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Author Topic: What is "The Gospel" to Orthodox Christians? *LONG post/story/rant*  (Read 11602 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #45 on: October 21, 2011, 10:03:55 PM »

Melodist thinks he is never wrong.

You missed a couple of words.
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« Reply #46 on: October 21, 2011, 10:42:54 PM »

I guess I dont really understand it, but all this talk about theosis, sanctification, etc, seems like trying to earn salvation, which is entirely against scripture.
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« Reply #47 on: October 21, 2011, 11:10:49 PM »

I guess I dont really understand it, but all this talk about theosis, sanctification, etc, seems like trying to earn salvation, which is entirely against scripture.
Theosis isn't about trying to earn salvation though.
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« Reply #48 on: October 21, 2011, 11:17:18 PM »

I guess I dont really understand it, but all this talk about theosis, sanctification, etc, seems like trying to earn salvation, which is entirely against scripture.
Do you earn salvation by repenting and believing in God.
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« Reply #49 on: October 21, 2011, 11:50:14 PM »

I guess I dont really understand it, but all this talk about theosis, sanctification, etc, seems like trying to earn salvation, which is entirely against scripture.

If you seriously think a concept like sanctification is "against scripture" then I suggest you reread everything again, and again, and again. It's a hallmark of Protestant theology too, or really just Christianity period, BTW.
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« Reply #50 on: October 21, 2011, 11:58:57 PM »

I guess I dont really understand it, but all this talk about theosis, sanctification, etc, seems like trying to earn salvation, which is entirely against scripture.
We are not innocent bystanders. We are either an active participant in our own salvation or an active participant in our own damnation.
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« Reply #51 on: October 22, 2011, 12:59:16 AM »

I guess I dont really understand it, but all this talk about theosis, sanctification, etc, seems like trying to earn salvation, which is entirely against scripture.

If you seriously think a concept like sanctification is "against scripture" then I suggest you reread everything again, and again, and again. It's a hallmark of Protestant theology too, or really just Christianity period, BTW.

Thats not exactly what I meant. I worded it incorrectly.

I meant that the idea that we need to be fully sanctified in order to be saved seems like earning salvation.
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« Reply #52 on: October 22, 2011, 01:32:02 AM »

I'm sure you may have heard the metaphor that the Church is a hospital for sinners. Think of it this way: the liturgy, Communion, prayer and so on help treat our sinfulness, like medicine fights a cough. I don't think any of us can duplicate what Jesus did, of course, but we run to Him for help. We should want to be like Jesus as much as we are able, and treat others the way he did, yes? Through the ministry of the Church, we receive guidance so we can grow in holiness. If I spent many years in one place and did not grow, I would say there was something wrong. We are not given salvation as a lock pick so we can break into Heaven; if you were cold and I gave you a jacket, but you didn't wear it, what good would it be? Or you bought a place to live but just sat outside it? I believe we are meant to 'walk around' in our salvation, live in it. Jesus didn't just teach the disciples a password and then leave. He spent years with them, teaching them...  St. Paul tells us to run so as to win. I believe the life of faith is how we do that.
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« Reply #53 on: October 22, 2011, 02:33:47 AM »

I guess I dont really understand it, but all this talk about theosis, sanctification, etc, seems like trying to earn salvation, which is entirely against scripture.

If you seriously think a concept like sanctification is "against scripture" then I suggest you reread everything again, and again, and again. It's a hallmark of Protestant theology too, or really just Christianity period, BTW.

Thats not exactly what I meant. I worded it incorrectly.

I meant that the idea that we need to be fully sanctified in order to be saved seems like earning salvation.
And as Melodist said, this is not what Orthodoxy teaches.
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« Reply #54 on: October 22, 2011, 03:00:32 AM »

selam all Smiley

union with God through the Son in the Power of the Spirit 2 Corinthians 3:17-18 " 17Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit."
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« Reply #55 on: October 22, 2011, 11:30:51 AM »

Thats not exactly what I meant. I worded it incorrectly.

I meant that the idea that we need to be fully sanctified in order to be saved seems like earning salvation.

You'll find with theology that wording is very important and words should be carefully chosen.

Also, we are never "fully sanctified in order to be saved". Salvation and sanctification are the generally same process in right-believing Christianity. Nobody is ever really "fully sanctified" in the sense that they are never fully conformed to God's likeness, because God is infinite in His majesty. Thus, salvation is never really complete as it is endless.
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« Reply #56 on: October 22, 2011, 08:02:20 PM »

The point is that you don't give up. You keep showing up, you keep praying even when you don't feel like it, you keep confessing, you keep taking the Eucharist.

This is the thread back from when I struggled with these things. Maybe it will help you  Smiley http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,36936.0.html
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« Reply #57 on: October 22, 2011, 10:30:22 PM »

The point is that you don't give up. You keep showing up, you keep praying even when you don't feel like it, you keep confessing, you keep taking the Eucharist.

This is the thread back from when I struggled with these things. Maybe it will help you  Smiley http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,36936.0.html

Yeah, all of these things are well and good, but the Bible says that these things cant save us. It doesnt matter how much we pray, confess, etc, because our works of righteousness are like filthy rags to God. The Bible preaches that faith in Christ is the only way to be saved, and that works are fruit of true faith.
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« Reply #58 on: October 22, 2011, 10:33:11 PM »

The point is that you don't give up. You keep showing up, you keep praying even when you don't feel like it, you keep confessing, you keep taking the Eucharist.

This is the thread back from when I struggled with these things. Maybe it will help you  Smiley http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,36936.0.html

Yeah, all of these things are well and good, but the Bible says that these things cant save us. The Bible preaches salvation by faith, with works as fruit of true faith.

What's faith?

Really this is another one of those false dichotomies within and without Christianity.

No matter how you define faith, it will end up being an act some sort.
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« Reply #59 on: October 22, 2011, 11:11:32 PM »

The point is that you don't give up. You keep showing up, you keep praying even when you don't feel like it, you keep confessing, you keep taking the Eucharist.

