But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. (Hebrews 11:6)
As in salvation, a person is born from above not by the means but by the person of Christ; so likewise, a Christian is not practically sanctified by the means but by the person of Christ. There are means but these are meant to bring us to the One whose beauty transfigures us into His image. The scriptures word it in this matter (among others). But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass [the Scriptures, which are the means] the glory of the Lord [the perfections of His person], are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. (2 Corinthians 3:18) But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is [i.e., as the Scriptures declare Him], and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. The early church preached Him. The early church fed their souls on Him. The early church constantly preached the resurrection of Christ and looked for His second coming. They kept telling people that He is alive. The world saw His resurrection in the life of the early church. May it be so today! May the life of our congregations beat in harmony with the heartbeat of our Risen Lord. May the speech of the church reflect an exact image of the oracles of God. May the hearing of our assemblies be of such that we only hear His Words. May the heart of the church be broken in compassion for His people, sheep without a shepherd.
Looking much to Jesus in His person, we instinctively (so to speak) copy what we see. Indeed, real holiness is simply the “Imitation of Christ,” after He has washed us, and in the depth of His atoning grace left us without guilt. It is grateful imitation, not the imitation of those who are working for life. Much in the presence of our Benefactor who so loved us, we would fain resemble him in our character and state of mind, and so we seek to copy what is imitable in His ways, and in all He manifested of Himself while redeeming us. We are led to desire (as Paul recommends in Phil. ii. 5) to be filled with the “mind that was in Christ,” that mind which shone out so attractively as He bore the cross and drank the cup to the dregs – for the Apostle Peter (ii. 22-24) exhorts us to observe even His example while hanging on the cross as containing some matter of imitation, some footsteps for us to walk in. (A. A. Bonar, The Person of Christ, 88)