THE LIFE AND CONDUCT OF A TRUE CHRISTIAN
IT is stated in the Gospel that one day a Jewish lawyer inquired of the Lord Jesus
Christ what commandment of the Law of God was the most important of all. In reply Christ
said, "Thou1 shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all
thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second
like unto it is this, Thou2 shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two
commandments hangeth the whole Law, and the Prophets" (Matt. xxii. 35-40; Mark xii.
28-31). In accordance with this it is said elsewhere in the New Testament: "Owe no
man anything, save to love one another: for he that loveth his neighbour hath fulfilled
the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not
steal, Thou shalt not covet, and if there be any other commandment, it is summed up in
this word, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his
neighbour: love therefore is the fulfilment of the law" (Rom. xiii. 8-10). Love to
God produces love towards His creatures, and especially towards mankind at large. The true
Christian loves God because he knows that God has first loved him (I John iv. 9-11, 19;
Rom. v. 5-8), and this love of God weans him from caring for the pleasures and riches of
this transitory world (I John ii. 15-17). As this love of God grows in his heart, he
becomes more and more zealous in the service of God and in doing good to his fellow-men.
He realizes that God is his Heavenly Father, and that in Christ he is God's child (John i.
12; I John iii. 1, 2). Hence he
trusts God, and strives in thought, word, and deed to honour and glorify Him (Ps. lxiii.
1-8). Whenever he is tempted by Satan, he will say, as did Joseph, "How then can I do
this great wickedness, and sin against God?" (Gen. xxxix. 9), and whatever he does
will all be done to the glory of God and to please Him, not men (Col. iii. 23). As he
grows to know and love God more and more, he will be continually thanking and praising Him
for all the temporal and spiritual blessings which God gives him, and will show his
gratitude and contentment not only by his words, but by his whole conduct (Ps. xxxiv. 1;
Col. iii. 17; I Thess. v. 15-22).
Another characteristic of the true Christian is that, when he is in trouble or distress
in regard to his temporal concerns, he does not rely upon man, but upon God. He does not
seek for great wealth or high rank, nor does he feel unduly anxious about his livelihood,
but he prays God to bless him in his business, so that his lawful earnings may be
sufficient to supply his needs. He feels convinced in his heart that his Heavenly Father
cares for him (I Pet. v. 7) and that therefore he may safely cast all his anxiety upon
God. He knows that God has opened for him the gate of His spiritual treasure-house in
Christ Jesus, and is sure therefore that the Most Merciful One will not leave him
destitute of necessary temporal things (Ps. xxviii. 7; Matt. vi. 9-34; I Tim. vi. 6-11).
The Christian is thankful to God for ease and prosperity, knowing that every good gift
and every perfect boon comes from Him (Jas. i. 17). But in tribulation, distress, sorrow,
pain, persecution, he is patient, knowing that all things work together for good to those
that love God (Rom. viii. 28). He hears it said to him in the words of a good man of old:
"Christ's whole life was a cross and a martyrdom, and dost thou seek for
thyself rest and joy?" He knows that His Heavenly Father's purpose in permitting him
to suffer is to draw him closer to Himself. Hence he is able to rejoice amid tribulation
(Rom. v. 3, 4, 5; xii. 12) and