This is the thread back from when I struggled with these things. Maybe it will help you  Smiley http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,36936.0.html

Yeah, all of these things are well and good, but the Bible says that these things cant save us. The Bible preaches salvation by faith, with works as fruit of true faith.

What's faith?

Really this is another one of those false dichotomies within and without Christianity.

No matter how you define faith, it will end up being an act some sort.


Exactly.


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« Reply #60 on: October 22, 2011, 11:46:40 PM »

It doesnt matter how much we pray... because our works of righteousness are like filthy rags to God.
St. Paul taught "Pray without ceasing" (1 Thess 5:17)not "it doesn't matter how much we pray..."
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« Reply #61 on: October 22, 2011, 11:55:15 PM »

Wasnt the purpose of the OT sacrifice to alleviate God's wrath so that he could forgive Israel's sins?
http://katachriston.wordpress.com/2011/06/22/propitiation-or-expiation-did-christ-change-gods-attitude/
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« Reply #62 on: October 23, 2011, 12:29:27 AM »


Dude, you need to remind us your blog once a month. I am not really a blog follow so I don't aggregate and all that. And I forget yours exist.

Always awesome stuff one way or another.
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« Reply #63 on: October 23, 2011, 01:04:57 AM »

Quote
The Bible preaches that faith in Christ is the only way to be saved, and that works are fruit of true faith.

i think youre exactly right here. 
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« Reply #64 on: October 23, 2011, 04:06:26 AM »

The point is that you don't give up. You keep showing up, you keep praying even when you don't feel like it, you keep confessing, you keep taking the Eucharist.

This is the thread back from when I struggled with these things. Maybe it will help you  Smiley http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,36936.0.html

Yeah, all of these things are well and good, but the Bible says that these things cant save us. It doesnt matter how much we pray, confess, etc, because our works of righteousness are like filthy rags to God. The Bible preaches that faith in Christ is the only way to be saved, and that works are fruit of true faith.
I didn't say they saved us. What saves us is our willingness to follow God and do what He says (the Greek pisteuo should really be translated "faithfulness" as a continuing state as opposed to just "faith" imo). Like orthonorm said, you're making a false dichotomy. Putting your faith in Christ is a verb, this verb is expressed by doing what God says.
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« Reply #65 on: October 23, 2011, 07:44:00 AM »

Yeah, all of these things are well and good, but the Bible says that these things cant save us. It doesnt matter how much we pray, confess, etc, because our works of righteousness are like filthy rags to God. The Bible preaches that faith in Christ is the only way to be saved, and that works are fruit of true faith.

We are only saved by Christ. These "things" are what unite us to Him and keep us united to Him.
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« Reply #66 on: October 23, 2011, 08:17:44 AM »

I guess I dont really understand it, but all this talk about theosis, sanctification, etc, seems like trying to earn salvation, which is entirely against scripture.
Do you earn salvation by repenting and believing in God.
You didn't answer this question. You seem to think that to make an effort toward something is to earn it.
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« Reply #67 on: October 24, 2011, 08:56:30 AM »

I guess I dont really understand it, but all this talk about theosis, sanctification, etc, seems like trying to earn salvation, which is entirely against scripture.

There is nothing that we can do to “earn” salvation.  The concept of “earning” salvation implies that God is indebted to us and bound to reward us for the good deeds we have done by our own strength.  Such a concept is completely foreign to Orthodoxy.  We are forever indebted to God for the salvation which He has made possible for us through the Incarnation, the cross, the resurrection, the ascension, and the sending down of the Holy Spirit.  When we receive the Holy Spirit in baptism, however, much care, attentiveness, vigilance, and effort is required to learn to walk according to the Spirit and put to death the deeds of the body, so that at the end of our lives we may be found to be truly servants of God rather than slaves of the demons.  As St. Paul says, we must work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12), and “those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires (Galatians 5:24).” The Lord Himself says that we should strive to enter by the narrow gate because “narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it (Matthew 7:14)”; and "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me (Matthew 16:24).”  We are told to “Pursue peace… and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord (Heb 12:14),” to “draw near to God and He will draw near to you,” and if you want to draw near to God you must “cleanse your hands… and purify your hearts” (James 4:8 ).  If we love the Lord, we will obey His commandments (John 14:21), but “he who says, ‘I know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him (1 John 2:4).”  When a man is forgiven of his past sins through baptism and repentance, he knows that he is indebted to God, and as he who is forgiven much loves much (Luke 7:47); he zealously exerts great effort in fasting, prayer, and good deeds in order that he might put to death the passions, safeguard the grace that he has received, and show his love for the One who has saved him from sin and death.  According to the verses referenced above, we must strive to enter by the narrow gate, pursue holiness, purify our hearts, put to death the passions, deny ourselves, take up our cross, and in doing so to work out our salvation.  All of the bolded words are action words and pertain to what we must ourselves do in response to what God has done, in order that we might cooperate with Him in the process of our salvation.  Furthermore, according to the above verses, if we are not engaged in these activities, we are not truly Christ’s and cannot claim to be His followers.  The goal of a man’s life, though, is not to perform a certain quantity of “rites” and “actions” in order to be able justify one’s self before God; but rather to love God with all of his heart, soul, and mind, a goal which one is always striving to attain and yet can never claim to have attained (Philippians 3:12).  Rather, as the Lord instructed his disciples, “when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, 'We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do (Luke 17:10).'"  To claim that we can obtain salvation without fulfilling Christ’s commandments, to claim that the Lord’s commandments in the Gospels are not at all related to our salvation, or to suggest that Christs’ commands are impossible to fulfill, all of these assertions are antithetical to true faith and are even blasphemous.

