THE Christian religion is simply a manifestation of the life of Christ. The Christian is “dead,” and his life is “hid with Christ in God.” Colossians 3:3. As expressed in the language of Paul in his letter to the Galatians, “I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.” Galatians 2:20. As “God was in Christ,” revealing himself to the world, and “reconciling the world unto himself,” when Jesus walked through Judea, so Christ is in his followers, and thereby God is still manifest to the world in human flesh. Colossians 1:27.
This is the testimony which the world has that Christianity is true and that Jesus Christ exists to-day as the Saviour of fallen men. The world beholds him in the person of his true followers; and beholding him, they see also his Father, of whom he is the express image. John 14:9, 10.
Christ does not give to the world hearsay evidence concerning himself. He does not ask men to believe on him because it is recorded that over eighteen hundred years ago he lived as a man on the earth, teaching the kingdom of God and working miracles. He does not ask them to believe because some person says that all this is true. To the question, Is there a Christ, the Christian answers, Yes. And to the query, How do you know? he replied: Because he is living with me. And that answer would be accepted as primary evidence in any court of law.
The world may scoff at the doctrines and creeds of the churches. It may ridicule the statements of Scripture and appeal to history and to “reason” to prove that Christianity is all a myth. But when it meets Christ face to face, it finds evidence which it cannot gainsay. All its specious arguments fall to the ground, and it is obliged to confess that there is a “mystery of godliness”—God manifest in human flesh. It sees a life that it knows is not the life of the individual as he once was—a life which bears the unmistakable stamp of the divine.
The Christian knows that Jesus Christ lives, by the evidence of his own experience; for he has been crucified, buried, and raised to life again with Christ; and Christ living in him, the world has also visible evidence that Christianity is true, and that its Saviour is no myth. It matters not that but few of those who profess Christianity have been “born again,“—that the vast majority of nominal Christians give to the world no sign of the life of that divine One whose name they have taken. If in but one individual there is presented the mystery of God dwelling in human flesh, the claims of Christianity are proved. And now, as in all ages, there are a number scattered through all lands and among all races, through whom this testimony of a living Christ is given to the world.
This is the power of godliness which is to convince the world and draw men and women from it into the pathway of righteousness. If all the church were but in this condition, Christianity would sweep all countries like a mighty tidal wave. But when the church seeks for power from the State, as she is doing in all lands to-day, she denies before the world that Christ exists and justifies the world in its unbelief.