Walking in God’s Wisdom
Category : General
Colossians 4: 5 (KJV)
5 Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.
That is, conduct uprightly and honestly. Deal with them on the strictest principles of integrity, so that they may not have occasion to reproach the religion which you profess. This is, of course, an expression for the non-Christian world; the outsiders who are beyond the pale of the Church. There was a very broad line of distinction between it and the surrounding world in the early Christian days, and the handful of Christians in a heathen country felt a great gulf between them and the society in which they lived. That distinction varies in form, and varies somewhat in apparent magnitude according as Christianity has been rooted in a country for a longer or a shorter time; but it remains, and is as real today as ever it was, and there is neither wisdom nor kindness in ignoring the distinction.
“Toward them that are without”. The phrase was apparently borrowed from Judaism, where it meant “outside the Jewish congregation,” and its primary application, as used here, is no doubt to those who are outside the Christian Church. But we must remember that connection with any organized body of believing men is not being “within,” and that isolation from all these is not necessarily being “without.” External relationships and rites cannot determine spiritual conditions. The kingdom of Christ is not a visible external community. The kingdom of Christ, or of God, or of heaven, is found wherever human wills obey the law of Christ, which is the will of God, the decrees of heaven. “Those that are without” are those whose wills are not bent in loving obedience to the Lord of their spirit
People of the world judge of religion, not from the profession, but from the life of its friends. They judge of religion, not from preaching, or from books, or from the conduct of its Founder and his apostles, but from what they see in the daily walk and conversation of the members of the church. They understand the nature of religion so well as to know when its friends are or are not consistent with their profession. Moreover, they set a much higher value on honesty and integrity than they do on the doctrines and duties of religion; and if the professed friends of religion are destitute of the principles of truth and honesty, they think they have nothing of any value. They may be very devout on the Sabbath; very regular at prayer-meetings; very strict in the observance of rites and ceremonies – but all these are of little worth in the estimation of the world, unless attended with an upright life.
It is important that we understand that no professing Christian can possibly do good to others who does not live an upright life. If you have cheated a man out of never so small a sum, it is vain that you talk to him about the salvation of his soul; if you have failed to pay him a debt when it was due, or to finish a piece of work when you promised it, or to tell him the exact truth in conversation, it is vain for you to endeavor to induce him to be a Christian. He will feel, if he does not say – and he might very properly say – that he wants no religion which will not make a man honest. Also, no person will attempt to do much good to others whose own life is not upright. He will be sensible of the inconsistency, and will feel that he cannot do it with any sense of propriety; and the honor of religion, therefore, and the salvation of our fellow-men, demand that in all our intercourse with others, we should and must lead lives of the strictest integrity.
Have a Great and God filled Day