiritR. S. Candlish, D. D.1 John 2:1-6
Our Advocate on HighS. Martin.1 John 2:1-6
Preventatives Against SinW. Graham.1 John 2:1-6
Propitiation for SinC. New.1 John 2:1-6
Redemption for the Whole WorldW. Birch.1 John 2:1-6
Sin NotDudley Kidd.1 John 2:1-6
Sin Supposed: Sin Dealt withR. Finlayson 1 John 2:1-6
Sinless Aim of the Guileless SpiritR. S. Candlish, D. D.1 John 2:1-6
The Advocacy of ChristJ. Williams, M. A.1 John 2:1-6
The Gospel Prohibits SinC. Stanford, D. D.1 John 2:1-6
The Gracious ProvisionJ. O. Peck, D. D.1 John 2:1-6
The Intercession of ChristJ. Foot, D. D.1 John 2:1-6
The Knowledge of God Preventive of SinHugh Binning.1 John 2:1-6
The Propitiation IntelligibleJames Denney, D. D.1 John 2:1-6
The Propitiation of ChristGeorge Robson.1 John 2:1-6
The Sinner's AdvocateC. H. Spurgeon.1 John 2:1-6
The True PleaderG. Calvert.1 John 2:1-6
Warning and EncouragementJames Morgan, D. D.1 John 2:1-6
He that saith he abideth in him ought himself, etc.

I. A PROFESSION OF CHRISTIAN CHARACTER. "He that saith he abideth in him," i.e., in God. In the paragraph of which our text is a part there is a gradation of ideas as to the relation of the Christian to God: to know him; to be in him; and to abide in him.

1. The Christian is in God by spiritual fellowship. Through Christ the Christian is brought into intimate and hallowed communion with God - he believes his revelation of himself, he endeavours to apprehend his thoughts, he accepts his gracious will, he receives his best inspirations from him. Thus he has his spiritual being in God. He derives his inner life of thought, affection, purpose, and power from him.

2. The Christian is in God by mutual love. "We know and have believed the love which God hath in us. God is love; and he that abideth in love, abideth in God, and God abideth in him." We may obtain help to the understanding of this by considering how our trusted and beloved friends dwell in us and we in them. Distant from us locally and corporeally, yet they are with us truly and spiritually, How the child dwells in the being, occupies the thoughts and affections, of the loving parent! These are imperfect figures of how the true Christian lives in God the Father through Jesus Christ his Son (cf. John 14:20, 21, 23; John 15:4; John 17:21-23). And to say that we abide in him is to profess fidelity and perseverance in this exalted and sacred relation. It is a great profession.

II. THE CONSEQUENT OBLIGATION OF CHRISTIAN CONDUCT. "Ought himself also to walk even as he walked." We have here a change in the pronoun, indicating a change of person. The former personal pronouns from chapter 1 John 1:5 to this clause point to God the Father; the present one denotes God the Son. The Christian is to walk as he walked. It cannot be said that the eternal God walks. He is ever the same. His being admits of no advancement or progress. Man is said to "walk in the light;" but of God it is said that he "is light," and that "he is in the light" (chapter 1 John 1:5, 7). But Christ walked this earth as our Example. He spake of his life in this world as a walk: "I must walk today, and tomorrow, and the day following" (Luke 13:33). He hath left us "an example, that ye should follow his steps" (1 Peter 2:21). It is the moral, not the miraculous, in his life that we are called to imitate - his devotion and reverence, his truth and righteousness, his humility and self-sacrifice, his love and holiness. In his character and conduct we have the clear and complete expression of the will of the Father. To walk as be walked is the obligation of every one who professes to be in God. This includes:

1. Living after the example of Christ. "Learn of me;" "I have given you an example, that ye also should do as I have done to you" (John 13:13-15); "Walk in love, even as Christ also loved you," etc. (Ephesians 5:1, 2). Let us endeavour to act in our lives as our Saviour and Lord would act if he were in our place.

2. Growing in likeness to Christ. Walking implies advancement. The Divine life in man is a progressive thing. We are summoned to "grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ." "Let us go on unto perfection" (Hebrews 6:1-3). In this respect let us copy the example of St. Paul: "I press on, if so be that I may apprehend that for which also I was apprehended by Christ Jesus," etc. (Philippians 3:12-14). And let us endeavour to prove the reality of our Christian profession by treading in the footsteps of our perfect Exemplar. - W.J.







