By Ernest O'Neill

As Christians, Do We All Have to Believe the Same About Ethical Issues?

By Rev. Ernest O'Neill

So Satan tries to get you to change the ground of your justification before God -- the ground of your salvation, the ground of your acceptance with God -- from that daily interview with your dear savior Jesus, to things that you have to do to be a Christian or things that you have to believe to be a Christian.  He’s trying to get you to move from believing and trusting a person; your dear friend Jesus, to believing certain tenets of the faith.  He’s trying to get you to move from trusting and obeying the day-by-day and moment by moment movements of Jesus' Spirit showing you what he did for you on Calvary, to certain behavioral habits and certain legalistic obedience’s, that everybody is supposed to obey.

It’s interesting; Satan is never completely wrong, you see. There is some truth in what he says, he doesn’t speak just untruth, he often speaks a lot of good truth; he often speaks the truth about abortion.  He often speaks the truth about nuclear disarmament or about all the other things. It’s not that those things that he urges are wrong, but it’s the use he makes of them as he tries to drag you by the nose, out of salvation by faith, back into salvation by works of law, or salvation by eating of the tree of knowledge of good and

evil so that when someone comes in who thinks differently from you about abortion, you’ll go for him because you are utterly convinced that anybody who thinks that just isn’t a Christian. And it’s not long before you lose all the sense of graciousness of that personal relationship with Jesus; you’ll lose it in the midst of a series of beliefs that you have to believe if you are a Christian, or a series of things that you have to do if you are Christian.

Do you know that Augustine, one of the great fathers of the church, went to extremes to speak against this? It’s a dangerous one when shared in our society, but he said it and he obviously was determined, somehow, to get this over to his congregation. He said, "Love God, and do what you like." In other words, concentrate on loving the Father.  Concentrate on coming into a trusting relationship with your savior, Jesus, and then let his spirit show you what you have to do day-by-day.  In that way you will be a great family of many sided, many faceted pictures of Jesus; you won’t be a bundle of stereotypes who all believe this and all think this and all do that.