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Christian Conduct | Charles E. Orr

Christian Conduct

By the Word of God we have very briefly laid before the reader the plan of redemption, or how we are brought into the fullness of a Christian experience. Through repentance and faith by grace we receive pardon of all our transgressions and become as little children. Subsequently through consecration and faith by grace we are wholly sanctified or cleansed from an evil nature and made partakers of the divine nature. This is a restoration to the image of God. Man was created in God’s image (Genesis 1:26-27). Through the sin of disobedience he lost the holy imprint of God’s character in his soul and instead received the imprint of evil in his nature. Jesus came into the world to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself, consequently through Him we are changed into the holy image of God again, “from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”* (2 Corinthians 3:18) Praise God!

Now since we have come into the glorious fullness of God’s salvation and bear His beautiful holy image in our nature and life, it now remains for us to show forth His glory and praise and life by bearing the excellent fruits of righteousness on to the end of our life’s journey. “He that endureth unto the end shall be saved.”* (Matthew 10:22) What can be more blessed than the privilege of walking with God in holiness, His peace and love streaming into our soul from His excellent glory and thrilling us with a tenderness and rapture known only by the redeemed? The harmonious uniting of the sweetest-toned instruments of music ever invented by man are only an empty sound compared with the sweet songs of redemption.

I’m redeemed and filled with glory;
Streams of gladness from above
Flowing, oh, so sweetly flowing,
And my soul is full of love.

The holy Bible is the book to guide the Christian’s footsteps and govern his walk of life. When he walks in the truth, he walks even as Jesus walked; and when he strays from the truth, he departs from the life of Jesus.

You have heretofore agreed with me that a Christian life will naturally result from a Christian experience, and where the life is deficient the experience is also deficient. The Bible is the book by which our life is judged or graded. If we fall below one hundred per cent in any line of conduct, we fall that much below the standard of Christianity. It is not enough to live up to the Word of God in a few things, or in many things, but we must live according to the truth in all things. At the closing up of earthly scenes, you for your Christian experience must receive a general average of one hundred per cent to find admittance into the regions of eternal glory. If you are graded with a general average of only 99.9 per cent, you will hear the words, “Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting,”* (Daniel 5:27) and may God help you to see.

A young lady recently said, after hearing a portion of the Scriptures read relating to practical Christianity, “Our preachers have not told us how to live.” This remark occasioned the writing of this booklet. In the judgment day I desire to stand clear from the blood of all men. In the name of Jesus my Savior I shall do what I can to inform you how to live that you may please God and spend an eternity in the glory of His presence. Not only shall we tell you, but we shall earnestly pray to God for you.

The apostle Paul tells us in one short sentence how to live. He says, “Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ.”* (Philippians 1:27) In other translations the word conversation is rendered conduct, which is a better rendering. In the Revised Version we have this rendering: “Only let your manner of life be worthy the gospel of Christ.”RV A Christian life is one that becomes or adorns or makes beautiful the Word of God to the world. A holy and pure life is a jewel to crown the glorious gospel of Jesus. A Christian life is a light shining forth and revealing the gospel to a lost world. Oh, what a privilege granted unto us by grace that we can so live that our life magnifies the Word of God and makes it beautiful and attractive. Glory, glory be to our God!

With all my soul I appreciate the privilege of living a Christian life. We find many today who are disgusted with a professed Christianity, and disbelieve the Bible because of the imperfect lives of those who claim to be followers of the Lord Jesus. Many also, thank God, have been caused to believe the Bible and in the salvation of God by the pure and perfect lives of Christ’s true and devoted followers, who walk as He walked. This is what is meant by living as “becometh the gospel,”* (Philippians 1:27) or, “[adorning] the doctrine of God.”* (Titus 2:10) By living a pure and holy life we interest others in the salvation of our God and His gospel. Praise God! To my soul this is such a beautiful point I am loath to leave it. The privilege of reflecting the glorious image of God to a darkened world by a pure life fills my soul with gratitude and praise. We have often seen a ray of sunlight passing from the keyhole through our darkened room and ending in a bright spot on the opposite wall. This reminds us of a Christian’s life journey, which as a beautiful stream of light, finally ends in a bright spot upon the walls of time. By living upon God in prayer and holy thought, and by careful earnest effort, this light “shineth more and more unto the perfect day.”* (Proverbs 4:18) Every prayer and hour of holy meditation burnishes the image of God in our soul to a greater clearness and brilliancy. Every vagrant thought and hour of worldly meditation and gossip dims the features of the Christlikeness in our life, hence the exhortation, “Pray without ceasing.”* (1 Thessalonians 5:17)

There is a way, an only way, that leads to eternal rest in the paradise of God. Jesus is the way, and He tells us to follow in His steps. The minister of a certain creed recently spoke of us in these words: “If they can do any good, very well, but I am not going that way.” There is but one way (John 14:6; Jeremiah 32:39), and it is evident if he is not going our way he is not going to the same place. The Bible is the book given to guide us in the way. Who can persuade a man that he is not in the way that leads to the city when he is carefully following every signboard that points that way? Who can persuade a man he is not in the way that leads to eternal glory when he is carefully keeping every commandment of the Bible? “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have a right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.”* (Revelation 22:14)

Now we desire to give a few commandments teaching us what should be our daily manner of life. Paul in writing to Timothy said: “These things write I unto thee… that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.”* (1 Timothy 3:14-15) Christian behavior is our theme. Had ministers everywhere been zealous to teach the whole of the commandments of God, and nothing but the commandments, no doubt our present task would be unnecessary. But the time has come (we speak the truth in love) when people with itching ears have heaped unto themselves teachers who have turned away from the truth and turned to fables, or the telling of amusing stories, consequently it becomes necessary that we be zealous to do what we can to declare the whole counsel of God. It is true, and sad that it is true, that from many pulpits and pews Christianity at this present day is reduced to almost nothing. In many religious organizations now extant there is but little to distinguish fair Christianity from the uncouth world. From the minister unto the most obscure layman they are jesting, talking foolishly, chewing and smoking, getting impatient and fretful, returning evil for evil, having enmity in their hearts against some fellow man, attending ball games, horse races, fox chases, etc.; engaging in politics, having membership in secret societies, loving money and laying up treasures on earth, neglecting to pay debts, etc.

Oh, what a shame! Is this not the ordinary life of many, many pretended followers of Jesus? Is this all there is of Christianity, which the Bible calls spotless and pure? We do not speak of these things to condemn you. God has not sent us into the world to condemn the world, but to preach the pure gospel, that the world might be saved. It is astonishing what little conception many a professed Christian has of Bible Christianity. They seem to think that church membership, church-going and giving, and a few outward ceremonies is all that is included in Christianity. One woman whom we met entertained hopes of heaven because she sent her children to Sunday school. Has Christianity been changed in its nature since the days of Jesus and the apostles? Is it any less to be a Christian now than it was then? Is not as much required of us today to be Christians as was required of the Christians in the first centuries of this gospel era?

With love and loyalty toward God we proceed to give a few Scriptures governing a Christian’s daily life and practice.