He that saith he abideth in Him ought himself also so to walk, even as He walked
To "walk as Christ" walked is essential to our "abiding in God"; not merely "being in God," as it is put in the previous verse, but being in Him permanently. It is therefore the test of our truth when we "say that we abide in God"; it is the very means by which we abide in Him.

I. IT IS SOMETIMES SAID OF CHRIST SIMPLY THAT HE WALKED, WITHOUT ANYTHING TO DEFINE OR QUALIFY THE EXPRESSION (John 7:1; Luke 13:33; John 12:9, 10). Jesus then walked. His life was a walk. The idea of earnestness, of definiteness of purpose, of decision and progress, is thus suggested. Now, "he that saith he abideth in God, ought himself also so to walk even as Jesus walked." It was as always "abiding in God" that He "walked." While His feet were busy walking, His soul was resting in God. Outward movement, inward repose; the whole man Christ Jesus — mind, spirit, heart, all bent upon the road; and yet ever, at the same time, the whole man Christ Jesus dwelling in the Father's bosom, as calmly as in that unbroken eternity, ere He became man, He had been wont to dwell there: so he walked, abiding in God. So you also ought to walk even as He walked, "abiding in God." But some one may say, Is not this too high an ideal? Is it not the setting up of an inimitable model? Not so. For, first, He fully shares with us whatever disadvantage as regards His walking, may be implied in His being a son of man. And, secondly, He would have us fully to share with Him whatever advantage there is in His being the Son of God. For both reasons our life may be as much and as truly a walk as His was.

II. LET SOME PARTICULARS ABOUT THIS WALK BE NOTICED.

1. If we say that "we abide in God," we ought to walk as seeing God in all things and all things in God; for so Christ walked.

2. "He that saith he abideth in God" ought to walk as one subordinating himself always in all things to God, submitting himself to God, committing himself to God.

3. "He that saith he abideth in God" ought to walk in love. If we abide in God, we abide in the great source and fountain of love — in the infinite ocean of pure and perfect benevolence.

4. "He that saith he abideth in God" ought, in a word, to walk in unity with God, as being of one mind with God and of one heart. So Jesus walked.

(R. S. Candlish, D. D.)

The first thing about a Christian is initiation into Christ; the next thing is the imitation of Christ. We cannot be Christians unless we are in Christ; and we are not truly in Christ unless the life of Christ is lived over again by us according to our measure.

I. CONSIDER HOW THIS OBLIGATION IS PROVED. Why ought we to walk as Jesus did?

1. First, it is the design of God that those who are in Christ should walk as Christ walked. It is a part of the original covenant purpose; for "whom He did foreknow He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son."

2. Observe, again, another point of this necessity: it is necessary to the mystical Christ that we should walk as He walked, for we are joined unto the Lord Jesus in one body.

3. And this, again, must all be the fruit of the one Spirit that is in Christ and in us. The Father anointed Christ of old with the same anointing which rests on us in our measure. The Holy Spirit descended upon Him, and we have an unction from the same Holy One.

4. I would have true Christians remember that this is one article of the agreement which we make with Christ when we become His disciples. We put ourselves into Christ's hands unreservedly, and we said, "Lord, sanctify me, and then use me. Reign in me; rule me absolutely, sovereignly, always and alone. I do not ask to be my own, for I am not my own, I am bought with a price."

II. CONSIDER WHEREIN THIS WALKING WITH CHRIST AS HE WALKED CONSISTS.

1. To put it all together in one word, the first thing that every Christian has to see to is holiness. You know what wholeness is — a thing without a crack, or flaw, or break; complete, entire, uninjured whole. Well, that is the main meaning of holy. If you wish to see holiness, look at Christ. In Him you see a perfect character, an all-round character. He is the perfect one; be ye like Him in all holiness.

2. We must go a little into detail; so I say, next, one main point in which we ought to walk according to the walk of our great Exemplar is obedience. It is the Lord's will that in His house His word should be the supreme law, for so only can our fallen natures be restored to their original glory. It is ours to walk in cheerful subservience to the mind of the Father, even as Jesus did. Does this strike you as an easy thing? It is child's work, certainly; but assuredly it is not child's play.

3. Such a life would necessarily be one of great activity, for the life of Jesus was intensely energetic. There is never an idle hour in the life of Christ. It is wonderful how He sustained the toil. Perhaps He measured out His zeal and His open industry by the fact that He was only to be for a short time here below.

