Many Christians thinks it’s all right if they pattern after Jesus in a sort of way. They imitate Him, and they do the things which He did; that is, they outwardly do them. They perform kind acts, and they do other things which Jesus did. But the secret of Christianity is not in doing, the secret is in being. Real Christianity is in being a possessor of the nature of Jesus Christ. In other words, it is being Christ in character. Christ in demonstration. Christ in agency of transmission. When one gives himself to the Lord and becomes a child of God, a Christian, he is a Christ man. All that he does, and all that he says from that time on, should be the will and the words and the doings of Jesus just as absolutely. just as entirely, as he spoke, and did the will of the Father.
The Church is always preparing us to die and go to the sweet by and by. All that is well and good but what some of us need is the Church to show us how to live the abundant life in the nasty now and now! It is time to be the light in the darkness of the night! People need to see the light in us! Otherwise Jesus would have saved us and took us on to heaven when we were born again! You are here for a reason! Arise shine!
The caterpillar, a worm, goes into the cocoon — a chrysallis, in which the root word, appropriately, is “Christ.” And it emerges a butterfly, completely transformed. The old has passed. The new has arrived. It was once weighed down by gravity; now it can fly. Christians are once under the reign of sin, but now we can live in freedom. And you can also see why it’s so painful to me that so many Christians don’t understand this? When I hear a Christian say, “I’m just a sinner saved by grace,” I want to say, “that makes as much as a butterfly saying, “I’m just a worm with wings.”
Ah! the bridge of grace will bear your weight, brother. Thousands of big sinners have gone across that bridge, yea, tens of thousands have gone over it. I can hear their trampings now as they traverse the great arches of the bridge of salvation. They come by their thousands, by their myriads; e’er since the day when Christ first entered into His glory, they come, and yet never a stone has sprung in that mighty bridge. Some have been the chief of sinners, and some have come at the very last of their days, but the arch has never yielded beneath their weight. I will go with them trusting to the same support; it will bear me over as it has borne them.
God will invade. But I wonder whether people who ask God to interfere openly and directly in our world quite realise what it will be like when He does. When that happens, it is the end of the world. When the author walks on to the stage the play is over. God is going to invade, all right: but what is the good of saying you are on His side then, when you see the whole natural universe melting away like a dream and something else – something it never entered your head to conceive – comes crashing in; something so beautiful to some of us and so terrible to others that none of us will have any choice left? For this time it will God without disguise; something so overwhelming that it will strike either irresistible love or irresistible horror into every creature. It will be too late then to choose your side. There is no use saying you choose to lie down when it has become impossible to stand up. That will not be the time for choosing; it will be the time when we discover which side we really have chosen, whether we realised it before or not. Now, today, this moment, is our chance to choose the right side. God is holding back to give us that chance. It will not last for ever. We must take it or leave it.
Have I then no work to work in this great matter of my pardon? None. What work canst thou work? What work of thine can buy forgiveness or make thee fit for the Divine favour? What work has God bidden thee work in order to obtain salvation? None. His Word is very plain and easy to be understood, “To him that worketh not, but believeth in Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness” (Rom. 4:5). There is but one work by which a man can be saved. That work is not thine, but the work of the Son of God. That work is finished.
God so loves the world. The prevalence of evil doesn’t throw him into a paroxysm of anger but into an act of love. The power of evil doesn’t send him reeling into a fearful retreat but into an aggressive encounter in which love wins. God loves the world. Our reactions to the world are no help in understanding God’s responses. His response, though, is the greatest help in changing ours.
Jesus’ comment about how serious it is to cause a child to stumble reveals the jealous, protective love of the Father for His lost, orphaned children—which includes all of us. Jesus went to the Cross to avenge the stolen innocence and broken trust we all inherited after the Fall. When He declared that we all had to be “born again,” He was saying, “We’re going to start this trust thing over again. I’m placing you in the Father’s arms, where you are going to experience unconditional love, acceptance, and care. He is going to meet your needs when you cry out to Him—especially your need to be loved. You’re going to learn how to trust again. And you’re going to be able to build relationships with Me and one another, relationships where your heart will be satisfied.”
God’s affirmation doesn’t condone our sin, and it doesn’t acquiesce in our mediocrity. He calls us to repentance and holiness and discipleship. But he begins with a simple, unconditional affirmation: I love you. You are my daughter. You are my son. With you I am well pleased. When we embrace that affirmation, we make a good start. We don’t start falteringly, hesitantly, guiltily, waiting for rejection, or wondering when we will get cut from the squad. We start on the right foot, embraced and embracing the God who loves us and has an eternal salvation for us.