The process of a man’s sanctification and theosis, of his struggle to live and walk according to the Spirit, is man’s constant effort to remain completely united to the will of God.  It is an effort that depends above all on God’s help, and is not something man can do on his own.  When a man learns to depend completely on God, he knows that without God he is nothing.  He knows that any good that he is able to accomplish is only by the help of God.  Consequently, there can be no thought that “God owes me”, or “look what I have achieved”, for the man of God knows from the Lord that “without Me you can do nothing (John 15:5).”  If we think we can be saved without any effort, without striving to obey God, without showing our faith by our works, without putting to death our passions, without walking by the Spirit, then we are greatly deceived and our faith is the empty and fruitless belief of the demons rather than the true faith which leads a man to salvation.  When the Lord comes again to judge the world, he will not ask to see who has believed, but he will judge every man’s works to see if they truly had faith and served Him rather than the Evil One.  “For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works (Matthew 16:27)” and the Lord “will render to each one according to his deeds (Romans 2:6).”  As St. John related in the book of Revelations: “I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works (Revelations 20:13,14).”  So, we must labor and exert great effort to save our souls, knowing that all such efforts are useless without the help of God and that our salvation can only be accomplished by cooperating with the grace that God gives us through baptism, repentance, and the deifying mysteries of the Church. 
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« Reply #68 on: October 24, 2011, 03:56:05 PM »

But in the end, we can never fully become perfect and there will always be things which keep us from entering Heaven. We can strive, but is that really enough? Can we really enter the Kindgom of God by just striving? I was always taught that one must be perfect to enter the Kingdom, and since no man is righteous or perfect, we depend on Christ's work on the cross as our entry into the kingdom.
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« Reply #69 on: October 24, 2011, 04:41:06 PM »

Chris White responded today, telling me to watch this video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4gtLzLFApRw

Its very long, but if someone could watch it and write a response I would be very appreciative.
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« Reply #70 on: October 24, 2011, 05:39:55 PM »

The point is that you don't give up. You keep showing up, you keep praying even when you don't feel like it, you keep confessing, you keep taking the Eucharist.

This is the thread back from when I struggled with these things. Maybe it will help you  Smiley http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,36936.0.html

Yeah, all of these things are well and good, but the Bible says that these things cant save us. It doesnt matter how much we pray, confess, etc, because our works of righteousness are like filthy rags to God. The Bible preaches that faith in Christ is the only way to be saved, and that works are fruit of true faith.

What is Faith? Is it not simply being loyal to God, His Promises, and to His people? This is what I see when I read the later half of Romans chapter 4 and the whole chapter of Hebrews 11.

In this context Faith = fidelity


When you read Paul, what do you see him contrast faith to? He doesn't contrast faith to prayer, nor does he do it to confession. He does it with works of the Law. That is the immediate context of the contrast.
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« Reply #71 on: October 24, 2011, 07:29:05 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

I guess I dont really understand it, but all this talk about theosis, sanctification, etc, seems like trying to earn salvation, which is entirely against scripture.

If you seriously think a concept like sanctification is "against scripture" then I suggest you reread everything again, and again, and again. It's a hallmark of Protestant theology too, or really just Christianity period, BTW.

Thats not exactly what I meant. I worded it incorrectly.

I meant that the idea that we need to be fully sanctified in order to be saved seems like earning salvation.

No, we are not earning salvation, because the wages of sin are death, and any sin committed always outweighs any kind of earnings from spiritual activities.  "Sanctified" in the most literal sense, in the context of the theosis folks are speaking of, is to be in synergy (from the Greek) or cooperation (from the Latin) with the Grace/Actions/Will of God.  God is Holy by Nature, and the only we can ever be sanctified (to become Holy) is to cooperate with God's own natural holiness.  God alone can make us Holy, but this is an action of God in the verb sense. Synergy is from the Greek meaning "synchronized acting" and it means to work or act in harmony together, and its Latinized counterpart is the English cooperation, to operate or act together.  In the context of theosis, God's Grace is a natural action of God which we cooperate in synergy with, in He and we act fully together. God's Grace is the sanctifying salvation, our cooperation is the manifestation of God's salvation in physical action.  We act together.  His salvation remains a free gift, not something earned as a wage, but like all gifts we have to openly accept and embrace the opportunity.  This is what synergy is, it is prayer, it is hymn, it is meditation, it is Scripture reading, it is fellowship, it is charity, it is all communication and relationship with God in the active, verb sense.  Again, we do not earn anything, precisely because we are not acting necessarily alone, on our own initiative, or by our own efforts, rather we are cooperating, co-acting, with God who creates and sustains every moment we exist.  This is why we can't earn anything from God, because we've done nothing to earn anything, rather, when we act in synergy with God by theosis,  we are acting on God's own initiative and Grace.

stay blessed,
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« Reply #72 on: October 24, 2011, 08:02:35 PM »

But in the end, we can never fully become perfect and there will always be things which keep us from entering Heaven. We can strive, but is that really enough? Can we really enter the Kindgom of God by just striving? I was always taught that one must be perfect to enter the Kingdom, and since no man is righteous or perfect, we depend on Christ's work on the cross as our entry into the kingdom.
Yes, striving is enough. The Grace of God is more than sufficient to make up for what we lack, especially considering the fact that without God we couldn't even strive in the first place.

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.-Philippians 2:12-13

The East never had this idea that Heaven (ie. the blessed presence of God) is a thing which must be "earned" by someone, Anselm and Feudalism and responsible for that. Everything God does to us is a gift of Himself, the only delays are on our end. Christ died to make us into the kind of people who would want such a gift and therefore not experience it as Hell.
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« Reply #73 on: October 24, 2011, 10:02:14 PM »

Chris White responded today, telling me to watch this video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4gtLzLFApRw

Its very long, but if someone could watch it and write a response I would be very appreciative.
Is there any way that you can watch it and summarize it or something? I love making time for OC.net, but I don't know if anyone has an hour to sit around and watch it for the sake of answering the question...
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« Reply #74 on: October 24, 2011, 10:06:49 PM »

Chris White responded today, telling me to watch this video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4gtLzLFApRw

Its very long, but if someone could watch it and write a response I would be very appreciative.
Is there any way that you can watch it and summarize it or something? I love making time for OC.net, but I don't know if anyone has an hour to sit around and watch it for the sake of answering the question...
I think he outlines the conclusion in the beginning of that video, I don't have time to go through much of it yet though.
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« Reply #75 on: October 25, 2011, 09:24:07 AM »

I didn’t have time to listen to the whole thing, nor will I have the time to give a completely comprehensive evaluation, but I will make a few comments based on what I did hear.  I do think Mr. White has a very clear and appealing manner of communication, and I certainly see how a person with Protestant convictions would think highly of him.  That being said, I wanted to comment first on his remarks on the “seal of the Holy Spirit” and our salvation being a “guarantee”.  As Mr. White quotes from St. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians:

Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory (Eph 1:13,14).

