Hallmark of Christians
aymon de albatrus
“Then surely from their fruits you shall know them.” (Mat 7:20)
“But the fruit of the Spirit is: love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control. Against such things there is not a law.” (Gal 5:22-23)
There are many that claim to be Christians but the hallmark of authenticity is demonstrated by their fruit as stated by our Lord Jesus Christ: “from their fruits you shall know them” Paul himself encourage Christians to indeed check if they are real or fakes: “Examine yourselves, whether you be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know you not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except you be reprobates?” (2Co 13:5)
The very minimum test to check if one is really converted consists of 3 points:
1. Do you love (Agape) God through Christ above ALL things? (Mar 12:30)
2. Do you love (Agape) the brethrens in Christ as yourself? (Mar 12:31)
3. Do you love the world and the things of the world? (1Jo 2:15)
If you answered the first two questions with a resounding YES and the last one with a determined NO, then it is reasonable to assume that you are converted properly and a true Christian under the headship of Christ Jesus, our Lord and absolute Sovereign Master.
Having passed that, there are corollary attributes behoving to a Christian:
Agape for God in the highest
Agape towards all, especially those of the household of God
Obedience to the Lord’s commands
Hating sin in his life with perfect hate
Having abhorrence of sin and fearing nothing in the world but sin.
Plenty good works flowing out of a grateful heart for Christ’s Sacrifice
Endeavouring to bring peace, justice and compassion
Full of humility growing in grace and understanding lowering oneself
Brotherly love is to be the badge of his behaviour
Thinking more highly of others than himself
Moderate in all his actions
Of course the Christian attributes are not self generated but are a gift of God imparted by His Spirit to His elect as fruit to demonstrate the new nature received from above by Grace: “But the fruit of the Spirit is: love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control. Against such things there is not a law.” (Gal 5:22-23).
The fruit of the Spirit is the hallmark of a true Christian like for gold and silver the official mark or stamp on the ingots ensures that they meet a certain standard of quality; it is a stamp indicating purity or authenticity, indicating good quality; identifying truthful characteristic, it is the fruits that Jesus speaks of.
A true Christian has been stamped (sealed) with the mark of God demonstrated by the fruit of the Spirit: “For all the promises of God in him are yes, and in him Amen, to the glory of God by us. Now he which establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, is God; Who has also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.” (2Co 1:20-22)
This fruit of the Spirit is not to be confused with that of the world, for the heathens may also exhibit a similar version but in effect this is sin for the people of the world expend it on themselves or on others but not for the glory of God. The fruit of the Spirit is always intended (and only) for the glory of God: “Whether therefore you eat, or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1Co 10:31)
But the fruit of the Spirit. That which the Holy Spirit produces is by divine design, and does not flow from our own nature. Not of man’s free will, as corrupted by sin, for no good fruit springs from thence. Correctly the Apostle Paul does not trace the godly fruit to our own hearts, even when renewed. He says that this fruit it is to be regarded as the proper result of the Spirit’s operations on the soul of His people. The world may display a surrogate version of the fruit but it is not of God and not done for His glory, as stated above.
Is love. Towards God and to men, particularly intended here regarding men, as the fruit of the Spirit is placed in contradistinction from those vices enumerated above in the same chapter.
Nevertheless, above all, Love is the fulfilling of the law to be understood as to love God in the highest, of which every man’s heart is destitute being enmity against God, until regenerated by the Spirit of God that infuses the love of God in the heart of His people.
This is the ground and reason of any man’s truly loving God and His Christ, which the natural man feels nothing till the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, in the knowledge of Christ, opens his eyes to see the loveliness of His person, the suitableness of His grace, righteousness, and fullness and the necessity of looking to Him for life and salvation. AMEN
Likewise the second commandment of Christ, to love the saints, which a carnal man is a stranger to until he is renewed by the Holy Ghost, who in regenerating him teaches him to love the brethren as being heirs together of the grace of life. This being another clear evidence of him having passed from death to life, through the mighty power of His grace.
