CHRISTIANS: Imitation or Real?

by John Grant
John Grant is a former Florida State Senator and is a practicing attorney

“To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.� 1 Peter 2:21

It was a beautiful watch, one of the top brands. I loved wearing it and it always gave the right time. I priced one in a jewelry store at more than $5,000. But after wearing it for nearly a year, the stem broke and I threw the beautiful watch in the trash. Now, you might ask, why would I throw away such a valuable timepiece rather than getting it fixed. The answer is that it was a fake, one that I purchased for $25 at a flea market in Beijing. The watch gave every exterior evidence of being the real thing, but inside, it was a cheap imitation.

A lot of Christians are like that…. imitation Christians. “Oh, I believe Christ was our Great Example“. I always ask myself, ‘What would Jesus do?’ and then I try to do it.” Sorry, my friend, there’s no place in the New Testament that comments on following the example of Jesus to be saved or in any way confirms the doctrine of “salvation by imitation.”

The apostle Peter mentioned Christ (in 1 Peter 2:21) as an example who was sinless even under gross mistreatment and who entrusted Himself completely in His suffering to His Father. Peter continues, “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; for by his wounds you have been healed.” (1 Peter 2:24)

We are not saved by imitating Jesus. We are saved by surrendering our life to Him. The biggest problem with being saved by following Christ’s example is that we’ve already blown it. It’s awfully hard to imitate someone with a perfect record, especially when the only “passing grade” in that system is perfection.

Jesus is not only our example but He is also our substitute. He took the consequences of our sin upon Himself so that through faith in Him we might receive forgiveness and healing and abundant eternal life. Even if your concept is close, when you try to “be like Jesus” in your own strength, you are doomed to frustration. You can’t do it. It takes the power of the Holy Spirit to live the Christian life and that comes not from imitation, but from total surrender.

You must transfer your trust from your own “trying” to the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. You must divorce your notions of what you think Jesus would do, and accept the Scriptures as the standard for what you believe and do. And, put your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ who died on the cross and arose again from the dead, to be your only Savior and the King of your life.

Are you an “imitation Christian” or the real thing?
(a thought on life from John Grant )

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