Regarding this verse, Mr. White claims that the seal of the Holy Spirit is received through the act of “believing”, whereas “you were sealed with the Holy Spirit” actually refers to the fact that the Ephesians were baptized and received the laying on of hands by the Apostles (St. Paul specifically) or those to whom the Apostles appointed to perform this action.  Initially, the “seal of the Holy Spirit” was given to a person through baptism and the laying on of the hands of the Apostles (Acts 8:17), the Apostles consecrated bishops through the laying on of hands to perform baptisms in their absence, and as successors to the Apostles, to lay hands on the newly baptized that they might receive the seal of the Holy Spirit.  As the Church grew, and bishops could not practically be present at every baptism, bishops of local churches began to come together to consecrate holy chrism to be used by priests to anoint the newly baptized and thereby bestow the seal of the Holy Spirit.  In the Orthodox Church today, it is the mystery (sacrament) of chrismation that bestows upon a person the seal of the Holy Spirit, and this mystery can only be performed by priests with the blessing of their bishop who is a successor of the Apostles.   Without his bishop’s blessing, a priest cannot perform baptisms or chrismations.  In the Orthodox baptismal service, the priest prays the following words after baptizing a person and before anointing them with holy chrism:

Blessed are You, Lord God Almighty, Fountain of Blessings, Sun of Righteousness, Who made to shine forth for those in darkness a light of salvation through the manifestation of Your Only-Begotten Son and our God, granting unto us, though we are unworthy, blessed cleansing in Holy Water, and divine sanctification in the Life; effecting Anointing; Who now also has been well-pleased to regenerate this Your servant newly illuminated through Water and Spirit, giving him (her) forgiveness of his (her) voluntary and involuntary sins: do You Yourself, Sovereign Master, Compassionate King of All, bestow upon him (her) also the  Seal of Your omnipotent and adorable Holy Spirit, and the Communion of the Holy Body and Most Precious Blood of Your Christ; keep him (her) in Your sanctification; confirm him (her) in the Orthodox Faith; deliver him (her) from the Evil One and all his devices; preserve his (her) soul, through Your saving fear, in purity and righteousness, that in every work and word, being acceptable before You, he (she) may become a child and heir of Your heavenly Kingdom.

For You are our God, the God of Mercy and Salvation, and to You do we send up Glory, to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, both now and ever, and to the ages of ages.

Choir: Amen.

And after the Prayer of Confirmation, the Priest chrismates the baptized and he makes on the person the Sign of the Cross with the Holy Chrism (Holy Myron), on the forehead, the eyes, the nostrils, the mouth, the ears, the breast, the hands, and the feet. At each anointing and sealing, he says:

THE SEAL OF THE GIFT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, AMEN.


You can read the entire service at:

http://www.goarch.org/chapel/liturgical_texts/baptism

You may also be interested in the following words about chrismation from St. Cyril of Jerusalem (4th century):  http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf207.ii.xxv.html

(As a Protestant, you might be interested in St. Cyril's other lectures too, which show the continuity between the liturgy and sacraments in the 4th century and how they are celebrated by the Orthodox Church today, for instance http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf207.ii.xxvii.html and http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf207.ii.xxvi.html )

Mr. White is correct to say that we never lose this seal of the Holy Spirit, he is just wrong to say that it is received only by “believing” without reference to baptism and chrismation, and that the seal of the Holy Spirit is a “guarantee”.  That the Orthodox Church agrees that the seal of the Holy Spirit can never be lost can be known from the fact that it is absolutely forbidden for a person to receive an Orthodox baptism more than once.  In the Symbol of Faith (Nicene Creed) we “confess one baptism for the remission of sins.”  The Greek word that is translated as “guarantee” in the Protestant translations (King James is perhaps a bit more accurate in referring to receiving the “earnest of the Spirit”) does refer to a deposit or down payment, as I think Mr. White acknowledges.  A deposit, however, is not a “guarantee” of eternal salvation, but rather a promise that is dependent upon our subsequent faithfulness to Christ, as the Lord said “he who endures to the end will be saved (Matt 10:22).”  If salvation was a guarantee, why would St. Paul say, “But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified (1 Cor. 9:27).”  From a Protestant perspective, is St. Paul saying that he can “lose his salvation”?  In the Orthodox Church we do not talk about “losing our salvation” because we cannot lose that which has not been completed, and as long as we have breath we should be “working out our salvation with fear and trembling.”  Christ through his life, death, resurrection, ascension, and the sending down of the Holy Spirit has granted salvation freely to the entire world, but we must individually receive His salvation through baptism and a life of repentance and faithfulness.  For, we are indeed “heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together (Romans 8:17).”  The promise of our salvation given to us through the seal of the Holy Spirit is therefore conditional and dependent upon our response, which is why the Scriptures say we will be judged according to our deeds (see my previous post).

As an aside, I was once at my in-laws’ home and they turned on a sermon by the noted Protestant televangelist Charles Stanley.  I was very interested to see him read the verse which says, “But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses (Matthew 6:15)” only to immediately follow this by saying, “this isn’t about our salvation.”  I was amazed.  So, according to Mr. Stanley, you can be “saved” even though God will not forgive you?  One cannot believe in eternal security without rejecting or severely twisting the Scriptures.       

Again, regarding this audio from Mr. White, while I was not able to listen to all of it, but I did notice that in typical fashion he seemed to equate “works of the law” with human effort in general.  When the New Testament refers to “the law”, something very specific is obviously being referred to.  It is simply not the case that there is nothing we can do to save our souls.  Such a concept is completely unscriptural and false (see verses from my previous post), though it is true that our human effort alone; without the help and grace of God, and without the suffering, death, resurrection, ascension, and sending down by Christ of the Holy Spirit; also cannot save us.

