Some people imagine that they
are Christians simply because they know a great deal about the Lord of
Glory, Jesus Christ, have acquired many of the great Christian
doctrines, have offered numerous proofs of the truth of the Christian
faith, and have assimilated intellectually all the Church sciences such
as theology, ritual, and history.
Some others imagine that they are Christians because they persist in
remaining with the congregation of believers in the house of God. They
attend the meetings, as well as many sermons that have changed many into
philosophers and critics, and not into true disciples of Jesus Christ.
A third group imagine that Christianity is a struggle to become part of
the Church environment in some social sense. They offer some visible
services to the Church so that they can become members of the Church
committee or deacons, or they join one of the different Sunday schools.
What we hope to realize today is that Christianity is not information,
practices, or services as much as it is a total stand that has an impact
on all life, influencing it with a particular way of thinking. The whole
soul enters into a specific way of life and adopts special ways of
Christianity, in fact, is a position of the heart, from which emanate
all the directions of the soul and the aims and objectives of life.
Repentance in Christianity is not a matter of feeling, of appearances,
or of formalities. It is a deep inner turning of the spirit on the axis
of the center of life. All of life becomes, after that, a spontaneous
fruit of this complete, profound, and holistic stand. It is a position
in which there is submission to God with all joy and love. Our will has
to travel along a path that is parallel to God’s will, and our interests
have to emanate from His heart. Our thoughts and the directions of our
life, our daily behavior must be an expression of an inner life that
submits to God without reservation. The following are some examples:
1. Our Stand
It is not enough that we
refrain from sin out of some sort of reaction, of Puritanism, or out of
a feeling that one is doing a favor to God. Our attitude to sin must
come from a heart that loves Christ, and therefore hates sin. This
feeling is apparent in those who have gone some distance in the way of
the kingdom, but they only attain it after they take hold of the
beginning. The danger, in our case, is that we may not have made a
beginning as yet, that is, that our mingling in the Church environment
may not be out of sincere submission to Christ, but may be a blind walk
in the same procession as the people who are within the framework of the
If we examine the life of the fathers, we will understand what this
inner stand means. For example, when the pagan nobleman wanted to wed
the pure Potamena, she stood firm in an amazing way that human will
alone could never have achieved. She preferred to be thrown in boiling
oil to becoming the wife of a pagan nobleman. What made her take this
external firm stand? Is it not the decisive inner stand, that is,
The young man whose hands and feet were tied and who was thrown into a
situation in which his tormentors hoped he would sin, how did it become
easy for him to bite off his tongue and throw it, with a stream of
blood, which is what man holds as most precious, in the woman’s face so
that she fled from the power of his purity? How did this awesome
situation become easier than committing a sin that he could have found a
thousand excuses for? Is it not an soul that is determined to live the
life of Christ that is responsible for this glorious action?
How did the pure young man, Didymus, enter into the den of pagans,
fearing neither death or the authority of the enemy, to snatch the
chaste Theodora from between the teeth of those beast and to remain
himself to face death with joy? Is it not because he loved purity and
Christ? Is it not because he could not bear to see the bride of Christ
between the fangs of Satan, and so gave himself to death in the spirit
of sacrifice with which the Lord saved him?
+ Boiling oil ...... and no
+ Death ...... and no sin!
+ The sword ...... and no sin!
These are profound stands
with their whole beings that made the glorious external stand easy for
And you, dear young man, probe your depths and ask yourself: What if I
were in their place? Would I commit sin and find excuses, and how strong
these can be?! or would I actually reject sin and accept death?
May the Lord pour His Spirit now in our hearts so that we can take this
stand, so that we can prepare ourselves to face sin in its different
2. Our Stand
Toward the Commandments:
A prevalent phenomenon in our
Church these days is that many of those who attend mass and meetings
regularly do not change from the way they are. As soon as someone hurts
their pride or takes their money, they quickly become ferocious lions
that are ready to tear others to pieces!
As though our Christ was not the victim of false accusations and
As though our Christianity is no longer a cross that we have to bear and
follow our Lord.
It is unfortunate that people refrain from carrying out the thought of
Christ. They imagine that it is a thinking that has failed, and that its
methods are unacceptable in dealing with people.
Christ said: If your brother
sins, go and tell him about it!
Christ said: Love your enemies!
Christ said: It is more blessed to give than to receive!
What is our
attitude to these words in practice?
Did it ever happen that my
brother sinned against me and did I do what the Lord commanded and go
and tell him about it, whether he accepted this or not?
Do I feel that my heart is open to the whole world and all creation
without exception, even if there are those who give me a hard time?
Do I offer it the sincere love which I receive directly from the Lord in
Do I close my heart to my needy brothers and have surplus food on my
table while my brother, whether they are blood relations or not, are
dying of hunger?
Would that we would read the Bible and underline every commandment that
the Lord Jesus Christ gives us and then carry it out, asking Him for
grace and help. And how easy it is for those who are faithful in
3. Our Stand
Towards the World:
This is a third touchstone of
the sincerity of our inner Christian stand. The Lord put three truths
about their relationship to the world before His disciples.
1. You are not of this world, just as I am not of this world.
2. Do not take them out of the world, but keep them form the evil one.
3. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.
Is this my position in my life, both internally and externally?
Do I live with the sure feeling that I am not of this world, that I am a
citizen of heaven and that my only aim is to live in the Kingdom of God?
Or are these merely human expressions and intellectual meditations that
have no practical application?
Do my relationships to work, money, colleagues, the family, and service
witness to the fact that I am a heavenly person who does not work for
himself or for the things of the earth?
Do I live every day claiming the Christ’s prayer: keep them from the
evil one. Do I never cease from asking that it may be true in my life
and thus use the world as though I did not use it? Or do I live in a way
that is no different from the way my worldly brothers live; do I become
involved in work and in accumulating money, in establishing my feet on
the earth? Do I ignore the effort I must make in the way of holiness and
union with God?
Do I pray daily that the Lord might prepare me to behave in this world
as an ambassador sent by God for an aim and a purpose? An ambassador who
carries to the world a message of salvation, that he utters through the
Holy Spirit of God, and that he lives through the action of rich grace
and a faithful life?
Would that we might not be lost in the crowd and the noisy procession,
but that we might go forward with a deep and total stand. “She said
within herself...”; let us touch the border of the clothes of the Savior
and, at once, the bleeding of dangerous sin in us will stop. We will
enter into a healing of spirit and soul and witness to the crowds who
eagerly follow Christ seeking for a way to be saved.
I invite you, dear reader, to enter into your chamber now and to examine
your inner stand:
Do you belong to Christ?
Are you against sin?
Do you obey the commandments?
Do you have a message witnessing to the Lord?
May the Lord
keep us all and make us true Christians.