Christian Walk

My Dear Brother in the Lord,
It might be well in these sad days, when so much positive evil is being everywhere manifested, to write a few short remarks on the principles of Christian walk; rather with the view of leading the saints who read your periodical to search the Scriptures on that subject, than anything else. I have jotted down a few thoughts, which I now convey to you, trusting they may be of use to those who read your periodical.
The Christian’s walk through this world is founded on his position in Christ. Christian responsibility never begins till the saint is established in his position. As a child of Adam he was responsible, and the law was the perfect measure of his responsibility. He was to love God with all his heart, etc., and his neighbor as himself; but in that condition he was utterly lost. Now through redemption he is forgiven and justified as a sinner, but not only that — he is entirely delivered from his state and condition as a child of Adam, and brought into the family of God; the Father’s name is revealed to him, he is sealed by the Spirit and cries. “Abba Father.” In that new position he is responsible, no longer as a child of Adam, but as a child of God. As a child he is responsible to obey his Father; as a member of Christ he has a common responsibility with the other members of Christ to hold the Head. To illustrate my meaning more clearly — all responsibility in this life is founded on a relationship already formed; such as a wife’s to her husband, a child’s to a father, a servant’s to a master. The responsibility must be formed before the responsibility commences. It would be preposterous to tell a strange boy in the street to walk as my child, he would not understand his responsibility to do so; but let him be adopted into my family, and then teach him his responsibility, he will understand the meaning of it.
It is on account of not seeing this principle clearly, that much of the doubt and darkness which pervades Christendom is caused, as well as the failure in the walk of Christians.
Now there are three great parts of the individual Christian’s position, from which his responsibility flows: 1st. He is born of God. 2nd. Christ in glory is the object of his faith. 3rd. The Holy Ghost dwells in his body, as a temple.
I begin with the first as that most commonly known amongst Christians, though it comes last in order in the Epistles, that is, that the Christian is born of God. This is a state which he has in common with all Old Testament saints, and connects itself with the government of God, a principle which is especially taught in Old Testament Scripture, Israel being the center of God’s government on the earth. Christians are under the government of the Father as children born in a family, and are responsible to obey Him. Obedience is founded on life. Commandments are addressed to that life as its rule. The law was the rule to the flesh or old man, the Father’s commandments and the law of liberty to the new man. See 1 John 1, 2; James 1:17-2517Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. 18Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. 19Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: 20For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. 21Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. 22But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. 23For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: 24For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. 25But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. (James 1:17‑25); 1 Pet. 2:3-173If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. 4To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, 5Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. 6Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. 7Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, 8And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed. 9But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: 10Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. 11Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; 12Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation. 13Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; 14Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. 15For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: 16As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God. 17Honor all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king. (1 Peter 2:3‑17). The Christian, born of God, and thus addressed, does righteousness and loves the brethren (1 John 3), but the general principles of government are the same at all times, modified by the revelation of the Father’s name, and refer only to this life and the new-born soul’s walk through this world. James and Peter, in this view, give a very wholesome connection with Old Testament Scripture, teaching that the man born of God needs a rule, which he finds in the Word of God, which is profitable for reproof, correction and instruction in righteousness, so that the man of God might be thoroughly furnished to every good work (2 Tim. 3:1616All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: (2 Timothy 3:16)). Here Paul was alluding specially to Old Testament Scripture, in the knowledge of which Timothy had been brought up as a child.
We now come to the other two parts of the Christian’s position, which may be said to be those properly Christian, that is, not belonging to the saint in Old Testament times. 1st. That a glorified Christ is set before him as the object of faith, the righteousness of God by faith is revealed to him. Founded on this,
2ndly. The Holy Ghost dwells in his body as a temple, and he is called to walk in the Spirit.
As to the first, the righteousness of God as now manifested in Christ in glory, is seen to be in the believer’s favor consequent on redemption having been accomplished (Rom. 3:21, 2221But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 22Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: (Romans 3:21‑22)). The Christian believes; his sins are forgiven through Christ’s blood, and Christ is made unto him righteousness. He is justified, reckoned righteous by faith in Him, a Person outside Himself, who has wrought out his redemption; and given him deliverance from sin’s power. Founded on this position the walk comes in; the just shall live by faith; as dead and risen he is to yield himself to God (Rom. 6:1313Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. (Romans 6:13)); having put off the old man, and put on the new, he is to put off the fruits daily of the former, and to put on the fruits of the latter (Eph. 4:20-2920But ye have not so learned Christ; 21If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; 23And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; 24And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. 25Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor: for we are members one of another. 26Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: 27Neither give place to the devil. 28Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. 29Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. (Ephesians 4:20‑29); Col. 3:8-148But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. 9Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; 10And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: 11Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all. 12Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; 13Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. 14And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. (Colossians 3:8‑14)). He waits by faith for the hope of righteousness, that faith working by love (Gal. 5:5, 65For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. 6For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love. (Galatians 5:5‑6)).
But the second great work of Christianity is that the Holy Ghost has come down from heaven, consequent on the exaltation of Christ as man, and has sealed the believer, giving him the knowledge of his sonship, and of all the things freely given to him of God, so that his body is the temple of the Holy Ghost (John 14:2020At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. (John 14:20); Rom. 8:15, 16; 115For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: (Romans 8:15‑16) Cor. 2:12, 6:19). God dwells in him. Now he has positive power; it is no longer a simple yielding himself up to God (Rom. 6:1313Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. (Romans 6:13)), but by the Spirit he mortifies or puts to death the deeds of the flesh (Rom. 8:13, 1413For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. 14For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. (Romans 8:13‑14); Col. 3:44When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3:4)). Walking in the Spirit, he does not fulfill the lusts of the flesh (Gal. 5:16). He is called to be an imitator of God as a dear child (Eph. 5:11Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; (Ephesians 5:1)), forgiving as God forgives, showing his character as light and love. It is no longer simple dependence on an object outside you, and set before you at as an object of faith, but power come inside you, upon which indeed there is also need of dependence, but it is power acting on the flesh from within, as also manifesting the life of God in the soul. God works in the Christian both to will and to do of His good pleasure. This principle also is in direct contrast to legal obedience. Led of the Spirit the Christian is not under the law (Gal. 5); and yet as not under it and dead to it, and walking after the Spirit, he fulfills its righteousness (Rom. 7:4, 8:4). I think if the saint kept these three different parts of the Christian position apart in his mind, and connected them with three different parts of the Christian walk, much difficulty would vanish. It is true the parts blend together in the Christian, but they are distinct in themselves, and need to be seen distinct in the mind so as to understand our proper position and walk.
Your affectionate brother in Christ, A. P. C.