Christians are called to be witnesses for Christ. This article shows that witnessing for Christ is done in the presence of God, in loving conviction, humility, and confidence in Christ.

Source: The Banner of Sovereign Grace Truth, 2013. 2 pages.

How We Live as Witnesses of Christ

Christians are     called to be witnesses of Christ in a sinful world. This calling is established by Christ’s own command (Acts 1:8) as well as by the example of the post-Pentecost church. All saved sinners desire to share the gospel with others. But more than just an activity (e.g., evangelism), our new identity as believers includes being witnesses of Christ. We are witnesses at all times, even when we are not engaged in evangelism or other missional activities.

The word witness is a legal term. It designates a person who has a personal knowledge of an important reality and who is willing to make public testimony to the truth of that reality. To witness about something means to consistently profess its truth and give evidence that verifies this profession. Thus Christians are witnesses of Christ. They have a personal, experiential knowledge of Christ. They publicly testify of Christ’s Lordship and gospel before all peoples. Their words and lifestyle – when living by grace – are verifiable evidence of the truth.

Thus God calls His people out of the world to be witnesses to the world. The sinful world lives   in open hostility to God, His truth, and His witnesses; and yet it is watching, testing our authenticity; so many sinners are groping for the truth. Our calling is to be a living testimony of the gospel’s gracious transformation.

How should we live as witnesses? Christ set the perfect pattern for us, and then sent His Spirit to fill and equip us for this task. We, like Timothy, are to follow Christ’s example:

I give thee charge in the sight of God ... and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession that thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable.

1 Tim. 6:13-14

Truth was on trial during the time of Pontius Pilate. Truth Incarnate stood before this Gentile judge. The evidence of Christ’s life demanded a verdict, and the clear testimony was His innocence and His divinity. Truth was also on trial in the larger courtroom of the Jewish people and before all nations (cf. Isa. 43:8-12). Christ is “the Faithful Witness” (Rev. 1:5) who witnessed a “good confession.” He lived spotlessly and blamelessly, and His sinless character was all the more exemplary in the face of the world’s intense hatred and persecution.

The Apostle Paul commands Timothy to live as did Christ. Likewise, every believer is called to faithful living in a way that is without reproach amid this sinful world. Similar instruction is given in many New Testament passages (cf. Matt. 5:16; Phil. 2:14-16; 1 Peter 2:12). As our Lord has been the Faithful Witness, so we are called to be His faithful witnesses.

How should we faithfully witness of Christ? A concise answer is impossible since most of the New Testament was written with the primary intent of instructing believers how to live as witnesses. But in short, living as a Christian witness means following Christ by displaying His character in this sinful world while declaring the truth of the gospel. Note the following practical considerations.

First, our witness is in the presence of the Father. Paul charges Timothy “in the sight of God” and, likewise, Christ promises to acknowledge faithful witnesses before the Father in heaven (Matt. 10:32). We often are tempted to evaluate our lives and activities by the judgment of others. It is easy to forget that our witness is, first of all, in the sight of God.

Second, our witness is before a world opposed to Christ and His truth. Be prepared to be misjudged and even mistreated, as was Christ, “who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously” (1 Peter 2:23).

Third, we are to witness with loving conviction. Many people are headed heedlessly to an eternal hell. We must love them enough to be socially and politically incorrect, warning them of their spiritual danger and pointing them to Christ. We who have personally experienced the reality of gospel transformation cannot but share this peace and joy with others (1 John 1:3-4).

Fourth, we are to witness with dignity, humility, and confidence in Christ who is Truth. Think of Christ standing on trial before a wicked judge and devious religious leaders. Reflect on His regal dignity and the gentle majesty in which He displayed righteous living. Consider His gracious meekness and humility (Phil. 2:5ff). Here stands the King of the universe being mocked by wicked men; but He had willingly condescended in order to testify of God’s amazing love to save sinners. Be encouraged by His quiet confidence. Truth was not determined by the outcome of Pilate’s judgment; Christ was and is and will always be the Truth, and soon every tongue will confess it.

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