REDEEMING THE TIME
Colossians 4:5 Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.
Christian conduct is the subject of many lessons from the bible and the pulpit. Such lessons are extremely important and desperately needed, because of the contagious effect of one's conduct. First of all, the conduct of a Christian will determine their final destiny - whether it will be an eternal home in heaven, or eternal punishment in hell. If only for this reason, one's conduct here on earth becomes an extremely important matter. However, the actions that make up your total conduct, the things you say and do, has a much wider affect than to your own person. To others observing your conduct, you are a walking sermon. The lessons you present to others is either one of good or of evil. By your words and deeds you can lead others in the narrow pathway of salvation, or down the wide road of eternal damnation. Whether by design or by default, whether intentionally or unintentionally, the life you lead is your sermon to those around you.
In the KJV of the bible there are twenty instances when the word "conversation" is used in the place of conduct. Here it is used in a broader sense than merely audible conversation, and includes the actions of one's conduct of life. In his writings, eight times Peter used the word conversation with this meaning. He used it to demonstrate both its good and bad affects. Peter uses vain conversation (1 Pet. 1:18), and filthy conversation (2 Pet. 2:7) to show the negative affect, and chaste, good, (and) holy conversation (1 Pet. 3:2, 3:13, and 2 Pet. 3:11) to demonstrate the positive affect of one's conduct.
In the lesson text, conduct is demonstrated by the way a person "walks." Many other passages are found in the bible with this use. Again, it can send both good and bad messages to those that observe your conduct. Many passages can be found in God's word using this analogy; here are but a few. In a negative way, you can walk in darkness (John 8:12), as children of disobedience (Col. 3:5-7), (or) disorderly (2 Thess. 3:6). You can have a positive influence on others by walking in love (Eph. 5:2), in good works (Eph. 2:10), by faith (2 Cor. 5:7), (or) even as He (Jesus Christ) walked (1 John 2:6). The example in the lesson text is that one can, and should, be a good example, and walk in wisdom toward them that are without,meaning those men and women that are outside the body of Christ, and remaining aspiritually lost conditionin the world
God's word gives us sufficient knowledge of the Christian conduct He requires of His children. Its application is to be carried out in wisdom, a quality that no one in the body of Christ should lack. Why? Because it is a gift of God, given freely to those that seek it. James writes, if any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him (James 1:5). He then describes this wonderful gift of God as first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy (James 3:17). With biblical knowledge and godly wisdom, Paul tells all Christians that ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God (Col. 1:9-19). For children of God to walk in wisdom, is not a request of a few, but a commandment to all.
Those that are within the body of Christ, are to demonstrate Christian conduct in the sight of them that are without. Why is this God's command? Because those outside, pass judgment on the church of Christ, not from what they profess, but rather on their conduct of life - "how they walk" before the world at large. The deeds of a Christian must be consistent with what they teach with their words. Would the world accept and believe the teaching of the apostles of Christ and other inspired writers of God's word if they all conducted lives of sin and immorality? The answer is an emphatic, NO! Neither will they, that are outside the body of Christ, accept the religion you, as Christians, preach in word, without practicing it in your everyday lives.
In his letter to the Roman brethren, the apostle Paul tells citizens of the kingdom of God to provide things honest in the sight of all men (Rom. 12:17b). The teaching Paul put forth to the church at Colosse was the same instructions he gave to the Ephesian Christians when he wrote, see then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil (Eph. 5:15-16). The questions raised by this text is this: Are you, as a child of God, profitably using every opportunity you have, to teach God's will in both word and deed? Are you redeeming the time you spend walking among those in the world? Indeed, do you daily walk in wisdom toward them that are without? Think on these things!