4. Next we ought to walk as Christ did in the matter of self-denial. So walk as He did who made Himself of no reputation, but took upon Himself the form of a servant, and who, though He was rich, brought Himself down to poverty for our sakes, that we might be rich unto God. Think of that.

5. Another point in which we ought to imitate Christ most certainly is that of lowliness. You never detect in the Lord Jesus Christ any tendency towards pride or self-exaltation. Quite the reverse: He is ever compassionate and condescending to men of low estate.

6. And then note again another point, and that is His great tenderness, and gentleness, and readiness to forgive. Did He not set us an example of bearing and forbearing?

7. There is one word which tells us more than all this about how Christ walked, and that is the word "love." Jesus was incarnate love. Only he that loves can live in heaven, for heaven is love; and you cannot go to glory unless you have learned to love and to find it your very life to do good to those about you. Let me add to all this, that he who says that Christ is in him ought also to live as Christ lived in secret. And how was this?

8. His life was spent in abounding devotion. He was pure and holy, and yet He must needs wait upon God all day long, and often speak with His Father; and then when the night came, and others went to their beds, He withdrew Himself into the wilderness and prayed. If the Lord Jesus be in you, you must walk as He walked in that matter. And then think of His delight in God. He was, it is true, "a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief"; but still there was a deep spring of wondrous happiness in the midst of His heart, which made Him always blessed. And you and I also must delight in God. This charming duty is far too much neglected. Strange that this honey should so seldom be in men's mouths!

9. We ought to walk in holy contentment. The cravings of covetousness and pinings of ambition never touched our Lord. In a word, Christ lived above this world; let us walk as He walked. Christ lived for God, and for God alone; let us live after His fashion. And Christ persevered in such living; He never turned aside from it at all; but as He lived so He died, obedient to His Father's will. May our lives be a mosaic of perfect obedience, and our deaths the completion of the fair design.

III. CONSIDER WHAT IS NEEDFUL TO ALL THIS.

1. It is needful to have a nature like that of Christ. You cannot give out sweet waters so long as the fountains are impure. "Ye must be born again."

2. That being done, the next thing that is necessary is a constant anointing of the Holy Spirit.

3. Then, again, there must be in us a strong resolve that we will walk as Christ walked; for our Lord Himself did not lead that holy life without stern resolution.

4. I add that if we want to walk as Christ walked we must have much communion with Him. We cannot possibly get to be like Christ except by being with Him. A person has written to me to say that he has painted my portrait, but that he cannot finish it until he sees me. I should think not, Certainly you cannot paint a portrait of Christ in your own life unless you see Him — see Him clearly, see Him continually.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

Example, it has often been remarked, exerts a much more powerful influence upon men than precept. The nature and excellence of God's commandments are more perfectly seen in those actions which are conformed to His law than in the abstract contemplation of the commandments themselves. To this peculiarity in our mental constitution God hath kindly accommodated His holy Word. Although the example of holy men of ancient times is made use of as a motive to particular excellences, yet none of them is proposed in general terms as a pattern for our imitation. This honour is given to Christ alone. Not only are particular virtues enforced by a reference to His character and conduct, but His conversation in general among men, or the whole of His life on earth is exhibited as a pattern to be imitated by all His disciples.

I. THE EXAMPLE OF CHRIST IS PERFECT. Neither positive evil nor negative defect can be laid to His charge. In contemplating the pattern which it presents we are never perplexed by the necessity of separating the good from the bad, that which should be imitated from that which should be avoided.

II. THE EXAMPLE OF CHRIST IS EASY OF IMITATION. It is calculated to allure rather than to repel the attempts of the meek and humble to copy it. The incidents by which it was diversified are such as frequently occur in the ordinary lot of man, and His conduct in reference to them was in every respect such as we might desire and expect any pious and benevolent individual to exemplify. It was human, devoid of everything impracticable.

III. THE EXAMPLE OF CHRIST IS HIGHLY INFLUENTIAL. It is fitted to extract the attention and command the imitation of men. Who will refuse to imitate the pattern furnished in His obedience and sufferings when he recollects that He obeyed and suffered in our room? The example of a Divine person is indeed of infinite authority to all creatures; but the obligation of gratitude has an attractive influence which the consideration of duty alone does not possess.

IV. THE EXAMPLE OF CHRIST IS OF UNIVERSAL APPLICATION. It is suited to men of all classes and of every peculiarity of natural disposition. Had He come in all the glory of temporal royalty His example, however conspicuous and however perfect, could have been useful to but a limited extent.

