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Cleopas
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« on: November 30, 2007, 10:48:43 AM »

I noticed in another forum here (Faith Issues) the idea being presented that Mary, the mother of our Lord, was sinless. That is that she did not personally commit sin during her life.

One poster stated it...

Quote
Orthodox believe that Mary was still born with the same corruption inherited from our fathers' sinfulness, though she did not sin during her life.  Regardless, since she still possessed this corruption, she was in need of Christ's Cross as much as the rest of us.

Now, I'll admit I have some difficulty understanding the nuances and difference between the Eastern idea of being born in sin from that of the Western idea of original sin. On the one hand they seem world's apart. On the other they seem insignificantly different, almost semantical. But, that is not the point of this post.

I disagree with the idea that Mary was sinless. Not only was she born in sin, and in need of the Saving grace and work of Christ, but she personally sinned according to Romans 3:23 (...for ALL have sinned...). The one and only exception to this rule, according to the Scripture, is Jesus Himself.

I have no problem seeing Mary as a great example of faith and devotion to God. And it is a fact that God chose her, while she was yet a virgin, to conceive and bare His only begotten Son -- the incarnate Word. I mean not to belittle her example or station in the plan of God.
However, I am curious how you guys would rationalize this concept of her being free from any personal or individual committal of sin compared with Romans 3:23.

Thanks for your patience and replies with an obvious outsider.  Smiley
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« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2007, 11:31:46 AM »

Cleopas:  I cannot fully answer your question there are many more learned men and women on this site than me. I do want to thank you for treating Mary with respect in your post. We refer to her as the Theotokos (God-Bearer or Birthgiver of God). As Jesus' mother we honor her as being part of the divine plan of salvation, which, in Orthodoxy is more wholistic. Why do we treat her with respect?  Tell me, you have friends. Have you met their mothers. How did you treat their mothers? With disdain, apathy, disrespect? I am sure that you didn't. Why then do some treat the mother of our Lord this way.


Ranting., sorry. Hopefully, others will answer you.
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« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2007, 11:41:47 AM »

I noticed in another forum the idea being presented that Mary, the mother of our Lord, was sinless. That is that she did not personally commit sin during her life.

One poster stated it...

Now, I'll admit I have some difficulty understanding the nuances and difference between the Eastern idea of being born in sin from that of the Western idea of original sin. On the one hand they seem world's apart. On the other they seem insignificantly different, almost semantical. But, that is not the point of this post.

I disagree with the idea that Mary was sinless. Not only was she born in sin, and in need of the Saving grace and work of Christ, but she personally sinned according to Romans 3:23 (...for ALL have sinned...). The one and only exception to this rule, according to the Scripture, is Jesus Himself.

I have no problem seeing Mary as a great example of faith and devotion to God. And it is a fact that God chose her, while she was yet a virgin, to conceive and bare His only begotten Son -- the incarnate Word. I mean not to belittle her example or station in the plan of God.
However, I am curious how you guys would rationalize this concept of her being free form any personal or individual committal of sin with Romans 3:23.

Thanks for your patience and replies with an obvious outsider.  Smiley

God bless !

To say short - I think it would be in vain to post some quotes of the Fathers....

She is complete SINLESS-but she shares our human nature - I would not say She is born in Sin- Her Mother was holy and her Father....she was choosen before the ages to become God's Mother..but was human as we all.

In the Gospel you can read about the Theotokos in the highest terms...

She is the KE_CHARITOMENI--the GRACEFILLED - she is full of grace ( never was anyone addressed like this in the whole Scripture), what is full of grace - is there place for sin..

In CHRIST
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« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2007, 11:57:43 AM »

Grace and Peace Christodoulos,

Your post is much appreciated! Blessings!   Smiley

I have heard some say that the Holy Ghost dwelt among Mary and John the Baptist in the wombs of their mothers, is this true? Have you heard anything like this?
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« Reply #4 on: November 30, 2007, 12:01:50 PM »


In the Gospel you can read about the Theotokos in the highest terms...

She is the KE_CHARITOMENI--the GRACEFILLED - she is full of grace ( never was anyone addressed like this in the whole Scripture), what is full of grace - is there place for sin..

Very interesting. Would you mind citing the passage where she is thus titled?

I can see how one cold reason form that designation that she was sinless. What I fail to see is how one meshes that with Romans 3:23 without contradicting it. Could you offer any insight along that line?

May the Lord bless you as well.
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« Reply #5 on: November 30, 2007, 12:06:22 PM »

Grace and Peace Christodoulos,

Your post is much appreciated! Blessings!   Smiley

I have heard some say that the Holy Ghost dwelt among Mary and John the Baptist in the wombs of their mothers, is this true? Have you heard anything like this?

God bless !

I think many Saints were blessed even in the womb- if I remember well - also St. Nicolas and St. Sergij of Radonesh......or Staretz Jonah of Kiev - had his first vision of the heavenly Kingdom at the age of a few months.....

I think there are fathers who say she was sanctified in the womb...but I have to look...

In CHRIST
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« Reply #6 on: November 30, 2007, 12:25:01 PM »

I noticed in another forum here (Faith Issues) the idea being presented that Mary, the mother of our Lord, was sinless. That is that she did not personally commit sin during her life.

One poster stated it...

Now, I'll admit I have some difficulty understanding the nuances and difference between the Eastern idea of being born in sin from that of the Western idea of original sin. On the one hand they seem world's apart. On the other they seem insignificantly different, almost semantical. But, that is not the point of this post.

I disagree with the idea that Mary was sinless. Not only was she born in sin, and in need of the Saving grace and work of Christ, but she personally sinned according to Romans 3:23 (...for ALL have sinned...). The one and only exception to this rule, according to the Scripture, is Jesus Himself.

I have no problem seeing Mary as a great example of faith and devotion to God. And it is a fact that God chose her, while she was yet a virgin, to conceive and bare His only begotten Son -- the incarnate Word. I mean not to belittle her example or station in the plan of God.
However, I am curious how you guys would rationalize this concept of her being free from any personal or individual committal of sin compared with Romans 3:23.

Thanks for your patience and replies with an obvious outsider.  Smiley

Couple of points.

Firstly, the Orthodox Church does not accept that "Original Sin" involves any culpability. In other words, no one is born guilty of sin, not even you or I. We do not have any dogma of an "Immaculate Conception" because it is completely unecessary since the "problem" of being conceived sinful doesn't exist.

Secondly, how do you know that the Theotokos voluntarily committed sin during her life? Can you name a sin she committed?

Thirdly, the Orthodox Church in fact does teach that the Theotokos, like all of us, is redeemed through Christ.
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« Reply #7 on: November 30, 2007, 12:28:08 PM »

Couple of points.

Firstly, the Orthodox Church does not accept that "Original Sin" involves any culpability. In other words, no one is born guilty of sin, not even you or I. We do not have any dogma of an "Immaculate Conception" because it is completely unecessary since the "problem" of being conceived sinful doesn't exist.

Secondly, how do you know that the Theotokos voluntarily committed sin during her life? Can you name a sin she committed?

Thirdly, the Orthodox Church in fact does teach that the Theotokos, like all of us, is redeemed through Christ.

Thank you. Points 1 & 3 I understood (sorta).

Concerning Point 2, How do I know? Because the Apostle Paul under inspiration said so when he said "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God" in Romans 3:23.
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« Reply #8 on: November 30, 2007, 12:30:31 PM »

Very interesting. Would you mind citing the passage where she is thus titled?

Grace and Peace Cleopas,

Asking one to cite the whole of our Tradition within the confines of the Scriptures is like asking one to cite a passage found in War And Peace using only Cliff-Notes... It's simply not possible.  Undecided

I know that I am speaking through weak analogies but I believe you might get my point... ?

Quote
I can see how one could reason form that designation that she was sinless. What I fail to see is how one meshes that with Romans 3:23 without contradicting it. Could you offer any insight along that line?

She was 'sinless' not because of an inherent 'human' quality but because of her participation in the Divine Godhead... Although we are all wounded and corrupted we can through God's Active Grace participate in the Divine Godhead. Is this not correct everyone?

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« Reply #9 on: November 30, 2007, 12:31:51 PM »

Thank you. Points 1 & 3 I understood (sorta).

Concerning Point 2, How do I know? Because the Apostle Paul under inspiration said so when he said "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God" in Romans 3:23.

What does 'sin' mean to you?
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« Reply #10 on: November 30, 2007, 12:34:59 PM »

Very interesting. Would you mind citing the passage where she is thus titled?



Luke 1:28

I reccommend reading On the Occasion of the Salutations to the Holy Mother of God by Archbishop Stylianos of Australia for a some very tasty food regarding this thought.
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« Reply #11 on: November 30, 2007, 12:36:15 PM »

Luke 1:28

Schultz... your ruining my 'Cliff-notes' anology....  Angry
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« Reply #12 on: November 30, 2007, 12:37:14 PM »

Grace and Peace Cleopas,

Asking one to cite the whole of our Tradition within the confines of the Scriptures is like asking one to cite a passage found in War And Peace using only Cliff-Notes... It's simply not possible.  Undecided

I know that I am speaking through weak analogies but I believe you might get my point... ?

Ahh. My error. I assumed he was referring to a passage of Scripture itself.

Quote
She was 'sinless' not because of an inherent 'human' quality but because of her participation in the Divine Godhead... Although we are all wounded and corrupted we can through God's Active Grace participate in the Divine Godhead. Is this not correct everyone?

So then you are saying her sinlessness was imputed because of her faith and relationship with God? I can accept that.

However, the quote in my initial post says (as far as I can understand it) that Mary never ever committed even one sin in her life. The Scripture does not (that I can see) confirm that concept. If it does teach that then what sense do you make of Romans 3:23? How do you address it with respect to this concept?
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« Reply #13 on: November 30, 2007, 12:38:50 PM »

Schultz... your ruining my 'Cliff-notes' anology....  Angry

Cleopas asked for a citation whereby the Theotokos is titled "ke charitomeni".  Since the Bible itself is a part of Holy Tradition, we can cite War & Peace itself, so to speak, and in the original Russian.  
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« Reply #14 on: November 30, 2007, 12:46:42 PM »

So then you are saying her sinlessness was imputed because of her faith and relationship with God? I can accept that.

Does this view leave room for the Providence of God?

Quote
However, the quote in my initial post says (as far as I can understand it) that Mary never ever committed even one sin in her life. The Scripture does not (that I can see) confirm that concept. If it does teach that then what sense do you make of Romans 3:23? How do you address it with respect to this concept?

Personally, I wasn't there...  Cheesy But I would be so bold as to say at the point of her fiat she shared most intimately in the divine Godhead. What does Light have to do with Darkness? I would say 'nothing'...
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« Reply #15 on: November 30, 2007, 12:47:56 PM »

Concerning Point 2, How do I know? Because the Apostle Paul under inspiration said so when he said "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God" in Romans 3:23.

The Apostle Paul also says in the same Epistle that "all Israel will be saved" (11:26). Does this mean that there will be an apocatastasis? Will all Israel in fact be saved?
In another Epistle to the Corinthian Church, the Apostle Paul tells them that they "were enriched in everything by Him in all utterance and all knowledge". (1 Corinthians 1:5). Does this mean that everything the Corinthian Church knew and said was inspired by God? Then why does the same Apostle rebuke the Church in Corinth in the same Epistle for being "still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?" (1 Corinthian 3:3)?
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« Reply #16 on: November 30, 2007, 12:48:32 PM »

Cleopas asked for a citation whereby the Theotokos is titled "ke charitomeni".  Since the Bible itself is a part of Holy Tradition, we can cite War & Peace itself, so to speak, and in the original Russian.  

And I worked so hard on that Cliff-notes analogy...  Cry
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« Reply #17 on: November 30, 2007, 12:51:42 PM »

And I worked so hard on that Cliff-notes analogy...  Cry

So you know, it was very beneficial to me. It gives me a bit more perspective on the Orthodox dimension towards things and will help me relate better in general.

Thank you kindly. Wink
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« Reply #18 on: November 30, 2007, 01:01:04 PM »

The Apostle Paul also says in the same Epistle that "all Israel will be saved" (11:26). Does this mean that there will be an apocatastasis? Will all Israel in fact be saved?
In another Epistle to the Corinthian Church, the Apostle Paul tells them that they "were enriched in everything by Him in all utterance and all knowledge". (1 Corinthians 1:5). Does this mean that everything the Corinthian Church knew and said was inspired by God? Then why does the same Apostle rebuke the Church in Corinth in the same Epistle for being "still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?" (1 Corinthian 3:3)?

Indeed. But the context for Romans 3:23 deals with the universal condition of man (save Christ) and with each individual's personal failure, his sins, and Christ as the sole means for atonement. He clearly relates the condition is universal, the personal guilt (and thus personal committal) is universal, and the answer is only found in the single exception of Christ. My point is that in the context of Romans 3:23 Mary, John the Baptist, and everyone else (save Christ) are included.
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« Reply #19 on: November 30, 2007, 01:02:21 PM »

So you know, it was very beneficial to me. It gives me a bit more perspective on the Orthodox dimension towards things and will help me relate better in general.

Thank you kindly. Wink

Yeah! I'm glad I could help in my little way...  Grin

But take note I'm a novice and shouldn't be taken too seriously...  Tongue
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« Reply #20 on: November 30, 2007, 01:04:12 PM »

Ahh. My error. I assumed he was referring to a passage of Scripture itself.
He is referring to a passage of Scripture: The word KECHARITOMENI is what the Angel calls Mary in Luke 1:28:
"και εισελθων προς αυτην ειπεν χαιρε κεχαριτωμενη ο κυριος μετα σου".
("And coming unto her said: Hail! thou who art full of grace! The Lord is with you!")

The work KEHARITOMENI carries the meaning of "full to the brim with grace".
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« Reply #21 on: November 30, 2007, 01:11:29 PM »

Indeed. But the context for Romans 3:23 deals with the universal condition of man (save Christ) and with each individual's personal failure, his sins, and Christ as the sole means for atonement.
The Orthodox Church doesn't accept the concept of "atonement" either, nor the judicial concept of "merit" used to "pay" for sins. The point is, as I said, we already say that the Theotokos is "saved", like all of us, through Christ. She doesn't have to have sinned in order to require Christ to "save" her. The Orthodox understanding of salvation is the process of theosis, and sinlessness does not in itself guarentee theosis.
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« Reply #22 on: November 30, 2007, 01:20:30 PM »

The Orthodox Church doesn't accept the concept of "atonement" either, nor the judicial concept of "merit" used to "pay" for sins. The point is, as I said, we already say that the Theotokos is "saved", like all of us, through Christ. She doesn't have to have sinned in order to require Christ to "save" her. The Orthodox understanding of salvation is the process of theosis, and sinlessness does not in itself guarentee theosis.


