The second truth is that the man who has become a Christian is in an entirely new relationship. That is w hat the Apostle is emphasizing here in particular. To be a Christian means that you are now in an entirely new relationship to God. Before, your relationship to God was one through the Law; it is now through the Lord Jesus Christ. What a change that is! My whole standing is different; my position, my status as I stand before God, is altogether different from what it was before. Here again is something which emphasizes the profound character of the Christian life. So as we talk about it we must always include this thought, that there has been an entire change in our relationship to God. We were 'under law', we are now 'under grace.'
The third truth is that as Christians we have an entirely new purpose in life, namely, 'to bring forth fruit unto God.' The man who is not a Christian knows nothing of that purpose; he lives for himself, he brings forth fruit unto himself. He lives to satisfy himself; he is self-centered, entirely egocentric. It matters not how good a man he appears to be; if he is not a Christian, he is always egocentric. He is proud of his morality, he is proud that he is not like other people, he looks at them with disdain. All along he is pleasing himself, coming up to his own standard, trusting his own efforts and endeavours. He revolves around himself. But the man who has become a Christian has an entirely new purpose, to 'bring forth fruit unto God.' These are basic definitions of what it means to be a Christian.
The fourth general truth which here lies on the surface is that the Christian is a man who has been provided with an entirely new ability, a new power and strength. Certain things have happened to him in order that he should 'bring forth fruit unto God'. He could not do that before; he can do so now. A new ability, a new power has entered into the life of this man.
There, I say, are four things which lie here on the very surface of this verse, and which are always true of the Christian. Therefore if we would know for certain whether or not we are Christians we have four thorough tests that we can apply to ourselves. Can you say quite honestly, 'I am not the person I once was, I have been born again, I am a different person?" That is the first thing--new life. It does not mean of necessity that that evidence is always very strong or very powerful. You can be a 'babe in Christ', but even a babe has life. A babe is not as strong as a grown-up adult person, but he has life. The question therefore is: Are we aware of the fact that there is this 'new life' in us? It is not that we have done something, but that something has happened to us which causes us to be surprised at ourselves, and to wonder at ourselves that something is now true of us which was not true before.
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