The Threefold Witness of Good Character

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In 3 John 12, we have reference made to a fine Christian individual. In fact, this short verse is all that is said of this man of God, but what is said of him and the standard he sets is truly amazing. The verse begins by saying of him, “Demetrius has a good testimony…”. What this is stating is that he possessed the good character that all of us are to have as Christians. He wore the name of Christ well.

But in this verse are also the threefold witnesses of his character. Here is the whole verse: “Demetrius has a good testimony from all, and from the truth itself. And we also bear witness, and you know that our testimony is true.” These three attributes still testify today of just who we really are, as well.

Society bears witness to our character. Demetrius had a good testimony “from all.” The same should be true of us. If there was to be a survey of everyone that we came into contact with in a given week, what would be said of us? Would we be noted as gruff or friendly, dishonest or above board, inattentive or helpful, uncaring or loving, worldly or spiritual? We must always realize that the world is watching us and will testify of our true character (1 Pet. 2:11-12).

Scripture bears witness to our character. Demetrius had a good testimony “from the truth itself.” The gospel is the standard of truth, and it bore witness that Demetrius walked in it. How about us – are we living, walking Bibles? We must trust its words, follow its truths, and proclaim its message. The Bible is still the standard by which we all will be judged (John 12:48). If it could speak, what would it say about our true character? Would it say that we read, know, love, and live it? (cf. Luke 4:4)

Saints bear witness to our character. Demetrius also had a good testimony from the apostles, for John wrote, “and we also bear witness.” His fellow Christians had much good to say about Demetrius. What a testament of an active, helpful, harmonious, loving brother in Christ. If the saints here were interviewed about you, would they use words like “fellow worker,” “beloved,” “approved in Christ,” etc. like Paul used of some faithful brethren in Rom. 16:1-16? Be reminded that our true character comes out in our attitude and actions in the church.

Paul said that Timothy’s character had been “proven” in Phil. 2:22. What has your character “proven” according to society, Scripture, and the saints of God? Do you have a “good testimony” as Demetrius did?

Edd Sterchi
Broadway church of Christ
Campbellsville, KY

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