In this blog, there will be a variety of material: thoughts on Bible books, book reviews, historical characters, aspects of Scottish church history and other things.
Thursday, 19 December 2013
Goal of Christian behaviour (Philippians 1:10-11)
Christian love results in a particular way of living that will come to full fruition at the day of Jesus Christ. This type of living is described by Paul as being marked by sincerity and without offence. Sincerity refers to the inward character and ‘without offence’ to the outward conduct.
The word that is translated sincerity comes from a Greek root that means ‘examined in the sunlight and found pure’. It refers to a life that can accept very close scrutiny by others. People can look at such a person and find no wrong motives, no wrong intentions, no self-seeking pride. Love always looks away from oneself to the object of love and aims to please them and do what is for their benefit and well-being.
Similarly, with regard to outward behaviour, a loving believer does nothing that will cause offence. His aim will be not to grieve the Holy Spirit by his behaviour. He knows that a wrong word or action can do this, therefore he controls what he says and does. Neither does he want to prevent another Christian developing in the faith. This awareness prevents him doing many legitimate activities in case he causes distress to another Christian. And he does not do anything that might cause a non-Christian to be confused by what a Christian is. A believer with an expanding love has no wish to do anything that would disturb his relationship with God or hinder the work of God in others.
Paul describes this kind of living as being filled with the fruits of righteousness. A person with an expanding love has an inwardly righteous character and outwardly righteous lifestyle. What does a sanctified, loving person look like? He is marked by sincerity and gives no offence.
This kind of believer also lives with the realisation that Jesus Christ is returning. When that event occurs, the believer knows that his life is going to be assessed. How trivial some of our priorities will seem then! Even worse, how sinful they will be regarded by Jesus and by ourselves! It is important that we assess our lives in light of that day. We should silently ask ourselves before we say anything or do anything, ‘Will Jesus say to me “Well done” for doing this action or saying these words?’
The ultimate goal of Christian behaviour is the glory and praise of God. And those with an expanding love will aim to do nothing to prevent this happening.