Worthy Of The Gospel
“Only let your manner of life by worthy of the gospel of Christ.” (Phil.1:27). These words should be deeply ingrained in the heart on every Christian. Where the King James Version uses the word conversation, revised versions use the expression, “manner Of life.” It denotes our behavior and character. To be worthy of something implies that there is worth or value in that thing. It means that we must try to equal the worth or quality of the gospel. The gospel is the perfect law of liberty (James 1:25). This standard calls for the most and the best that is in us. We sometimes remark that some lady is dressed becomingly. Her dress enhances her own grace and beauty. Even so, Christians should develop character and behavior which will enhance the gospel of grace. Our lives must conform to the word.
The Christian is sanctified, or set apart, by the gospel; “Sanctify them in the truth: thy word is truth.” (John 17:17). Some people are set apart from society as outcasts, some as criminals, some as hermits, some as abnormal in mind and morals. But sanctification is a special kind of setting apart. Christ prayed that his disciples be set apart to a life of holiness.
The man whose life is not devoted to spiritual things, whose concern is for the material rather than the spiritual values, whose thinking is centered on the worldly rather than the spiritual, is not being sanctified by the truth. If he knows the truth he is not allowing it to motivate him to holy purposes. His conduct is not worthy of the gospel.
Jesus teaches that men are known by their fruits (Matt. 7:20). Is a man’s speech, habits, and conduct such that you can tell that he is a Christian? This might be impossible from any single item of a man’s life; but this question is posed for a study of a general sample of a man’s life. If you cannot tell the difference between him and men of the world, you may be sure that he has permitted little setting apart by the truth. He is operating on the principle of minimum requirements for maximum benefits. He needs to give himself to the Lord (2 Cor. 8:5). His life does not become, is not worthy of, the gospel of Christ.
The person who is in life worthy of the gospel has been transformed by the renewing of mind so that he demonstrates the perfect will of God. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Rom. 12:1,2).
The word transform is from a word in the original Greek text which has been brought over into the English language with a more vivid intent than the word used in the translation. Metamorphosis is the anglicized word. This is the biological process through which some living creatures pass in their life cycle. The tobacco worm, or horn worm, is a vile, ugly, filthy voracious creature. But as it matures in this stage of its life it goes into a kind of cocoon in the ground and after a while comes forth .a beautiful, dainty moth. That is metamorphosis. And that is the kind of change in mind which the word of the Lord will produce if we will allow it. And with this metamorphosis from the old man to the new will come the proving, the demonstrating, in conduct what the will of the Lord is. It will help us to be worthy of the gospel.
Christ As Lord
What is our standard of conduct? Are we justifying the things we do by the fact that others are doing them? Many have this as their standard of morals and spiritual values. To have our behavior worthy of the gospel of Christ we must let it be the standard, for the gospel is the word of Christ our ruler, our Lord. “But sanctify in your hearts Christ as Lord: being ready always to give answer to every man that asketh you a reason concerning the hope that is in you, yet with meekness and fear, ” (1 Pet. 3:15)
Young people want to go dancing because everybody does it. They need to be reminded that the basic rule of conduct is the word of Christ, not the popular activity around them. Our manner of life is to be worthy of the gospel, not worthy of the popular nations. Men in business want to use the same tactics which all others are using. They reason that modern business cannot survive without doing this. No business is worthy of survival and success if it has to depend upon dishonest and dishonorable practices.
The man is unworthy of the gospel in his life who will resort to misrepresentation of his product in order to make a sale. The end does not justify the means, in spite of the efforts of many people to justify their own case by reasoning that in their specific instance they are justified in doing what is generally considered wrong.
Many have embezzled funds with the intention of later putting them back. They reasoned that the use being made of these funds justified their taking them; and of course they would not think of calling that which they did, embezzlement or theft. Men have plagiarized written material for the good (?) that could be accomplished. They reasoned that this was not theft because they had no qualms about later revealing the source. What is the difference in the principle of the two cases? Both are performed on the false premise that the end justifies the means.
Brotherhood publishing houses have advertized and sold materials and literature which they knew to be unsound, subversive of faith, and contrary to the principles of righteousness. They have justified it on the basis that the good which they were otherwise accomplishing merited their practice in order to their continuance in business. No business has any right to continuance which must depend upon unrighteousness in product or procedure. Such is plainly unworthy of the gospel of Christ.
Churches are engaging in their recreational and promotional schemes for which they find no answer in the word of Christ. They justify these things on the premise that the numbers gained and the good (?) results make them right. They are operating under the standard that the end justifies the means, rather than under the rule of Christ as Lord.
There is no phase, nor time, nor feature of a man’s life that is exempted from the precept which Paul addressed to the saints at Philippi; “Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ.” – Robert Welch