Okay. Excluding the concept of atonement (wasn't trying to muddy the waters), the context of Romans 3:23 still refers to all humans except Christ. It says ALL have sinned.

If I may, without trying to tackle all of the related tangents, let me restate and hopefully stream line the question...

How do you couple and explain Romans 3:23 with regard to Mary supposedly being sinless? How do you officially interpret that passage in question with regards to her?
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« Reply #23 on: November 30, 2007, 01:23:54 PM »


Okay. Excluding the concept of atonement (wasn't trying to muddy the waters), the context of Romans 3:23 still refers to all humans except Christ. It says ALL have sinned.

If I may, without trying to tackle all of the related tangents, let me restate and hopefully stream line the question...

How do you couple and explain Romans 3:23 with regard to Mary supposedly being sinless? How do you officially interpret that passage in question with regards to her?
You've missed the point of my earlier post. You have interpreted "ALL have sinned" as meaning "all except Christ have sinned". Yet I gave you two examples of the same word "all" being used by the same Apostle, yet clearly not literally meaning "all". Here it is again:

The Apostle Paul also says in the same Epistle that "all Israel will be saved" (11:26). Does this mean that there will be an apocatastasis? Will all Israel in fact be saved?
In another Epistle to the Corinthian Church, the Apostle Paul tells them that they "were enriched in everything by Him in all utterance and all knowledge". (1 Corinthians 1:5). Does this mean that everything the Corinthian Church knew and said was inspired by God? Then why does the same Apostle rebuke the Church in Corinth in the same Epistle for being "still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?" (1 Corinthian 3:3)?


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« Reply #24 on: November 30, 2007, 01:26:50 PM »

Indeed. But the context for Romans 3:23 deals with the universal condition of man (save Christ) and with each individual's personal failure, his sins, and Christ as the sole means for atonement. He clearly relates the condition is universal, the personal guilt (and thus personal committal) is universal, and the answer is only found in the single exception of Christ. My point is that in the context of Romans 3:23 Mary, John the Baptist, and everyone else (save Christ) are included.

EO do not agree with our Western understanding of this and most deny both original sin and the Atonement (as Christ's sacrifice in satisfaction of the sin debt). This was my biggest stumbling block to EO when I was considering that communion.

We are sort of playing on different baseball diamonds than the EO with regard to this.

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« Reply #25 on: November 30, 2007, 01:34:19 PM »

EO do not agree with our Western understanding of this and most deny both original sin and the Atonement
Even so, I don't think this is necessary to understand why Romans 3:23 does not mean that the Theotokos has sinned. You're a Roman Catholic, and you hold the concepts of Original Sin and Atonement, yet, you also do not hold that Romans 3:23 means that the Theotokos must have sinned. I'm not arguing from an Orthodox theological or even Patristic viewpoint, but I'm using only Scripture to show why it isn't necessary to believe that Romans 3:23 implies sin on the part of the Theotokos.
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« Reply #26 on: November 30, 2007, 01:38:42 PM »

You've missed the point of my earlier post. You have interpreted "ALL have sinned" as meaning "all except Christ have sinned". Yet I gave you two examples of the same word "all" being used by the same Apostle, yet clearly not literally meaning "all".

Actually, I understood your point. My rebuttal was that despite your examples of a limited use based on the context of the passages cited the opposite is true when one considers the context of Romans 3. The context of Romans 3 clearly proves that the all Paul has in mind is everyone in the world save Christ.

I will include a large portion of the chapter below to provide a quick reference for context (emphasis is mine):

Quote from: Romans 3:10-26

 10As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:

 11There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.

 12They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

 13Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips:

 14Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:

 15Their feet are swift to shed blood:

 16Destruction and misery are in their ways:

 17And the way of peace have they not known:

 18There is no fear of God before their eyes.

 19Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.

 20Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

 21But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;

 22Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:

 23For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

 24Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

 25Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;

 26To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
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« Reply #27 on: November 30, 2007, 01:41:50 PM »

Even so, I don't think this is necessary to understand why Romans 3:23 does not mean that the Theotokos has sinned. You're a Roman Catholic, and you hold the concepts of Original Sin and Atonement, yet, you also do not hold that Romans 3:23 means that the Theotokos must have sinned. I'm not arguing from an Orthodox theological or even Patristic viewpoint, but I'm using only Scripture to show why it isn't necessary to believe that Romans 3:23 implies sin on the part of the Theotokos.

Okay. Would you mind then giving me a personal commentary on Romans 3:23 and it's surrounding passages, and explain why I should accept (or at least consider) that "all" there does not refer to everyone save Christ?
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« Reply #28 on: November 30, 2007, 01:46:29 PM »

Even so, I don't think this is necessary to understand why Romans 3:23 does not mean that the Theotokos has sinned. You're a Roman Catholic, and you hold the concepts of Original Sin and Atonement, yet, you also do not hold that Romans 3:23 means that the Theotokos must have sinned. I'm not arguing from an Orthodox theological or even Patristic viewpoint, but I'm using only Scripture to show why it isn't necessary to believe that Romans 3:23 implies sin on the part of the Theotokos.

Understood.

I would add, though, that we believe she would have sinned if not for her Immaculate Conception. It was a special grace coming from Christ's Atonement that allowed her to be truly free to choose not to sin in her life. Without it, she would have been enslaved to sin like the rest of us. With her will freed and able not to sin, she chose not to. She did what Eve couldn't.

So, in that sense, Romans 3:23 is true for us.
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« Reply #29 on: November 30, 2007, 01:47:05 PM »

EO do not agree with our Western understanding of this and most deny both original sin and the Atonement (as Christ's sacrifice in satisfaction of the sin debt). This was my biggest stumbling block to EO when I was considering that communion.

We are sort of playing on different baseball diamonds than the EO with regard to this.

That is not altogether true, lubeltri. The Fathers teach that Christ was made an offering for our sins...

Christ knew no sin, but he was made sin for us. This occcured by the imputation of our sin to him. The key text is 2 Corinthians 5:21: "For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." It was central to the Fathers' justification teaching.

Christ was not a sinner, but a victim for sinners, according to Cyril of Alexandria: "We do not say that Christ became a sinner, far from it, but being righteous (or rather righteousness, because he did not know sin at all), the Father made him a victim for the sins of the world" (Letter 41:10).

Christ knew no sin either inwardly or outwardly, either in intention or action. Yet he was voluntarily made to be sin for us by the imputation of our sin to him.

St. John Chrysostom explained: "God allowed his Son to suffer as if a condemned sinner, so that we might be delivered from the penalty of our sins. This is God's righteousness, that we are not justified by works (for then they would be perfect, which is impossible), but by grace, in which case all our sin is removed" (Homilies on the Epistles of Paul to the Corinthians 11:5).

"It was only because all flesh was subject to sin that he was made sin for us. In view of the fact that he was made an offering for sins, it is not wrong for him to be said to have been made 'sin,' because in the law the sacrifice which was offered for sins used to be called a 'sin.' After his death on the cross Christ descended to hell, because it was death, working through sin, which gave hell its power. Christ defeated death by his death, and brought such benefit to sinners that now death cannot hold those who are marked with the sign of the cross" (Ambrosiaster, Commentary on Paul's Epistles).

Even later Protestant confessions would echo the same apostolic teaching: "He who knew no sin was made sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. He bore our sins in his own body. It pleased our heavenly Father, of his infinite mercy, without any desert or deserving, to provide for us the most precious sacrifice of Christ, whereby our ransom might be fully paid, the law fulfilled, and his justice fully satisfied. So that Christ is himself the righteousness of all them that truly do believe in him" (Reformed Episcopal Articles of Religion 1875).
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« Reply #30 on: November 30, 2007, 01:49:13 PM »

Actually, I understood your point. My rebuttal was that despite your examples of a limited use based on the context of the passages cited the opposite is true when one considers the context of Romans 3. The context of Romans 3 clearly proves that the all Paul has in min is everyone in the world save Christ.

I will include a large portion of the chapter below to provide a quick reference for context (emphasis is mine):

Christopher, look at the first verse:

"As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one"

Is this literally true? Didn't God say Noah was Righteous? (Genesis 7:1) Was God wrong?

On what basis do you exclude Christ from the implications of this verse and no one else?
If it is literally true that "There is none righteous, no, not one" either Christ was not a man like us, and was not "one of us", or He was unrighteous.
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« Reply #31 on: November 30, 2007, 01:55:07 PM »

That is not altogether true, lubeltri. The Fathers teach that Christ was made an offering for our sins...

Christ knew no sin, but he was made sin for us. This occcured by the imputation of our sin to him. The key text is 2 Corinthians 5:21: "For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." It was central to the Fathers' justification teaching.

Christ was not a sinner, but a victim for sinners, according to Cyril of Alexandria: "We do not say that Christ became a sinner, far from it, but being righteous (or rather righteousness, because he did not know sin at all), the Father made him a victim for the sins of the world" (Letter 41:10).

Christ knew no sin either inwardly or outwardly, either in intention or action. Yet he was voluntarily made to be sin for us by the imputation of our sin to him.

St. John Chrysostom explained: "God allowed his Son to suffer as if a condemned sinner, so that we might be delivered from the penalty of our sins. This is God's righteousness, that we are not justified by works (for then they would be perfect, which is impossible), but by grace, in which case all our sin is removed" (Homilies on the Epistles of Paul to the Corinthians 11:5).

"It was only because all flesh was subject to sin that he was made sin for us. In view of the fact that he was made an offering for sins, it is not wrong for him to be said to have been made 'sin,' because in the law the sacrifice which was offered for sins used to be called a 'sin.' After his death on the cross Christ descended to hell, because it was death, working through sin, which gave hell its power. Christ defeated death by his death, and brought such benefit to sinners that now death cannot hold those who are marked with the sign of the cross" (Ambrosiaster, Commentary on Paul's Epistles).

Even later Protestant confessions would echo the same apostolic teaching: "He who knew no sin was made sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. He bore our sins in his own body. It pleased our heavenly Father, of his infinite mercy, without any desert or deserving, to provide for us the most precious sacrifice of Christ, whereby our ransom might be fully paid, the law fulfilled, and his justice fully satisfied. So that Christ is himself the righteousness of all them that truly do believe in him" (Reformed Episcopal Articles of Religion 1875).

I know some EO (you included, I assume) affirm this, but many others see it as un-Orthodox.
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« Reply #32 on: November 30, 2007, 02:05:24 PM »

Christopher, look at the first verse:

"As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one"

Is this literally true? Didn't God say Noah was Righteous? (Genesis 7:1) Was God wrong?

On what basis do you exclude Christ from the implications of this verse and no one else?
If it is literally true that "There is none righteous, no, not one" either Christ was not a man like us, and was not "one of us", or He was unrighteous.

Hmmm. Well, off the cuff, Noah was declared righteous in his generations. I'm not sure that means he was literally sinless (obviously I don't believe anyone, save Christ, ever was, is, or will be). Albeit, that righteousness dealt uniquely with him finding favor and being spared the wrath of God in the flood. Later, after the flood, he certainly sinned. One famous instance is when he drank himself drunk (see Galatians 5:17-21), and one of his sons uncovered his nakedness. So, even if one argued Noah was sinless up until the time of the flood they would have to admit that following the flood he personal sinned, at least once.
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« Reply #33 on: November 30, 2007, 02:14:49 PM »

Hmmm. Well, off the cuff, Noah was declared righteous in his generations. I'm not sure that means he was literally sinless (obviously I don't believe anyone, save Christ, ever was, is, or will be). Albeit, that righteousness dealt uniquely with him finding favor and being spared the wrath of God in the flood. Later, after the flood, he certainly sinned. One famous instance is when he drank himself drunk (see Galatians 5:17-21), and one of his sons uncovered his nakedness. So, even if one argued Noah was sinless up until the time of the flood they would have to admit that following the flood he personal sinned, at least once.

Oh come on! You can't seriously expect me to accept that as a rational argument!
Look, it's simple. One verse of Scripture says "there is none righteous" and in another verse God calls Noah "righteous" (which even if you want to say that Noah was unrighteous after the flood, there was at least one point in history when God Himself said there is at least one righteous man).

So the only possibilities are:
1) God was wrong and Noah was unrighteous.
2) The exclusions to Romans 3 extend beyond Christ.
3) Romans 3 is not meant to be taken literally.

Take your pick! Wink
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« Reply #34 on: November 30, 2007, 02:19:38 PM »

Oh come on! You can't seriously expect me to accept that as a rational argument!
Look, it's simple. One verse of Scripture says "there is none righteous" and in another verse God calls Noah "righteous" (which even if you want to say that Noah was unrighteous after the flood, there was at least one point in history when God Himself said there is at least one righteous man).

So the only possibilities are:
1) God was wrong and Noah was unrighteous.
2) The exclusions to Romans 3 extend beyond Christ.
3) Romans 3 is not meant to be taken literally.

Take your pick! Wink


4) None are righteous until after they are justified.
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« Reply #35 on: November 30, 2007, 02:21:30 PM »


4) None are righteous until after they are justified.

So how was Noah justified?
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« Reply #36 on: November 30, 2007, 02:25:50 PM »

So how was Noah justified?

By Christ, of course. Retroactively.  Smiley
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« Reply #37 on: November 30, 2007, 02:30:10 PM »

By Christ, of course. Retroactively.  Smiley

I see. Tell me, those who are justified retroactively, are they chosen at random or predestined? Wink
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« Reply #38 on: November 30, 2007, 02:37:10 PM »

Cleopas:

I forgot to add that many of our learned contributors occassionally engage in a theological smack down
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« Reply #39 on: November 30, 2007, 02:41:35 PM »

I see. Tell me, those who are justified retroactively, are they chosen at random or predestined? Wink

  laugh I surrender! I don't feel like jumping down the rabbit hole today!
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« Reply #40 on: November 30, 2007, 02:52:29 PM »


4) None are righteous until after they are justified.

"Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations.  Noah walked with God."
Genesis 9

I dont know about you but if someone walked with God he's righteous in my book, at least at that time prior to the flood.  After the flood thats a different story.   But, had Noah stayed righteous as before he may have been rewarded as Enoch or Elijia were.

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« Reply #41 on: November 30, 2007, 05:51:21 PM »


4) None are righteous until after they are justified.

Precisely. And Justification is imputed righteousness.
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« Reply #42 on: November 30, 2007, 05:56:28 PM »

Precisely. And Justification is imputed righteousness.

Grace and Peace,

We should start a topic on "Justification" and discuss what is common and different between the Classic Consensus of the Church and modern Christian Confessions...

Read my post #29
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« Reply #43 on: November 30, 2007, 05:59:33 PM »

Oh come on! You can't seriously expect me to accept that as a rational argument!

