Christian behavior reflects Christ’s values in the world
A recent article in the farragutpress commended a man for his caring, good work ethic.
This work ethic is defined as a system of values that controls behavior. In the case of this man, he valued the work he did as good in and of itself.
The idea that good and behavior are linked is seen in the life of Christians in the early church.
In many cases, Christian values were such a rebuke to the world that the world often sought something to blame them for. But they were usually unable to find anything, after closely examining their conduct or their behavior.
Excellent or good behavior was in Paul’s mind when he instructed in Titus, Chapter 2, verses 7-8: “In all things showing thyself a pattern of good works.” In other words, live in such a way that your behavior reflects your good ethics.
In 1 Peter 2:15, the apostle wrote, “For so is the will of God, that with well-doing you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men.” In other words, Peter is saying that followers of Christ need to live so that no one can cast any doubt on Christianity, evidenced by the kind of life that one is living.
We see a clear illustration of this in the actions of Pliny the Younger, a Roman governor of Bithinia (a region in N. Asia Minor) during the early Second Century.
He examined Christians to find a charge on which to condemn them.
However, he was forced to admit to Trajan, the Roman emperor: “They bind themselves by oath, not for any criminal purpose, but to abstain from theft, robbery and adultery, to commit no breach of trust and not to deny a deposit when called upon to restore it” (The Letters of the Younger Pliny, N. Y.: Penguin Books, 1981, p. 294).
Investigation led Pliny to admit that Christians were characterized by moral and financial integrity.
Jesus presented the reality of these values in the Sermon on the Mount, when He said in Matthew 5:16, “In the same way, let your light shine before others so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in Heaven.”
Jesus is saying the life of a Christian must be a reflection of our values as guided by the New Testament.
As Christians, right and wrong are determined not by the constantly changing feelings of the individual nor the changing feelings of the masses, rather such things are rooted in the very nature of God. Peter put it this way in 1 Peter 1:15-16: “But like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior, because it is written, ‘You shall be holy for I am holy.’”
Peter plainly says the ethics that God has given us in His word are to govern our behavior in every situation of our lives, including our thought processes, as Paul wrote in Philippians 4:8.