(D. Duncan.)

I. WHAT THE SAINT'S IMITATION OF CHRIST SUPPOSES AND COMPRISES.

1. That no Christian is, or may pretend to be, a rule to himself; for as no man hath wisdom enough to direct himself, so if his own will were made the rule of his own actions it would be the highest invasion of the Divine prerogative.

2. That as no man is his own guide, so no mere man, how wise or holy soever, may pretend to be a rule to other men; but Christ is the rule of every man's walking.

3. The necessity of sanctification in all His followers, forasmuch as it is impossible there should be a practical conformity in point of obedience where there is not a conformity in spirit and in principle.

4. That the Christian religion is a very precise and strict religion, no way countenancing licentiousness; it allows no man to walk loosely and inordinately.

5. The imperfection of the best of men in this life; for if the life of Christ be our pattern, the holiest of men must confess they come short of the rule of their duty.

6. The transcending holiness of the Lord Jesus; His holiness is greater than the holiness of all creatures, "For only that which is first and best in every kind is the rule and measure of all the rest."

7. It necessarily implies sanctification and obedience to be the evidences of our justification and interest in Christ: assurance is unattainable without obedience; we can never be comfortable Christians except we be strict and regular Christians.

II. IN WHAT THINGS ALL WHO PROFESS CHRIST ARE OBLIGED TO THE IMITATION OF HIM.

1. And first of all, the purity and holiness of the life of Christ is proposed as a glorious pattern for the saint's imitation (1 Peter 1:15).(1) He was truly and sincerely holy, without fiction or simulation; and this appeared in the greatest trial of the truth of holiness that ever was made in this world (John 14:30).(2) Christ was uniformly holy at one time as well as another, in one place and company as well as another. So must His people be holy in all manner of conversation.(3) Christ was exemplarily holy; a pattern of holiness to all that came nigh Him, and conversed with Him: oh, imitate Christ in this.(4) Christ was strictly and precisely holy: "Which of you convinceth Me of sin?" The most envious eyes could not pick a hole or find a flaw in any of His words or actions (Philippians 2:15).(5) Christ was perseveringly holy — holy to the last breath; as He began, so He finished His whole life. It becomes not any of His people to begin in the spirit and end in the flesh.(6) In a word, the delight of Christ was only in holy things and holy persons — they were His chosen companions; even so it becometh His people to have all their delights in the saints and in the excellent of the earth (Psalm 16:3).

2. The obedience of Christ to His Father's will is a pattern for the imitation of all Christians.(1) Christ's obedience was free and voluntary, not forced or compulsory; it was so from the very first undertaking of the work of our redemption (Proverbs 8:30, 31).(2) The obedience of Christ was universal and complete; He was obedient to all the will of God, making no demur to the hardest service (Philippians 2:8).(3) The obedience of Christ was sincere and pure, without any base or by-end, purely aiming at the glory of God (John 17:4).(4) The streams of Christ's obedience flowed from the fountain of ardent love to God (John 14:31).(5) The obedience of Christ was constant (Romans 2:7).

3. The self-denial of Christ is the pattern of believers, and their conformity unto it is their indispensable duty (Philippians 2:4-6; 2 Corinthians 8:9).

4. The activity and diligence of Christ in finishing the work of God which was committed to Him was a pattern for all believers to imitate.(1) His heart was intently set upon it (Psalm 4:8).(2) He never fainted under great discouragements (Isaiah 43:4).(3) The shortness of His time provoked Him to the greatest diligence (John 9:4).(4) He improved all opportunities, companies, and occurrences to further the great work which was under His hand (John 4:6-10).(5) Nothing more displeased Him than when He met with dissuasions in His work (Matthew 8:33).(6) Nothing rejoiced His soul more than the prosperity and success of His work (Luke 10:20, 21).

5. Delight in God and in His service was eminently conspicuous in the life of Christ, and is a rare pattern for believers' imitation (John 4:32, 34).(1) The nature of it, which consisteth in the complacency, rest, and satisfaction of the mind in God and spiritual things,(2) The object of spiritual delight, which is God Himself and the things which relate to Him (Psalm 73:25).(3) The subject of spiritual delight, which is a renewed heart, and that only so far as it is renewed (Romans 7:22).(4) The principle and spring of this delight, which is the agreeableness of spiritual things to the temper and frame of a renewed mind.