It is perfectly rational.

Quote
Look, it's simple. One verse of Scripture says "there is none righteous" and in another verse God calls Noah "righteous" (which even if you want to say that Noah was unrighteous after the flood, there was at least one point in history when God Himself said there is at least one righteous man).

I am trying to be very agreeable in my disagreeing.  Roll Eyes Cheesy  But, hoping I'm not coming on to strong (and not wanting to wear my welcome out)...

Clearly the righteousness of Noah had nothing to do with his absolute moral purity and individual holiness (literally). Remember he found favor, grace. He was born of Adam, born in sin, and like all natural born sinners, personally sinned. Even Jesus declared "there is non good" except God. None is none -- no one. All we like sheep have gone astray.

The fact that I can show even one instance of personal sin in the life of Noah, proves he was not sinless. That alone is enough to show that the righteousness of Noah was not meant to be equated with a natural sinless life. Therefore the text does not contradict or disagree with the conclusion of Romans 3:23, which says that all (including Noah) sinned.
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« Reply #44 on: November 30, 2007, 06:05:07 PM »

By Christ, of course. Retroactively.  Smiley


Once all of Scripture was revealed we can,looking back, see that is the case. I agree. All righteousness flows form Jesus Christ, the Righteous.

Albeit, looking at this from the human side of things... Noah was justified by faith. So says the writer of Hebrews in the 11th chapter of his epistle. Indeed all justification before God is received by faith. Rather than speaking of the self righteousness (read sinlessness) of Noah, or anyone else for that matter, this actually serves to point us to the fact that all need God's grace in order to be accepted as righteous before Him. Why? Because we are (of ourselves) sinners, and sinners sin. All have sinned.
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« Reply #45 on: November 30, 2007, 06:09:04 PM »

Cleopas:

I forgot to add that many of our learned contributors occassionally engage in a theological smack down


Shocked Angry  Now ya tell me!   laugh laugh

Tis alright, so far.
I will attribute it to them seeking to keep the greatest commandment, which includes loving God with the whole mind.  Wink Smiley
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« Reply #46 on: November 30, 2007, 07:33:45 PM »

I see. Tell me, those who are justified retroactively, are they chosen at random or predestined? Wink

Grace and Peace ozgeorge,

Are we not taught that our Lord descended into hell and freed the captives? I've heard that He preached the Gospel and brought those who believed out... Doesn't He have the Keys to both Heaven and Hell? Before His salvific death and resurrection the doors of heaven were locked to men... Do we not teach this anymore?  Huh
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« Reply #47 on: November 30, 2007, 08:14:26 PM »

Don't worry; I'm sure George meant this rhetorically. Smiley
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« Reply #48 on: November 30, 2007, 10:12:59 PM »

Grace and Peace ozgeorge,

Are we not taught that our Lord descended into hell and freed the captives? I've heard that He preached the Gospel and brought those who believed out... Doesn't He have the Keys to both Heaven and Hell? Before His salvific death and resurrection the doors of heaven were locked to men... Do we not teach this anymore?  Huh
I don't think Noah was in Hades when God called him "righteous" and commanded him to build the  Ark. Wink
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« Reply #49 on: November 30, 2007, 10:18:02 PM »

God bless !

From the Gospel of Luke:

about St. John :
1:15. For he shall be great before the Lord and shall drink no wine nor strong drink: and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb.

So St. Joh was filled with the Holy Spirit even in the womb- since the Mother of God is  greater so she also must be filled with the Holy Spirit.

1:26. And in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth,

1:27. To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David: and the virgin's name was Mary.

1:28. And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women
.
 
In greek, full of grace - better - gracefilled is Ke-charitomeni- please notice that She was Gracefilled when the Angel greeted  Her -she was and not was made....

1:29. Who having heard, was troubled at his saying and thought with herself what manner of salutation this should be.

She also wondered about this Salutation.....!

1:30. And the angel said to her: Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God.

Later we read St. Elizabeth speaking:

1:42. And she cried out with a loud voice and said: Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb .

The fruit of Her womb.....Christ is the fruit of her womb and only of HER- so do not divide Christ and his Holy Mother.

Christ took His flesh from the Theotokos-Christs flesh is Her flesh, God was united in Her Most Holy Womb with the human Nature when She concepted Christ.

She bore God for nine months in Her womb !! How much more she bore him in Her Soul and mind.

St. John of Damaskos:
So then, after the assent of the holy Virgin, the Holy Spirit descended on her, according to the word of the Lord which the angel spoke, purifying her, and granting her power to receive the divinity of the Word, and likewise power to bring forth. And then was she overshadowed by the enhypostatic Wisdom and Power of the most high God, the Son of God Who is of like essence with the Father as of Divine seed, and from her holy and most pure blood He formed flesh animated with the spirit of reason and thought, the first-fruits of our compound nature: not by procreation but by creation through the Holy Spirit: not developing the fashion of the body by gradual additions but perfecting it at once, He Himself, the very Word of God, standing to the flesh in the relation of subsistence. For the divine Word was not made one with flesh that had an independent pre-existence, but taking up His abode in the womb of the holy Virgin, He unreservedly in His own subsistence took upon Himself through the pure blood of the eternal Virgin a body of flesh animated with the spirit of reason and thought, thus assuming to Himself the first-fruits of man's compound nature, Himself, the Word, having become a subsistence in the flesh. So that He is at once flesh, and at the same time flesh of God the Word, and likewise flesh animated, possessing both reason and thought. Wherefore we speak not of man as having become God, but of God as having become Man. For being by nature perfect God, He naturally became likewise perfect Man: and did not change His nature nor make the dispensation an empty show, but became, without confusion or change or division, one in subsistence with the flesh, which was conceived of the holy Virgin, and animated with reason and thought, and had found existence in Him, while He did not change the nature of His divinity into the essence of flesh, nor the essence of flesh into the nature of His divinity, and did not make one compound nature out of His divine nature and the human nature He had assumed

IN CHRIST
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« Reply #50 on: November 30, 2007, 11:51:15 PM »

Cleopas,

(It's funny, I just addressed this on the Sola Scriptura thread)

You've noticed by now, I'm sure, that we EO hold very dear the veneration of the Theotokos.  But, for the record, we do NOT believe that Mary was altogether sinless.  ONLY Christ was sinless.  To say she was without sin would be tantamount to elevating her to the level of Christ, which is the EXACT reason that the EO also reject the Catholic doctrine of the Immaculate Conception (which holds that Mary was born without sin).  Only Christ was sinless, only He was conceived and lived without sin.  Period.

Mary probably got as close as humanly possible to being sinless (which is probably what the other guys are trying to say), but no one can say that she lived without ever once committing a sin. 
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« Reply #51 on: November 30, 2007, 11:57:29 PM »

Actually, GreekChef, you're going to find most of us do hold the Theotokos to be spotless, ever-pure. Hence, without sin. Of course, this does not apply to any 'sinful nature' - of course she could have sinned as all of us fallen can.
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« Reply #52 on: December 01, 2007, 12:18:20 AM »

Actually, GreekChef, you're going to find most of us do hold the Theotokos to be spotless, ever-pure. Hence, without sin. Of course, this does not apply to any 'sinful nature' - of course she could have sinned as all of us fallen can.

Please don't take this to be an attack, or an offense, but...

What some of us hold, and what the Church holds, are two entirely different things.

Spotless and ever-pure, yes, of course.  I am named for her, and God help me if I thought any different.  But spotless and ever-pure refer to her virginity, not her sinlessness.  We believe her to be an ever-virgin, but not to be without sin.  Only Christ was without sin.
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« Reply #53 on: December 01, 2007, 01:52:09 AM »

Hmm, I've always been under the impression that EO hold that Mary never sinned.

We believe that the Mother of God was sinless of her own free will. . . .

http://www.oca.org/QA.asp?ID=6&SID=3

I can say, in short, that the Orthodox Church believes that Mary, as a human being, could indeed have sinned, but chose not to.

http://oca.org/QA.asp?ID=116&SID=3


http://sttikhonsmonastery.org/sinlessness.html
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« Reply #54 on: December 01, 2007, 02:23:54 AM »

Indeed. But the context for Romans 3:23 deals with the universal condition of man (save Christ) and with each individual's personal failure, his sins, and Christ as the sole means for atonement. He clearly relates the condition is universal, the personal guilt (and thus personal committal) is universal, and the answer is only found in the single exception of Christ. My point is that in the context of Romans 3:23 Mary, John the Baptist, and everyone else (save Christ) are included.

Certainly human beings are all born with a nature infected by the ancestral sin.  But does that mean that we automatically commit personal sins?  That's determinism!  And of course babies and the mentally disabled can't commit sins, so Romans 3:23 doesn't literally apply to everyone.  Even if someone managed not to commit a single sin in his life, he would still need to be saved by the Lord Jesus Christ because of his wounded nature.
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« Reply #55 on: December 01, 2007, 02:32:50 AM »

Thank you. Points 1 & 3 I understood (sorta).

Concerning Point 2, How do I know? Because the Apostle Paul under inspiration said so when he said "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God" in Romans 3:23.

You say that St. Paul's "all" includes everyone BUT Christ. So it depends on how you interpret "all".  
We say St. Paul's "all" includes everyone BUT Christ and Mary. So it depends on how you interpret "all".

I don't know if you are evangelical, Catholic or whatever, but YOUR exception to St. Paul's "all" must  be proven as does ours, simply because the good apostle is a bit "shotgun" in his language.

THE  PROBLEM is that you likely do NOT accept Holy Tradition and we do. Or, you accept Holy Tradition but also accept Latin additions such as original sin and the immaculate conception. Therefore we arrive at different conclusions. Therefore, THIS thread will be entirely two (possibly three) strains of thought talking past one another.

Our a priori assumptions regarding Holy Tradition and/or develpoment of dogma (Roman Catholicism) are the ONLY real discussions here.

If you do not accept Orthodoxy's embrace of Scripture AND Holy Tradition; or if you accept the Latin view of development of dogma, we will NEVER agree. We can each clarify and articulate our positions (which has value so that we may understand and respect one another), but we will never agree.

Sorry to be a curmudgeon.
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« Reply #56 on: December 01, 2007, 02:50:21 AM »

Very interesting. Would you mind citing the passage where she is thus titled?


Luke 1:28; it is right there in the Greek NT; this is the salutation by the arch-angel Gabriel no less
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« Reply #57 on: December 01, 2007, 02:59:25 AM »

Indeed. But the context for Romans 3:23 deals with the universal condition of man (save Christ) and with each individual's personal failure, his sins, and Christ as the sole means for atonement. He clearly relates the condition is universal, the personal guilt (and thus personal committal) is universal, and the answer is only found in the single exception of Christ. My point is that in the context of Romans 3:23 Mary, John the Baptist, and everyone else (save Christ) are included.

How do you know that? That is your apriori assupmption. Based on sola scriptura, most likely. St. Paul says, "all."
Who are you to clarify him?

At least we have Holy Tradition to clarify him.

Sorry, I am not meaning to be unkind, but it is not as simple as you think it is and you cannot keep quoting Rom. 3:23, ad infinitum to smugly (it seems to me - I apologize if I am wrong) make your point.
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« Reply #58 on: December 01, 2007, 03:05:45 AM »


Okay. Excluding the concept of atonement (wasn't trying to muddy the waters), the context of Romans 3:23 still refers to all humans except Christ. It says ALL have sinned

Sorry if I am mis-interpreting you, but you DO sound very protestant and overly literal in your use of Scripture!

And again, I have to ask, what proof can you offer that YOUR interpretation of "all" really is the correct one.?
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« Reply #59 on: December 01, 2007, 03:26:29 AM »

Sorry if I am mis-interpreting you, but you DO sound very protestant and overly literal in your use of Scripture!

And again, I have to ask, what proof can you offer that YOUR interpretation of "all" really is the correct one.?

That's probably because I am protestant -- non-denom evangelical to be exact. angel

I don't mind disagreeing so long as we can do so civilly and at the same time allow brotherly love to continue.  Wink

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« Reply #60 on: December 01, 2007, 03:43:52 AM »

Quote from: BrotherAidan
How do you know that? That is your apriori assupmption. Based on sola scriptura, most likely. St. Paul says, "all."
Who are you to clarify him?

At least we have Holy Tradition to clarify him.

Sorry, I am not meaning to be unkind, but it is not as simple as you think it is and you cannot keep quoting Rom. 3:23, ad infinitum to smugly (it seems to me - I apologize if I am wrong) make your point.

There is no smugness on my part, brother. I assure you. I apologize for anything I may have done that may have made it seem so.

I believe I have more than adequately shown that the plain reading of the third chapter of Romans (see quoted passage of verses 10 - 26 of same chapter above) bares out my summary thereof -- that by all in verse 23 Paul is referring to all mankind who needs salvation in and through the sacrificial work of the sinless Christ.

My insistence on citing Romans 3:23 is because I have been seeking a detailed explanation of that specific passage (not other passages inferring back on it) in relation to the Orthodox view that Mary was not a sinner, that is that she never committed any act of sin. I would enjoy hearing such an explanation -- whether we agree on the conclusion or not.

Thanks & be blessed!
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« Reply #61 on: December 01, 2007, 03:50:36 AM »

That's probably because I am protestant -- non-denom evangelical to be exact. angel

I don't mind disagreeing so long as we can do so civilly and at the same time allow brotherly love to continue.  Wink



I am very happy to agree with you on that. I hope you haven't taken offense. I am trying to get to the essence of the the differences rather than debate each individual topic.

Let me give an example. When I first encountered Orthodoxy it occurred to me that there were really (for me) only two issues: the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist and Apostolic Succession. The understanding I came to on those two issues would determine everything else. For me, those were the two apriori assumptions needing answered one way or another. After that, everything would be accepted or rejected accordingly. That is why (unlike some protestants who converted to Orthodoxy), the Othodoxy teaching regarding Mary never was an issue for me; I had already settled the apriori assumptions that made Orthdoxy's understanding of the Mother of God a given for me.

I hope this maybe helps!
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« Reply #62 on: December 01, 2007, 03:57:04 AM »

I am very happy to agree with you on that. I hope you haven't taken offense. I am trying to get to the essence of the the differences rather than debate each individual topic.

Let me give an example. When I first encountered Orthodoxy it occurred to me that there were really (for me) only two issues: the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist and Apostolic Succession. The understanding I came to on those two issues would determine everything else. For me, those were the two apriori assumptions needing answered one way or another. After that, everything would be accepted or rejected accordingly. That is why (unlike some protestants who converted to Orthodoxy), the Othodoxy teaching regarding Mary never was an issue for me; I had already settled the apriori assumptions that made Orthdoxy's understanding of the Mother of God a given for me.

