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Chapter IX.

The Unchristian Walk Of Many Persons In Our Day, Is A Cause Of The Rejection Of Christ And Of The True Faith.

Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.—2. Tim. 3:5.

Every one calls himself by the Christian name, even though he do not perform the least part of what he thereby professes; and, by this means, the Saviour is denied, contemned, blasphemed, scourged, crucified, and, as it were, cast out of the sight of men, as dead. The Apostle expressly declares, that some persons “crucify the Son of God afresh.” Heb. 6:6.

2. Would to God that Christ were not, even in our days, crucified again and again among those who call themselves after his name, and honor him with their lips; and yet, by their anti-christian lives and actions, utterly reject and deny him. His most holy, humble, and exemplary life is, at this day, to be found among but few; and wherever there is not the life of Christ, there Christ is not himself, however loudly the faith and the doctrine may be commended. For the Christian faith without a Christian life is a tree without fruit. True faith works by love (Gal. 5:6); and wherever it is found, there Christ dwells, with all his divine graces and virtues. Eph. 3:17.

3. But when these are not expressed in the lives of those who profess his doctrine, there Christ himself is rooted up and denied; for it is only where true faith exists that Christ dwells.

4. Now Christ hath said, “Whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father and the angels.” Matt. 10:33; Luke 12:9. This denial of Christ is not only made in words (as by those who renounce Christ and Christianity), but it is also done when, by our lives and actions, we wilfully sin against the Saviour and resist the Holy Ghost. St. Paul speaks of some who “profess that they know God, but in works deny him” (Tit. 1:16); and it is certain that Christ is no less denied by a wicked and satanic life, than he is by a verbal abjuration. It is with hypocrisy and an empty profession of the faith as it is with open wickedness; and this is strikingly illustrated by our Lord's parable of the two sons, who were commanded by their father to go and work in his vineyard. The one (openly denying) said, “I will not;” while the other (professing obedience) said, “I go, sir,” and went not. Matt. 21:28-30.

5. This is a forcible representation of those Christians who make religion to consist in empty profession without obedience. They will cry “Yea, yea,” and “Lord, Lord!” (Matt. 7:21), and yet are worse than others, because they pretend to be children of the Father, and yet do not, in any respect, obey his will. Their character 27 is thus given by St. Paul: “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.” 2 Tim. 3:5. Now, what is it to deny the power of godliness but to deny Christ himself, and to shake off allegiance to him, and thus to act the part of a heathen under the mask and name of a Christian? These are “the children of unbelief or disobedience,” in whom the spirit, not of Christ, but of this world, worketh. Eph. 2:2. They, therefore, who usurp a Christian's name, and yet do not a Christian's work, shall be denied, in their turn, by the Saviour when he shall pronounce the sentence: “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Matt. 7:23.

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