How Shall We Live?
How should the lives of Christians differ from the rest of humanity?
"They dwell in their own countries, but simply as sojourners. As citizens, they share in all things with others and yet endure all things as if foreigners. Every foreign land is to them as their native country, and every land of their birth as a land of strangers. They marry, as do all others; they beget children; but they do not destroy their offspring. They have a common table, but not a common bed. They are in the flesh, but they do not live after the flesh. They pass their days on earth, but they are citizens of heaven. They obey the prescribed laws, and at the same time surpass the laws by their lives. They love all men and are persecuted by all. They are unknown and condemned; they are put to death and restored to life. They are poor yet make many rich; they are in lack of all things and yet abound in all; they are dishonored and yet in their very dishonor are glorified. They are evil spoken of and yet are justified; they are reviled and bless; they are insulted and repay the insult with honor; they do good yet are punished as evildoers. When punished, they rejoice as if quickened into life; they are assailed by the Jews as foreigners and are persecuted by the Greeks; yet those who hate them are unable to assign any reason for their hatred. To sum it all up in one word -- what the soul is to the body, that are Christians in the world."
- The Epistle to Diognetes (AD 130)
"Disciples have a distinct profile over against the world. They admit they are poor in spirit, are peacemakers and merciful, endure persecution, do not hate those who mistreat them, are not marked by lust and abuse of women, love their enemies, do not produce religion for the praise of others, trust God for their physical needs, and do not judge others. They communicate their difference from the world and shine as witnesses in a dark world."
- Dr. Thomas Schreiner, an American Reformed New Testament scholar. Born in 1954.
How does Jesus tell us to live? "And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying, Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you." Matt. 5:1-12.
Can we not see the difference? Should we not be the examples Jesus called us to be? "But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also...Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." Matt. 6:20-21, 31-33.
How can we live this way? Jesus explains, "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." Jn. 14:6. He is the truth, not a truth, and He is the foundation upon which all other truths are build, "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth." 3 Jn. 1:4. Every other way is from this world and will not lead us to eternal joy.
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