My next couple of posts will be a three part post that breaks down some key markers of a true Christian. These three markers come from a sermon preached by Samuel Davies entitled The Sacred Import of the Christian Name. The three point outline looks like this:
1. To be a Christian–is to depart from iniquity.
2. To be a Christian–is to deny yourselves and take up the cross and follow Christ.
3. To be a Christian–is to be a follower or imitator of Christ.
What is it to be a Christian?
1. To be a Christian–is to depart from iniquity. To this, the name obliges us; and without this we have no right to the name. “Let every one who names the name of Christ–depart from iniquity!” 2 Timothy 2:19. That is, let him depart from iniquity–or not even dare to take that sacred name!
Christ was perfectly free from sin–He was “holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners.” His followers also shall be perfectly free from sin–in a little time! Before long, they will enter into the pure regions of perfect holiness, and will drop all their sins, along with their mortal bodies–into the grave!
But this, alas! is not their character in the present state–but the remains of sin still cleave to them! Yet even in the present state, they are laboring after perfection in holiness. Nothing can satisfy them–until they are fully conformed to the image of God’s dear Son!
They are hourly conflicting with every temptation, and vigorously resisting every iniquity in its most alluring forms. And, though sin is perpetually struggling for the mastery, and sometimes, in an inadvertent hour, gets an advantage over them–yet, they are assisted with divine grace, so that no sin has any habitual dominion over them. Romans 6:14.
Hence they are free from the gross vices of the age–and are men of good morals. This is their habitual, universal character; and to pretend to be Christians without this prerequisite, is the greatest absurdity!
What then shall we think of the debauched, defrauding, worldly, profligate, profane ‘Christians’, who have overrun the Christian world? Can there be a greater contradiction?
A loyal subject in arms against his sovereign;
an ignorant scholar;
a sober drunkard,
a charitable miser;
an honest thief–
are not greater absurdities, or more direct contradictions!
To depart from iniquity–is essential to Christianity, and without it there can be no such thing as a Christian!
There was nothing that Christ was so remote from–as sin! And therefore, for those that indulge themselves in sin–and yet to wear His name, is just as absurd and ridiculous as for an illiterate dunce to call himself a university professor!
Therefore, if you will not renounce iniquity–then renounce the Christian name! You cannot consistently retain both!
Alexander the Great had a fellow in his army who had his same name–but was a mere coward. “Either be like me,” said Alexander to him, “or lay aside my name!”
You servants of sin, it is in vain for you to wear the name of Christ! It renders you the more ridiculous, and only aggravates your guilt! You may with as much propriety call yourselves ‘princes’ or ‘kings’; as ‘Christians’, while you are so unlike Christ!
You are a scandal to His precious name!