I hope this maybe helps!


I can appreciate that. In truth I do not have a full grasp of the import and influence that oral tradition, etc. plays for you all. Catholics for that matter as well.

However, if you cut all the debate on the individual topics out then there ain't much point in having a forum for interaction with protestants. Is there?
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« Reply #63 on: December 01, 2007, 04:03:09 AM »

Let me note that unlike the Roman Catholics the Orthodox Church believes that the Virgin Mary was conceived and born in exactly the same condition that every human being excepting Christ was conceived, that is, affected by Adam's sin.  Therefore, of course she needed salvation*!

Did Christ die for the little babies who tragically passed away before they committed personal sins?  Of course!  Did he die for the mentally incompetent who do not understand the moral law?  Of course!  Even without personal sins we are in need of a Savior because of our wounded nature.

*Of course, the Catholics believe the same thing too, but that she was "retroactively" saved at her conception.  To be brief, that doctrine doesn't make sense.
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« Reply #64 on: December 01, 2007, 04:12:23 AM »


I can appreciate that. In truth I do not have a full grasp of the import and influence that oral tradition, etc. plays for you all. Catholics for that matter as well.

However, if you cut all the debate on the individual topics out then there ain't much point in having a forum for interaction with protestants. Is there?

in one sense, yes, you have a point, and for both inquiring value and entertainment value (and let's all confess up front,  we visit these boards in part to be entertained) each individual question and topic has merit. And leads to interesting and sometimes profitable discussion.

I was painting with the broad stroke and, based on personal experience (which you are quite familiar with as an evangelical), pointing to the idea that if Orthodoxy ever becomes a possibility for you, then identify the aprioris for yourself so you don't spend endless time on each issue after each issue (you see, as a former evangelical, I am still evangelistic at heart! -- I hope you can appreciate that!)
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« Reply #65 on: December 01, 2007, 08:50:28 AM »

Please don't take this to be an attack, or an offense, but...

What some of us hold, and what the Church holds, are two entirely different things.

Spotless and ever-pure, yes, of course.  I am named for her, and God help me if I thought any different.  But spotless and ever-pure refer to her virginity, not her sinlessness.  We believe her to be an ever-virgin, but not to be without sin.  Only Christ was without sin.

Likewise.

Yes, only Christ was born not possessing our sin-prone state.
I'm sure you will find this non-dogmatic topic a wide rage of opinion. Non-dogmatic because, unlike our counterparts in Rome, we don't declare Marion doctrines in terms of our salvation. It's been dealt with here many times, and in greater depth than a single sentence summation provides.
The Church doesn't not teach the Assumption of the Theotokos as dogma, but many believe that as well., and are free to do so.

{We should do a thread search}
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« Reply #66 on: December 01, 2007, 09:29:22 AM »

In truth I do not have a full grasp of the import and influence that oral tradition, etc. plays for you all.
I think the first thing to understand is that there is no dichotomy between Scripture and Tradition for the Orthodox. In fact, Scripture forms part of Tradition. Tradition came first- there was a Church before the Gospels and Epistles existed. The word "Tradition" simply means "what the Apostles taught us whether in word or epistle"  (see 2 Thessalonians 2:15).
The second thing is Tradition is no longer "oral tradition"- it is now documented in the works of the Fathers, including those of the Oecumenical Councils, the Liturgy, the Hymns of the Church, the Services, the Icons etc... Don't think of Tradition as being some sort of oral history like Native American or Australian Aboriginal oral history.
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« Reply #67 on: December 01, 2007, 10:05:34 AM »

I don't think Noah was in Hades when God called him "righteous" and commanded him to build the  Ark. Wink

Grace and Peace ozgeorge,

If we look again to the Apostle Paul we would have to say that 'righteousness' is 'not' a meritorious state of sinlessness but an extended grace 'favor' to those who have 'faith' "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness" (Rom. 4:3; Gen. 15:6).

I'm not suggesting that Noah 'is' in Hades but I question if His acts merited him salvation as the notion undermines the necessity for Christ's death on a cross. This is the real concern I have with the modern Eastern Orthodox hyper-emphasis of Greek Philosophy over Revelation. It appears to so twist our faith as to create a 'Gospel of the Cappadocians' at the expense of the 'Gospel of Christ'. I simply don't see this emphasis within the Classic Consensus of the Fathers nor can I make it harmonize with any normative understanding of the Scriptures.
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« Reply #68 on: December 01, 2007, 10:12:50 AM »

I'm not suggesting that Noah 'is' in Hades but I question if His acts merited him salvation as the notion undermines the necessity for Christ's death on a cross.
Noah was saved by Christ's death on the cross; his acts were counted as righteousness because they allowed him to receive salvation. God is outside of time; therefore, those saved before the time of Christ (by our reckoning) are saved the same way those of us who lived after the Resurrection (again by our reckoning). From an eternal perspective, there is only the present. We could think of it as everything happening at once: Noah's actions, Christ's Death and Resurrection, and my posting this right now.

In other words, salvation is not affected by time, only by the repentence of a person.
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« Reply #69 on: December 01, 2007, 10:14:22 AM »

Cleopas,

(It's funny, I just addressed this on the Sola Scriptura thread)

You've noticed by now, I'm sure, that we EO hold very dear the veneration of the Theotokos.  But, for the record, we do NOT believe that Mary was altogether sinless.  ONLY Christ was sinless.  To say she was without sin would be tantamount to elevating her to the level of Christ, which is the EXACT reason that the EO also reject the Catholic doctrine of the Immaculate Conception (which holds that Mary was born without sin).  Only Christ was sinless, only He was conceived and lived without sin.  Period.

Mary probably got as close as humanly possible to being sinless (which is probably what the other guys are trying to say), but no one can say that she lived without ever once committing a sin. 

God bless u Matjuschka Maria !

It is hard to read that an orthodox Matjushka think that the Mostholy Theotokos is not sinless- how is it possible ?

Do you not know that

Pan-hagia means ALL-HOLY
Hyper.hagia    SUPER_HOLY
Pan amomos-all immaculate
pan achrantos- all spotless
Hyper evlogeimeni Super blessed - blessed over all ??
Hyper endoxe  Super glorious Huh??

St. Gregor Palamas:

God has kept this Virgin for Himself from before all ages. He chose Her from among all generation and bestowed on Her grace higher than that given to all others, making of Her, before Her wondrous childbirth, the Saint of Saints, giving Her the honours of His own house in the Holy of Holies . . . Wishing to create an image of absolute beauty and to manifest clearly to angels and to men the power of His Art, God made Mary truly beautiful . . . He made of Her a blend of all divine, angelic and human perfection, a sublime beauty embellishing the two worlds, rising from earth to heaven and surpassing even this latter."

St. Neophytos:

Thou certainly, O illustrious Lady, have no need for praise from mortal lips, Thou who dwell in the heavenly kingdom, Spouse of the Father, Mother of the Son, Receptacle of the Holy Spirit, because Thou art immaculate."

.......

In CHRIST

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« Reply #70 on: December 01, 2007, 10:18:08 AM »

Grace and Peace ozgeorge,

If we look again to the Apostle Paul we would have to say that 'righteousness' is 'not' a meritorious state of sinlessness but an extended grace 'favor' to those who have 'faith' "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness" (Rom. 4:3; Gen. 15:6).

I'm not suggesting that Noah 'is' in Hades but I question if His acts merited him salvation as the notion undermines the necessity for Christ's death on a cross. This is the real concern I have with the modern Eastern Orthodox hyper-emphasis of Greek Philosophy over Revelation. It appears to so twist our faith as to create a 'Gospel of the Cappadocians' at the expense of the 'Gospel of Christ'. I simply don't see this emphasis within the Classic Consensus of the Fathers nor can I make it harmonize with any normative understanding of the Scriptures.

I think you've missed the point of what I was saying. Read over the thread again, and read my response in the context of the thread of arguments in it, rather than read it on it's own.
I'd give you a summary of the thread, but I've found myself doing that too many times lately, and I'm getting pretty tired of it. Suffice to say, you've completely misunderstood what I was saying. I'm not talking about merit or justification, I'm talking about two passages of Scripture which, if both are to be taken literally, clearly contradict one another. And please don't decide to go on at me about how to interpret Scripture.....that's not the point either.
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« Reply #71 on: December 01, 2007, 10:29:44 AM »

Noah was saved by Christ's death on the cross; his acts were counted as righteousness because they allowed him to receive salvation. God is outside of time; therefore, those saved before the time of Christ (by our reckoning) are saved the same way those of us who lived after the Resurrection (again by our reckoning). From an eternal perspective, there is only the present. We could think of it as everything happening at once: Noah's actions, Christ's Death and Resurrection, and my posting this right now.

In other words, salvation is not affected by time, only by the repentance of a person.

Yes, I'm familiar with the 'Eternal Now Theory' and I absolutely can accept that as a reasonable explanation of an Eternal Being.

What concerns me is you have made Noah's 'acts' meritorious when, I believe, it is proper to account righteousness to him by his faith. Perhaps his acts demonstrated his faith through works but I don't believe it is proper to account righteousness to him by his works. God didn't call him 'righteous' because he was necessary without sin but because he was a 'Father of Faith' like Abraham. We was called by God, and he responded with Faith....
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« Reply #72 on: December 01, 2007, 10:35:52 AM »

Noah was counted righteous because his acts showed his faith, which allowed him to receive salvation. Abraham was counted righteous in the same way, according to St. James' epistle:

Quote from: James 2:14-24
What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him?

If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and be filled," and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.

But someone may well say, "You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works." You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless?

Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected; and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, "AND ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS," and he was called the friend of God.

You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.
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« Reply #73 on: December 01, 2007, 10:56:30 AM »

I think you've missed the point of what I was saying. Read over the thread again, and read my response in the context of the thread of arguments in it, rather than read it on it's own.

Grace and Peace ozgeorge,

Yep, it's very possible.  Embarrassed

Quote
I'd give you a summary of the thread, but I've found myself doing that too many times lately, and I'm getting pretty tired of it. Suffice to say, you've completely misunderstood what I was saying. I'm not talking about merit or justification, I'm talking about two passages of Scripture which, if both are to be taken literally, clearly contradict one another. And please don't decide to go on at me about how to interpret Scripture.....that's not the point either.

I'm not trying to 'jump you' brother. From my point of view, you appear to be suggesting that Noah was 'sinless' and thus 'righteous' in order to give an example that 'sinlessness' goes beyond our Lord Jesus Christ but we have amble evidence to suggest that righteous is accounted for Faith and not for 'lives that are sinless'. The lives of Abraham, Noah and Moses as well as the teachings of the Apostle Paul all affirm. Earlier in the thread I asked what Cleopas meant by 'sin'... perhaps 'we' should define what 'we' mean by sin...?

My guess would be that there is a consensus somewhere.  Undecided

If we would agree that Adam, as a finite creature, was inherently 'mortal' and essentially 'shared' the immortality of the Godhead 'in communion' (in paradise) then we can affirm a 'certain' state of 'missing the mark' (i.e. sin) inherent in man after the fall (i.e. post paradise) which lacks this necessary state of 'communion'. This was our intended understanding of Original Sin, was it not? If we understand this mortal state as an unnecessary participation in corruption (i.e. lack of immortality or communion in the immortal grace of the Godhead) then we might have a foundation which can recognize a dual state in man "alive in the Spirit" and "dead in the Spirit". In order to understand Mary we have to understand Sin. Everything hinges on a fundamental understand of what Sin is....

Any thoughts.

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« Reply #74 on: December 01, 2007, 10:59:06 AM »

Noah was counted righteous because his acts showed his faith, which allowed him to receive salvation. Abraham was counted righteous in the same way, according to St. James' epistle:

What about the Good Thief... ? What you are saying is that Faith is not salvific... but works are. This could be said to be a Classic Works-Based Salvation when 'salvific works' are the fruit of Faith and not the other way round.

Your thoughts.
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« Reply #75 on: December 01, 2007, 11:06:33 AM »

Quite the contrary. Works are the evidence of faith, and faith allows us to receive salvation. I believe in the Classic Christ-Based Salvation(tm). God desires that everyone receive salvation, but only those with faith will be saved. As St. Paul says:

Quote from: Hebrews 11:1-2
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the men of old gained approval.

Surely St. Paul does not contradict St. James? How can James say that "a man is justified by works" when Paul says "by [faith] the men of old gained approval"?
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« Reply #76 on: December 01, 2007, 11:45:35 AM »

Quite the contrary. Works are the evidence of faith, and faith allows us to receive salvation. I believe in the Classic Christ-Based Salvation(tm). God desires that everyone receive salvation, but only those with faith will be saved. As St. Paul says:

Surely St. Paul does not contradict St. James? How can James say that "a man is justified by works" when Paul says "by [faith] the men of old gained approval"?

Awesome! Then we are in agreement! Sweet!  Wink
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« Reply #77 on: December 01, 2007, 11:56:43 AM »

Let me note that unlike the Roman Catholics the Orthodox Church believes that the Virgin Mary was conceived and born in exactly the same condition that every human being excepting Christ was conceived, that is, affected by Adam's sin.  Therefore, of course she needed salvation*!

*Of course, the Catholics believe the same thing too, but that she was "retroactively" saved at her conception.  To be brief, that doctrine doesn't make sense.

I know this is an Orthodox-Protestant forum, but some EO posters keep bringing up Catholic teaching (Huh), so I'm going to clarify any misconceptions.

She was not "saved" at her conception. She still had a life to live, and she could have sinned, but she chose not to. However, she was only truly free to make that choice because of the graces of her Immaculate Conception. That's where the EO teaching is foreign to us---the crippling effects of original sin are such that Mary could not have been perfectly sinless without God's intervention at her conception---Christ washed her sin away and allowed her to be free not to sin.
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« Reply #78 on: December 01, 2007, 12:46:44 PM »

Grace and Peace ozgeorge,

Yep, it's very possible.  Embarrassed

I'm not trying to 'jump you' brother. From my point of view, you appear to be suggesting that Noah was 'sinless' and thus 'righteous' in order to give an example that 'sinlessness' goes beyond our Lord Jesus Christ but we have amble evidence to suggest that righteous is accounted for Faith and not for 'lives that are sinless'. The lives of Abraham, Noah and Moses as well as the teachings of the Apostle Paul all affirm. Earlier in the thread I asked what Cleopas meant by 'sin'... perhaps 'we' should define what 'we' mean by sin...?

