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Mahatma Gandhi’s brush with “Christianity”

Did Mahatma Gandhi get to see true Christianity in his search for the truth?

Mahatma Gandhi is described in history books as the man who was at the centre of India’s fightAlmost all talk of battles and wars when concerning a Christian life refers to the inner battle that arises when a sinful thought tempts you. God’s Spirit and the flesh are at odds. When you have decided to only do God’s will and are being led by the Spirit, a conflict between the flesh and the Spirit arises: there is... More for freedom from the British Empire, which led to its independence. What is perhaps not so well known is this man’s lifelong search for the truth. In his writings he always searches for three main virtues: Truth, love and purity (Satya, Ahimsa and Bramacharya).

Gandhi grew up as a Hindu, and he confessed this faith his entire life. He spent several years in England while studying the law, and later moved to South Africa for some years, where he worked as a lawyer. He met and conversed with many believing Christians in these countries, particularly in South Africa. He listened to these people with an upright mind, one that was seeking the truth without prejudice, and also read many books about the Christian faith which were available to him.

Seeking freedom from sin

In his autobiography he writes:
“I was together with some Christian friends when one of them said something I was not prepared for.  

‘You cannot understand the beauty of our religion. From what you say it appears that you must be brooding over your transgressions every moment of your life, always mending them and atoning for them. How can this ceaseless cycle of action bring you redemption? You can never have peace. You admit that we are all sinners. Now look at the perfection of our belief. Our attempts at improvement and atonement are futile. And yet redemption we must have. How can we bear the burden of sin? We can out throw it on Jesus. He is the only sinless Son of God. It is His word that those who believe in Him shall have everlasting life. Therein lies God’s infinite mercy. And as we believe in the atonement of Jesus, our own sins do not bind us. Sin we must, It is impossible to live in this world sinless. And therefore Jesus suffered and atoned for all the sins of mankind. Only he who accepts His great redemption can have eternal peace. Think what a life of restlessness is yours, and what a promise of peace we have.’

“The argument utterly failed to convince me. I humbly replied: ‘If this be the Christianity acknowledged by all Christians, I cannot accept it. I do not seek redemption from the consequences of my sin. I seek to be redeemed from sin itself, or rather from the very thought of sin. Until I have attained that end, I shall be content to be restless.’”

Gandhi writes further about this person:
“And the brother proved as good as his word. He knowingly committed transgressions, and showed me that he was undisturbed by the thought of them.” (from “An Autobiography, or The Story of my Experiments with Truth,” by M. K. Gandhi, 1927-29).

Conscience instead of Christianity

Gandhi was never convertedTo make a decision to turn away from sin and darkness, from the power of the devil to the living God. We repent from our former sins, cast off our old life – a life which enjoyed living in the passing pleasures of sin – and lay hold of a new mind – a mindset that is determined to resist... More to the Christian faith. Like Socrates before him, he chose instead to listen to the “inner voice.” He followed a political career, and writes that he made it his religion to serve people.

What Gandhi heard from his “Christian friends” in his youth was not true Christianity. It was not the entire gospel. Paul, on the other hand, writes about true Christianity in Romans 6:11-12: “Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sinTo commit sin is to consciously do something that you know goes against God’s will. This can be in word, deed, or even thought. (James 1:14-15)... More, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lustsThe desires that we experience that go against God’s will. In other words, a desire for anything sinful. See James 1:14. Also called “sin in the flesh.” Although the expression “youthful lusts” is  often thought of in connection with sinful sexual desires, lusts include anything that go against what is good and right in God’s eyes. (2 Timothy 2:22.; Galatians... More.”

It is written about Jesus that He was “tempted in all points as we are, yet without sin”, which proves that it is totally possible for a human to come to victory over sin“Victory over sin” means that you do not commit conscious sin – that which you know would be sin at that time when you are tempted. It doesn’t mean that you are without sin, but that temptation is overcome before it can become sin. (Romans 8:37; 1 Corinthians 15:57; Revelation 2:7)... More. We are encouraged to approach Him to find help and grace so that we can win the same victory. (Hebrews 4:15-16)

 

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Explore how God’s Word challenges and empowers us to live 100% according to His will, so we no longer need to fall in sin, but can come to a life of victory.

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