Alexei Navalny’s Christian Faith

An article in the London Times, Saturday, 24 February, reported on Alexei Navalny, the Russian opposition leader, who died in prison. The title of the article read: “Alexei Navalny was inspired by the Sermon on the Mount The article went on to say, “Yet one thing that stands out about Navalny was his Christian faith. Navalny, during his show trial in Moscow in 2021, said: “The fact is that I am a Christian, which usually sets me up as an example for constant ridicule in the Anti-Corruption Foundation, because mostly our people are atheists, and I was once quite a militant atheist myself.” Navalny went on to stress how he was especially motivated by the words of Jesus: “Blessed are … (The Beatitudes)

The Beatitudes sum up Jesus’ teaching about what it means to live as a child in God’s kingdom. They describe certain aspects of the true Christian character. Christians, through God’s grace, are meant to display all these characteristics. They are evidences of the new birth. The Beatitudes are Christ’s specification of Christianity. They are not like a buffet from which you take or leave according to your taste and appetite. They are rather all essential parts of a healthy Christian’s life.

The Athenian writer Aristides reported to the Emperor Hadrian about the Christians. He told of the distinctive lifestyle of the people known as Christians. He commented on their integrity, morality, quality of their family life, and the way they handled pressure. He concluded with a most telling observation: ‘Truly this is a new people, there is something divine in them.’ Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new 2 Corinthians 5.17. Men and women should see there is reality and life in Christian living in this world. Remember Jesus is not teaching about Kingdom life in an ideal world, but Kingdom life in a fallen world!

The Beatitudes are given to us by Christ, the Son of God, teaching absolute truth with authority as One who really loves and cares. The Beatitudes describe what a Christian is meant to be. They are not natural tendencies or qualities; rather they describe the disposition produced by grace. Ultimately the objective is to be like Christ, the salt and the light in this world. However, to be the salt and the light in this world we need to start with the Beatitudes. Alexei Navalny had lived this way.

This Sunday we continue with our study of the Beatitudes, “Blessed are the pour in heart”, Matthew 5:8. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, says about this Beatitude, “We come to what is undoubtedly one of the greatest utterances to be found anywhere in the realm of Holy Scripture.” (Studies in the Sermon on the Mount)

Grace be with you,

Bruce Davie, Pastor/Elder.

Sermon title: “Pure desire” Matthew 5:8

 

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