6. The inoffensiveness of the life of Christ upon earth is an excellent pattern to all His people; He injured none, offended none (Hebrews 7:26). He denied His own liberty to avoid occasion of offence; as in the case of the tribute money (Matthew 19:27).(1) For the honour of Jesus Christ be you inoffensive — His name is called upon you (James 2:7). Your inoffensive carriage is the only means to stop the mouths of detractors (1 Peter 2:15).(2) For the sake of souls be wary that you give no offence (Matthew 13:7).(3) By the holiness and harmlessness of your lives many may be won to Christ (1 Peter 3:1).

7. The humility and lowliness of Christ is propounded by Himself as a pattern for His people's imitation (Matthew 11:29).

8. The contentation of Christ in a low and mean condition in the world is an excellent pattern for His people's imitation.(1) The meanest and most afflicted Christian is owner of many rich, invaluable mercies (Ephesians 1:3; 1 Corinthians 3:33).(2) You have many precious promises that God will not forsake you in your straits (Hebrews 13:5; Isaiah 41:17).(3) How useful and beneficial are all your afflictions to you! They purge your sins, prevent your temptations, wean you from the world, and turn to your salvation; and how unreasonable, then, must your discontentedness at them be?(4) The time of your relief and full deliverance from all your troubles is at hand (1 Corinthians 7:26).(5) Your lot falls by Divine direction upon you, and as bad as it is it is much easier and sweeter than the condition of Christ in this world was. Yet He was contented, and why not you?

III. THE NECESSITY OF THIS IMITATION OF CHRIST WILL CONVINCINGLY APPEAR DIVERS WAYS.

1. From the established order of salvation, which is fixed and unalterable. God that hath appointed the end hath also established the means and order by which men shall attain the ultimate end. Now conformity to Christ is the established method in which God will bring souls to glory (Romans 8:29).

2. The nature of Christ-mystical requires this conformity, and renders it indispensably necessary. Otherwise the body of Christ must be heterogeneous, of a nature different from the head; and how uncomely would this be?

3. This resemblance and conformity to Christ appears necessary from the communion which all believers have with Christ in the same spirit of grace and holiness. Believers are called Christ's fellows, or co-partners (Psalm 45:7), from their participation with Him of the same spirit (1 Thessalonians 4:8).

4. The necessity of this imitation of Christ may be argued from the design and end of Christ's exhibition to the world in a body of flesh. For though we detest that doctrine which makes the exemplary life of Christ to be the whole end of His incarnation, yet we must not run so far from an error as to lose a precious truth.

5. Our imitation of Christ is one of those great articles which every man is to subscribe whom Christ will admit into the number of His disciples (Luke 14:27).

6. The honour of Christ necessitates the conformity of Christians to His example.How can wisdom be justified of her children except it be this way? Inferences:

1. If all that profess interest in Christ be strictly bound to imitate His holy example, then it follows that religion is very unjustly charged by the world with the scandals and evils of them that profess it.

2. If all men forfeit their claim to Christ who endeavour not to imitate Him in the holiness of His life, then how small a number of real Christians are there in the world!

3. What blessed times should we all see if true religion did once generally obtain and prevail in the world!

4. Hence it also follows that real Christians are the sweetest companions.

5. In a word, if no men's claim to Christ be warranted but theirs that walk as He walked.How vain and groundless then are the hopes and expectations of all unsanctified men who walk after their own lusts?

1. Christ hath conformed Himself to you by His abasing incarnation; how reasonable therefore is it that you conform yourselves to Him in the way of obedience and sanctification!

2. You shall be conformed to Christ in glory; how reasonable therefore is it you should now conform yourselves to Him in holiness! (chap. 1 John 3:2).

3. The conformity of your lives to Christ, your pattern, is your highest excellency in this world: the measure of your grace is to be estimated by this rule.

4. So far as you imitate Christ in your lives, and no farther, you will be beneficial to the world in which you live; so far as God helps you to follow Christ you will be helpful to bring others to Christ, or build them up in Christ.

5. To walk as Christ walked is a walk only worthy of a Christian; this is to "walk worthy of the Lord" (1 Thessalonians 2:12; Colossians 1:10).

6. How comfortable will the close of your life be at death if you have walked after Christ's example in this world! A comfortable death is ordinarily the close of a holy life (Psalm 37:37).Lastly, I would leave a few words of support to such as sincerely endeavour, according to the tendency of their new nature, to follow Christ's example, but being weak in grace and meeting with strong temptations are frequently carried aside from the holy purposes of their well-meaning hearts.