Regarding your previous comment:

But in the end, we can never fully become perfect and there will always be things which keep us from entering Heaven. We can strive, but is that really enough? Can we really enter the Kindgom of God by just striving? I was always taught that one must be perfect to enter the Kingdom, and since no man is righteous or perfect, we depend on Christ's work on the cross as our entry into the kingdom.

We will not be judged for any sins committed prior to our Orthodox baptism, as our sins are completely washed away in baptism thanks to Christ’s suffering, death, resurrection, ascension, and the sending down of His Holy Spirit.  Regarding sins committed after baptism, in the Orthodox Church we have the mystery (Sacrament) of confession which we refer to as a renewal of our baptism and which also grants remission for the sins we confess and repent of.  As the Lord said to the Apostles, “Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven (Matthew 18:18).”  Through the laying on of hands, the Apostles gave this authority first to bishops, and bishops to priests.  This authority to “bind and loose” is exercised primarily through the mystery of confession to “loose” a person who comes sincerely confessing their sins with a resolve to repent, or to “bind” a person who is unrepentant.  This binding is usually exercised by prohibiting a person from receiving communion for a period of time, or requiring a person to spend some time in fasting and prayer to demonstrate that they are sincere in their desire to repent before being “loosed” through the prayer of absolution.  If a person regularly, sincerely, and thoroughly confesses their sins, they may end their lives in such a state that there will be nothing to be held accountable for on the Day of Judgment.  However, if a person goes to confession in a superficial way, without the resolve and subsequent effort to actually repent and turn from their sins, then it will be much more difficult for them on that Day.  Our salvation is dependent not so much on achieving “perfection” (who can say they are perfect and sinless?), but on continuously striving to live blamelessly before God while constantly confessing, repenting, and weeping for our sins when we fail.  Tears are a particularly important sign of repentance, and about those who mourn for their sins the Lord says, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted (Matt 5:4).”  We never cease hoping in the mercy of God, while constantly striving with the help of God and with humility to be made worthy of the heavenly kingdom.  If a person dies in a state of repentance but still has some unconfessed sins they are guilty of, they may be further purified through the suffering they experience in the body prior to the soul’s separation from the body at the time of death, and the soul may be further purified after its separation from the body and prior to the Great Judgment through the prayers that the Church offers on behalf of the reposed, by commemoration of the reposed in the Divine Liturgies, and through the suffering the soul may experience on account of pangs of conscience.  I realize these last points regarding the soul after death is a separate and very large topic, and also is a teaching which is in great contrast to Protestant thought on the subject, but I wanted to mention this here because it is relevant.

If I have time to finish listening to Mr. White’s presentation, I may comment further at another time. 
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« Reply #76 on: October 25, 2011, 01:40:18 PM »

A few additional thoughts:

From what I understood from Mr. White, you are “saved” if you can see the fruits of the Spirit in your life, and if over a number of years you have gained mastery over at least your major sins and no longer having even the desire to sin.  Once you are “saved” by this criteria, you remain “saved” regardless of how you live your life.  Your virtues and your sins do not affect your “status” before God.  This reasoning is strange, for Mr. White first describes proof of being “saved”, then states that this proof did not manifest itself in his own life until years after “getting saved”.  So which is it, was he “saved” those many years before overcoming the major sins and bearing fruit, or did his “getting saved” only become real when he began to bear fruit years later, or was the later bearing of fruit evidence that he had been saved years ago despite the lack of “evidence” at that time?  From an Orthodox perspective, all of this reasoning is exceedingly foolish.  This “model” seems to leave no room for the possibility that a person can “bear fruit” and overcome major sins, and believe himself to be “saved”, only to fall away, live sinfully again, and fail to repent.  I suppose Mr. White would say such a person was never truly “saved” from the beginning if they later fell away, or would he say that because they were convinced of being “saved” before falling their fall and subsequent sinfulness did not affect their “status” before God since they were already “saved?”  Do you see the madness and insanity of this teaching?  Who is it that can infallibly state that a person is saved or not, after which point their sins either do or do not matter before God?  This is not the gospel, but a mockery of it.

Mr. White also states that those who believe that “works” are important intend to stand before God justifying themselves based on their deeds.  What is the basis for this assertion?  How can we say we love the Lord if we do not diligently strive to fulfill his commandments by our deeds?  In the Orthodox Church we do not have this “faith vs. works” false dichotomy that Mr. White speaks of.  Even our greatest saints, who gave all their possessions to the poor, ate one meal a day, spent every night in prayer sleeping only an hour or two a night, worked miracles, etc., even they did not end their lives boasting of their achievements but often departed hoping in God’s mercy but not certain of their eternal salvation.  We should not at any time trust that we are “saved” but always try to struggle to overcome our passions and become worthy of the grace of God.  One fasts and prays in order to humble himself and see his own sins more clearly, that he might more completely repent and by guided more fully by the Holy Spirit.  By contrast, Mr. White’s teaching on “being saved” can easily become a cause of pride and a reason to condemn others.  Again, who has the authority to determine they are “saved”, according to Mr. White?  It is up to a person’s own subjective opinion to say “I am loving, patient, kind, good, gentle, self-controlled, etc.” and also to judge others by saying “that person sure doesn’t act like he’s saved.”  A person who is eager to believe that they are “saved” in this manner is easily led to self-justification and denial regarding their own sins, refusing to believe that they are sinful and in error because they are so eager to convince themselves that they are indeed “saved”, and “saved” people are supposed to demonstrate the fruits of the Spirit rather than their opposites.  In the Orthodox Church, in our services and in our daily prayers, we ceaselessly cry “Lord, have mercy”.  We also openly confess our sins in the presence of a priest, and we seek to purify our hearts by admitting our sins very openly and by struggling with the help of God to overcome them.  We do not repent and struggle to obey Christ’s commandments  in order to justify ourselves but in order to say, “'We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do (Luke 17:10),” remembering also that   “if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged (1 Cor 11:31).”  Compared to the Orthodox Christian who struggles to obey Christ yet reposes in repentance and humility, trusting in God’s mercy with hope in his salvation but uncertain as to his eternal end, it is the Protestant confidently asserting that he is “saved” who appears to be the one ready to justify himself before God.   From an Orthodox perspective, however, all such assertions by Protestants to the effect that they are “saved” and “guaranteed” eternal life are quite clearly the results of demonic deception and spiritual delusion; the outcome of accepting the “teachings of men” and “doctrines of demons” (1 Tim 4:1); and the effect of being cut off from the one Church which is the body of Christ, the pillar and ground of truth, and the guardian and dispenser of the grace-filled mysteries.     

