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It can be a source of spiritual help sometimes, to review the contrasting lives of Biblical characters, and to learn from them. It can also make one thankful for the positives in Christian living, and for being on the Lord's side. It helps us to discern the path He would have us follow.

First in God's honour roll of Hebrews 11 is Abel, a righteous man of faith. He would know that without faith it is impossible to be well-pleasing unto Him; and this is how he lived day by day. To Cain, his brother, this was of no account. He was carnal, a self-chooser. The way of Cain was the way of the flesh, in contrast to Abel's way of faith (Heb. 11:4). Cain, like Saul of Tarsus, became a murderer. After his conversion, however, Saul confessed: 'For I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing' (Rom. 7:18). Cain made no such confession. Our Master confirmed: '... the flesh profiteth nothing' (John 6:63). The happy Christian knows the way he should take. It is that of faith, obedience, not that of self-pleasing, self-serving.

Abraham is also on God's honour roll, and his nephew Lot is described as a righteous man who vexed, or tormented, his righteous soul from day to day (2 Pet. 2:8). Yet Lot ended up a sad loser, a man in disgrace, with little to show at the end of a complex life. Was it because he chose his own way? looked for his own city independently of God's guidance? By contrast, Abraham was a man of faith who obeyed God's voice and was God's friend. Abraham's vision was upward. He looked for the heavenly city, the new Jerusalem, 'whose builder and maker is God' (Heb. 11:10). The end of their lives is a warning to us. Lot died bereft, with a memory of fire, ashes, loss, despair. Abram gave all that he

had to Isaac (Gen. 25:5), and he died full! (v.8).

Gaius was a man whose walk proved he was a Christian. He lived Christ. 'Thou walkest in truth', John the apostle wrote about him (3 John 3). Peripateo is the Greek word to describe Gaius' walk. It indicates deportment, a full, rounded Christian life lived by faith, and not after the pattern of men. A worthy testimony! He was a beloved, faithful brother; a witness bearer who was given to hospitality. He was an elder who would be held in high esteem if he were in one's assembly today. One whose faith was worthy of imitation (Heb. 13:7). Yet his contemporary, Diotrephes, loved the preeminence (3 John 9). Philoproteuo, conveys the thought of 'love of being first'; striving for this ambition. There was no counting another better than himself with Diotrephes, which is so opposed to Paul's dictum (Phil. 2:3). Or 'considering each other the better man' as Moffatt translates. What a difference in two brethren! Godly John, wh6 was strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might, would be the best man to deal with Diotrephes, and the sad situation he created in the Church.

'For whatsoever things were writ-ten aforetime were written for our learning', encouraged Paul (Rom. 15:4). This enables us to weigh up the characteristics of men and women of Scripture that we might imitate that which is good, and abhor that which is contrary. The positive Christian must ever keep before him or her the example of the Master: 'For hereunto were ye called... Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example... follow His steps' (1 Pet. 2:21).