Joy. Is not intended as the carnal joy of the world as displayed when a sport team has beat another or when a great natural advantage is won for self, but rather the evidence of the overwhelming love of God in the heart as the evidences of divine pardon and thus being in communion with the Redeemer, and in His service, even in trials but being in the full hope of Heaven. “…………… rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.” (Luk 10:20)
This joy, which is the produce of the Spirit, not of man, lies in spiritual things and arises from an apprehension or good hope of interest in them, as: Justification, Pardon, Peace, Adoption, and eternal Glory and is peculiar to such who have received the Spirit. To be in covenant with the God of salvation through Christ, and clothed with the robe of his Son’s righteousness pardoning all our iniquities, transgressions, and sins (past, present and future) under the full atonement made by the sacrifice of Christ Jesus for us on the cross. This is the true joy in the hearts of His elect.
Peace. In the soul is the direct result of reconciliation with our mighty God. The Spirit of God produces in man’s conscience the peace being made by the blood of Christ and that through the application of the blood of Christ for pardon, and His righteousness for justification to the soul of a sensible sinner by the blessed Spirit, the effect of which is peace, quietness, and tranquillity of mind.
Bringing about also peace with the saints and with all men who are under the work of the Spirit of God being influenced and led by Him making for peace and edification among the brethren which are desirous if possible to live peaceably with all men: “If it be possible, as much as lies in you, live peaceably with all men.” (Rom 12:18)
Long-suffering. In affliction and trial, even when injured by others and suffering in being defrauded. (1Co 6:7). A patient bearing and enduring of present evils with godly perseverance, being strengthened by the Spirit with potency according to His glorious power; being slow to anger, ready to forgive injuries, to put up with affronts, and bearing and forbearing one another. This is being accompanied with gentleness, humanity, affability, courteousness; shown both in words, gestures, and actions in imitation of the gentleness demonstrated by Christ. (Mat 11:29)
Kindness. The word means goodness, gentleness, and benignity; and is opposed to a harsh, irritable, crooked temper. It is a disposition to be pleasing; it is mildness of temper, calmness of spirit, an unruffled disposition, and a tendency to treat all with courtesy and politeness “Yes, what can I do for you!”, kind of attitude.
The Spirit’s operation on the heart makes no one grouchy, morose, and sour. But it sweetens the temper; corrects an irritable disposition; makes the heart kind; disposes us to make all around us as happy as possible. This is true politeness: a kind of politeness which can far better be learned in the school of Christ than in the teachings of the world.
Goodness. The word here is used in the sense of beneficence, or a disposition to do well to others. The sense is that a Christian must be a good man. The good Spirit of God, who is the author of the good work of grace, disposes upon the soul acts of goodness to be done unto men, in a natural, civil, moral, spiritual, and evangelic way, for the benefit both of soul and body; which are well pleasing to God when done in the exercise of His grace.
Faith. This word is intended in the sense of fidelity, and may denote that the Christian will be a faithful man: a man loyal to his word and promises; a man who can be trusted or confided in, a man true to his commitments.
The Christian is faithful as a person; faithful as a neighbour, friend, father, husband, wife, son, and daughter. He is faithful to his contracts; faithful to his promises. No man can be a Christian who is not thus faithful; and all pretensions to being under the influences of the Spirit, when such fidelity does not exist, are deceitful and vain.
Meekness, Humility and lowliness of mind, of which Christ is an eminent example and pattern; and this meekness is transcribed by the Holy Spirit from Him into the heart of a regenerate person to walk humbly with God, acknowledging every favour, being thankful for every blessing, and depending on His grace, behaving with modesty and humility among men.
Meekness is patience in the reception of injuries. It is neither meanness, nor a surrender of our rights, nor cowardice; but it is the opposite of sudden anger, of malice, of long-harboured vengeance. Even Christ insisted on his right when he said: “Jesus answered him, if I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil: but if well, why smite you me?” (Joh 18:23) and so did Paul in Act 16:37.