Mr. White also speaks of verses such as “If you love Me, keep My commandments (John 14:15)” and “by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments (1 John 2:3)”, and he initially tries to say that the reference to the plural (commandments) refers only to the singular commandment to “love one another”.  It seems that he then edited what he said to point out another command of Christ, but I cannot recall what verse referred to exactly.  In any case, the Lord did say, "'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.'  This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'  On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets (Matt 22:38-40).”  These two commands certainly summarize the commandments of God and Christ.  However, while they summarize Christ’s commandments, He did give many specific commandments to elaborate upon what exactly it means to love God and neighbor, and we are expected to follow these commandments also.  The Sermon on the Mount is full of Christ’s commandments, for instance:

18"Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. 19 Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. 21 "You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.' 22 But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, 'Raca!' shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, 'You fool!' shall be in danger of hell fire. 23 Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25 Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. 26 Assuredly, I say to you, you will by no means get out of there till you have paid the last penny. 27 "You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not commit adultery.' 28 But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. 31 "Furthermore it has been said, 'Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.' 32 But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery. 33 "Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord.' 34 But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God's throne; 35 nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36 Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black. 37 But let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No.' For whatever is more than these is from the evil one. 38 "You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.' 39 But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. 40 If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. 41 And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. 42 Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away. 43 "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? 48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect (Matt 5:18-48).

If the above words of Christ are not his “commandments”, what are they?  Suggestions?  Displays of mere cleverness?  If the Lord does not expect us to follow his instructions, why did he give them?  Yes, the free doing of all that Christ taught is a sign of the working of the Holy Spirit in us, but the active forcing of our will to do the will of God is also necessary to oppose the flesh and remain united to the will of God, “for the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force (Matt 11:12)” and we must “"strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able (Luke 13:24).”  Regarding the commandments of Christ, see also the following homily by St. John Chrysostom on the words “Think not that I am come to destroy the Law or the Prophets (Matt 5:17):”

http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf110.iii.XVI.html

Just near the end of the recording, around 46:20, Mr. White says that “the Lord was crushed by the wrath of God.”  From an Orthodox perspective, this a reprehensible statement that I don’t think warrants any further commentary.

I apologize for the length, but I had a few more thoughts after listening to more.  By no means are these thoughts comprehensive or exhaustive. 
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« Reply #77 on: October 25, 2011, 02:00:55 PM »

Once love of God and man is understood as a verb as opposed to an emotion (which I'm sure Mr. White does) then it is clear to me that keeping the whole of God's commandments is included in the two greatest (murder is not love, neglecting fasting without a good reason is not love, not going to church without a good reason is not love, etc. etc. etc.)

To add to the point on knowing if one is saved, I'd just like to re-post this:


Quote
Something occurred to me today. Assurance as Protestants demand it, absolute certainty or "120% Proof Grace" as a contributor to iMonk once called it, is logically impossible.

The reason is the same as one of the reasons why today's followers of Rene Descartes' proofs of the existence of God often get in trouble. Essentially, one of Descartes' arguments was that we have in us a concept of God and that this concept is objectively perfect. Since an objectively perfect idea could not have come from the mind of an imperfect being, then God Himself must be the source of our concept of Him. Although one might find this intuitively persuasive, it just does not work as a proof. We know from modern psychology that human beings simply do not have infallible access to our their own thoughts. Descartes might think he has a perfect conception of God, but he has no way of proving this. He might think he knows what perfection means, but how can he be sure?

In the same way, when we say "I believe Jesus is the Son of the God," etc. we don't know we are mentally assenting to this proposition. There is always the possibility of subconscious motivations, internal contradictions, etc. that we might hold-any number of which could offset our actual assent to the truth of the Gospel and actual trust in Christ.

A Protestant might respond, "I know I have saving faith because I have the works which are its fruit." This just pushes the problem back though. How does one know these are true works, done with a pure heart and out of a sincere hunger for God's glory? How do you know you aren't just "washing the outside of the cup," doing them to appear righteous or out of some other hidden and selfish motive? Again, we have no infallible access.

A Protestant might also respond that the inner witness of the Spirit assures them that they have true faith. But Mormons say they know their religion is true because they got a "Burning in the Bosom" when they prayed about the Book of Mormon. How do you know this sure feeling of yours is not as false as theirs is (self-generated, physiological, demonic, or from some other source other than God)?

Finally, a Protestant could respond to any or all of the points above by saying that baring the unforeseen, the think they truly believe in Christ and they have confidence that He is greater than the vagaries of the human mind and can save despite them. This is quite correct. It can serve as a fine nonfoundationalist sort of assurance, but it isn't what the Reformers taught.

Protestantism is a child of Aristotelean logic and a contemporary of Renaissance Humanism. If something is not 100% correct and proven almost syllogistically, it is of no theological value to the Scholastically trained Luther and Calvin, let alone their Radical Reformation cousins. One might be able to hold a sort of "epistemologically fuzzy" soteriology as outlined above, but the Reformers simply would not have recognized it. In fact, they might even accuse you of "Papist" sentiments!

So, 100% assurance of salvation is untenable, not because God is unfaithful or incapable of saving but because we in our feeble minds are not capable of knowing our beliefs and intentions well enough to be absolutely confident that we believe unto salvation.

