Friday, May 18, 2007

The Mark of the Christian

[Note: this Sunday, I am preaching on John 13:31-35 ("While Jesus is Away"). To prepare, I read Francis Schaeffer's little book, The Mark of the Christian. I found this section particularly arresting and pertient. I don't think we (or I) do this well.]

Second, in proportion to the gravity of what is wrong between true Christians, it is important consciously to exhibit an observable love to the world. Not all differences among Christians are equally serious. There are some that are very minor. Others are overwhelmingly important.

The more serious the wrongness is, the more important it is to exhibit the holiness of God, to speak out concerning what is wrong. At the same time, the more serious the differences become, the more important it becomes that we look to the Holy Spirit to enable us to show love to the true Christians with whom we must differ.

If it is only a minor difference, showing love does not take much conscious consideration. But where the difference becomes really important, it becomes proportionately more important to speak for God’s holiness. And it becomes increasingly important in that place to show the world that we still love each other.

Humanly we function in exactly the opposite direction: in the less important differences we show more love toward true Christians; but as the difference gets into more important areas, we tend to show less love. The reverse must be the case: as the differences among true Christians get greater, we must consciously love and show a love which has some manifestation the world may see.

So let us consider this: is my difference with my brother in Christ crucially important? If so, it is doubly important that I spend time upon my knees asking the Holy Spirit, asking Christ, to do His work through me and my group, that I and we might show love even in this larger difference that we have come to with a brother in Christ or with another group of true Christians.

[You can find the entire book in an electronic version here.]

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