What Is It To Be A Christian (Part 2)

What is it to be a Christian?

2. To be a Christian–is to deny yourselves and take up the cross and follow Christ. These are the terms of discipleship fixed by Christ Himself:  “He said to them all: If any man will come after Me–let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me!” Luke 9:23

To deny ourselves, is to abstain from the pleasures of sin, to moderate our sensual appetites, to deny our own interest for the sake of Christ. In short, it is to sacrifice everything inconsistent with our duty to Him, when these come in competition.

To take up our cross, is to bear sufferings, to encounter difficulties, and break through them all–in imitation of Jesus Christ, and for His sake.

To follow Christ, is to trace His steps, and imitate His example, whatever it costs us.

This is the essential character of every true Christian.

What then shall we think of those crowds among us, who retain the Christian name–and yet will not deny themselves of their sensual pleasures, nor part with their temporal interest, for the sake of Christ? Who are so far from being willing to lay down their lives, that they cannot stand the force of a laugh or a sneer for the cause of Christ–but immediately stumble and fall away?

Are they Christians–whom the commands of Christ cannot restrain from what their depraved hearts desire? No! A Christian, without self-denial, mortification, and a supreme love to Jesus Christ–is as great a contradiction as . . .
fire without heat,
a sun without light,
a hero without courage,
or a friend without love!

Does not this strip some of you of the Christian name, and prove that you have no right at all to it?

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