Whatever hope Protestants have, if they are consistent they must hold to it with less than complete certainty. Nothing wrong with that, except for one thing-Protestants now have no advantage in this department over the Orthodox. If they are not absolutely sure that they will endure to the end but must trust in God's good mercies, so must the Protestants if they think they're already saved. Too bad Martin Luther wasn't born 600 years later to recognize this.
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« Reply #78 on: October 25, 2011, 04:15:15 PM »

The end of it all is, we cannot trust in our cooperation with God, our good works, or any of that on the day of final judgement. YES we should strive for holiness, YES we should strive for complete communion with God, YES we should strive to partake in the divine nature, but in the end we will always fall short, so we trust in CHRIST's works, CHRIST's righteousness, and CHRIST's blood, which covers up our sins and makes us innocent before God on judgement day. Isnt this what the Bible teaches? This is how I've always understood it. Is this concept problematic within Orthodoxy? If so, why?
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« Reply #79 on: October 25, 2011, 04:44:27 PM »

The end of it all is, we cannot trust in our cooperation with God, our good works, or any of that on the day of final judgement. YES we should strive for holiness, YES we should strive for complete communion with God, YES we should strive to partake in the divine nature, but in the end we will always fall short, so we trust in CHRIST's works, CHRIST's righteousness, and CHRIST's blood, which covers up our sins and makes us innocent before God on judgement day. Isnt this what the Bible teaches? This is how I've always understood it. Is this concept problematic within Orthodoxy? If so, why?

How does one trust in Christ?

Please answer. I would like for no one else to jump in. You never answered what faith is. This will keep going around in circles.

How does one trust in Christ?
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« Reply #80 on: October 25, 2011, 04:47:40 PM »

If a person dies in a state of repentance but still has some unconfessed sins they are guilty of, they may be further purified through the suffering they experience in the body prior to the soul’s separation from the body at the time of death, and the soul may be further purified after its separation from the body and prior to the Great Judgment through the prayers that the Church offers on behalf of the reposed, by commemoration of the reposed in the Divine Liturgies, and through the suffering the soul may experience on account of pangs of conscience.  I realize these last points regarding the soul after death is a separate and very large topic, and also is a teaching which is in great contrast to Protestant thought on the subject, but I wanted to mention this here because it is relevant.

You see, this is EXACTLY what I mean. We will ALWAYS have unconfessed sins after we die, no matter how hard we try to have a "clean slate". Where in the Bible does it say we will be purified after death? Where in the Bible does it say we need to confess all our sins in order to enter heaven?

The point is, we can NEVER die having every single sin confessed. That is why we trust in CHRIST's works, and not our own, as He is our advocate with the Father and His blood covers over our sins. That is how we enter heaven. Isnt this what the Bible teaches?
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« Reply #81 on: October 25, 2011, 04:50:16 PM »

The end of it all is, we cannot trust in our cooperation with God, our good works, or any of that on the day of final judgement. YES we should strive for holiness, YES we should strive for complete communion with God, YES we should strive to partake in the divine nature, but in the end we will always fall short, so we trust in CHRIST's works, CHRIST's righteousness, and CHRIST's blood, which covers up our sins and makes us innocent before God on judgement day. Isnt this what the Bible teaches? This is how I've always understood it. Is this concept problematic within Orthodoxy? If so, why?

How does one trust in Christ?

Please answer. I would like for no one else to jump in. You never answered what faith is. This will keep going around in circles.

How does one trust in Christ?

Someone acknowledges what Christ has done for them in His death and resurrection. YES we must strive to be like Christ, YES we must stay to the end, but in the end there will always be leftover sins. This is where Christ's penal atonement comes in. Our sins were punished by Christ on the cross. If we believe in Him as our Savior and earnestly follow Him as our Lord (note we can never do this perfectly), when we can enter heaven through His blood which covers our sins. This is how I have always understood it. Does the Bible say otherwise? Do the Fathers say otherwise?
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« Reply #82 on: October 25, 2011, 05:04:21 PM »

The end of it all is, we cannot trust in our cooperation with God, our good works, or any of that on the day of final judgement. YES we should strive for holiness, YES we should strive for complete communion with God, YES we should strive to partake in the divine nature, but in the end we will always fall short, so we trust in CHRIST's works, CHRIST's righteousness, and CHRIST's blood, which covers up our sins and makes us innocent before God on judgement day. Isnt this what the Bible teaches? This is how I've always understood it. Is this concept problematic within Orthodoxy? If so, why?

How does one trust in Christ?

Please answer. I would like for no one else to jump in. You never answered what faith is. This will keep going around in circles.

How does one trust in Christ?

Also, perhaps as a corollary, you can explain to me how trusting in Christ (if by that you mean a conscious decision or something like that) is not a work? I've never been able to understand this concept. It seems like a false dichotomy.
And why, in the parable of the Last Judgment, is the things that we do for other people the standard by which we will be judged, if works are not important to our salvation?
Perhaps while you're at it, you could explain what you mean by salvation - is it "only" our eventual eternal destination or does it also encompass healing and restoration? I've noticed a tendency on the part of some Protestants to separate salvation into two parts.
« Last Edit: October 25, 2011, 05:05:00 PM by katherineofdixie » Logged

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« Reply #83 on: October 25, 2011, 05:04:48 PM »

The end of it all is, we cannot trust in our cooperation with God, our good works, or any of that on the day of final judgement. YES we should strive for holiness, YES we should strive for complete communion with God, YES we should strive to partake in the divine nature, but in the end we will always fall short, so we trust in CHRIST's works, CHRIST's righteousness, and CHRIST's blood, which covers up our sins and makes us innocent before God on judgement day. Isnt this what the Bible teaches? This is how I've always understood it. Is this concept problematic within Orthodoxy? If so, why?

Look at it like this. Good things aren't really "good", they're normal. We are to be perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect, and to be conformed to Christ Who is perfect. Everyone falls short of this perfect standard. Just because we fall short doesn't mean that our effort is meaningless. God gave us commandments, not suggestions. We are called to persevere and endure, not sit back and do nothing and see what naturally flows out. Salvation is a relationship with God (not just exemption from extreme displeasure). You can't "earn" a relationship, and you can't have that relationship without the other person. We don't make our own righteousness, we receive it from God, Who is righteousness.

Trusting God is not mutually exclusive with putting forth effort, and the word "reward" is used a number of times in a positive context in the NT.

