Behavior must trump doctrine (Mondays with MacDonald)

The old race of the Pharisees is by no means extinct; they were St Paul’s great trouble, and are yet to be found in every religious community under the sun.

The one only thing truly to reconcile all differences is, to walk in the light. So St Paul teaches us in his epistle to the Philippians, the third chapter and sixteenth verse. After setting forth the loftiest idea of human endeavour in declaring the summit of his own aspiration, he says—not, ‘This must be your endeavour also, or you cannot be saved;’ but, ‘If in anything ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. Nevertheless whereto we have already attained, let us walk by that same.’ Observe what widest conceivable scope is given by the apostle to honest opinion, even in things of grandest import!—the one only essential point with him is, that whereto we have attained, what we have seen to be true, we walk by that. In such walking, and in such walking only, love will grow, truth will grow; the soul, then first in its genuine element and true relation towards God, will see into reality that was before but a blank to it; and he who has promised to teach, will teach abundantly. Faster and faster will the glory of the Lord dawn upon the hearts and minds of his people so walking—then his people indeed; fast and far will the knowledge of him spread, for truth of action, both preceding and following truth of word, will prepare the way before him. The man walking in that whereto he has attained, will be able to think aright; the man who does not think right, is unable because he has not been walking right; only when he begins to do the thing he knows, does he begin to be able to think aright; then God comes to him in a new and higher way, and works along with the spirit he has created.

George MacDonald (from his sermon “The Truth in Jesus”, published in Unspoken Sermons, Series 2, 1885)

Tagged with:
Recent Posts: