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IN TOUCH WITH GOD    by Edward Heppenstall

Faithful to Christ OCTOBER 1


They marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus. Acts 4:13.

What is a Christian? How would you identify one? Of all the questions men and women ask of us, this one must be answered with clarity, certainty, and simplicity. As we read the account of the transformation of Peter, what comes clearly to our attention is that the power to live a genuine Christian life is realized once the presence of Christ actually comes into our life. A person without Christ is not a Christian.

A few weeks previously, Peter had shamefully denied his Lord. God found him, forgave him, and changed him. Now, in our text for today, we see the new Peter, empowered to witness and to live for Christ.

Just prior to Peter's denial, Christ said to him, "When thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren" (Luke 22:32). The first essential condition of being a Christian is that we must be genuine converts to Jesus Christ. This means that intellectually we are convinced that Jesus is the Son of God, that He died for our sins personally, that He lives for our restoration to the image in which He created us. Further, it means we have been morally and spiritually convicted of our need of Christ as Saviour and Lord, who alone has the answer to the sin problem in our own lives. Still further, it means we have yielded to His rulership; we now belong to Him. He has become the primary reality in our lives. Any religious activity that stops short of Christ stops short of being a Christian.

Becoming a Christian is an experience that cannot be bought, bribed, earned, or won. We can only accept Christ by faith. The word believe means that our whole life has been won over. In Christ we are new persons.

The Christian has the abundant life of Christ. We can be moving in a truth, in a religious body, and not really be of it. The church may enlist our services without our being a Christian. The outstanding quality of being converted to Christ is enduring allegiance as a follower, a willingness to bring our whole lives permanently into line with Him and with His Word. It involves unfailing love for God and man.

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