My guess would be that there is a consensus somewhere.  Undecided

If we would agree that Adam, as a finite creature, was inherently 'mortal' and essentially 'shared' the immortality of the Godhead 'in communion' (in paradise) then we can affirm a 'certain' state of 'missing the mark' (i.e. sin) inherent in man after the fall (i.e. post paradise) which lacks this necessary state of 'communion'. This was our intended understanding of Original Sin, was it not? If we understand this mortal state as an unnecessary participation in corruption (i.e. lack of immortality or communion in the immortal grace of the Godhead) then we might have a foundation which can recognize a dual state in man "alive in the Spirit" and "dead in the Spirit". In order to understand Mary we have to understand Sin. Everything hinges on a fundamental understand of what Sin is....

Any thoughts.



Clearly, I have no choice. Since you will not do as I asked and read the thread, I will just have to do the same old boring thing I always have to do and provide a summary of it:

1) Cleopas states that Romans 3:24 implies that all have sinned.

2) I stated that the word "all" ("πας") was used by St. Paul in the same Epistle and elsewhere and clearly did not mean literally "all" and explained why.

3) Cleopas stated that "all" was clearly meant in the context Romans 3:10-26

4) I pointed out that the first verse could not be taken literally since it says that "There is none righteous (δικαιος), no, not one", yet God calls Noah "righteous" (δικαιος) in Genesis 7:1 (LXX) when hHe commands Noah to build the Ark, so therefore, there must have been at least one point in history when there was at least one righteous (δικαιος) man on Earth. Therefore I presented only three options to explain why these two verses of Scripture appear to contradict one another:
     i)  God was wrong and Noah was unrighteous.
     ii) The exclusions to Romans 3 extend beyond Christ.
     iii) Romans 3 is not meant to be taken literally.

5) Lubeltri suggested that Noah had been "justified" by the Incarnation, Death and Resurrection of Christ retroactively, and therefore God called him "righteous".

6) I replied with the question that if Noah was justified retroactively so that God could call him righteous, then how was it determined who would be called righteous? Noah was the only man in his generation that God deemed "righteous" (Genesis 7:1), so if Noah was "righteous" because he had been "justified retroactively", then why was he (and not those who were to perish in the flood) chosen for this Grace- was it predestination or random choice?

7) You then said that Christ descended into Hades and freed the dead.

8 ) I replied that Noah was not dead and in Hades when God called him righteous.

9) You replied with something along the lines of that Noah was justified like Abraham by having his faith accounted as righteousness.

10) I replied that you had missed the point of what I was saying.

11) you then made the post above which led to this one.

12) I wrote this summary to show you that the point I was making was that two Scriptures (Romans 3:10 and Genesis 7:1) appear to contradict one another.

13) I have no doubt that you will again attempt to try and explain justification by faith to me.

14) I will again point out that that is immaterial to what I am saying, because it doesn't matter why God might call someone "righteous". The point is that Romans 3:10 says that "none are righteous" yet Genesis 7:1 says that someone was righteous.
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« Reply #79 on: December 01, 2007, 01:15:39 PM »

God bless !

Some quotes from the Fathers and Services of the orthodox Church- how can anyone even have a doubt of her all-immaculate purity and Holiness !

Stichera for Dormition:

With what lips may we, poor and worthless, call the Mother of God blessed? She is greater in honour than creation and holier than the Cherubim and all the Angels; the unshakeable throne of the King; the house in which the Most High made his dwelling; the salvation of the world; the Sanctuary of God; on her memorial she richly grants to all the faithful his great mercy. (Twice)

She who is higher than the heavens, more glorious than the Cherubim and greater in honour than all creation, who through her surpassing purity became the vessel of the eternal being, today places in the hands of her Son her all-holy soul. With her the universe is filled with joy and to us is given his great mercy.

For through her the salvation of all mortals has come. We have not the strength to gaze on her, and it is not possible to render her worthy honour.

For her excellence outstrips all understanding.

Therefore, immaculate Mother of God, as you live for ever with the life-bearing King, your Offspring, pray without ceasing that he guard and save from every hostile assault your new people; for we have gained your protection.

The all-blameless Bride and Mother of the Father’s Good Pleasure, who was foreordained by God as a dwelling for himself of the union without confusion, today delivers her immaculate soul to her Maker and God. The Bodiless Powers receive her in a manner fitting God, and she, who is indeed Mother of life, passes over to life, the lamp of the unapproachable Light, the salvation of the faithful, the hope of our souls.

St. Ephraim:

"Certainly you alone and your Mother are from every aspect completely beautiful, for there is no blemish in Thee, my Lord, and no stain in Thy Mother

St. Ambrose of Milan:

"Adopt me, however, not from Sarah but from Mary, so that it might be an incorrupt virgin, a virgin by grace free from all stain of sin."

St. John Damascene:

"O most blessed loins of Joachim from which came forth a spotless seed! O glorious womb of Anne in which a most holy offspring grew and was formed by the increase gradually received from her! O womb in which a living heaven, vaster than the vastness of the heavens was conceived!"

Sermon on the Dormition:

To-day the spotless Virgin, untouched by earthly affections, and all heavenly in her thoughts, was not dissolved in earth, but truly entering heaven, dwells in the heavenly tabernacles.

The birth of her, whose Child was marvellous, was above nature and understanding, and it was salvation to the world; her death was glorious, and truly a sacred feast. The Father predestined her, the prophets foretold her through the Holy Ghost. His sanctifying power overshadowed her, cleansed* and made her holy, and, as it were, predestined her. Then Thou, Word of the Father, not dwelling in place,† didst invite the lowliness of our nature to be united to the immeasurable greatness of Thy inscrutable Godhead.

Idiomelon of the Deposition of the Mostholy Robe of the Theotokos:

Covered by thy precious robe as with a most splendid crown, O all-pure Theotokos, the Church of God doth adorn itself today, rejoicing, and mystically joineth chorus, crying out to thee, O Mistress: Rejoice, precious diadem and crown of divine glory! Rejoice, thou sole perfection of glory and eternal gladness! Rejoice, haven and deliverance of those who have recourse unto thee, and our salvation!

the beloved Hymn:

Meet is it in Truth to bless thee, the Theotokos, ever blessed (ai-makaristonn) and most blameless(pan-amomiton), and Mother of our God. More honorable than the Cherubim, and beyond compare more glorious than the Seraphim, who without corruption gavest birth to God the Logos, the very Theotokos, thee do we magnify

From Compline:

O undefiled, untainted, uncorrupted, most pure, chaste Virgin, Thou Bride of God and Sovereign Lady, who didst unite the Word of God to mankind through thy most glorious birth giving, and hast linked the apostate nature of our race with the heavenly..........

Awed by the beauty of thy virginity and the exceeding radiance of thy purity, Gabriel called out unto thee, O Theotokos: What worthy hymn of praise can I offer unto thee?  And what shall I name thee?  I am in doubt and stand in awe.  Wherefore as commanded, I cry to thee: Rejoice, O Full of Grace.

IN CHRIST
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« Reply #80 on: December 01, 2007, 07:18:41 PM »

The Orthodox Church doesn't accept the concept of "atonement" either, nor the judicial concept of "merit" used to "pay" for sins. The point is, as I said, we already say that the Theotokos is "saved", like all of us, through Christ. She doesn't have to have sinned in order to require Christ to "save" her. The Orthodox understanding of salvation is the process of theosis, and sinlessness does not in itself guarentee theosis.

Shocked Perhaps not the theories of Alselm or other Westerners, but you do have the Christus Victor teaching of the Atonement...
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« Reply #81 on: December 02, 2007, 01:02:46 AM »


My insistence on citing Romans 3:23 is because I have been seeking a detailed explanation of that specific passage (not other passages inferring back on it) in relation to the Orthodox view that Mary was not a sinner, that is that she never committed any act of sin. I would enjoy hearing such an explanation -- whether we agree on the conclusion or not.

Thanks & be blessed!

There really isn't one single passage of Scripture, which seems to be what you are seeking. It is more inferential: one who is full of grace; one who is pure enough to carry divinity within her and not be consumed; one who was entrusted with the young life of God incarnate to nurture and to mold. These inferences from Scripture are supported by the rest of Holy Tradition (I use the words "rest of" because as ozgeorge pointed out, Scripture is a part of the Tradition and was formed by it) regarding Mary.

If you don't accept Holy Tradition you will not accept these beliefs regarding Mary.
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« Reply #82 on: December 02, 2007, 11:52:51 AM »

13) I have no doubt that you will again attempt to try and explain justification by faith to me.

14) I will again point out that that is immaterial to what I am saying, because it doesn't matter why God might call someone "righteous". The point is that Romans 3:10 says that "none are righteous" yet Genesis 7:1 says that someone was righteous.

Grace and Peace ozgeorge,

Okay, so now I can wow you by saying I finally got it! Impressed?  Grin

I get the impression that maybe the Apostle Paul was saying that 'none are righteous' by the law because all break it and are only 'made righteous' by grace through faith... participation in the Godhead. What is your take on this?

I've been reading I-Ville, You-Ville to my daughter and I'm seeing our 'participation' as a key Orthodox teaching in our 'righteousness'.   Cheesy

PS: I know the summary was painful but thanks for the effort!
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« Reply #83 on: December 03, 2007, 05:54:56 AM »

A couple of things that haven't been said:

Roman 3:11b says "There is no one who seeks after God."
  Well, we know that's not correct.  David was "a man after
God's own heart."  If that is not seeking God, what is?

The Jew were not sticklers in the mathematics department
(unlike the Arabs--I wonder why that is).  So, "all" is not
necessarily 100 percent; and "none" is not necessarily zero.
It is a cultural difference.

As for sinless people, well, I believe the Enoch, Melkizedek,
and maybe Daniel are candidates.  We see no sin in their lives
and the first two didn't die from sin--in fact, they didn't die!
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« Reply #84 on: December 03, 2007, 11:12:32 AM »

God bless u Matjuschka Maria !

It is hard to read that an orthodox Matjushka think that the Mostholy Theotokos is not sinless- how is it possible ?

Do you not know that

Pan-hagia means ALL-HOLY
Hyper.hagia    SUPER_HOLY
Pan amomos-all immaculate
pan achrantos- all spotless
Hyper evlogeimeni Super blessed - blessed over all ??
Hyper endoxe  Super glorious Huh??

St. Gregor Palamas:

God has kept this Virgin for Himself from before all ages. He chose Her from among all generation and bestowed on Her grace higher than that given to all others, making of Her, before Her wondrous childbirth, the Saint of Saints, giving Her the honours of His own house in the Holy of Holies . . . Wishing to create an image of absolute beauty and to manifest clearly to angels and to men the power of His Art, God made Mary truly beautiful . . . He made of Her a blend of all divine, angelic and human perfection, a sublime beauty embellishing the two worlds, rising from earth to heaven and surpassing even this latter."

St. Neophytos:

Thou certainly, O illustrious Lady, have no need for praise from mortal lips, Thou who dwell in the heavenly kingdom, Spouse of the Father, Mother of the Son, Receptacle of the Holy Spirit, because Thou art immaculate."

.......

In CHRIST




I'm sorry if you don't approve of my view of the Holy Theotokos.  Should that bother me?

All of these speak of her virginity, not being without sin altogether.

God bless !

Some quotes from the Fathers and Services of the orthodox Church- how can anyone even have a doubt of her all-immaculate purity and Holiness !

Stichera for Dormition:

With what lips may we, poor and worthless, call the Mother of God blessed? She is greater in honour than creation and holier than the Cherubim and all the Angels; the unshakeable throne of the King; the house in which the Most High made his dwelling; the salvation of the world; the Sanctuary of God; on her memorial she richly grants to all the faithful his great mercy. (Twice)

She who is higher than the heavens, more glorious than the Cherubim and greater in honour than all creation, who through her surpassing purity became the vessel of the eternal being, today places in the hands of her Son her all-holy soul. With her the universe is filled with joy and to us is given his great mercy.

For through her the salvation of all mortals has come. We have not the strength to gaze on her, and it is not possible to render her worthy honour.

For her excellence outstrips all understanding.

Therefore, immaculate Mother of God, as you live for ever with the life-bearing King, your Offspring, pray without ceasing that he guard and save from every hostile assault your new people; for we have gained your protection.

The all-blameless Bride and Mother of the Father’s Good Pleasure, who was foreordained by God as a dwelling for himself of the union without confusion, today delivers her immaculate soul to her Maker and God. The Bodiless Powers receive her in a manner fitting God, and she, who is indeed Mother of life, passes over to life, the lamp of the unapproachable Light, the salvation of the faithful, the hope of our souls.

St. Ephraim:

"Certainly you alone and your Mother are from every aspect completely beautiful, for there is no blemish in Thee, my Lord, and no stain in Thy Mother

St. Ambrose of Milan:

"Adopt me, however, not from Sarah but from Mary, so that it might be an incorrupt virgin, a virgin by grace free from all stain of sin."

St. John Damascene:

"O most blessed loins of Joachim from which came forth a spotless seed! O glorious womb of Anne in which a most holy offspring grew and was formed by the increase gradually received from her! O womb in which a living heaven, vaster than the vastness of the heavens was conceived!"

Sermon on the Dormition:

To-day the spotless Virgin, untouched by earthly affections, and all heavenly in her thoughts, was not dissolved in earth, but truly entering heaven, dwells in the heavenly tabernacles.

The birth of her, whose Child was marvellous, was above nature and understanding, and it was salvation to the world; her death was glorious, and truly a sacred feast. The Father predestined her, the prophets foretold her through the Holy Ghost. His sanctifying power overshadowed her, cleansed* and made her holy, and, as it were, predestined her. Then Thou, Word of the Father, not dwelling in place,† didst invite the lowliness of our nature to be united to the immeasurable greatness of Thy inscrutable Godhead.

Idiomelon of the Deposition of the Mostholy Robe of the Theotokos:

Covered by thy precious robe as with a most splendid crown, O all-pure Theotokos, the Church of God doth adorn itself today, rejoicing, and mystically joineth chorus, crying out to thee, O Mistress: Rejoice, precious diadem and crown of divine glory! Rejoice, thou sole perfection of glory and eternal gladness! Rejoice, haven and deliverance of those who have recourse unto thee, and our salvation!

the beloved Hymn:

Meet is it in Truth to bless thee, the Theotokos, ever blessed (ai-makaristonn) and most blameless(pan-amomiton), and Mother of our God. More honorable than the Cherubim, and beyond compare more glorious than the Seraphim, who without corruption gavest birth to God the Logos, the very Theotokos, thee do we magnify

From Compline:

O undefiled, untainted, uncorrupted, most pure, chaste Virgin, Thou Bride of God and Sovereign Lady, who didst unite the Word of God to mankind through thy most glorious birth giving, and hast linked the apostate nature of our race with the heavenly..........

Awed by the beauty of thy virginity and the exceeding radiance of thy purity, Gabriel called out unto thee, O Theotokos: What worthy hymn of praise can I offer unto thee?  And what shall I name thee?  I am in doubt and stand in awe.  Wherefore as commanded, I cry to thee: Rejoice, O Full of Grace.

