|Berean Bible Church - Queensland Australia|
By Richard Baxter
A Faithful Christian?
Such a Christian reproves himself more frequently and judges himself more severely than he does others. He is more likely to be dissatisfied with his own faults than he is with the failings of others. His own sins trouble him more than all the sin in the world around him. He sees himself as his greatest enemy, knowing that his greatest danger is in his own heart. If only he could escape from himself, no one in earth or hell could draw him into sin.
The faithful disciple is more concerned to carry out his duty to his government, his parents, his pastor or his employer, than of their duty to him. He is more willing to be oppressed, abused or unjustly afflicted by them, than to dishonour them or be disobedient to them in any lawful thing. Why? He knows simply that sin is worse than present suffering. He does not have to answer for others sins, only for his own. He shall never be condemned for the sin of anyone but himself. Millions will be condemned for wronging others, but no one for being wronged by others. As for his own sins, he is justified by faith in Jesus Christ.
A Feeble Christian?
Few things show up the weakness of grace in Christians more than when they are biased and see the failings of others, rather than their own. It is common to both hypocrites and weak Christians to magnify all that is done against them while, at the same time, they extenuate or justify all that they do against others.
What a noise they make, if they think that any one has wronged them, defamed them, disparaged them or encroached on their rights. If God Himself is blasphemed or abused, they can bear it patiently. To them it is no great ordeal, nothing to get angry about. But let someone suggest that they are less than the acme of perfection and they leap to their own defense with passionate invective!
The selfish person believes that a man does him wrong when he keeps him from getting whatever he wants, or says anything about him that he doesnít like. Go to the various civil courts in our country. Why are people suing one another? Was it for defaming one another? Visit the prisons. What put the inmates there, zeal for God, or crimes of selfishness? Certainly, it was not for zeal for God, but the selfishness of fallen human nature. Whose rights and honour are men more concerned about - Godís or theirs?
There are plenty of complaints against politicians in our country! There is certainly a great deal of injustice around, with misery caused by unjust laws which exalts perverts, protect criminals from their just deserts and punish parents who dare to discipline their children biblically.
But how few grieve over their sins against lawful government, both civil and ecclesiastical! Some pastors complain of the peopleís contempt when they dare to rebuke their sin. Some people complain of the pastorís inadequacy and inconsistent lives. The boss complains how hard it is to get good employees, the kind that will work as honestly and faithfully as if the business were their own. Employees complain that their employers overwork them or discriminate against them. Landlords claim that their tenants abuse their property and tenants accuse their landlords of oppressing them with high rents.
If you and I are faithful Christians, our most common and saddest complaint should be against ourselves. We are simply not the good citizens, employers, employees, parents and church members that we ought to be. You and I cannot be judged or condemned, except for our own sin. How much more therefore should we fear, feel, and complain of our own faults, than of those of others.
(Adapted from ďThe Character of a Confirmed ChristianĒ in the Practical Works of Richard Baxter)
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