The True Christian
WHILE it is a blessed privilege, and one greatly to be desired, to be a Christian, it is nevertheless a serious matter, if rightly understood. There are many who live a fairly good life, in a general way, but who can not say from the heart that they know the blessedness of acceptance with God. Many live on from week to week, until the time is drawn out into years, self-condemned because of known sins which they are unwilling to confess and surrender.
When we are really ready to yield up a cherished indulgence, God will not fail to give the victory in its removal. We may at times believe that we are willing to yield, hope that we are, or will be; but when the test comes, we reveal that we are not willing, and the weakness of doubt and condemnation takes away all that would otherwise be courage and joy.
God has said, very plainly, “It is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful;” and the true child of God will be as faithful when with worldlings when in his own home, or when alone, as when he is with other members of the church. In eating or drinking, in conversation or in business, he will be a representative of the light which God has given to him.
The person who is constantly seeking excuses for some deviation from the light given, betrays the fact that to him the yoke of Christ is a yoke of bondage, and that his heart is still with his idols.
Some will serve the Lord if all the perplexities are removed. One says, “I would obey if I was sure I could make a living.” Another says, “If I only knew a place where I could work and keep the Sabbath, I would keep it.” Even the patriarch Jacob said, at one time in his experience, “If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, so that I come again to my father’s house in peace; then shall the Lord be my God.” Gen. 28:20, 21. It took Jacob twenty years to learn the lesson of implicit faith and trust, with no added conditions of raiment, bread, peace, or even life. In the night of wrestling, the victory was gained, and God gave Jacob a new name, and with it a place among the conquerors through faith. Gen. 32: 24-28. Entire consecration will say, Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him;” or, as Paul says, “Christ shall he magnified in my body whether it be by life, or by death.” Phil. 1: 20, last part.
The surrender which makes one reserve betrays the fact that nothing has been surrendered; for when a man makes any reserve at all, he thereby claims for himself the right to decide the extent of that reserve, whether all, or part, thus putting God’s claim secondary to man’s judgment. But man has sold himself to the author of sin (Rom. 6:16), and when he reserves the whole, or even the smallest part, it is not for himself, but for the master who has claimed all in the past. It is a plea for his rights to be first. As God accepts no divided heart, the decision of the man leaves all in the hands of the old master, and he is a slave still. 2 Peter 2: 19.
Christ said: “The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.” John 14: 30. There can be no divided ownership. “Doth a fountain send forth at the same place both sweet water and bitter?” James 3: 11. “Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt.” Matt. 12 : 33.
The man, then, who clings to sin, may allow the enemy to deceive him; but the reserve reveals the fact that the old master has not been dispossessed, and that he still holds the first claim. Unless this claim is broken, and that quickly, the tyrant will bring other agencies to his aid, and all that has been thought to be surrendered will he reclaimed, and the last state of that man will be worse than the first. The only way of success, the only way of life, is to make a complete, unconditional surrender, and then to endure as “seeing him who is invisible,” doing nothing that we would be willing to have the angel record in heaven’s ledger, and standing true though standing alone.