APRIL 1

The Mark of the Christian

Bible Reading: John 13:1-35

If you are a believer, then you are a recipient of the amazing love of Jesus and you are therefore incredibly blessed! However, it was never God’s intent that His love should stop with you. You are not just a container to be filled, but a channel through which His love can flow!

In his book, “The Mark of the Christian,” Pastor and Theologian Francis Schaeffer wrote: “Christians have not always presented a pretty picture to the world. Too often they have failed to show the beauty of love, the beauty of Christ, the holiness of God, and the world has turned away.  Is there then no way to make the world look again—this time at true Christianity? Must Christians continue to stand with arms folded, presenting to men and women a tarnished image of God—a shattered body of Christ? How should we show the world that we are Christians?”

“Through the centuries, people have displayed many different symbols intended to show that they are Christians. They have worn marks in the lapels of their coats, hung chains about their necks, and even had special haircuts.”  Or, fish symbols on the bumpers of their cars or WWJD bracelets around their wrists.  “But there is a much better sign — a universal mark that is to last through all the ages of the church till Jesus comes back.  What is This Mark?  At the close of his ministry, Jesus made clear what was to be the distinguishing mark of the Christian until His return: A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another (John 13:33-35).”

I’m struck by two wonderful truths found in these two verses. The first is Jesus has loved me (and loves me still)!  It’s good to remind ourselves of this exceptional truth!  Jesus purposed in love to die for my sins (Galatians 2:20b)!  I was “alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds” (Colossians 1:21), yet He willingly and lovingly bore my sins that I might be forgiven!  

Since I trusted him, some 40 years ago, the Lord has never failed me.  He has never stopped loving me (and he never will, Hebrews 13:5)!  No matter how much we grow in our comprehension and appreciation of Jesus’ love for us, its full measure still “surpasses knowledge” (Ephesians 3:19).  Take some time today to praise and thank him for loving you!  As the hymn puts it: 

I stand amazed in the presence
Of Jesus the Nazarene
And wonder how He could love me
A sinner condemned, unclean

How marvelous, how wonderful
And my song will ever be
How marvelous, how wonderful
Is my Savior’s love for me

The other astounding truth we find in John 13:34-35 is that we are called to love one another–not just to love them, but to love them just as He loved us–a supernatural over the top, kind of love!  Stop and consider what this means.  God has worked not just to save us from our sins, but He’s working to radically change us from the inside-out, into Christlikeness.  We are all born sinners, and along with that sin-nature we were born to a me-first, selfish way of thinking and living.  The life of Jesus’ was radically different because He was sinless, utterly and completely selfless.  He always put the needs of others ahead of his own, no matter the cost.  In his sacrifice Jesus not only worked to save us from our sins, He set before us an example, demonstrating what God’s kind of love looks like.  That purposeful, sacrificial, others-first love is the mark of the Christian.  It’s what distinguishes us as those who belong to Christ.  That kind of love comes only from God (1 John 4:7-8), so wherever and whenever it’s found in men, it points people back to its source!  We are privileged indeed to wear such a mark!  People need to see God’s supernatural love in our marriages, in our families and in our churches.  They will know we are Christians by our Love.  They will be drawn to our Lord, longing to experience his love in salvation too!  For the next month these daily devotionals will focus on this important theme.

Christlike Love is the Mark of the Christian

Heavenly Father.  Praise You that You are a God of love!  Thank You for loving us in sending Jesus to rescue us from our sins in dying on the cross!  How incredibly blessed we are in the gift of salvation You’ve provided!  Forgive us that we are not always as grateful as we should be.  Too often we grumble about what we don’t have, forgetting that we’ve been so incredibly blessed, and especially so when we remember that all we deserved is judgment.  You’ve lavished Your grace on us, but not so we would only soak up Your blessings.  We are reminded again that Your design is for Your love to flow through us.  May we ever marvel at Your saving work, and may we be Spirit-led and empowered to love You by loving others in the same manner as You’ve loved us.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Author: looking2jesus13

Having served as pastor at Lewis and Clark Bible Church, in Astoria, Oregon, for almost three decades, my wife’s cancer diagnosis led to my retirement and subsequent move to Heppner to be near our two grandchildren. I divide my time between caring for Laura and working as a part time hospice chaplain and spending time with family and spoiling my chocolate lab.

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