Neil Dougal

It is with affection and appreciation that we examine the life of our blessed Lord, a life well balanced with every possible grace. In writing the Book of the Acts Luke said, “The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach” (Acts 1:1). In this statement he calls attention to two important points, Christ’s walk and Christ’s talk. Before the Lord Jesus talked to men, He walked before them.

His Balanced Life

The language of Solomon in the Song of Songs (5:15) fittingly expresses the solitary grandeur of Christ’s walk, “His bearing is as Lebanon, excellent as the cedars” (J.N.D.). It was His walk that fascinated and attracted Peter and Andrew (Matt. 4:18); influenced Matthew (Matt. 9:9); convinced John of His moral suitability to be the Lamb of God’s providing (John 1:29); and revealed His supreme attractiveness to those who desired to be His disciples (John 1:36). He was God’s perfect Man, the second Man, the Lord from Heaven (1 Cor. 15:47). God’s perfect Man was such “who never once walked in the counsel of the ungodly” (this is the force of the Hebrew in Psalm 1:1).

Joseph’s coat of many colours has its antetype in Christ, as in it so in Him, every feature was distinct, yet, not one predominated the others. In Christ every moral excellency was blended in majesty and glory, so exquisitely blended that He is without rival or compeer.

It should be observed that this perfect Man who displayed a balanced life, definitely believed in a balanced diet.

His Balanced Ministry

“The law was given by Moses but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ” (John 1:17). He never employed grace to the detriment of truth; He never maintained truth with the absence of grace. When He offered the woman of Samaria a drink from the eternal fountain, which offer was an act of grace, He charged her, “Go call thy husband,” and that was an application of the truth (John 4:14-16). When the Pharisees brought into His presence a poor woman caught in the act of adultery, in grace He said to her, “Neither do I condemn thee,” but with truth He challenged her, “Go and sin no more” (John 8:11).

These wonderful features in the life of the Lord Jesus make one feel conscious of how far short he comes in both his walk and his talk. The Apostle Peter tells us that the Lord Jesus left us an example that we should follow His steps (1 Pet. 2:21). Let us endeavour to obey the many exhortations from the New Testament. “Walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called” (Eph. 4:1). “Walk in love” (Eph. 5:2). “Walk circumspectly” (Eph. 5:15). “Walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing” (Col. 1:10).

As one has said, the Lord has given us a balanced diet according to 1 Corinthians 14:3: edifying ministry to build us up, exhortative ministry to stir us up, and comforting ministry to bind us up.

The gift of the teacher will be in marked evidence as he administers necessary and suitable ministry to meet the current need. Very definitely, we are unbalanced in this particular field today. There is little real edifying and comforting ministry given to the Lord’s people, but there is an excessive amount of exhortative preaching. To give exhortative ministry is a serious matter which today some fail to realize. There are certain moral demands upon the person who engages in this particular type of work. First, there must be a humble and prayerful exercise, “For let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor. 10:12). Secondly, there must be great wisdom and love toward those for whom the word of exhortation is meant. A cold, callous, or bitter attitude will produce only adverse results. Our blessed Lord Jesus always balanced truth with grace.

Let us notice the attitude of the Apostle Paul: To the carnal Corinthians he wrote, “Now I Paul beseech you by the gentleness and meekness of Christ …” (2 Cor. 10:1). To the legal Galatians he said, “I have confidence in you through the Lord” (Gal. 5:10). And to the party-spirited Philippians he gave the admonishment, “I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord” (Phil. 4:2). One can sense the affection and sincerity with which he wrote, the grace and the truth with which he balanced his language.

May the Lord give grace in these closing days in order that we mould our behaviour and ministry according to the high standard set before Timothy, “Be a model of the believers, in word, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity” (1 Tim. 4:12 J.N.D.).