‘What Manner of Persons Ought Ye to be?’
O. Speare, Dorking
In view of the fact that "If anyone be in Christ there is a new creation,' we, as believers in Christ should quite naturally desire to know what kind of persons we ought to be. Ws have been "delivered out of the authority of darkness, and translated into the Kingdom of the Son His love," and in this new realm there is a way of life to which, if we conform, will make for much spiritual joy and success.
1. The "Ought" of pleasing God.
"We beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more," 1 Thess. 4 - 1.
Yes! In the light of the knowledge of the conditions which prevail around us, out of which, in the mercy of God, we have been delivered, we now discover an inner desire to walk aright and to live to please God.
The very words "walking" and "pleasing" remind us of Enoch. He lived in a sinful age, which was fast ripening for judgment. In the midst of all the darkness and wickedness, it is recorded of him, that "he walked with God." Further we read of him "Before his translation he had this testimony that he pleased God. Heb. 11.5.
We, too, are living in a sinful world, fast ripening for judgment, and it is just here in the very midst of it all, where God desires that His dear people should walk with Him. May this be true of us, so that before our translation we also may have this testimony that we please God.
2. The "Ought" of heeding God's word.
"Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip (or lest haply we drift away).”
Heb. 2. 1.
God has spoken in these last days in His Son. Never before has the world heard such things as may be heard in these last days.
The fuller revelation of God in Christ, coming co us by His Incarnation, Death, Resurrection and Exaltation, carries with it fuller blessings to those who hear.
The initial blessing of Salvation received on the basis of faith in Christ, opens the door into a realm of further numberless blessings. The way to obtain and enjoy them is by giving heed to the word of God, which also acts as a safeguard to the believer against drifting away.
The "Ought" of Holiness of Life.
"Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness." 2 Peter 3. 11.
The present order of things is coming to an end under the devastating judgments of Almighty God, and we are to live our lives in the light of these solemn coming events.
"Come out of her my people and be not partakers of her sins.
"Let all that look for hasten the coming joyful day. By earnest consecration to walk the narrow way."
4. The "Ought" of following Christ.
"He that saith he abideth in Him, ought himself also so to walk, even as He walked." 1 John. 2. 6.
Abiding in Christ is one of the main essentials for spiritual fruit bearing, and one of the chief characteristics of spiritual fruit is Christ-likeness.
After washing the disciples' feet, the Lord said to them, "Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well, for so I am. If I then your Lord and Master have washed your feet ye ought also to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example that ye should do as I have done to you. John 13. 13 - 15.
Are we abiding in Christ? If so, we shall be happy in following Christ in this manner of washing the disciples' feet.
"If when ye do well and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God, for even hereunto were ye called; because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow His Steps." 1 Pet. 2. 20-21. Doing well — suffering for it — taking it patiently — following His steps.
Thus are we called upon to walk, even as He walked.
5. The "Ought" of future planning.
"Ye know not what shall be on the morrow . . . .for that ye ought to say:— "If the Lord will, we shall live and do this or that." James 4. 14—15. We have a perfect right to make plans for the future. But all that we do should be free from care and anxiety.
"Take no thought for the morrow" Matt, 6. 34. Our plans should be definitely and happily qualified by the desire that the Will of the Lord be done.
We might be saved many heart burnings, regrets and spiritual losses, if we lived more in the spirit of "If the Lord Will."
6. The "Ought" of self-sacrifice.
"We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak and not to please ourselves." Rom 15. 1. This verse is vitally linked with the preceding Chapter wherein we are reminded that some of God's Children are weak in various ways; also that certain things might be done by others, which might "stumble," "offend" or "weaken" them. We are therefore exhorted to walk 'charitably," not to "judge" or ' 'set at nought,' but rather to "bear their infirmities." This will invariably entail self-sacrifice, yet the word so clear regarding it is— we are "not to please ourselves."
"For we shall all stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ." Rom. 14. 10.