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The Mark of The Christian


Through the centuries men have displayed many different symbols to show that they are Christians. They have worn marks in the lapels of their coats, hung chains about their necks, even had special haircuts.

Of course, there is nothing intrinsically wrong with any of this, if one feels it is his calling. But there is a much better sign -- a mark that has not been thought up just as a matter of expediency for use on some special occasion or in some specific era. It is a universal mark that is to last through all the ages of the church until Jesus comes back.

What is this mark?

At the close of His ministry, Jesus looks forward to His death on the cross, the open tomb and the ascension. Knowing that He is about to leave, Jesus prepares His disciples for what is to come. It is here that He makes clear what will be the distinguishing mark of the Christian.

" Little children, yet a little while I am with you. Ye shall seek me; and as I said unto the Jews, Where I go, ye cannot come; so now I say to you. A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another." (John 13:33-35)

(Francis A. Schaeffer, The Mark of The Christian, Preface)

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The Mark of The Christian (paper)
The Complete Works of Francis Schaeffer (paper)
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Quotes From The Book

All men bear the image of God. They have value, not because they are redeemed, but because they are God's creation in God's image. Modern man, who has rejected this, has no clue as to who he is, and because of this he can find no real value for himself or for other men. Hence, he downgrades the value of other men and produces the horrible thing we face today -- a sick culture in which men treat men as less than human, as machines. As Christians, however, we know the value of men.
(Francis A. Schaeffer, The Mark of The Christian, Men As Brothers section)

Very often the true Bible-believing Christian, in his emphasis on two humanities -- one lost, one saved -- one still standing in rebellion against God, the other having returned to God through Christ -- has given a picture of exclusiveness which is ugly.

There are two humanities. That is true. Some men made in the image of God still stand in rebellion against Him; some, by the grace of God, have cast themselves upon Godís solution.

Nonetheless, there is in another very important sense only one humanity. All men derive from one origin. By creation all men bear the image of God. In this sense all men are of one flesh, one blood.

Hence, the exclusiveness of the existence of the two humanities is undergirded by the unity of all men. And Christians are not to love their believing brothers to the exclusion of their nonbelieving fellow men. We are to have the example of the good Samaritan consciously in mind at all times.
(Francis A. Schaeffer, The Mark of The Christian, Men As Brothers section)

The meaning of the word Christian has been reduced to practically nothing. Surely, there is no word that has been so devalued unless it is the word God itself. Central to semantics is the idea that a word as a symbol has no meaning until content is put into it. This is quite correct. Because the word Christian as a symbol has been made to mean so little, it has come to mean everything and nothing.
(Francis A. Schaeffer, The Mark of The Christian, For True Christians Only section)

The church is to be a loving church in a dying culture. How, then, is the dying culture going to consider us? Jesus says, "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another." In the midst of the world, in the midst of our present culture, Jesus is giving a right to the world. Upon His authority He gives the world the right to judge whether you and I are born-again Christians on the basis of our observable love toward all Christians.
(Francis A. Schaeffer, The Mark of The Christian, The Standard of Quality section)

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