Meekness is the reception of injuries with a belief that God will vindicate us. "Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord," (Rom 12:19). Meekness produces peace; it is proof of true greatness of soul. It comes from a heart too great to be moved by little insults. It looks upon those who offer them with pity. But he that is constantly ruffled, that suffers every little insult or injury to throw him off his guard, and to raise a storm of passion within, is at the mercy of every mortal that chooses to disturb him. He is like the troubled sea that cannot rest, whose waters cast up muck and dirt. (Eph 4:14)
Self-control. Temperance and continence are needed in order to have control and ascendancy over exciting and evil passions of all kinds. They denote the self-rules which a man must have over the evil propensities of his nature. They include the dominion over all evil propensities; and may denote continence, chastity, self-government, moderation in regard to all indulgences, as well as abstinence from intoxicating drinks. The sense here is, that the influences of the Holy Spirit on the heart make a man moderate in all indulgences; teach him to restrain his passions, and to govern himself; to control his evil propensities, and to subdue all inordinate affection. The Christian will not only abstain from intoxicating drinks, but from all exciting passions; he will be temperate in his manner of living, and in the government of his temper. (Pro 16:32)
Nothing does more scandal to religion than such carnal indulgences, and a man of God is continent in chastity and sobriety, and particularly moderate in eating and drinking. The man that is the most under the influence of the Spirit of God is the most thoroughly a man of self-control.
Against such there is no law. That is, there is no law to condemn such persons. These are not the things which the Law denounces. These, therefore, are the true freemen indeed they are free from the condemning sentence of the Law: “If the Son therefore shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.” (Joh 8:36 ), and free in the service of God. The Law condemns sin but those who have received the Spirit, here referred to, are free from its denunciations.
The fruit of the Spirit is perfectly agreeable to the law of God, which is holy, just, and good, and spiritual (Rom 7:12); and people so filled are highly esteemed and approved by God and such persons that are possessed of such fruit, led by the Spirit, are not under the law and have nothing to fear from the terrifying, accusing, cursing, and condemning law. It is the works of the flesh that are such that they come under the lash of the Law; but not the fruit of the Spirit.
Praise God to the highest for His marvellous mercies.
The Christian character is a spiritual Fruit; it is a gift of God that is built from our real, godly relationship and commitment to Christ as LORD and Master. It is the fibre of our moral centre that stretches throughout our being, embracing and holding together our relationships with Christ by the Spirit and not just a feeling or a personality. Our new character is interwoven with the Fruit of the Spirit and the many other characteristics of our Lord to promote our Christian walk to grow in bettering ourselves as well as others.
We have to be willing to be identified with Him no matter what the cost; we must be willing to be the person we are called by Jesus Christ to be. We must become less in our will, aspirations, lust, and sin (John 3:29-30) and to develop the Fruit of the Spirit. This is the result of God working in His people to build in them an effective, effectual Christian character, which is the hallmark of a true Christian.
SOME CHRISTIAN TRAITS
Forgiving not hold grudges Luk 23:34
Gentle show gentleness to others Isa 40:11; Phi 4:5
Kind show kindness to others (many)
Childlike Spirit maintain our enthusiasm Mat 18:34
Benevolent be generous to others Mat 4:23-4; Act 10:38
Humility minimize arrogance Luk 22:27; Phi 2:8
Patient, persevering show patience for others Mat 27:14; Jam 1:3,12
Joy enjoy His creations Joh 15:11; 17:13
Love appreciate His peoples Joh 13:1; 15:13
Grace minimize crudeness Psa 94:11; Jam 4:6
Meekness not be pushy Mat 11:29
Teacher share our insights Mat 7:28; Joh 7:16; Mar 4:2; 2Jo 1:9
Compassionate feel others' pain Job 29:13; Isa 40:11; Luk 19:41
Helpful assist others Mat 25:35; Luk 10:34
Good do the right thing Mat 19:16
Faithful maintain our Faith (fidelity in dealings) 1Th 5:24; Mat 17:19; 1Co 12:9
Harmless not hurt anyone / anything Heb 7:26
Zealous maintain our enthusiasm Luk 2:49; Joh 2:17 8:29
Good Example let people see your Walk 1 Peter 2:21-2; 2:12,15,17
Avoid anger try to maintain calmness Jam 1:19
Do everything in a Christian manner Jam 1:22
Don't swear, malign don't verbally hurt others Jam 1:26
Merciful show mercy for others Heb 2:17; Rom 12:8