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Sunday, June 5, 2011

Christians: Desire Jesus or Desire Morality?

William Wilberforce opens his book A Practical View of Christianity by describing the weak "Christian" culture that he witnessed in the 1700's:

If we listen to their [nominal Christian] conversation, virtue is praised, and vice is censured; piety is perhaps applauded, and profaneness condemned. So far all is well. But let any one, who would not be deceived, by these “barren generalities” examine a little more closely, and he will find, that not to Christianity in particular, but at best to Religion in general, perhaps to mere Morality, their homage is intended to be paid. With [True] Christianity, as distinct from these, they are little acquainted; their views of it have been so cursory and superficial, that far from discerning its characteristic essence, they have little more than perceived those exterior circumstances which distinguish it from other forms of Religion.

They desired morality as the end goal of their religious search. Contrast that with the view of true Christian desire from Philippians 3:7-10:



But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

Which do you desire, to know Jesus or morality?

-G

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