Behaviorism Verses Life

There’s the “being” (Mary - Luk 10:42) and then the “doing” (Martha - v 41), and the more we are established in the former, the more maturity the latter will reveal. It’s an axiom that there can be no doing in Christ if there is no being in Him at all, and the significance to the doing is measured in how much it manifests the One we are in. Concerning the being, there is only one position of placement, e.g. one is either in Christ or not and that place of redemption is at the same degree for all, but the maturity in this placement varies between all.

The maturity in Christ serves firstly to the individual’s estimation of Him and the Father. Do They love all the same though all are at varying maturity levels? Does Their favor rest with one as much as all the others? Yes and yes! Though I do not think Scripture clearly demonstrates varying degrees in pleasing God, I would suspect that the more one desires to mature in His Son, the more pleasure God has from such, but this would not affect the amount of His love and favor which is the same for all who are His!

Thus, our maturing is never related to God’s love and favor towards us (which is what we rest in—NC) but is rather related to that which has to do with our manifesting God in our manner of life (conduct), which is gauged by the degree of which we grow in our “love” to others (2Pet 1:7). Conduct, to the degree of significance at which it has in manifesting God within, will always remain inferior to our being in Him. The greater our contemplation of our being in God, the greater success will be our doing for Him.

- NC

Behaviorism Verses Life

All life is inward; only the expression of life is outward. A man’s life, his vitals and vital processes, all are inward, enclosed in a protective skin. An orange is beautiful to look at, but shall we content ourselves with merely talking about its size, shape, color, and skin? No; we want what is inside, as that alone satisfies. Similarly, it is sad that much sermonizing and Bible study fail to take off the wrappings of externals to get at the meat of a satisfying spiritual life.

There is a constant emphasis upon externals in current Christian thinking. This directly fosters the tragic error in Christendom: Behaviorism. The popular concept of the Christian life is that it consists of conduct*: behave yourself a certain way; do this, don’t do that. It is the not-so-subtle error of legalism: show yourself a good Christian by behaving as one. The net result is that churches are substituting activity and programs for the real life, and hence are busy rearing a generation of superficial, surface Christians.

Progressive revelation characterizes the Bible. The Lord Jesus did not live under that New Testament, or New Covenant. He first mentions it as instituted by His death: “the new covenant in My blood.” Only when He has died, risen, ascended and given us the Holy Spirit is the New Testament in force. It is a new agreement, a new way of living, based on these facts*. Hence the Gospel, how to receive this life and how to live it, is found in the Epistles*, and particularly those written by the Apostle Paul.

The Lord Jesus said, “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now”—not until the New Covenant is operative. When did He ever say them? “When He, the Spirit of truth is come, He will guide you into all truth.” The Lord Jesus’ “many things” are given by the Spirit in the Epistles. Only as we give heed to this distinctive New Testament way of living, entrusted mainly to Paul and taught by the Spirit in the epistles, do we honor the glorified Lord Jesus.

With this transition from law to life a new terminology is developed to fit the new situation. Often those who believed in the Lord Jesus had been designated “disciples”: this term is never used in the Epistles. During His lifetime on earth men had been called to “follow” Jesus: they cannot follow Him now. Rather, believers are called to something far more intimate and satisfying—an “in” relationship. Formerly He said, “Come unto Me”: now He says “abide in Me.”

Not only is the Christian in Christ, but He is in the Christian as the source of new, heavenly life (which those in the OT could not experience while on the earth—NC). The branch receives all its life from the vine; as we abide in Him we draw upon Him for the qualities of life which are in Him alone. Often a man is heard to say, “I’m trying to live a Christian life,” which means that he is depending upon himself to do it. His resource is himself. Along with many others in our churches today he is substituting a good life for a Christian life.

- N B Harrison

Poster’s Opinion:
* “consists of conduct”: e.g. thinking that our primary make up is of that which one does. Though this is primary to how one manifests God, it is never related to our being in Him. -If conduct was truly as significant as it is emphasized, there would be much lacking among all. The conduct of everyone born again is in an ever-progressing conformity which will never affect our place in God but serves most to manifest that which is of the greatest importance to God—our son-ship in the Lord Jesus.

* “a new way of living, based on these facts”: In the prior Covenant these facts (Christ’s life, death, burial, resurrection and ascension) were not available for use but were only foreshadows of them (Heb 10:1), therefore the OT saints were in the place of guidance by God’s Spirit, and the NT saints are in the place of direct control (Rom 8:13; Gal 5:17; Eph 3:16) by the indwelling of God’s Spirit.

* “found in the Epistles”: many of the Gospel conditions and results of earthly saints are identified in the Gospels (cf. Mat 5), i.e. “the kingdom of heaven” is to those who are “poor in spirit.” “The meek shall inherit the earth, “ etc., but how to receive and live in them are primarily stated in the Epistles.

Miles J Stanford Devotional:
Just in mentioning I wanted to point out that my intention for posting this article is to indicate the difference between our relationship with God and our walk with Him. Our "being" in God has only to do with our union with Him. Our "doing" or walk in God has only to do with how we "draw" near to Him and how He uses us to reach others by manifesting (glorifying) Him to others through "works" (Mat 5:16), which is never related to the union we have with Him through the Lord Jesus.

Though our redemption has nothing to do with our works, other than choosing to believe which IMO is not a work, our works have everything to do with our fellowship with Him, e.g. how close we draw to God and one another!