pdf of Bible Correspondence Course - Lesson 12 link to Bible Correspondence Course - Lesson 12
Bible Correspondence Course - Lesson 12
Bible Correspondence Course - Lesson 12

Christianity is indeed a WAY of life. There is no more well-established fact in all the Bible. But WHAT, specifically, is that way, and HOW may we successfully live it?

THE book of Acts is the history of the early New Testament Church of God. It covers the major events in briefest summary form. This book attests to the fact that to live a Christian life is to live a certain way – to do certain things – to conform to certain standards.

One of the early Christians was a man named Apollos. He was an excellent speaker and well-versed in the Old Testament Scriptures. He preached boldly. However, Apollos was in need of more understanding. A dedicated couple in the Church of God gave him further instruction.

Notice the account in Acts 18:26: "…whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly” (emphasis ours throughout lesson). Real Christianity, as described in the Bible, is a “way” of life – God's way!

Roots in the Old Testament

Royalty, heads of state and other government officials in the Apostle Paul's day recognized Christianity as a distinct lifestyle. Paul, under house arrest, defended his way of life – the Christian way – before Felix, the procurator of Judea. Notice Felix's reaction to Paul's words: “And when Felix heard these things, having more perfect knowledge of that way, he deferred them [put off any immediate action]" (Acts 24:22).

Earlier, Paul had explained to Felix: “But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets [which are part of what is now called the Old Testament]" (verse 14).

A vital point to understand is this: The Christian way of life has its roots in the Old Testament. It is established on the Ten Commandments, as well as the other laws of God, which are based on principles of the “basic ten.”

God's way of life is the sensible way to live. God's Word gives practical directions for successfully managing finances, building and beautifying marriages and even maintaining good health. Simply stated, God's Law is the way to all the good things in life – to peace, happiness and ultimately an eternal life of satisfying accomplishment!

God's Great Law the Standard

God's purpose for us is that we become like He is – that we develop His perfect, spiritual character, which can be summed up in the one word love. Since God is love (I John 4:8, 16), His Spirit-begotten children should be growing in His love.

The Bible defines godly love for us. John, often referred to as the “apostle of love,” wrote: “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome” (I John 5:3, RSV).

The Apostle James referred to the Ten Commandments as the royal law of liberty (Jas. 2:8-12). That is because they free those who keep them from the bondage of the hurtful ways of this world. The Ten Commandments reveal the great love God has for His children.

Before His crucifixion, Jesus Christ told His disciples: “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love” (John 15:10). God's love and His Law are in perfect agreement. They do not oppose each other, as some erroneously believe. As Jesus plainly stated, “If ye love me, keep my commandments" (John 14:15).

The “Test” Commandment

Many who claim to be Christians profess to keep the Ten Commandments. However, most do not want to keep God's seventh-day Sabbath.

Few realize that observing the Sabbath day is a major sign identifying a true Christian. The Bible shows that the fourth commandment is the test commandment! The keeping of the seventh-day Sabbath is an indication to God of one's serious commitment to live by every word of God.

We learned in our previous studies that God defines a Christian as one whom He has begotten by His Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:9-11). The Apostle Peter pointed out something most vital about those to whom God gives His Spirit. Notice what he said in Acts 5:32: “And we are witnesses to these things [Jesus Christ as Savior], and so is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him" (RSV).

An obedient attitude is one of the qualities God looks for in a potential member of His Family. He inspired Isaiah to write: "…to this man will I look, even to him that is poor [humble] and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word” (Isa. 66:2).

A true Christian will be striving to keep all of God's commandments – including the fourth!

The seventh-day Sabbath is a memorial reminding us every week that God is Creator, Ruler and Sustainer of the universe. It also points to Christ's coming rule in the Millennium, when mankind will experience “rest” from war, poverty, fear and suffering.

Keeping the Sabbath sometimes involves considerable faith. It is not always easy to obey God in this society. But the blessings are many to those who have the courage and faith to obey God and keep the seventh-day Sabbath.

Special Annual Days

Just as the commandment against adultery includes, in principle, prohibition of all forms of illicit sex, the fourth commandment includes other special God-ordained days. These are seven annual festivals, which include special Holy Days or Sabbaths of rest. These annual observances detail the working out of God's great Master Plan for man. The reason the Christian-professing world does not really understand man's awesome potential and God's plan of salvation is because the churches do not keep the days God says are holy to Him!

A Little-known Financial Law

The weekly and annual Sabbaths are special times God has set apart for us for physical rest and spiritual worship. In a sense, we give these portions of time back to God. As we do, He grants us greater understanding of His way, even as we are rejuvenated physically and spiritually on these days.

Likewise, God requires His children to return a part of their income to Him for His use here on earth. Although the Creator God has unlimited resources, He has always conducted His work among and through human beings. Today, God desires that those He calls have an active role with Him in introducing the knowledge of His way of life to others by helping finance the work His Church is doing on earth.

Long ago, even during the time of Abraham, God used the tithing (or “tenthing”) system to underwrite His work for that time. God's Church today uses the same method to finance His commission to preach the Gospel of the soon-coming Kingdom of God to the world.

The act of tithing expresses our recognition of God's rulership over the entire earth, and over us individually. It shows our cheerful adherence to the first great commandment – worshipping the true God and Him only. And as with observance of the weekly and annual Sabbaths, the man or woman who keeps God's financial law will reap the physical and spiritual blessings promised in His Word.

Obedience and Overcoming

Although the true Christian strives to keep all the laws of God, he still sins occasionally. He does not want to sin, but sometimes does when caught off guard, overwhelmed by habit, temptation or circumstances.

The Christian life, as revealed in the Bible, is one of overcoming and growing spiritually toward the spiritual maturity and perfection of Christ. Through our previous studies, we learned that this perfection will not be fully achieved until the resurrection of the dead in Christ. In the meantime, God expects Spirit-begotten Christians to be developing more and more of the character of Christ as they learn to follow His way of life.

But overcoming and conquering sin is impossible by human strength alone. It must be accomplished in partnership with God through the faith of Christ, which is a gift from God through His Holy Spirit. God promises to give us His Spirit and this faith upon repentance and baptism.

Although Christians sometimes stumble spiritually and sin, our loving and most merciful heavenly Father is ready and willing to forgive and restore us to the right path of overcoming and growing – if we acknowledge our sins and ask His forgiveness.

How beautiful, encouraging and rewarding is the way of God!

Let's learn more about the details of what the Christian way of life is all about.