To put it bluntly: too few of us who profess to be Christians live and act consistently with our profession.

That there is so often a wide gap between a knowledge of doctrine and the outworking of it reflects badly on us who ought to be living epistles, “known and read of men.”

To many of us Christian doctrine is a matter of greatest importance, for doctrine consists of those things we believe about Christ—who he is and what he has done for us.

But unless that which we believe is translated into a life consistent with our beliefs, the depth and reality of our professed faith necessarily becomes suspect.

This is not to imply that genuine faith in Christ eventuates in perfection in this life—far from it. But our desires, aspirations and most important of all, our love centers in Christ, and as “new creatures” in him we should live in a way which honors not dishonors him.

Many years ago a small Negro boy was brought into court in Richmond under the charge of theft. It was judge Crutchfield who asked the boy, “Son, did you steal that box?” “No sir, Judge, that would be sin,” the boy replied.

“What is sin”? asked the judge. Earnestly the boy said: “Sin is any want of conformity unto, or transgression of the law of God.” He had learned this at the 17th Street mission and it was implanted in his heart.

The judge immediately dismissed the case and the boy went free.

Here was doctrine in the heart and honesty in action. Such behavior should characterize every Christian, but how often it does not!

In the realm of God’s moral law what effect has Christ’s fulfilling that law had on our behavior?

We might ask ourselves these questions: Owing God primary and final allegiance, do I have any other gods before him?

Is God first in my life? Do I honestly ...

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