A Forgiving Spirit
Whoever has been forgiven much should truly seek to forgive others for less. That should be the position of every Christian. They have been forgiven such a great price that they could never pay or repay and had a wrath removed (John 3:36) that they had coming to them. InÃ‚Â the Parable of the Unmerciful Servant (Matt. 18:21-35), the unmerciful servant had been forgiven of an unpayable debt, but a smaller debt he would not forgive. Jesus said, Ã¢â‚¬Å“If you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespassesÃ¢â‚¬Â (Matt. 6:15). ShouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t Christians be the most forgiving people of all because weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve been forgiven of all?
A Loving Heart
Can anyone say theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re a brother or sister in Christ and then not love their brothers or sisters in Christ? Someone mightÃ‚Â tell God Ã¢â‚¬Å“I love you God, but I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t like your childrenÃ¢â‚¬Â and will have an issue with the Father of those children. First John 4:7-8 tells us, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loves is born of God, and knows God. He that loves not knows not God; for God is love.Ã¢â‚¬Â We are told, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ through love serve one another loveÃ¢â‚¬Â (Gal. 5:13) ,and love is what it should look like.
A Righteous Life
DonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t let that subtitle worry you because none of us are righteous. It is only JesusÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ righteousness that has been declared for us (2 Cor. 5:21). However, a life of practicing sin inÃ‚Â a regular, consistent manner might create doubts about someoneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s salvation and probably for good reason. One birthmark should be a growing in grace and the knowledge of God (2 Pet. 3:18), but another is a growing pattern of overcoming sin. The Apostle John writes, Ã¢â‚¬Å“For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the worldÃ¢â‚¬â€our faithÃ¢â‚¬Â (1 John 5:4), and in 1 John 3:6, Ã¢â‚¬Å“No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him.Ã¢â‚¬Â None of us will ever be sinless on this side of glory (1 John 1:8, 10), but we will sin less, just as it says in 2 Corinthians 5:17: Ã¢â‚¬Å“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.Ã¢â‚¬Â
A Hungry Life
I met a young man named Ben who was really eager to learn how to serve others and to live a life of obedience. I told him that he was blessed, and when he asked why, I reminded him of Jesus saying Ã¢â‚¬Å“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filledÃ¢â‚¬Â (Matt. 5:6). Just like the psalmist, youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll have this same desire: Ã¢â‚¬Å“O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no waterÃ¢â‚¬Â (Psalm 63:1). That will be a hunger for His Word (the Bible), for His purpose (Matt. 28:19-20), and for Him (in prayer).
Nobody has every attribute of a Christian down perfectly, so donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t be overly anxious over these birthmarks. The Word gives us a good idea about who a believer is and who may not be. Only God knows the heart, but almost every Christian I meet seems to be forgiving. Most believers I know have loving hearts. A great number of the born-again that I know live like Christians, and some I meet have a hunger to learn more about God. No believer can claim sinlessness, but we should claim we sin less.