Should we imitate Christ? Or should we follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth?
An imitator of Christ? Or a new creature in Christ?
There is the insistence by today's Bible critics that men should "imitate" Christ (or Paul) instead of following them. Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ. (I Cor. 4:16; I Cor. 11:1; Eph. 5:1; Php. 3:17). If we are to imitate Christ then each believer should gather 12 disciples about him, work miracles, claim to be the Messiah, and be literally crucified. Follow, on the other hand, means "to accept the guidance or leadership of." Imitate means "to copy or mimic" [ pretend, impersonate, counterfeit ]. So if we are to imitate Christ, we are all to be heads of the church, and there are to be no other parts to the body of Christ. Follow allows believers to exercise their own [God given] talents in God's service.
For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, ... Be not wise in your own conceits. (Romans 12:3-16)
But as God hath distributed to every man, as the Lord hath called every one, so let him walk.... Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called.... Brethren, let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God. (I Corinthians 7:17-24)
When the apostle Paul said, Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ. (1 Cor. 11:1), he did not mean this in a literal sense as to follow him from city to city and from church to church. When Paul said to follow him as he follows Christ he meant it in the sense of following his example of charity, humility, honesty and godliness.
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