1. Such defects in obedience make no flaw in your justification; for your justification is not built upon your obedience, but upon Christ's (Romans 3:24).

2. Your deep troubles for the defectiveness of your obedience do not argue you to be less, but more sanctified, than those who make no such complaints.

3. The Lord makes excellent uses even of your failings to do you good; for by these defects He hides pride from your eyes, He beats you off from self-dependence, He makes you to admire the riches of free grace, He makes you to long more ardently for heaven and entertain the sweeter thoughts of death.

4. Your bewailed infirmities do not break the bond of the everlasting covenant.

5. Though the defects of your obedience are grievous to God, yet your deep sorrows for them are well-pleasing in His eyes (Psalm 51:17).

6. Though God has left many defects to humble you, yet He hath given many things to comfort you. This is a comfort, that the desire of thy soul is to God. This is a comfort, that thy sins are not thy delight as once they were.

(John Flavel.)

I. THE APOSTLES DO ON ALL OCCASIONS ASSUME THE PRACTICE OF CHRIST AS AN UNQUESTIONABLE GROUND OF OBLIGATION AND AN EFFECTUAL INDUCEMENT THERETO.

II. DOING SO HATH A REASONABLENESS GROUNDED ON OUR RELATIONS TO CHRIST — it is comely that the manners of the disciple should be regulated by those of his Master; that the servant should not, in his garb and demeanour, dissent or vary from his Lord; that the subject should conform his humour to the fashion of his Prince.

III. FOLLOWING CHRIST'S EXAMPLE IS REQUISITE TO DEMONSTRATE THE SINCERITY OF OUR FAITH, LOVE, AND REVERENCE TO HIM.

IV. BY PRETENDING TO BE CHRISTIANS WE ACKNOWLEDGE THE TRANSCENDENT GOODNESS, WORTH, AND EXCELLENCY OF OUR SAVIOUR; that He was incomparably better and wiser than any person ever was or could be; that He always acted with the highest reason, out of the most excellent disposition of mind, in order to the best purposes; and that His practice, therefore, reasonably should be the rule of ours.

V. THE PRACTICE OF OUR SAVIOUR DID THOROUGHLY AGREE WITH HIS DOCTRINE AND LAW — He required nothing of us which He did not eminently perform Himself. He fulfilled in deed, as well as taught in word, all righteousness.

VI. It being the design of Divine goodness, in sending our Saviour, to render us good and happy, to deliver us from sin and misery, THERE COULD NOT BE DEVISED ANY MORE POWERFUL MEANS OR MORE CONVENIENT METHOD OF ACCOMPLISHING THOSE EXCELLENT PURPOSES than by propounding such an example and obliging us to comply therewith.

1. Good example is naturally an effectual instrument of good practice; for that it doth most compendiously, pleasantly, and easily instruct; representing things to be done at one view, in a full body, clothed with all their modes and circumstances; it kindleth men's courage by a kind of contagion, as one flame doth kindle another; it raiseth a worthy emulation of doing laudable things which we see done, or of obtaining a share in the commendations of virtue.

2. More especially the example of Christ doth, inefficacy and influence on good practice, surpass all others.(1) In that it is a sure and infallible rule, a perfect rule of practice: deficient in no part, swerving in no circumstance from truth and right, which privileges are competent to no other example.(2) In that He was, by the Divine providence, to this very purpose designed and sent into the world, as well by His practice as by His doctrine to be the guide and master of holy life.(3) In that it was, by an admirable temperament, more accommodated for imitation than any others have been; for though it were written with an incomparable fairness, delicacy, and evenness, not slurred with any foul blot, not anywhere declining from exact straightness, yet were the lineaments thereof exceedingly plain and simple, not by any gaudy flourishes or impertinent intrigues rendered difficult to studious imitation; so that even women and children, the weakest and meanest sort of people, as well as the most wise and ingenious, might easily perceive its design, and with good success write after it.(4) In that it is attended with the greatest obligations (of gratitude and ingenuity, of justice, of interest, of duty), mightily engaging us to follow it.

(Isaac Barrow, D. D.)

I. IN WHAT RESPECTS CHRIST IS AN EXAMPLE TO CHRISTIANS AND THEY ARE TO IMITATE HIM. Christ is only our example as to those things that are common between Him and us, but not as to those in which we can have no participation with Him or He with us. His part was to become our mediator with God.

