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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: F.E. Marsh :: Readings 401-450 (The Death - Three)

F.E. Marsh :: 438. The Test

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LINACRE, on his death-bed, took up a New Testament, and read the words of the Lord Jesus, “Swear not at all” (Matt. 5:34). He immediately closed the Book, with the exclamation, “Either this Book is not true, or we are not Christians.” It goes without saying that the Book is true, therefore, if men do not answer to its teaching, they must come to Linacre’s conclusion-they are not Christians. An old writer has said, “Christ is not only the Root from which we grow, but the Rule by which we square.” What, then, is the test of a man being a Christian? In answer to the question, let us take three “I knows” of the Apostle Paul.

  1. Consciousness of sin.I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing” (Rom. 7:18). The first step towards being right, is to know that we are wrong; not merely that we have done wrong, but that the cause of wrong-doing is in the nature, which is altogether wrong. The fruit of the tree is bad because the tree itself is bad. The stream of the life is polluted because the source of the life-the heart-is defiled (Matt. 15:19). To know that we are lost, is the initiative to seeking that we may be saved. To see that we are under the curse, will urge us to crave the blessings of the Gospel of Christ. Do we know, in the Biblical sense of knowing, that we are sinful-that is, do we not merely know it in the head, but is it a thing we have realised in our heart, so that it has made us cry out, “O, wretched man that I am!”
  2. Confidence in the Saviour.I know Him whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that He is able to guard that which I have committed unto Him against that day” (2 Tim. 1:12, R.V.).
    There are many who know about Christ, but who do not know Him.
    To know Christ as the Saviour, is to trust Him for salvation, and to deposit ourselves in His safe keeping, as the apostle says that he had done. To know Christ as our High Priest, is to be continually saved from sinning as we come to Him in faith and prayer (Heb. 7:25). To know Christ as our Prophet, is to be instructed by Him, and to sit at His feet even as Mary did (Luke 10:39). To know Christ as our Lord, is to recognise that we are His property, and to submit ourselves wholly to His rule (John 13:13-17). To know Him as the Christ, is to receive Him to live and reign in us (Galatians 2:20).
  3. Conscience void of offence.I know nothing against myself” (1 Cor. 4:4, R.V.). The apostle did not mean to say that he had no faults and failings. As Trapp well says, “Paul, a chosen vessel, but yet an earthen vessel, knew well that he had his cracks and his flaws which God could easily find out.” What the apostle said was, that as far as his consciousness went, he knew nothing against himself. To be able to honestly say this, there must be (1) implicit obedience to the Word of God, (2) initiation in the ways of God, (3) instruction in the will of God, and (4) intimate fellowship with God alone.
437. The Thorny-Ground Hearer ← Prior Section
439. The Transfiguration Next Section →

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


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