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Verse 27. Only let your conversation. The word conversation we now apply almost exclusively to oral discourse, or to talking. But it was not formerly confined to that, and is never so used in the Scriptures. It means conduct in general—including, of course, our manner of speaking, but not limited to that—and should be so understood in every place where it occurs in the Bible. The original word here used politeuw-politeuo, means, properly, to administer the State; to live as a citizen; to conduct one's self according to the laws and customs of a State. See Ac 23:1. Comp. examples in Wetstein. It would not be improperly rendered, "let your conduct, as a citizen, be as becomes the gospel;" and might without impropriety, though not exclusively, be referred to our deportment as members of a community, or citizens of a State. It undoubtedly implies that, as citizens, we should act, in all the duties which that relation involves—in maintaining the laws, in submission to authority, in the choice of rulers, etc., as well as in other relations —on the principles of the gospel; for the believer is bound to perform every duty on Christian principles. But the direction here should not be confined to that. It doubtless includes our conduct in all relations in life, and refers to our deportment in general; not merely as citizens of the State, but as members of the church, and in all other relations. In our manner of speech, our plans of living, our dealings with others, our conduct and walk in the church and out of it—all should be done as becomes the gospel. The direction, therefore, in this place, is to be understood of everything pertaining to conduct.

As it becometh the Gospel of Christ.

(1.) The rules of the gospel are to be applied to all our conduct—to our conversation, business transactions, modes of dress, style of living, entertainments, etc. There is nothing which we do, or say, or purpose, that is to be excepted from those rules.

(2.) There is a way of living which is appropriate to the gospel, or which is such as the gospel requires. There is something which the gospel would secure as its proper fruits in all our conduct, and by which our lives should be regulated. It would distinguish us from the gay, and from those who seek honour and wealth as their supreme object. If all Christians were under the influence of the gospel, there would be something in their dress, temper, conversation, and aims, which would distinguish them from others. The gospel is not a thing of naught; nor is it intended that it should exert no influence on its friends.

(3.) It is very important that Christians should frame their lives by the rules of the gospel, and, to this end, should study them, and know what they are. This is important,

(a.) because they are the best and wisest of all rules;

(b.) because it is only in this way that Christians can do good;

(c.) because they have solemnly covenanted with the Lord to take his laws as their guide;

(d.) because it is only in this way that they can enjoy religion; and

(e.) because it is only by this that they can have peace on a dying bed. If men live as "becometh the gospel," they live well. Their lives are honest and honourable; they are men of truth and uprightness; they will have no sources of regret when they die, and they will not give occasion to their friends to hang their heads with shame in the remembrance of them. No man on a dying bed ever yet regretted that he had framed his life by the rules of the gospel, or felt that his conduct had been conformed too much to it.

That whether I come and see you. Alluding to the possibility that he might be released, and be permitted to visit them again.

Or else be absent. Either at Rome, still confined, or released, and permitted to go abroad. I may hear of your affairs, etc. I may hear always respecting you that you are united, and that you are vigorously striving to promote the interests of the gospel. {a} "let your conversation" Eph 4:1; Php 3:20 {*} "conversation" "Conduct" {b} "stand fast" Php 4:1 {a} "striving together" Jude 1:3

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