Believers must live in a manner that testifies to the saving power of the gospel. Godly conduct causes unbelievers to glorify God (Matthew 5:16; 1 Peter 2:12), provides evidence that believers are Christ’s disciples (John 13:35), and puts revilers to shame (1 Peter 3:16).

 

Although godly living alone does not substitute for verbally communicating the gospel, a godly lifestyle adds credibility to the gospel and displays the work of the Holy Spirit. Thus, evangelism, accompanied by a blameless life, can be a powerful and convincing testimony in the world.

 

As former Master’s Seminary professor Jesse Johnson states:

 

Your life must demonstrate change by the gospel. The example of your life may be the only gospel people know/see. But if you are living a hypocritical life you’ll make a poor evangelist; however, if you know little, but live holy, then you can still be an effective witness.  The most eloquent and fluent gospel presentation is muted if unbelievers identify you by the patterns of sin in your life (temper, gossiper, angry, lust…). The consistent example of a changed life is compelling proof of salvation. [Therefore, we must live] distinctively as salt and light in a dark and decaying world (Matthew 5:13-16).[1]

 

1. Jesus Christ, the Holy and Sinless One 

 

Believers should follow Christ’s example of holiness even amidst ungodly opposition. The following Scriptures highlight Christ’s holiness before the world (this list is not exhaustive):

 

  • Matthew 26:59-60: 59 Now the chief priests and the whole Council kept trying to obtain false testimony against Jesus, so that they might put Him to death. 60 They did not find any, even though many false witnesses came forward…

  • Mark 14:53-59: 53 They led Jesus away to the high priest; and all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes gathered together. 54 Peter had followed Him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest; and he was sitting with the officers and warming himself at the fire. 55 Now the chief priests and the whole Council kept trying to obtain testimony against Jesus to put Him to death, and they were not finding any. 56 For many were giving false testimony against Him, but their testimony was not consistent. 57 Some stood up and began to give false testimony against Him, saying, 58 “We heard Him say, ‘I will destroy this temple made with hands, and in three days I will build another made without hands.’” 59 Not even in this respect was their testimony consistent.

  • Luke 23:4: Then Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowds, “I find no guilt in this man.”

  • John 18:38: Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?” And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews and said to them, “I find no guilt in Him.”

  • John 19:4: Pilate came out again and said to them, “Behold, I am bringing Him out to you so that you may know that I find no guilt in Him.”

  • John 19:6: So when the chief priests and the officers saw Him, they cried out saying, “Crucify, crucify!” Pilate said to them, “Take Him yourselves and crucify Him, for I find no guilt in Him.”

  • Hebrews 4:15: For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.

  • Hebrews 7:26: For it was fitting for us to have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens. 

  • 1 Peter 2:21-23: 21 For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, 22 who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; 23 and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously.

2. Living a Holy Life that Points People to Christ

 

The following Scriptures testify of the importance of living a transformed life as a persuasive testimony to unbelievers (this list is not exhaustive):

 

  • Matthew 5:16: Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

  • Philippians 1:27-28: 27 Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; 28 in no way alarmed by your opponents—which is a sign of destruction for them, but of salvation for you, and that too, from God.

  • Philippians 2:15: So that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world.

  • Colossians 4:5-6: 5 Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. 6 Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.

  • Titus 2:8: Sound in speech which is beyond reproach, so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us.  

  • 1 Peter 2:12-15: 12 Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation. 13 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, 14 or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right. 15 For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men.

  • 1 Peter 3:13-17: 13 Who is there to harm you if you prove zealous for what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, 15 but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; 16 and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame. 17 For it is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong.

3. Practical Ways to Witness with your Life

 

  • Live a life of godly integrity. Each day make it your aim to speak and live according to God’s Word—both in public and private. In other words, live like a Christian no matter who’s watching. This may include adding a biblical perspective to a conversation, openly responding to life’s situations in a Christlike manner, practicing righteousness even when others don’t, and manifesting the fruit of the Spirit. Regularly pray for God to help you do this by the power of the Holy Spirit.

  • Openly, exercise the spiritual disciplines of Bible study, worship, prayer, and service regardless of the temptation or social pressure to do otherwise. Exercise these with genuineness and not with pretense.

  • Look for opportunities to perform good deeds and to love your neighbor as yourself. For example, be observant of and willing to meet the needs of people you encounter during the week, at work, etc. These can serve as opportunities to praise God, bless the person you serve, and transition to a conversation about Jesus Christ.

  • Make it your practice to praise God publicly and on a routine basis. For example, normalize worship in your speech. As you go about your daily activities vocalize your praise with “Praise the Lord,” “God is good,” and “God bless you.” Incorporate this practice when serving someone’s needs or performing a good deed. The other person may respond in such a way that indicates that he or she is also a Christian, or it may open a window for an evangelistic conversation or an opportunity to invite the person to a Sunday service. 

 

Pray that God would enable us to walk in holiness so that people might glorify Him. May our thoughts, emotions, speech, and conduct be godly and bear witness to the saving power of Jesus Christ.

[1] Jesse Johnson, "Evangelism," (Course Syllabus, The Master's Seminary, Sun Valley, CA, Spring 2012). 

 

Image by Timeo Buehrer

Living a Transformed Life