Only let your conversation be as it becomes the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent…
I. The GENERAL CHARACTER of Christian consistency.
II. Its SPECIAL requirements.
III. PARAMOUNT IMPORTANCE.
IV. GRATIFYING RESULTS.
(J. Lyth, D. D.)
I. WHAT THE CONDUCT IS WHICH BECOMES THE GOSPEL.
1. It must be the genuine result of gospel dispositions. Conduct is the birth of principle; what is seen in the life is the development of what exists in the heart. The tree must be good before the fruit can be good. But we must not judge altogether by outward appearance. All is not gold that glitters. A fair show in the flesh is naught unless the heart be right with God. The gospel makes the heart right.
2. Must be maintained under the influence of gospel principles and in the use of gospel ordinances. Everything is liable to deterioration; institutions, buildings, metals of the finest polish, Christians of the most exalted piety. We must live by faith, by the love of God in the keeping of His commandments, by an attention to the means of grace.
3. Must resemble gospel patterns. The gospel is not a collection of maxims and doctrines so much as an exhibition of examples. "Follow me as I follow Christ."
4. Must be conformable to gospel precepts. The gospel is not merely an offer of mercy and a promise of blessing. The law is not made void through faith. Where much is given, much is required. The epitome of these precepts is "live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present world."
II. WHAT OBLIGATIONS ARE WE UNDER TO MAINTAIN THIS CONDUCT?
1. God requires it. For this end He has given His revelation. "Not every one that saith, Lord, Lord," etc. The will of God is righteous, and no creature can resist it with impunity.
2. Consistency requires it. Profession without practice is hypocrisy. Actions speak louder than words. "Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity."
3. Our personal comfort requires it. "Our rejoicing is the testimony of our conscience." Without this peace is a delusion.
4. Our connection with society requires it. We owe to society what we cannot adequately repay but by the blessings of the life of the gospel.
5. Our final salvation requires it. We shall be judged according to our works.Conclusion:
1. How excellent is the Christian religion.
2. How illiberal and unreasonable to censure it on account of its inconsistent professors.
Parallel VersesKJV: Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;
WEB: Only let your way of life be worthy of the Good News of Christ, that, whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your state, that you stand firm in one spirit, with one soul striving for the faith of the Good News;