Welcome to The Test Of Discipleship – Steps To Christ, Chapter 6
Why the things we once hated we now love, and the things we once loved, we hate?
Why only love that is of God can modify the character and ennoble the affections?
The work of the Spirit of God upon the human heart is that regenerating power, which no human eye can see. It begets a new life in the soul and creates a new being in the image of God.
The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. John 3:8
Thus our lives will reveal whether the grace of God is dwelling within us. A change will be seen in the character and our habits and actions. On the other hand the love of influence and the desire for the esteem of others may produce a well-ordered life, avoiding the appearance of evil and performing generous actions.
So by what means then, shall we determine whose side we are on?
The true test of discipleship – when love springs up in the heart
When we come to Christ and become partakers of His pardoning grace, we:
- will bring forth the fruits of the Spirit
- by faith of the Son of God will follow in His steps
- will reflect His character and become meek and lowly in heart
- the vain customs and fashions of the world will be laid aside
- duty will become a delight and sacrifice a pleasure.
Thus the loveliness of Christ’s character will be seen in His followers. We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4:19. All that mankind can do without Christ is polluted with selfishness and sin. It is the grace of Christ alone, through faith, that can make us holy. We will render the service of love and obedience will not be a mere outward compliance. Thus the new covenant promise is fulfilled – I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them. Hebrews 10:16. And if the law of God is written in the heart, will it not shape the life? Obedience – the service and allegiance of love, is the true sign of discipleship.
This is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. 1 John 5:3
He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 1 John 2:4.
Instead of releasing humans from obedience, it is faith, and faith only, that makes us partakers of the grace of Christ, which enables us to render obedience.
Here is the true test of discipleship
If we abide in Christ and the love of God dwells in us, our feelings, thoughts and actions will be in harmony with the will of God as expressed in the precepts of His holy law. Little children, let no man deceive you; he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as He is righteous. 1 John 3:7. The condition of eternal life is now just what it always has been, just what it was in Paradise before the fall of our first parents. It is perfect obedience to the law of God and perfect righteousness.
We have no righteousness of our own with which to meet the claims of the law of God. But Christ has made a way of escape for us. His character stands in place of your character, and you are accepted before God just as if you had not sinned. Furthermore, Christ changes the heart and He abides in your heart by faith. You are to maintain this connection with Christ by faith and the continual surrender of your will to Him. As long as you do this, He will work in you to will and to do according to his good pleasure. Philippians 2:13
Jesus said to his disciples: It is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you. Matthew 10:20. Then with Christ works in you, you will manifest the same spirit and do the same works – works of righteousness and obedience.
Faith that works by love and purifies the soul
Through this faith the heart is renewed in the image of God. O how love I thy law, it is my meditation all the day. Psalm 119:97. And the righteousness of the law is fulfilled in us – who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. Romans 8:1.
God desires to restore you to Himself, to see His own purity and holiness reflected in you. And if you will but yield yourself to Him, He that hath begun a good work in you will carry it forward to the day of Jesus Christ second advent.
The whole heart must be yielded to God, or the change can never be wrought in us by which we are to be restored to His likeness.
Those who have experienced the love of Christ cannot be idlers in the Master’s vineyard. They will see opportunities for helping others in their steps to Christ. Partaking of Christ’s love, they will labor for the souls of others. Let every soul copy the Pattern, and become missionaries in the highest sense, winning souls to Jesus.
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