IN CHRIST

Again, these are speaking of her virginity--- no one denies that she was spotless in her virginity, and that she never commited the sins of the flesh. 

But there is no way for us to know what her very thoughts were-- sins are committed there too. 

I'm sorry if you find my position offensive, but I was taught that we believe only CHRIST was sinless.  To categorize the Theotokos as sinless puts her above the rest of humanity, the way the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception does.  This is why we do not subscribe to that doctrine.  Of course the Theotokos was spotless in her virginity, and of course she was as close as a human being can get to being perfect, this is why she is filled with grace, why she is the Theotokos, and why we revere and love her so greatly (and yes, whatever you may think of me, I do revere and love her greatly).  Does this mean that she was completely without sin of any sort?  How could we possibly know?  We are taught that all human beings sin, and that only Christ achieved the impossible state of being human and sinless at the same time- and of course this is because He is also our Lord and Savior, not just a human.  Christ came to save all of us because we ALL, even the Theotokos, need to be saved.  I would love to think that she never committed a sin at all, but it goes against the theology that I was taught.  Again, we are not talking about her virginity, we are talking about her being sinless.  These are two different things.  There are other types of sins than the sins in the flesh.
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« Reply #85 on: December 03, 2007, 11:40:19 AM »

Just as we have many passages extolling the Theotokos, we have many references (in prayer and in homilies/writings) to Christ being the only sinless one.  What do we do with that?
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« Reply #86 on: December 03, 2007, 12:02:46 PM »


I'm sorry if you don't approve of my view of the Holy Theotokos.  Should that bother me?

All of these speak of her virginity, not being without sin altogether.

Again, these are speaking of her virginity--- no one denies that she was spotless in her virginity, and that she never commited the sins of the flesh. 

But there is no way for us to know what her very thoughts were-- sins are committed there too. 

I'm sorry if you find my position offensive, but I was taught that we believe only CHRIST was sinless.  To categorize the Theotokos as sinless puts her above the rest of humanity, the way the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception does.  This is why we do not subscribe to that doctrine.  Of course the Theotokos was spotless in her virginity, and of course she was as close as a human being can get to being perfect, this is why she is filled with grace, why she is the Theotokos, and why we revere and love her so greatly (and yes, whatever you may think of me, I do revere and love her greatly).  Does this mean that she was completely without sin of any sort?  How could we possibly know?  We are taught that all human beings sin, and that only Christ achieved the impossible state of being human and sinless at the same time- and of course this is because He is also our Lord and Savior, not just a human.  Christ came to save all of us because we ALL, even the Theotokos, need to be saved.  I would love to think that she never committed a sin at all, but it goes against the theology that I was taught.  Again, we are not talking about her virginity, we are talking about her being sinless.  These are two different things.  There are other types of sins than the sins in the flesh.


God bless !

Sorry, but it must be clear that they all speak of HER ALL-HOLINESS and not only about her Virginity !

It is hard to read such things from an orthodox Matjuschka - really - to read this - it even hurts.....I have to stay away from this Topic.

I think you never read the Saints or Elders of our Holy Orthodoxy - for example -Staretz Siluan - who was told after thinking: if the Theotokos not even sinned with one thought- he heared a voice within:" stop it ,she never sinned not even with one thought". I could post you some other quotes from russian and greek and romanian Elders....but I will not, I have to keep away from this thread.....I can not read such stuff from an orthodox Presvitera.
( I am only wondering were you get such stuff ?)

In CHRIST
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« Reply #87 on: December 03, 2007, 12:49:09 PM »


God bless !

Sorry, but it must be clear that they all speak of HER ALL-HOLINESS and not only about her Virginity !

It is hard to read such things from an orthodox Matjuschka - really - to read this - it even hurts.....I have to stay away from this Topic.

I think you never read the Saints or Elders of our Holy Orthodoxy - for example -Staretz Siluan - who was told after thinking: if the Theotokos not even sinned with one thought- he heared a voice within:" stop it ,she never sinned not even with one thought". I could post you some other quotes from russian and greek and romanian Elders....but I will not, I have to keep away from this thread.....I can not read such stuff from an orthodox Presvitera.
( I am only wondering were you get such stuff ?)

In CHRIST

I'll take the condemnations from your all holiness bishop of the forum under advisement...
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« Reply #88 on: December 03, 2007, 06:54:57 PM »

An inherent problem for me, is that to belive Mary was in point of fact sinless would make her (or anyone else who was suppoosedly sinless) equally able to be the sacrifical offering for the sins of the world.

The whole point of the virgin birth is to allow God to become truly man, mortal, and yet remain divine and thus sinlessly perfect in the same person, at the same time. Furthermore...

IF any other person was ever actually completely and always sinless then that man (or woman) is perfect and is not in need of the saving grace of God in Christ.

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« Reply #89 on: December 03, 2007, 07:04:53 PM »

An inherent problem for me, is that to belive Mary was in point of fact sinless would make her (or anyone else who was suppoosedly sinless) equally able to be the sacrifical offering for the sins of the world.
Not at all. The Theotokos is not God. Only the second Adam, the Man Jesus Christ, is able to reconcile us to God. St. Paul writes this (emphasis mine):
Quote from: Romans 5
For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.

Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned--for until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law.

Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come. But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many.

Quote
The whole point of the virgin birth is to allow God to become truly man, mortal, and yet remain divine and thus sinlessly perfect in the same person, at the same time. Furthermore...
Agreed.

Quote
IF any other person was ever actually completely and always sinless then that man (or woman) is perfect and is not in need of the saving grace of God in Christ.
If that is so, then why does St. Paul say that death reigned in those who had not sinned?
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« Reply #90 on: December 03, 2007, 07:09:17 PM »

Quote
If that is so, then why does St. Paul say that death reigned in those who had not sinned?

He doesn't.

What he does say is death reigned over them who had not sinned in the same way as Adam. The question then is i what way was Adam's sin different from the sins of those who followed util the giving of the Law at Mt. Sinia?

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« Reply #91 on: December 03, 2007, 07:52:26 PM »

Actually he says this:

Quote from: Romans 5:14
αλλα εβασιλευσεν ο θανατος απο αδαμ μεχρι μωσεως και επι τους μη αμαρτησαντας επι τω ομοιωματι της παραβασεως αδαμ ος εστιν τυπος του μελλοντος

So death (θανατος: Thanatos) was over those who overstepped (παραβασεως: parabaseos) in the image (ομοιωματι: omoiomati) of Adam. The word ομοιωματι is the same word used earlier in the epistle:

Quote from: Romans 1:22-23
Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image (ομοιωματι) in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.
It refers to an idol, not a way of doing things. So there are people from Adam to Moses who did not make themselves in the image of Adam--yet they were still subject to death.
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« Reply #92 on: December 03, 2007, 11:46:17 PM »

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. ~I John 1:7-10

ytterblumanalyst, what are you attempting to say?
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« Reply #93 on: December 04, 2007, 01:46:50 AM »

Actually he says this:

So death (θανατος: Thanatos) was over those who overstepped (παραβασεως: parabaseos) in the image (ομοιωματι: omoiomati) of Adam. The word ομοιωματι is the same word used earlier in the epistle:
It refers to an idol, not a way of doing things. So there are people from Adam to Moses who did not make themselves in the image of Adam--yet they were still subject to death.

Noting the highlighted portion above. 

The point is not that there were those without sin & who were different from Adam by nature (as if to say that unlike him these did not sin). Rather, these sinned, but not in the same manner or under the same circumstances as Adam.

Why did they sin? Because they were like (in the image of) Adam their father.

How was their sins different? In the context of Paul's argument, there was no express law given or recorded for mankind after leaving the Garden of Eden. When in Eden you find the command "do not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil." Then, not until Moses received the tablets of the law (the 10 Commandments) written by God at Sinai was such express commandments given again. So, in the sense that "sin is a transgression" or violation "of the law" [1 John 3:4] -- sin could not be imputed to those between Adam and Moses.

However, in the sense that "all unrighteousness is sin [1 John 5:17]" (and thus antithetical to the very nature of God) Adam's race continued in sin unabatedly, despite no legal code or law being given them. That is Paul's point essentially. We may conclude then that sins is still sin whether there is a law that says so or not. The law was given to expose the exceeding sinfulness of what was already by it's very nature sin (and offensive to a perfectly holy God).

We can confirm this (that those between Adam and the law sinned) because the very reason for God sending the deluge, sparing only the family of Noah, was the increased wickedness of mankind. Also, we have Cain being warned of God about his impure motives and jealousy towards Abel ("sin is at the door") prior to actually murdering (aka sin) his brother.

Inherent or self-attained righteousness is not in any man born of Adam. The law was given as Sinai to expressly show us that. In that sense (outside of the reconciling work of Christ by grace) none are righteous.

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« Reply #94 on: December 04, 2007, 02:07:03 AM »

Noting the highlighted portion above. 

The point is not that there were those without sin & who were different from Adam by nature (as if to say that unlike him these did not sin). Rather, these sinned, but not in the same manner or under the same circumstances as Adam.

Why did they sin? Because they were like (in the image of) Adam their father.

How was their sins different? In the context of Paul's argument, there was no express law given or recorded for mankind after leaving the Garden of Eden. When in Eden you find the command "do not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil." Then, not until Moses received the tablets of the law (the 10 Commandments) written by God at Sinai was such express commandments given again. So, in the sense that "sin is a transgression" or violation "of the law" [1 John 3:4] -- sin could not be imputed to those between Adam and Moses.

However, in the sense that "all unrighteousness is sin [1 John 5:17]" (and thus antithetical to the very nature of God) Adam's race continued in sin unabatedly, despite no legal code or law being given them. That is Paul's point essentially. We may conclude then that sins is still sin whether there is a law that says so or not. The law was given to expose the exceeding sinfulness of what was already by it's very nature sin (and offensive to a perfectly holy God).

We can confirm this (that those between Adam and the law sinned) because the very reason for God sending the deluge, sparing only the family of Noah, was the increased wickedness of mankind. Also, we have Cain being warned of God about his impure motives and jealousy towards Abel ("sin is at the door") prior to actually murdering (aka sin) his brother.

Inherent or self-attained righteousness is not in any man born of Adam. The law was given as Sinai to expressly show us that. In that sense (outside of the reconciling work of Christ by grace) none are righteous.



But no one is different from Adam by nature. The Theotokos (Blessed Virgin Mary) is no different than we are because she was in our same human nature. The only difference is that she did not commit any personal sin. Also, I would add that Adam's sin is not imputed to anyone to begin with. The only inheritance of the Original Sin is its consequences.
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« Reply #95 on: December 04, 2007, 02:21:23 AM »

But no one is different from Adam by nature. The Theotokos (Blessed Virgin Mary) is no different than we are because she was in our same human nature. The only difference is that she did not commit any personal sin. Also, I would add that Adam's sin is not imputed to anyone to begin with. The only inheritance of the Original Sin is its consequences.

Then Christ did not need to be born of a virgin -- it did not matter if he was of Adam or not. he only had to be individually sinless.

Furthermore then no one needs the sacrifice of Christ if they have not personally committed sin. It is sin that causes death, both physical and spiritual. It is sin that breaks fellowship with God. There is no fellowship with God (which is eternal life) to be restored or reconciled if all are not in sin and/or have not personally sinned.
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« Reply #96 on: December 04, 2007, 02:36:35 AM »

Then Christ did not need to be born of a virgin -- it did not matter if he was of Adam or not. he only had to be individually sinless.

Furthermore then no one needs the sacrifice of Christ if they have not personally committed sin. It is sin that causes death, both physical and spiritual. It is sin that breaks fellowship with God. There is no fellowship with God (which is eternal life) to be restored or reconciled if all are not in sin and/or have not personally sinned.

No. Why wouldn't He need to be born of a virgin? The fact is that Christ restores the relationship that man had with God before the Fall, or atleast the potential. Christ needed to assume the same flesh as ours to heal our sickness. His redemption was just as necessary for the Virgin Mary as it is for us. She was created in the same human nature (i.e. fallen) and needed to have Christ redeem her. Her sinlessness was part of her relationship to God and a testament to her faith. The state of death that each person is born into causes sin, not the other way around. This death, as you say of sin, is physical, but also spiritual. Sin, in Eastern theology, is a sickness, but death is the root of it...Now you are most certainly confused Lips Sealed
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« Reply #97 on: December 04, 2007, 02:51:36 AM »

The state of death that each person is born into causes sin, not the other way around. This death, as you say of sin, is physical, but also spiritual. Sin, in Eastern theology, is a sickness, but death is the root of it...

I would respond with the following Scriptures:

Ezekiel 18:20
The soul that sinneth, it shall die. ...

Romans 6:23
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

James 1:15
Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.


In each case sin precedes and is the source of death.
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« Reply #98 on: December 04, 2007, 02:53:38 AM »

Then Christ did not need to be born of a virgin -- it did not matter if he was of Adam or not. he only had to be individually sinless.

Furthermore then no one needs the sacrifice of Christ if they have not personally committed sin. It is sin that causes death, both physical and spiritual. It is sin that breaks fellowship with God. There is no fellowship with God (which is eternal life) to be restored or reconciled if all are not in sin and/or have not personally sinned.

While many things you say is correct, you have a faulty understanding of Ancestral Sin (unless im misunderstading you). When Adam transgressed and fell he took with him the entire creation. Man being the pinnacle of creation infected everything under his dominion. The fruits of the original transgression was passed to all men and that fruit is DEATH. Christ's Death destroyed death. It plundered Hades and bestowed life to those in the tombs. Before the crucifixion and Ressurection of Christ, all were seperated from God. Hence the symbolic tearing of the veil of the temple which seperated the sanctuary from the Holy of Holies at Christ's death. The "iron curtain" seperating God from man was removed.

Infants have no personal sin but they still die, having recieved the consequence which is Death, likewise with the Theotokos. The iniquity is death, it is the enemy of God and He sent His Son to defeat it.
 
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« Reply #99 on: December 04, 2007, 03:02:26 AM »

Before the crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ, all were separated from God
 

Right!  So this human condition not only experiences mortality and death but separation from God. Sin is the cause of that.

If an individual (especially who was morally aware) was sinless (apart from faith in the grace and work of Christ) then they would not be separate from God. There would be no grounds for their personal separation. They would not be sinners. They would be just and righteous, holy. And therefore they would have spiritual union and fellowship with God. They would have eternal life already, without need of Christ to provide it. For to know God is eternal life (John 17:3)

That includes Mary -- she was separated from God. By nature all men are separated from God, and thus separated from the nature of God (i.e.holiness). Therefore man is inherently separated from holiness (aka sinlessness). Then of consequence man is sinful.

