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Friday, February 28, 2014

What Is A Christian? # 6

Christianity - Not a Religion But a Person (continued)

A Christian is not a person who is religious, either more or less. A Christian is not a person who has taken on a lot of "dos" and "do nots." God is not going to deal with us on these grounds. Neither is He going to judge men on the basis of the number or nature of their sins. He has one basis of judgment, than which any other basis would be unfair, because everyone, by his or her birth, upbringing, advantages, temperament, and so on, would be either favored or otherwise. That one basis of judgment is, and will be: What are we doing with God's Son, Jesus Christ?

God sent His Son, and by Him we are all brought to a common position. He is presented as God's appointed Lord and Saviour for all men. God will never say in the judgment, "How many sins did you commit?" "What kind of sins did you commit?" - but, "What did you do with My Son?" It is not necessary to be violent to our rejection, or actively and vehemently to fight against Christ, as did Saul. We can - with exactly the same eternal loss - just reject Him; say "No" and close ourselves to  Him; or simply ignore Him. We are lost just the same. There is no need to dash to the ground the saving medicine in order to perish. It is only necessary to leave it where it is and not take it. But it is a terrible responsibility to have known that it was there, and to have just failed to take it.

We see, then, that all questions of life and death, sin and righteousness, Heaven and hell, time and eternity, are bound up - not with "religion," "church," "creed" - but with a living relationship to the Son of God; and a Christian is one who has himself come into such a living relationship, and has found all these questions answered in the Person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Hast thou heard Him, seen Him, known Him?
Is not thine a captured heart?
Chief among ten thousand own Him, Joyful choose the better part.
Idols, once they won thee, charmed thee - Lovely things of time and sense.
Gilded thus does sin disarm thee, honeyed, lest thou turn thee thence.

What has stripped the seeming beauty from the idols of the earth?
Not a sense of right or duty, but the sight of peerless worth.

Not the crushing of those idols, with its bitter void and smart;
But the beaming of His beauty, the unveiling of His heart.

Who extinguishes their taper till they hail the rising sun?
Who discards the grab of winter till the summer has begun?

'Tis that look that melted Peter,
"Tis that face that Stephen saw,
"Tis that heart that wept with Mary,
Can alone from idols draw - 

Draw and win and fill completely, till the cup o'erflow the brim:
What have we to do with idols who have companied with Him. Anon.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(The End)

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