have become Christians at last, and that wicked men are merely lost sheep whom the Good
Shepherd longs to save from the wolf (John x. 11-16).
The true disciple of Christ is truthful, upright, kind, and pure (Matt. v. 37; Eph. iv.
25; Jas. iv. 11, 12). He endeavours to promote harmony and concord among men (Rom. xii.
18). He is full of sympathy for the afflicted (Rom. xii. 15; Heb. xiii. 16). He is patient
of injury done to himself, committing his cause to God (Matt. xi. 29; Eph. iv. 25-32),
though the sight of injury done to others, the spectacle of oppression and tyranny,
kindles righteous indignation in his heart, and he strives to right the wronged, at
whatever sacrifice to himself. Instances have been known of Christians allowing themselves
to be sold as slaves, in order that they might bring spiritual help and comfort to those
kept in cruel bondage.
The true Christian knows that he was created for God's service, that he is bought with
the price of Christ's most precious blood (I Cor. vi. 20; vii. 23), and that his body is
the shrine of God's Holy Spirit because of his faith in Christ (I Cor. iii. 16, 17; vi.
19). Therefore he does not pollute and destroy himself, body, soul, and spirit, by giving
himself up to carnal lusts, but strives by Gods grace to keep himself free from all
impurity of both flesh and spirit and to live in holiness (2 Cor. vii. 1; Eph. v. 4; Jas.
i. 21). But he does not fancy that, since the establishment of the New Covenant in Christ,
certain kinds of food are forbidden, though he carefully abstains from those that are
unwholesome, knowing that this is God's will. He knows that a man is not defiled in God's
sight by what goes into his mouth, but by what evil overflows from his heart through his
lips (Mark vii. 14-23). Waste and gluttony are, of course, forbidden to a Christian (I Cor.
x. 31: compare Rom. xiv. 20, 21; I Tim. iv. 4, 5), as are drunkenness (Luke xxi. 34; Rom.
xiii: 13; I Cor. v. 11; vi. 10; Gal. v. 21; Eph. v. 18) and all other sinful indulgences
of the flesh.
The true Christian shuns every unworthy word and deed, and strives in all things to
serve God and do His will (Matt. xvi. 24; Rom. vi. 11-23; 1 Cor. vi. 12-20; I Thess. iv.
3-8; 1 Pet. i. 22), endeavouring to grow in grace and in the knowledge of God through the
Lord Jesus Christ (2 Pet. iii. 18), because he knows that this alone is of true and
lasting value, while earthly wealth and power, for which worldly men strive, quickly fade
away from their grasp (Matt. xvi. 26; Eph. i. 15-ii. 10; Phil. iii. 7-16).
Whatever be his trade or business, the true Christian will in it endeavour to please
and glorify God, doing his best, avoiding sloth and carelessness, earning his daily bread
by his work, if necessary, never running into debt, and remembering that all he has
belongs to God, and is entrusted to himself to be used in God's service (Matt. xxv. 14-30;
Luke xix. 12-27; Col. iii. 23, 24; 1 Thess. iv. 11, 12; 2 Thess. iii. 10). In this way, by
serving Christ faithfully, he will grow to know and love Him so much that persecution and
death will in no manner be able to separate him from his God (Rom. viii. 35-39). As he
advances in the Christian life he becomes more and more like Christ in his character (2
Cor. iii. 18; I Pet. ii. 9). Being reconciled to God, his will becomes conformed to that
of his Heavenly Father. Therefore he receives great spiritual joy and happiness, in spite
of earthly trials and sufferings; and even in this life he enjoys a foretaste of the
spiritual blessings which are laid up for him hereafter. These are among the results which
a true and living faith in Christ produces in a man's heart and life. He has courage to do
his duty, for he can say in the fullness of his faith, "I can do all things in Him
that strengtheneth me" (Phil. iv. 13).
But in this world the Christian is as yet by no means made perfect. He is still exposed
to the temptations of the world, the flesh, and the devil, and has to fight against them
manfully unto death. Satan cannot conquer him, because he trusts in Christ. The Christian