That's why the virgin birth was necessary in the incarnation.
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« Reply #100 on: December 04, 2007, 03:08:29 AM »

Right!  So this human condition not only experiences mortality and death but separation from God. Sin is the cause of that.

If an individual (especially who was morally aware) was sinless (apart from faith in the grace and work of Christ) then they would not be separate from God. There would be no grounds for their personal separation. They would not be sinners. They would be just and righteous, holy. And therefore they would have spiritual union and fellowship with God. They would have eternal life already, without need of Christ to provide it. For to know God is eternal life (John 17:3)

That includes Mary -- she was separated from God. BY nature all men are separated form God, and thus separated form the nature of God (i.e.holiness). Therefore man is inherently separated from holiness (aka sinlessness). Then of consequence man is sinful.
That's why the virgin birth was necessary in the incarnation.

Ok, so whats the dispute over? Semantics?
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« Reply #101 on: December 04, 2007, 03:12:22 AM »

Ok, so whats the dispute over? Semantics?

The dispute is over saying that any human, in this case Mary, other than the Lord Jesus Christ was perfectly sinless.
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« Reply #102 on: December 04, 2007, 03:18:50 AM »

I think you have us confused with the roman catholics
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« Reply #103 on: December 04, 2007, 03:30:00 AM »

I think you have us confused with the roman catholics


Perhaps. But some here have cleary argued otherwise.

As I stated with my initial post, I was quoting comments I read here by Orthodox posters. This is a new concept to me, period. As the thread has proceeded I have found some dissent with the notion that Mary was sinless among Orthodox ranks.

Ultimately, the matter is not salvific -- so long as we believe in Christ, who was sinless.
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« Reply #104 on: December 04, 2007, 04:53:53 AM »

Ah yes, i read thru a few of the beginning posts. I see where your getting at. I believe your initial response is to Rom 3.23. Basically for us, we interpret this to be original and/ or personal sin. For instance we do not ascribe personal sins to an infant, but even an infant is still born in inquity. Those iniquities which it inherited, though no fault of its own. This is why the latin dogma of the IC is completely unneccesary for us. There has never been a belief that unbaptized babies went to a place called limbo, while a crack baby may have inherited iniquities, he is not guilty for being born with them, he will not be relegated to some obscure place in the afterlife. For us, Romans 3.23 is explained in Rom 5.12-21.

 I thought your tradition held to an 'age of accountability', or am i mistaking it for another group? Anyway we can say Mary was born sinless but that would apply for everyone as well.

As far as the Theotokos, there is no definition as to "when" she became sinless. One can hold to varying opinions; in the russian tradition its popular to say she remained sinless since her birth. In the greek tradition more emphasis is placed at her Annunciation, when the angel Gabriel told her, "the Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of  the highest will overshadow you." Still others like taking the totality of what scriptures and tradition offer us. That she alone is the only human being to attain the Holy Spirit twice, once at the Annunciation (concieving of Jesus) and a second time when she was baptised with fire and the Spirit at the Pentecost. Some of the Fathers did indeed see minor faults with the Virgin, as when she talked back to the Lord at the wedding feast of Cana. St. John Chrysostom was of this opinion. The church worships that she is sinless, not when she became sinless. The church also recognizes that she partook of theosis, like all are asked to do in their struggle.
To see that our understanding of her sinlessness is different from an RC understanding and by no means insists on chronology as a neccesary starting point for this. I will quote from the Matinal canon of the Service of the Feast of the Annunciation. The Matinal canon is a hypothetical dialogue between Mary and the Angel Gabriel on the annunciation, here is an excerpt:

Gabriel:  "Hail, O Lady, O Most Pure Virgin. hail thou vessel wherein God is contained, hail, thou candlestick of the Light, the restoration of Adam and the deliverance of Eve, holy mountain, shining sanctuary, and bridal chamber of immortality"

Virgin Mary: "The descent of the Holy Spirit has purified my soul and sanctified my body, it has made of me a temple that contains God; a Tabernacle divinely adorned, a living sanctuary, and the pure mother of Life."

Later in the service the above is repeated, "Thou dost appear to me to be speaking the truth answered the Virgin, For thou has come as an angel messenger, bringing joy to all , Since, then, I am purified in soul and body by the Spirit, be it unto me according to thy word, May God dwell in me. Unto Him i cry aloud with thee, O all ye works of the Lord, bless ye the Lord". (Annunciation Matins canticles 7,8)
 

As we can see from the Virgin's response we do not view her in the same light as Christ nor as in the same way as the RC. Some sort of purification took place at the Annunciation when the Holy Spirit came upon her and overshadowed her. We do not speculate what this sanctification and purification is, somthing was blotted out.  

As you know in the latin dogma her sinlessness (both original and personal) is specified to have occured at the very moment of her conception. In Orthodoxy no such starting point is revealed. Thus all answers as to the 'when'  are actually opinions. Whats missing from these posts i noticed , is there is no reference to her Theosis. Its a lifelong process towards the adavancement of divinization (2Pet 1.4, 2Cor 3.18). This should always be a component of her advancement towards holiness in these discussions.



   
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« Reply #105 on: December 04, 2007, 05:57:09 PM »

Grace and Peace,

But we 'can' all agree that she was and is most awesome!  angel
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« Reply #106 on: December 04, 2007, 06:00:25 PM »

I would respond with the following Scriptures:

Ezekiel 18:20
The soul that sinneth, it shall die. ...

Romans 6:23
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

James 1:15
Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.


In each case sin precedes and is the source of death.

I agree with you! The sin of Adam was the first sin and from it precedes death [to all]. I know that is not what you are saying, but perhaps you have never considered this idea? The "wages of sin," is truly death as God warned Adam and Eve. "The day you eat of this tree, you will surely die." They did indeed die, both mortally and spiritually. They lost their likeness to God and the sanctifying grace in their souls and their senses were corrupted. The Image of God in them was wounded, but not destroyed. God could still (and still does) use individuals throughout the OT by grace; however, they lack the sanctifying grace to break the bondage to the Devil in their souls...
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« Reply #107 on: December 04, 2007, 06:27:34 PM »

cleopas,

Please trust me when I say I understand your position because even though I was a "cradle" Orthodox and when I started to take Orthodoxy seriously (about 2 years ago) I took 95% with out a problem but there are a few which have caused me some greif (prayer to Saints, Heaven and Hell) but these have been reconciled 100% with new understanding sadly the only obstacle to Orthodox belief is about the most Holy Theotokos (Mary) who sadly on my own egotistical self cannot will myself to understand the position fully like titles like panagia (All-Holy) and so forth troubled me but now I understand the actual position now the sinless part is still a bit iffy with me until recently when a poster who I forget the name stated this which changed my mind "sinlessness does not necessarily constitute "automatic Theosis" I'm not sure whether you understand the Orthodox understanding of salvation (But it is radically different to every other denomination only OO and EO accept this) but salvation is attaining theosis and althought hypothetically mary could be sinless or not that's not what I am specifically tackling here but being sinless does not necessarily mean your saved unlike the evangelical view of God wearing "Jesus coloured glasses" allowing us to enter heaven.
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« Reply #108 on: December 04, 2007, 09:16:41 PM »

I apologise if I am repeating what has already been stated in this thread, but I think that in the light of what has been posted it is not unreasonable to reiterate that the Orthodox Church does indeed teach that Mary is without sin. I believe the confusion lies with the exact definition of that sin. Mary is stated as being free from personal or actual sin, but not as being free of original sin, ie. the consequences of original sin; that being death. I'm sure that one of the more learned of our members can clarify this point much more efficiently than I, but it is my understanding that Christ is the only one who was not at the mercy of that curse. Death could not hold the God/Man. Is this the sense in which Romans 3:23 claims that all have sinned except Christ?

To say that if Mary or anyone else had been perfect, we would not have needed Christ as our Saviour is to perhaps overlook that in Christ, God and Man are reconciled. Only He who had the power over death is able to deliver humanity from its curse.

Below are some quotes from Orthodox sources regarding the sinlessness of Mary.

As All-Holy and Most-Pure, Mary was free from actual sin, but, in the opinion of most Orthodox theologians, although not dogmatized by the Church, she did fall under the curse of Original Sin as does all mankind. For this reason by virtue of her solidarity with all humanity the Theotokos died a bodily death.

Quoted from; "These Truths We Hold - The Holy Orthodox Church: Her Life and Teachings". Compiled and Edited by A Monk of St. Tikhon's Monastery.

The Orthodox Church calls Mary ‘All-Holy;’ it calls her ‘immaculate’ or ‘spotless’ (in Greek, achrantos); and all Orthodox are agreed in believing that Our Lady was free from actual sin. But was she also free from original sin? In other words, does Orthodoxy agree with the Roman Catholic doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, proclaimed as a dogma by Pope Pius the Ninth in 1854, according to which Mary, from the moment she was conceived by her mother Saint Anne, was by God’s special decree delivered from ‘all stain of original sin?’ The Orthodox Church has never in fact made any formal and definitive pronouncement on the matter. In the past individual Orthodox have made statements which, if not definitely affirming the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, at any rate approach close to it; but since 1854 the great majority of Orthodox have rejected the doctrine, for several reasons. They feel it to be unnecessary; they feel that, at any rate as defined by the Roman Catholic Church, it implies a false understanding of original sin; they suspect the doctrine because it seems to separate Mary from the rest of the descendants of Adam, putting her in a completely different class from all the other righteous men and women of the Old Testament.

Quoted from “The Orthodox Church” by Bishop Kallistos Ware.

The pure and immaculate life of the Virgin Mary up to the Annunciation by the Archangel, her freedom from personal sins, was the fruit of the union of her spiritual labor upon herself and the abundance of grace that was poured upon her.

Quoted from Orthodox Dogmatic Theology, by Fr Michael Pomazansky.

God be with us all.


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« Reply #109 on: December 04, 2007, 11:15:17 PM »

Thank you, Riddikulus. I think that's what a lot of us were trying to say earlier.

It is important that the Theotokos be sinless because she is an example for us to follow. It is possible to live our lives and, though we are subject to death, the corruption which came from Adam's sin, choose not to sin. What hope would there be if, try as we may, we must sin? What sort of sadistic diety would our Lord be if He did not allow each of us to attain perfection?

Cleopas, I understand what you're saying about needing the salvation of Christ, and Orthodox theology there is the idea that everyone needs salvation, regardless of whether they have sinned personally; original sin is enough to warrant that even if we do not personally sin. Yet that idea in no way implies that we have as the West has termed a "sin nature", nor that we must sin in order to receive salvation, nor indeed that those who have not sinned are the equals of Christ. We are rather utterly dependent on Him, as St. Paul said:

Quote from: Acts 17:24-28
The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own [the Athenians'] poets have said, 'For we also are His children.'
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« Reply #110 on: December 06, 2007, 02:41:16 AM »

Cleopas, I understand what you're saying about needing the salvation of Christ, and Orthodox theology there is the idea that everyone needs salvation, regardless of whether they have sinned personally; original sin is enough to warrant that even if we do not personally sin. Yet that idea in no way implies that we have as the West has termed a "sin nature", nor that we must sin in order to receive salvation, nor indeed that those who have not sinned are the equals of Christ. We are rather utterly dependent on Him, as St. Paul said:

Why was our Lord given the name Jesus?

Matthew 2:21
And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.

Accordingly, if there is no personal committal of sin then a person does not need the Savior. Who all needs the sacrificial work of Christ in order to be saved from their sins?

1 John 2:2
And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

Note the plural, "sins." This refers to individual sins personally committed, not to the sin of Adam alone and the mortality ensuing there from. See also Romans 3:25, & 1 John 4:10.

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« Reply #111 on: December 06, 2007, 06:25:10 PM »

Why was our Lord given the name Jesus?

Matthew 2:21
And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.

Accordingly, if there is no personal committal of sin then a person does not need the Savior. Who all needs the sacrificial work of Christ in order to be saved from their sins?

1 John 2:2
And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

Note the plural, "sins." This refers to individual sins personally committed, not to the sin of Adam alone and the mortality ensuing there from. See also Romans 3:25, & 1 John 4:10.



Who's denying that Jesus died for sins? At the same token; however, sins were still forgiven previous to His death...
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« Reply #112 on: December 06, 2007, 07:12:19 PM »

Who's denying that Jesus died for sins? At the same token; however, sins were still forgiven previous to His death...

He did not just die for sins in general, but for our sins. That means we all had personal sin in our lives, not just mortality from Adam. That means Mary had personal sin in her life. If she did not then Christ did not die for her. If he did not die for her than she was not saved or did not need the Savior.

We all need the Savior.
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« Reply #113 on: December 06, 2007, 08:07:37 PM »

if there is no personal committal of sin then a person does not need the Savior.
According to you. Where in the Tradition of the Church is this taught?

He did not just die for sins in general, but for our sins. That means we all had personal sin in our lives, not just mortality from Adam. That means Mary had personal sin in her life. If she did not then Christ did not die for her. If he did not die for her than she was not saved or did not need the Savior.
This is quite logical, assuming the above is true. But that is your assumption, and if your assumption is not true, then everything which follows is logically untrue as well.

But I ask, if Adam's curse means that all of us sin personally, then Christ must have sinned personally, for he was of Adam's line, or else Mary was immaculately conceived. Yet both of us know that both these options are ludicrous. Therefore, Adam's curse must not mean personal sin for all, but merely death and corruption. And therefore, it is possible to live your life without personal sin.

We all need the Savior.
We are both quite in agreement here.
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« Reply #114 on: December 06, 2007, 08:20:55 PM »

According to you. Where in the Tradition of the Church is this taught?

The Apostle's Matthew & John, among others (see Matthew 2:21, & 1 John 2:2)

Quote
This is quite logical, assuming the above is true. But that is your assumption, and if your assumption is not true, then everything which follows is logically untrue as well.

It seems to em then, the question is is the Scripture truth? The Scripture says Christ came to save us from our sins, not just Adam's sin/curse/what have you. MY sins are mine. I committed them. Your sins are yours. You committed them. If these passages be truth, the Mary likewise had sin that was hers.

Quote
But I ask, if Adam's curse means that all of us sin personally, then Christ must have sinned personally, for he was of Adam's line, or else Mary was immaculately conceived. Yet both of us know that both these options are ludicrous. Therefore, Adam's curse must not mean personal sin for all, but merely death and corruption. And therefore, it is possible to live your life without personal sin.

Except, Christ was not born of Adam. He was born of woman, thus mortal. But not of Adam, and thus not sinful.

Quote
We are both quite in agreement here.

