Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Defects in the Christian Character

(Listed below is an outline taken from a preacher's (Cornelius Tyree) article in a publication written in 1859 regarding his concern about the defects he discerned within professing Christians of his day - I wonder what he would think of today's Christians???)

The prevalent DEFECTS in the Christian character—and how these defects operate against the spread of the Gospel;

1. We say in general, that the common type of Christian character is greatly lacking in PERSONAL HOLINESS. Our religion on record—is a holy religion. It wages a war against all sin—great and small. It has no mantle to enwrap a small or fashionable sin under the guise of an infirmity. Take a few of the precepts of our religion as it is, in the oracles of God. "Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:" "Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy." And then witness how holiness was personified in its Author. Jesus was the embodiment of the holy precepts which He taught. He was a bright model of all His people should aim at and show. His manner of life corrects all in us that is wrong, whether of defect or excess. Now how far short do the mass of professing Christians fall, of exemplifying these precepts, and of copying Christ their great model! How unscriptural and un-Christlike are hundreds who name the name of Christ! What a marked difference in point of purity between the religion of the Bible and of Jesus, and the religion of most professors!
2. Another prevalent and hurtful defect in the Christian character of this day is FICKLENESS. The religion required of us in the Scriptures, and displayed by Christ, is a steady, uniform, life-long habit. The command is, "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord." Many Christians are half-hearted, transient, and fluctuating in their religion. Chameleonlike, they take a hue from every new condition they are placed in. They change with the times, vary with circumstances, and always conform to the company they are in. With the worldly they are worldly, and with the pious they are saints. Now, for the sake of God's honor and the world's good, this defect should at once be corrected. Every lover of Christ and the souls of men, should determine to be thoroughly and permanently pious.
3. Another defect in the religion of most professors is that they make PIETY SECONDARY to the interests of time and sense. The Scriptures, in the way of commands and examples, make the service of God, man's chief business beneath the sun. Paul did many things, but they all had a oneness of design. So of all the New Testament disciples. Their religion formed their theme, business, and character. Nay more—true religion was the great business of the Master Himself. And from the very nature of the case, if the religion of Christ is anything—it must be everything. If it is of any importance at all—it is of all importance. Man's chief end is not to buy, sell, and get gain, and then go and sleep an everlasting sleep in the grave; but it is to live that he may do good, and find an admission into Paradise when he dies. Everything else pales into insignificance in comparison with this. But how many, in this day, make the religion of Christ their "all and in all?" It is our painful conviction that many modern professors reverse the divine order, and sink their religion into an affair of subordinate importance. The language of their lives is that they prefer many worldly objects to the favor and honor of Christ. Who, in all the ranks of Christ's enemies, does as much against the truth as the church member who reads the corrupt romance more than his Bible; takes a deeper interest in the mirthful assembly, where God is forgotten, than he does in the prayer-meeting; and who manifests more zeal in promoting a political party than he does the church of Christ? This glaring defect in our Christian characters must be corrected; we must return to the first principles of the gospel—or disappointment and defeat will await all our efforts to convert the world. We must become people of one book.


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