II. HOW SUITABLE AN EXAMPLE CHRIST IS TO US AND HOW EXPEDIENT IT IS FOR US TO HAVE SUCH AN EXAMPLE.

1. The example of Christ is exceedingly suitable to mankind.(1) From the humanity of it.(2) The notoriety of Christ's example makes it fit for general use. The most exemplary transactions of His holy life are transmitted to us in exact narratives.(3) His example was very extensive. It either directly exemplifies or contains a lively instruction into the duties of almost every station and relation in human life.(4) Christ's example is absolutely perfect.

2. How very expedient it is for mankind to have such an example set before them.(1) This use and expediency appears in that it tends to impress the mind with a strong sense of the reasonableness and excellency of that universal rectitude which the law requires, and to guard us against light and favourable thoughts of any deviation or iniquity.(2) It still adds more weight to this use of Christ's example, to consider the Divinity of His person. In this way God has glorified a state of obedience to Himself.

III. THE OBLIGATIONS AND ENGAGEMENTS WHICH CHRISTIANS ARE UNDER TO IMITATE THIS SO SUITABLE AND EXPEDIENT EXAMPLE. This is the natural tendency of all Christian graces; so that where they are in truth they cannot but work this way, and otherwise they are only in appearance, not in reality.

(John Hubbard.)

First, for the conditional "If." Is it not a precedent condition of life; for a man cannot first walk as Christ walked, and then be in Christ. A graft cannot live the life of the stock and then be inoculated into the stock. The first act is before the latter act: life before the actions of life — "so walk as Christ walked," this notes the actions of life. Now a man must first be in Christ before he can walk as Christ walked. Indeed, this condition is first to our knowledge: but it is not first in its own nature. So, then, to walk as Christ walked, being a necessary consequence of being in Christ, we cannot be in Christ if we walk not as Christ walked. If there be any commandment of Christ in all the gospel that you will not conform to, it is an evident sign that ye abide not in Christ's love. Secondly, for the exemplary, "As," even as He walked. Can any man walk as Christ walked? Is it possible that dust and ashes, that is corrupt with sin, can walk as He walked? This word "as" hath a twofold signification —

(1)such as imports equality, or

(2)similitude.As this "as" imports an equality, so it is impossible that any flesh can walk as Christ walked — so purely, so unspottedly, so steadily, so effectually as He lived. A scholar writes as his master's copy directs him. Though there be no equality, he cannot write one stroke or dash with his pen so well as his master, yet he doth write as his master sets his copy: his hand follows his master's hand. Even as less white is like more white, though not alike in the same degree, yet in the same nature, there is the same nature in the lesser that there is in the bigger. So we must have the same life, obey the same commandments, be guided by the same rule, swayed by the same motions, led by the same Spirit that was in Christ (Romans 8:9). Thus you see the explanation of the doctrine; come we now to the reasons, which are principally these four: —

1. The first reason is taken from the scope and end for which the Lord did send His Son into the world: as to justify the ungodly, so also to conform all those that are justified to the image of Christ.

2. The second reason is taken from the practice of Christianity. In vain are we called Christians if we be not imitators of Christ. The disciples are called Christians (Acts 11:26); the very name tells us that we must be followers of Christ.

3. The third reason is taken from the essential, or rather from the integral union that is between Christ and all those that are in Christ; they are all members of His most gracious body.

4. The last reason is taken from the near relation that is to be between Christ and every member of Christ. If all that are in Christ are the children of Christ they must needs walk as Christ walked. Like begets like. Dost thou say thou hast put on Christ? Why, then, show me the signs of Christ in thee. How canst thou then demonstrate that thou art a Christian? It may be now and then thou wilt give a prayer unto Christ. Is this to be in Christ? If thou be in Christ, then thou must live the life of Christ in all thy ways. "He that saith he abideth in Him," etc. In this word "he" there are three notes. First, indication. The apostle doth, as it were, point at a certain man in his congregation, as if there had been some man that he knew was not in Christ. So preachers must not only preach the Word of God in general, but they must preach in particular. Secondly, discrimination. As if he should say, there are some that are in Him and some that are not in Him. Hence observe this point, that every minister is bound to preach so as to make a difference between the precious and the vile. Here are two things —

1. They shall teach them the difference between the holy and profane.

2. They shall not only show it before them, but if they will not see it they shall cause them to see it; that is, they must beat it into them and rub it into their consciences. You that have heard the Word of God apply it to your souls, it is a blessed plaister; let it lie on your souls. Thirdly, scrutiny. It is not only an outward word, but a word of the heart: "If any man say," that is, if any man think, that he is in Christ, he ought to walk as Christ did. Hence we observe, that a minister is bound to preach to men's thoughts.