And that is the main thing. If nothing else, we know we need the Savior. I am glad to be one of His.  Smiley
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« Reply #115 on: December 06, 2007, 08:32:22 PM »

The Apostle's Matthew & John, among others (see Matthew 2:21, & 1 John 2:2)

It seems to em then, the question is is the Scripture truth? The Scripture says Christ came to save us from our sins, not just Adam's sin/curse/what have you. MY sins are mine. I committed them. Your sins are yours. You committed them. If these passages be truth, the Mary likewise had sin that was hers.

Except, Christ was not born of Adam. He was born of woman, thus mortal. But not of Adam, and thus not sinful.


God bless !

Scripture is true, but it depends on the interpretation. The verses from Scripture don't say that the Theotokos ever sinned. Everyone has different sins, some people have many sins, some only a few,.....
and the Mother of God has not even one sin- you interprete the scripture with your own opinion !

In CHRIST
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« Reply #116 on: December 06, 2007, 08:36:29 PM »

The Apostle's Matthew & John, among others (see Matthew 2:21, & 1 John 2:2)
Well, I did, and I believe you misquoted the first reference:
Quote from: Matthew 2:21
So Joseph got up, took the Child and His mother, and came into the land of Israel.
And as far as the second goes, it is actually the second half of a sentence; I'll post the entire sentence here.
Quote from: I John 2:1-2 (emphasis mine)
My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin; and if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.
Even St. John himself admits that it is possible not to sin, in the first half of the sentence you tried to use to prove the opposite.

It seems to em then, the question is is the Scripture truth? The Scripture says Christ came to save us from our sins, not just Adam's sin/curse/what have you. MY sins are mine. I committed them. Your sins are yours. You committed them. If these passages be truth, the Mary likewise had sin that was hers.
No, the Scripture is not truth, though things contained in Scripture are true. Jesus Christ is Truth, as he said himself:
Quote from: John 14:6
Jesus said to him, "I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.

Except, Christ was not born of Adam. He was born of woman, thus mortal. But not of Adam, and thus not sinful.
There's the mental gymnast. 7.8!

That Christ is sinless has nothing to do with the circumstances of his birth. It has everything to do with the fact that He is God, and that God does not sin. Full stop.

And that is the main thing. If nothing else, we know we need the Savior. I am glad to be one of His.  Smiley
Ah, but without peripheral stuff like this, where would this forum be?
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« Reply #117 on: December 06, 2007, 08:37:35 PM »

God bless !

Scripture is true, but it depends on the interpretation. The verses from Scripture don't say that the Theotokos ever sinned. Everyone has different sins, some people have many sins, some only a few,.....
and the Mother of God has not even one sin- you interprete the scripture with your own opinion !

In CHRIST


Did Mary need the Savior?

Why, according to the Apostles of Christ, Matthew and John, did Christ come under the name Jesus?

2+2=4
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« Reply #118 on: December 06, 2007, 08:39:57 PM »

Why was our Lord given the name Jesus?

Matthew 1:21
And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.

Accordingly, if there is no personal committal of sin then a person does not need the Savior. Who all needs the sacrificial work of Christ in order to be saved from their sins?

1 John 2:2
And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

Note the plural, "sins." This refers to individual sins personally committed, not to the sin of Adam alone and the mortality ensuing there from. See also Romans 3:25, & 1 John 4:10.


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« Reply #119 on: December 06, 2007, 08:48:16 PM »

Did Mary need the Savior?
Not what I or Christodoulos is talking about. I do not deny anyone's need for a Savior, only the opinion that the need for a Savior necessarily means that person has sinned.

Why, according to the Apostles of Christ, Matthew and John, did Christ come under the name Jesus?

2+2=4

Christodoulos already answered that one....

(emphasis mine)
Scripture is true, but it depends on the interpretation. The verses from Scripture don't say that the Theotokos ever sinned. Everyone has different sins, some people have many sins, some only a few,.....
and the Mother of God has not even one sin- you interprete the scripture with your own opinion !
The Apostles merely said that Christ came to forgive sins. According to you, because he did, therefore everyone must have sinned. Your opinion, not the Apostles'.
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« Reply #120 on: December 06, 2007, 08:56:46 PM »

God bless !

Matthew 1:21
And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.


Save his people from their SINS- hmm - where can you read here, how many people have sinned and how many sins they commited - it only says that Christ saved his people from their sins (general)- it does not matter how much they sinned or how bad the sins may be. It only says that the COMMITED sins will be forgiven and that they will be saved through Christ.

But the Mother of God also needed Salvation:

My soul does magnify the Lord..........God my Saviour. ( but this also does not mean that she sinned)

In CHRIST
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« Reply #121 on: December 06, 2007, 09:02:15 PM »

Well, I did, and I believe you misquoted the first reference:

Please pardon me. I meant to reference Matthew 1:21. I quoted the text correctly, just not the address.  Embarrassed

Quote
And as far as the second goes, it is actually the second half of a sentence; I'll post the entire sentence here.Even St. John himself admits that it is possible not to sin, in the first half of the sentence you tried to use to prove the opposite.

Indeed it does, but only AFTER one has come to place faith in Christ. The assurance for the adequacy of Christ's sacrificial work is given then to bolster faith should we (believer's) yield to sin, to repent and receive forgiveness. nevertheless, the writer makes a very profund statement about the nature of Christ's sacrifice -- it is universal in scope. It (potentially) applies to the whole world, specifically their sins. That is to say everyone born of Adam has their own sin and needs the sacrificial work of Christ to expiate for them before God. Both believers (including Mary), and the whole world. We all had personal sin of some kind according to Apostle John.

Quote
No, the Scripture is not truth, though things contained in Scripture are true. Jesus Christ is Truth, as he said himself:There's the mental gymnast. 7.8!

But Scripture itself says otherwise. Jesus said the word (littel "w") of God is truth (John 17:17). He prayed that the Father would keep all of His followers in that truth because He (the Word, capital "W") would be leaving the world. Paul confirms this when he says that the church is being made ready to present to Christ by the washing of the water by the word (Ephesians 5:26). See also Psalms 119:151.

Quote
That Christ is sinless has nothing to do with the circumstances of his birth. It has everything to do with the fact that He is God, and that God does not sin. Full stop.

Indeed. But he was God without humanity. In assuming humanity he assumed mortality, yet not sin, precisely because he was not born of Adam. He was made sin, who knew no sin, and came in the likeness of sinful flesh, but not in sinful flesh. Like all men, human in nature, unlike all sons of Adam, not sinful in nature.

Quote
Ah, but without peripheral stuff like this, where would this forum be?
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« Reply #122 on: December 06, 2007, 09:03:57 PM »

The Apostle's Matthew & John, among others (see Matthew 2:21, & 1 John 2:2)

Hi Cleopas,

I'm not sure what Matthew 2:21 has to do with this question. Perhaps you have quoted the wrong verse?  Shocked

With regard to 1John2:2:

1John2;1 reads,

My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.

John is writing to Christians, warning them against Gnostic teachings on sin. This passage has nothing to do with saying that every human being does or must sin.

Going back to chapter one of the epistle we find that the Gnostic teachings on sin were 1: union with God is indifferent to sin (verses 6 and 7); 2: sin does not exist (verses 8 and 9) and 3: one in union with God cannot sin. (1:10 to 2:2)

John corrects these positions by saying: 1: Faith must be seen in works (verse 6). To have a correct relationship with God includes living a holy and righteous life. And faith must seek forgiveness and cleansing from sin (verse 7). 2: Sin does exist and the practice of confession is the established basis for growth toward righteousness (verse 9). 3: Though we do sin, we should endeavour not to sin. Salvation in Christ is a process of growth into sinlessness (verse 7).

God be with you.





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« Reply #123 on: December 06, 2007, 09:06:51 PM »

But the Mother of God also needed Salvation:

My soul does magnify the Lord..........God my Saviour. ( but this also does not mean that she sinned)
Indeed. The Mother of God calls her son Savior. St. Luke records this:

Quote from: Luke 1:46-47
And Mary said:
        "My soul exalts the Lord,
    And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
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« Reply #124 on: December 06, 2007, 09:28:44 PM »

Indeed it does, but only AFTER one has come to place faith in Christ.
St. John does not say this. You say this.

But Scripture itself says otherwise. Jesus said the word (littel "w") of God is truth (John 17:17).
This has nothing to do with Scripture. Christ is saying that God's words are truth. The Church confirms this when we pray at Matins, "The Lord's words are pure words" (Prokeimenon, Tone 1).

He prayed that the Father would keep all of His followers in that truth because He (the Word, capital "W") would be leaving the world.
Ridiculous. Christ never left the world. Moses says this (Deutoronomy 31:8 ), St. Paul confirms it (Hebrews 13:5), and Christ himself says it (Matthew 28:20).

Indeed. But he was God without humanity.
Christ never was without humanity. He has two natures, Divine and Human. Never was He only Divine; never was He only Human. In the Incarnation God and Man are permanently joined.

In assuming humanity he assumed mortality, yet not sin, precisely because he was not born of Adam. He was made sin, who knew no sin, and came in the likeness of sinful flesh, but not in sinful flesh. Like all men, human in nature, unlike all sons of Adam, not sinful in nature.
Here we disagree. Humans are not, have never been, and never will be sinful in nature. God does not force people to sin. Having a sinful nature would mean we must sin from the moment we are created, and thus would negate free will. Sinful nature is Calvinism, not Christianity.
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« Reply #125 on: December 06, 2007, 09:29:20 PM »

Okay, don't shoot the messenger here.  I personally am still thinking and praying over this issue, considering the posts I've seen.  But in discussing it with my husband, he sent me this excerpt from the GREAT SYNAXARION OF THE CHURCH (for those who don't know what that is, that would be the book that is read from in the church that officially tells who or what feast is commemorated that day, and gives the information about them as held canonical by the entire church, not one saint or another, not one priest or bishop, but the entire church) on the feastday of the conception of the Theotokos:

The Conception by St. Anna of the Most Holy Theotokos

   In accordance with the eternal purpose of God, who willed to prepare a most pure habitation for Himself in order to take flesh and dwell among men, Joachim and Anna were prevented from having Children for many years.  Their barren old age was symbolic of human nature itself, bowed down and dried up under the weight of sin and death, yet they never ceased begging God to take away their reproach.  Now when the time of preparation determined by the Lord had been fulfilled, God sent an Angel to Joachim in solitude on a mountain, and to Anna in her affliction weeping in her garden, to tell them that the ancient prophecies were soon to be fulfilled in them: a child would be born to them, who was destined to become the veritable Ark of the new Covenant, the divine Ladder, the unburnt Bush, the uncut Mountain, the living Temple where the Word of God would take up his abode.  Through the conception of Saint Anna, the barrenness of human nature itself, separated from God by death, has on this day been brought to an end; and by the wondrous birth-giving of her who had remained childless until the age when women can no longer bear fruit, God announced and testified to the more astonishing miracle of the Conception without seed, and of the immaculate coming to birth of Christ within the heart and the womb of the Most Holy Theotokos.
   Even though the birth of the Theotokos took place through a miraculous action of God, she was conceived by the union of man and woman in accordance with the laws of our human nature, which has fallen through Adam’s transgression and become subject to sin and corruption.  As the chosen Vessel and precious Shrine prepared by God since the beginning of time, she is indeed the most pure and most perfect of mankind, but even so, she has not been set apart from our common inheritance nor from the consequences of the sin of our first parents.  Just as it was fitting that Christ, in order to deliver us from death by his own voluntary death, should by his Incarnation be made like to men in all things except sin; so it was meet that His Mother, in whose womb the Word of God would unite with human nature, should be subject to death and corruption like every child of Adam, lest we be not fully included in Salvation and Redemption.  The Theotokos has been chosen and preferred among all women, not arbitrarily, but because God foresaw that she would preserve her purity and keep it perfect: conceived and born like all of us, she has been worthy to become the Mother of the Son of God and the Mother of us all.  So, in her tenderness and compassion, she is able to intercede for us with her Son, that He may have mercy upon us.
   Just as the Lord Jesus Christ was the fruit of the virginity of the Theotokos, so she herself was the fruit of the Chastity of Joachim and Anna.  And by following the same path of Chastity we too, monks and Christian married people, can bring Christ to be born and to grow in us.
----THE GREAT SYNAXARION OF THE ONE HOLY CATHOLIC AND APOSTOLIC CHURCH ON THE OCCASION OF THE FEASTDAY OF THE CONCEPTION OF THE MOST HOLY THEOTOKOS


Now, with that said, please feel free to offer comments, interpretations, etc. (especially you, Cleveland, FrChris, or pensateomnia-- I'd love to hear what ya'll think).  I won't be offended.  Again, please don't shoot the messenger.
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« Reply #126 on: December 06, 2007, 10:00:19 PM »

According to you. Where in the Tradition of the Church is this taught?
This is quite logical, assuming the above is true. But that is your assumption, and if your assumption is not true, then everything which follows is logically untrue as well.

But I ask, if Adam's curse means that all of us sin personally, then Christ must have sinned personally, for he was of Adam's line, or else Mary was immaculately conceived. Yet both of us know that both these options are ludicrous. Therefore, Adam's curse must not mean personal sin for all, but merely death and corruption. And therefore, it is possible to live your life without personal sin.
We are both quite in agreement here.

I think I recall hearing this from someone whose name begins with a 'P' Shocked I think the difference here is that you can't live without Original Sin...?
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« Reply #127 on: December 06, 2007, 10:53:10 PM »

Having a sinful nature would mean we must sin from the moment we are created, and thus would negate free will. Sinful nature is Calvinism, not Christianity.

I disagree...Our nature is corrupted.
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« Reply #128 on: December 06, 2007, 11:38:38 PM »

That Christ is sinless has nothing to do with the circumstances of his birth. It has everything to do with the fact that He is God, and that God does not sin. Full stop.

Grace and Peace,

If we look at St. Ambrose' Anthropology we might question this assumption...

St. Ambrose ponders the 'Virgin' Birth and concluded that it might have had a role in the sinlessness of the humanity of Christ. I don't have the particular works in front of me but I'm sure I've read it before.
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« Reply #129 on: December 07, 2007, 03:01:33 PM »

I disagree...Our nature is corrupted.
I never said it wasn't, only that we are not sinful by nature. We are sinful when we choose to sin, and not until. Certainly we are corrupt; it is quite obvious that we are subject to death. But God does not give us a sinful nature, thereby forcing us to be sinners. When we sin, it is our choice, our free will to do so.

Contrast this with Calvinism, which claims that the elect are chosen by God to inherit life and the rest of humanity is condemned to hell--regardless of individual choices of individual people.
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"It is remarkable that what we call the world...in what professes to be true...will allow in one man no blemishes, and in another no virtue."--Charles Dickens
Tags: Theotokos sin justification salvation Calvinism theotokos sinless 
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