Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Spurgeon on True Christian Character

Some there be, too, who imagine that to be conformed to the image of Christ Jesus, it will be quite enough to act publicly as Christ would have acted. They are always talking about points of conscience: "Would Christ have done this" or "that?" And then they answer it according to their own fancies. They see some Christian man who walks under "the perfect law of liberty," and is not bound by the "touch not, taste not, handle not," of the old Mosaic spirit, and they cry over him, "Would Christ have done such a thing?" They see a believer laugh, "Would Christ have done it?" If a Christian man keeps a carriage, "Ah," they say, "did Christ ever ride in a carriage?" And so they think that by putting on a face that is more marred than that of any other man, they shall become the very image of Christ Jesus. You know that in the theatres men come forth as kings, "and strut their little hour;" and for awhile they are the very image of Julius Caesar, or of Richard III; and do you suppose that such is the intention of the Holy Spirit, that you and I should be so dressed, that in outward appearance we should be the image of Christ, and yet not be like Christ really and truly? God forbid we should indulge so idle a dream. The fact is, men and brethren, while practically we must be like the Saviour, yet the greatest conformity to his image must be within; it must be that unseen spirit, that essential holiness which dwells where only God can see it, which shall constitute the main part of our likeness to Christ. You might put on tomorrow, a garment without seam woven from the top throughout; you might put sandals on the soles of your feet; you might wear your beard uncut, and so say, "In all this I seek to be like Christ," and you might even ride through the streets of Jerusalem upon "a colt the foal of an ass," but you would be a great deal more the image of a fool, than you would be the image of Christ. This imitation is not to be in mere externals, it is to be in internals, in the very essence and spirit of your Christian character.

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