(Wm. Fenner.)

It was one of the last sayings of a famous divine that there were three things which were essential to healthy Christian teaching — doctrine, experience, and practice. He said that if doctrine alone were brought forward to a people there was a danger lest they should turn out Antinomians; that if experience alone were brought forward to a people there was a danger lest they should turn out enthusiasts and sentimentalists; and that if practice alone were brought forward, there was a danger that they would turn out legalists. I know not whether we have sufficient attention given in the present day to the third of the three great essentials spoken of, I mean the essential of Christian practice.

I. THE TRUE BELIEVER'S PROFESSION — "He saith that he abideth in Christ." He rests all his hope on the Lord Jesus Christ; he feels that he is a sinner, but he sees in Christ an all-sufficient Saviour. Time there was when he abode himself in carelessness; he was a thoughtless, an unconcerned person, travel ling down the stream of time and thinking nothing of the gulf of eternity. Now, old things are passed away and all things are become new.

II. THE STANDARD OF THE TRUE BELIEVER'S PRACTICE. The apostle speaks of the believer's "walk." By that he means his daily course of life, his behaviour, that may be seen of men, as a person's walking may be seen by the eye. The man of the world cannot move without being seen; so the walk of the Christian is that behaviour which others around him can observe. It is not merely a spasmodic rushing forward, but an equable daily walk. He speaks of what that walk "ought" to be; he speaks of it as a debt, as an obligation. The believer is bound by the strongest of all ties and obligations to "walk even as Christ walked." Who that has ever seen a young painter in his first efforts to paint, when he has set the canvas before him and endeavoured to copy some mighty masterpiece of Rubens, or Rembrandt, or Titian, has not been struck with the difference between his first essay and the wonderful copy before him? Yet that painter does the same kind of thing that Rubens, or Titian,or Rembrandt did; he is working upon canvas, he has the colours, he holds the brush; though he may not like them lay on the colours and trace the outline in the same way, yet, after all, he is following their steps, he is imitating them, and is far more likely to bring forth an excellent work than if he copied that which was not equal in perfection. But in what is it that we are endeavouring to "walk even as Christ walked"? In His demeanour towards those with whom He had to do — in all His relations, as a son unto His mother, as a friend among His friends — in all His dealings with His enemies and with His disciples.

(Bp. Ryle.)

I. PARTICULARS IN WHICH CHRISTIANS OUGHT TO LIVE AS CHRIST LIVED.

1. Those who profess to be Christ's disciples ought to take Him as their example in bearing their appointed sufferings.(1) In the first place, contentedly to bear whatever sufferings God by His providence imposes on us; not to be discontented, irritable, and despondent.(2) There was another characteristic in Christ's endurance of sufferings, perhaps yet more important to us, because it relates to a temper still more constantly to be in exercise. Jesus foresaw all those sufferings which He afterwards so patiently bore. He "steadfastly set His face to go up to Jerusalem"; He pursued the great end of His mission into this world without deviation by one single step or for one single moment. He, then, who "walks as Christ walked," will, without fear, without despondency, without impetuosity and passion, without enthusiasm, with calm deliberation and steady purpose, determine to pursue the course of duty God has called him to pursue, whatever the consequences may be.

2. In this course, however, it is impossible but that Christians should meet, as Christ met, with those who would oppose this course.

II. REASONS WHY WE SHOULD WALK THUS.

1. Those who are redeemed ought to live as their Redeemer lived, because they recognise Him to be the pattern of all excel lence.

2. Those who are redeemed ought to endeavour to please their Redeemer.

3. Those who have been redeemed ought to count it one of the highest objects of their existence to glorify and serve Him who has been their Redeemer.

(B. W. Noel, M. A.)

There is an inward germinant power which must make itself felt in a life like his. If a man abide in Christ and Christ dwells within him, then must the heavenly forms of grace and truth which Christ unfolded in His life be manifested, to some extent at least, in His followers, The life of the rose unfolds itself in the fragrance and beauty of the queen of flowers; the life of the lily in immaculate purity; the life of Christ in "love, joy, peace, long suffering, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance," which are the fruits of the Spirit. Christ is the great archetype of redeemed humanity, and the life of each believer is an aspect of the image of the Son of God. The conformity of the life to the model of Christ is the test of fellowship with the Father.

(A. R. Cocke, D. D.)

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