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Opinion | Faith & Inspiration

What does it mean to be a 'true' Christian?

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The first time that I read St. Augustine’s profound injunction, “Love God and do anything that pleases you,” the words struck my somewhat orthodox mind as being contradictory.  After all, how could one possibly love God and at the same time do anything that pleases ones self?

Then, somewhat puzzled, I read those words again and the meaning I believe the author intended suddenly opened up.  Perhaps for the genuine Christian, loving God and doing whatever pleases oneself, is one and the same thing.  As that venerable scholar, C.S. Lewis so aptly wrote, “To love God is in fact to enjoy Him.”   

The Christian - and here I am talking about the ‘second mile' Christian, those rare individuals who not only see 'right' as a duty but as a delight - becomes so enamored with God that goodness seems to flow from him, unrestricted, as water from a subterranean well. Joyful service becomes, in fact, second nature, as it denies any other service. Could this then be 'true' or genuine Christianity, where loving God and loving others, unconditionally, in word and deed, are the defining characteristics?

Many years ago there lived a man called Gasparone. He considered himself a goodly man, one certainly worthy of heaven.  The only drawback was that Gasparone was a robber and many times a murderer.  Gasparone explained his thinking thus: In all of his life he had never robbed or murdered a man on the the Lord's day. 

I fear there are many Gasperones in the church today.

Observing a rule, or adhering to a principle, a command, is in and of itself nothing but blind obedience, such as that given by the mule as it pulls the plow.  But, service joyfully given, is acceptable and a joy to our God.

When one loves God, the  desire to know him more fully and to follow His spirit more closely, becomes a driving force. This then draws us to his presence again and again, and the oneness Jesus spoke of in John 17 becomes more and more a reality as we ask only that we can hear the voice of incarnate God, see His face, and feel His hand guiding in every aspect of life, no matter how large or how small.

Only in His presence are we complete.  Only with Him are we at our best.  Out of His presence we are merely shadows swiftly vanishing in the light of the sun, but in His presence we are given substance and we become whole and one with - one with God, and with each other.

Oh what a gift!  This then is what we call 'atonement' - at-one-ment.  That word tells it all.  When we desire, crave, yearn for unity with our God, only then are we complete.

Charles Towne
Charles Towne

 

Charles Towne, Faith & Inspiration, St. Augustine, Relationship with God, Service, Oneness, Wholeness, Christianity, What does it mean to be a genuine Christian?

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  • BoWilliamson

    According to the Bible the Lord’s Day is the 7th Day Sabbath Matthew 12:8 Mark 2:27,28, Isaiah 58:13, Exodus 20:8-11. Jesus said in John 14:15 If you love me, keep my commandments. The Ten Commandments can be found in Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5. God bless.

    Sunday, July 3 Report this

  • Charles

    Bo Williamson, wise words indeed my brother, wise words indeed! Bless you and yours, in Jesus' blessed name, Amen, Chaz

    Sunday, July 3 Report this

  • Charles

    BoWilliamson, please contact me. My email address is, Charlestowne222@gmail.com Chaz

    Sunday, July 3 Report this

  • rmsommerfeld

    A thought-provoking article Chaz, one that addresses something I have struggled with over the years. I was born and raised as a Seventh-Day-Adventist and was always taught that keeping the commandments was paramount to living "the Christian Life". I remembered, "if you love me, keep My commandments!". I would feel a great concern that all those others who lived an otherwise Godly Life, were destined for exclusion because they went to church on Sunday instead of Saturday.

    Through the years, I have come to a different understanding. This is due to several different things one of which was amazingly, my military experience as a translator, and also a careful rereading of the New Testament in relation to the Old Testament to be sure I was understanding what it actually said and not what I wanted it to say, of particular interest was the passage, "if you love Me, keep My commandments!" One must realize that the New Testament is also known as The New Covenant, different from The Old (Abrahamic Covenant) which formed the basis for the "Law". So, I think one should carefully read the words of Jesus to understand the difference. The New Testament commandments are given by Jesus himself, and, are not from Mosaic Law!

    "Love the Lord God with all your heart and love your neighbor as yourself, no matter which political party he is a member of, is given as the most important. Read Galatians 3:23-25 as a further explanation!

    Let me close by stating that I personally believe there will be surprises in Heaven, I think we may find members of all denominations there as well as even other "religions"! I base this on my understanding that one's relationship with God is of paramount importance rather than how well one has "obeyed" Mosaic Law! May all the greatest Blessings of God be yours, my friend, being able to make people think is a marvelous gift, and you use it well!

    Wednesday, July 6 Report this

  • Charles

    rmsommerfield, you humble me my friend, and if I can draw anyone Godward it is what I am intended to do. Bless you and yours sir, Chaz

    Wednesday, July 6 Report this