You must receive Christ as your Master and Lord. A Christian is one who follows Christ. This means the surrender of the whole life to Him. The heart must be given up. There can be no Christian life, without love to Jesus. Jesus demands the first place in the affections of His followers. If anyone loves father or mother, brother or sister, wife or child, more than Him–he is not worthy of Jesus, and cannot be His disciple.
But the most perfect obedience, if the heart is not in it, would not make one a Christian. We might devote our life and strength to Christian work, toiling unweariedly in the service of the church, giving our money lavishly for the advancement of Christianity or for the relief of suffering–and yet not be Christians. Love for Christ must be the motive at the heart of all our work for Christ. “Do you love Me?” is the test.
But the heart draws the whole life after it. If we truly love Jesus–we will obey Jesus. “If you love Me–keep My commandments.” “You are My friends–if you do whatever I command you.”
We cannot accept Christ as our Savior–and not at the same time accept Him as our Lord and Master. We must begin at once to obey Him. Our obedience must be without reserve, without condition, without question. It must also be cheerful and glad-hearted–not compulsory, reluctant, or constrained.
Christians are soldiers of Christ–and the soldier’s first duty is to obey. Whether the will of Christ is made known to us in His Word, through our own conscience, or in providence–we should always promptly and cheerfully accept and obey. It may not be always easy–it may be very hard and costly; but when the will of our Master is made known, if we are His followers–we can only obey, and our obedience should be sweet with love.
We love Him–because He first loved us. We know Him–because He first calls us. Christ is ours–and we are Christ’s. Being a Christian is living out His same life of love, obedience, surrender, and service, through all the days.
As Christians, we are to live out the thirteenth chapter of First Corinthians: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”
True faith will make us more gentle, more patient, more unselfish. A Christian life is a new Christ-life lived out in this world–we are to be Christ to others!
The heart of the Christian should be a well of living water, a fount of holy and blessed influences, whose streams flow in all directions–carrying comfort, cheer, encouragement, help, and gladness to every other life they reach. Mere orthodoxy of belief does not make one a Christian, nor does attention to church rituals and rules. A Christian is one in whom the life of Christ pulses, and the love of Christ glows and burns!
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We have published Edward Payson’s powerful article, “The Final Judgment!”