Who Is a Christian?
One who really believes the gospel. Who so believes it as to be influenced by it. Whose faith is an inward persuasion to its truth, a consciousness of its divinity. Who believing he is a sinner, as God has testified--feels that he is a sinner, lost, ruined, and undone. Who, as a sinner, renounces self, relies on the blood of Christ, and looks for acceptance with God only on the ground of his finished work. To him the gospel is good news. To him Jesus is every way suited. To him, a free pardon is just what he needs. To him Christ becomes wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. Yes, all in all.
A Christian is one who imbibes the Spirit of Christ, which makes him holy, humble, docile, loving, lamb-like. Christ becomes his pattern, and to be exactly like Christ, is his desire and aim. Whatever he discovers in himself unlike Christ--he condemns, and seeks grace to rectify or remove it. While he trusts in the obedience of Christ alone, for justification; he desires and seeks for sanctification, as if he trusted alone in that. Could he be just alike Jesus, he would be satisfied. For this he would willingly give up everything else. To this he aspires as the highest object of his hope and ambition. To him it is not so much where he is, as what he is; and he is not so much affected by his circumstances, as by the state of his heart.
A Christian is one who is influenced by the love of Christ. He feels in some degree as Paul felt, and therefore can say, as he said, "The love of Christ constrains me!" The love of Christ as exhibited in the gospel, awakens love in his heart; and fellowship with Christ strengthens and increases the love produced. This stimulates him to obedience, and produces a desire to glorify him by every word and work. He obeys because he loves, and he loves because he is beloved. The love of Jesus to him made him what he is; and love to Jesus working within him, makes him long and endeavor to be whatever Jesus requires of him.
A Christian then, is one . . .
who believes the gospel in his heart,
who imbibes and exhibits the spirit of Christ in his life,
who is influenced by the love of Christ, and
who makes the precepts of Christ his rule.
Christ for him before God, justifies him;
Christ in his heart, sanctifies him; and
Christ coming to be glorified in his saints, excites his hope and his desires.
His religion begins with Christ, stands in Christ, and will be perfected in the presence of Christ, and exact conformity to him.
His life is from Christ,
his motives are from Christ,
his comforts are from Christ,
and his rule is from Christ.
With him Christ is first, last, and middle.
Reader, are you a Christian?
Do you know Jesus?
Do you confide in him?
Do you love him?
Do you imbibe his Spirit?
Do you study, and copy his example?
Do you sigh for and seek his presence?
Do you habitually aim at his glory?
Do you rejoice to see him exalted, extolled, and set on high?
"A Christian is the highest style of man;" the finest production of the divine power; the highest object of God's infinite love. Oh, to be a Christian indeed, and to share with Christians in life, death, and forever!