First know the Lord, then obey

Thanks to Henry Neufeld for this lovely little quotation from the 4th century Christian leader Athanasius:

[Paul] deemed it necessary to teach first about Christ and the mystery of the incarnation.  Only then did he point to things in their lives that needed to be corrected.  He wanted them first to know the Lord and then to want to do what he told them.  For if you don’t know the one who leads the people in observing God’s commands, you are not very likely to obey them.

Indeed. So how sad that so many Christians seem to focus on telling people they should obey God’s law, especially on issues of sexual morality including abortion, without even telling them how through Jesus Christ they can know him, have a personal relationship with him.

0 thoughts on “First know the Lord, then obey

  1. As a non-conformist, I’m certainly not beholden to the views of the church fathers. On the other hand, it’s good to see that people like Athanasius put forward the fact that it’s about knowing Jesus first, and then obeying out of the good of that relationship. 🙂

  2. Jon, I also don’t take the church fathers as authorities. But a lot of what they wrote was good, and some of it like this piece was excellent and still very relevant today. It helps that this piece was translated into good modern English – often good teaching from ancient times is obscured by impenetrable old translations.

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