The one thing I hate about all of these "earn salvation" arguments is that they put "following the Gospel" in opposition to "trusting God".
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« Reply #84 on: October 25, 2011, 05:07:50 PM »

OK. I am finished.

Many words = little agreement.

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« Reply #85 on: October 25, 2011, 05:34:06 PM »

Fr. Thomas Hopko once quoted another priest: "Telling someone 'The Bible says...' is like saying, 'The library says.'"

The Bible is not a person. It is a collection of books.
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« Reply #86 on: October 25, 2011, 05:57:53 PM »

If a person dies in a state of repentance but still has some unconfessed sins they are guilty of, they may be further purified through the suffering they experience in the body prior to the soul’s separation from the body at the time of death, and the soul may be further purified after its separation from the body and prior to the Great Judgment through the prayers that the Church offers on behalf of the reposed, by commemoration of the reposed in the Divine Liturgies, and through the suffering the soul may experience on account of pangs of conscience.  I realize these last points regarding the soul after death is a separate and very large topic, and also is a teaching which is in great contrast to Protestant thought on the subject, but I wanted to mention this here because it is relevant.

You see, this is EXACTLY what I mean. We will ALWAYS have unconfessed sins after we die, no matter how hard we try to have a "clean slate". Where in the Bible does it say we will be purified after death? Where in the Bible does it say we need to confess all our sins in order to enter heaven?

The point is, we can NEVER die having every single sin confessed. That is why we trust in CHRIST's works, and not our own, as He is our advocate with the Father and His blood covers over our sins. That is how we enter heaven. Isnt this what the Bible teaches?
You seem to be looking at this as an either/or situation. I believe it is both. The situation is that I only have say over what I bring to the table, paltry as it is, it is all I have to offer.
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« Reply #87 on: October 25, 2011, 10:18:54 PM »

The end of it all is, we cannot trust in our cooperation with God, our good works, or any of that on the day of final judgement. YES we should strive for holiness, YES we should strive for complete communion with God, YES we should strive to partake in the divine nature, but in the end we will always fall short, so we trust in CHRIST's works, CHRIST's righteousness, and CHRIST's blood, which covers up our sins and makes us innocent before God on judgement day. Isnt this what the Bible teaches? This is how I've always understood it. Is this concept problematic within Orthodoxy? If so, why?

How does one trust in Christ?

Please answer. I would like for no one else to jump in. You never answered what faith is. This will keep going around in circles.

How does one trust in Christ?

Also, perhaps as a corollary, you can explain to me how trusting in Christ (if by that you mean a conscious decision or something like that) is not a work? I've never been able to understand this concept. It seems like a false dichotomy.
And why, in the parable of the Last Judgment, is the things that we do for other people the standard by which we will be judged, if works are not important to our salvation?
Perhaps while you're at it, you could explain what you mean by salvation - is it "only" our eventual eternal destination or does it also encompass healing and restoration? I've noticed a tendency on the part of some Protestants to separate salvation into two parts.

Faith is not a work, it is a gift of grace in itself. One cannot come to have faith in Christ unless the Father draws him.
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« Reply #88 on: October 25, 2011, 10:46:27 PM »

The end of it all is, we cannot trust in our cooperation with God, our good works, or any of that on the day of final judgement. YES we should strive for holiness, YES we should strive for complete communion with God, YES we should strive to partake in the divine nature, but in the end we will always fall short, so we trust in CHRIST's works, CHRIST's righteousness, and CHRIST's blood, which covers up our sins and makes us innocent before God on judgement day. Isnt this what the Bible teaches? This is how I've always understood it. Is this concept problematic within Orthodoxy? If so, why?

How does one trust in Christ?

Please answer. I would like for no one else to jump in. You never answered what faith is. This will keep going around in circles.

How does one trust in Christ?

Also, perhaps as a corollary, you can explain to me how trusting in Christ (if by that you mean a conscious decision or something like that) is not a work? I've never been able to understand this concept. It seems like a false dichotomy.
And why, in the parable of the Last Judgment, is the things that we do for other people the standard by which we will be judged, if works are not important to our salvation?
Perhaps while you're at it, you could explain what you mean by salvation - is it "only" our eventual eternal destination or does it also encompass healing and restoration? I've noticed a tendency on the part of some Protestants to separate salvation into two parts.

Faith is not a work, it is a gift of grace in itself. One cannot come to have faith in Christ unless the Father draws him.

I perceive an inexorable descent into double predestination and other doctrines of Calvinism in your current mode of thought. Would this be an unfair statement?
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« Reply #89 on: October 25, 2011, 10:50:32 PM »

The end of it all is, we cannot trust in our cooperation with God, our good works, or any of that on the day of final judgement. YES we should strive for holiness, YES we should strive for complete communion with God, YES we should strive to partake in the divine nature, but in the end we will always fall short, so we trust in CHRIST's works, CHRIST's righteousness, and CHRIST's blood, which covers up our sins and makes us innocent before God on judgement day. Isnt this what the Bible teaches? This is how I've always understood it. Is this concept problematic within Orthodoxy? If so, why?

How does one trust in Christ?

Please answer. I would like for no one else to jump in. You never answered what faith is. This will keep going around in circles.

How does one trust in Christ?

Also, perhaps as a corollary, you can explain to me how trusting in Christ (if by that you mean a conscious decision or something like that) is not a work? I've never been able to understand this concept. It seems like a false dichotomy.
And why, in the parable of the Last Judgment, is the things that we do for other people the standard by which we will be judged, if works are not important to our salvation?
Perhaps while you're at it, you could explain what you mean by salvation - is it "only" our eventual eternal destination or does it also encompass healing and restoration? I've noticed a tendency on the part of some Protestants to separate salvation into two parts.

Faith is not a work, it is a gift of grace in itself. One cannot come to have faith in Christ unless the Father draws him.

I perceive an inexorable descent into double predestination and other doctrines of Calvinism in your current mode of thought. Would this be an unfair statement?

Thats just what the Lord says.

I dont know, maybe I'm becoming a Calvinist. I probably need to take a break from polemics for now and just visit a church.
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