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Author Topic: Being Confident of this...  (Read 3597 times) Average Rating: 0
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FountainPen
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« Reply #90 on: December 29, 2011, 08:32:52 PM »

Do you dispute that people feel that they are not worthy enough to participate in the Eucharist on many occasions and that feeling this way actually prevents them from receiving so much so that they only end up taking it as little as once a year?

A few points on this.

I know I recently abstained from Communion until being able to go to confession, I hope my example didn't come across as being over critical of myself or my personal worthiness. I promise you I have a number of personal faults that i fall to on a daily basis that I confess periodocally, constantly struggle against, pray for healing, and seek union with Christ in Communion as a source of strength in fighting them. If you ever get a chance to read the precommunion prayers that are typically found in an Orthodox prayer book, there is great faith and confidence placed in Christ as being our victory over sin, Communion to be necessary in overcoming sin, and Christ's great love for mankind to accept us in our sinful state as long as we are repentent and seeking Him. That and after receiving communion, we sing a hymn of thanksgiving,

Let our mouths be fuilled with Thy praise O Lord, for Thou hast made us worthy to partake of Thy holy, immortal, and life creating Mysteries. Keep us in Thy holiness, that all the day we may meditate upon thy righteousness.

That being said, I can't say I know for sure everyone's reasons for abstaining from the Eucharist. Maybe from feelings of personal unworthiness, maybe it's just what they were taught to do by their parents (I'm not saying this makes it right).

What about those who have so much confidence that they ignore Paul's instructions to examine oneself? Or when the pastor mentions this instruction, but immediately before distributing whatever their particular denomination serves denying those present the time for self examination and preparation? Or the invitation is given in such a manner that if one abstains, it becomes similar to denying the Christian faith altogether, even if one finds themself in a postition where they should abstain? I don't mean to Protestant-bash here, but these situations should be taken into account when comparing different reasons for receiving or abstaining from Communion.

And there's always the possibility that Orthodox Christians can recieve Communion in a casual manner that is irreverent and possibly disrepectful.

I've noticed several people swinging too far in the opposite direction when trying to explain the reasons and in an effort to avoid overconfidence is not an adequate defense. The confidence we have is in Christ CHRIST, not our own ability to abstain from whatever sin that challenges us, we all have them. Messengers from Satan, thorns in our side, weaknesses, struggles, whatever you want to call them, they are common to man in our human condition and that's why Christ made provision for us on our behalf, because we could not. You can't be overconfident in Christ.

You seem very confident, Fountainpen, in your interpretation of Scripture. In fact, you are brimming with confidence.

Can you show that your interpretation of Scripture is consonant with history, that it is grounded in the ancient Church? Because if not, you are just innovating.

I'm confident in Christ and what He has done, yes. That's biblical to "...boast in the Lord" Psalm 34:2, 1 Corinthians 1:31, 2 Corinthians 10:17) giving glory to God alone.
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« Reply #91 on: December 29, 2011, 08:35:28 PM »

I've noticed several people swinging too far in the opposite direction when trying to explain the reasons and in an effort to avoid overconfidence is not an adequate defense.

To quote my priest, we nelieve in frequent Communion, not casual Communion.

Quote
The confidence we have is in Christ CHRIST, not our own ability to abstain from whatever sin that challenges us, we all have them. Messengers from Satan, thorns in our side, weaknesses, struggles, whatever you want to call them, they are common to man in our human condition and that's why Christ made provision for us on our behalf, because we could not.

I don't consider these things to be a reason for abstaining from Communion. In fact these things can only be overcome in Christ, Who we partake of in Communion.

Quote
You can't be overconfident in Christ.

Not everyone who says to me Lord, Lord...

Excellent!
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To God be the Glory in all things! Amen!

Only pray for me, that God would give me both inward and outward strength, that I may not only speak, but truly will; and that I may not merely be called a Christian, but really be found to be one. St.Ignatius of Antioch.Epistle to the Romans.
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« Reply #92 on: December 29, 2011, 08:39:38 PM »

I've noticed several people swinging too far in the opposite direction when trying to explain the reasons and in an effort to avoid overconfidence is not an adequate defense.

To quote my priest, we nelieve in frequent Communion, not casual Communion.

Quote
The confidence we have is in Christ CHRIST, not our own ability to abstain from whatever sin that challenges us, we all have them. Messengers from Satan, thorns in our side, weaknesses, struggles, whatever you want to call them, they are common to man in our human condition and that's why Christ made provision for us on our behalf, because we could not.

I don't consider these things to be a reason for abstaining from Communion. In fact these things can only be overcome in Christ, Who we partake of in Communion.

Quote
You can't be overconfident in Christ.

Not everyone who says to me Lord, Lord...

Excellent!
Not excellent at all, in fact, quite the opposite.

For someone who has been regularly accused of taking scripture out of context, that has to be clanger of the year right there for what we're discussing at the moment!

#laughs
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« Reply #93 on: December 29, 2011, 09:11:21 PM »

Quote
You can't be overconfident in Christ.
Not everyone who says to me Lord, Lord...
Excellent!
Not excellent at all, in fact, quite the opposite.

For someone who has been regularly accused of taking scripture out of context, that has to be clanger of the year right there for what we're discussing at the moment!

#laughs

The context of that particular quote should lead one to ask "What is the will of God?", seeing how that is what we are being instructed to do. Faith, hope, love, repentence, mercy, the fruit of the Spirit, avoiding the works of the flesh, resisting the devil, being conformed to the image of His Son, obedience, humility, running our race with patience, prayer, fasting, almsgiving, being united to Christ in Baptism, eating His flesh and drinking His blood, examining ourselves before receiving Commmunion, confessing our faults so that we may be healed, being reconciled to our brother, etc, these are all things that we are to do as Christians and none of them are optional. This doesn't mean that we lose hope because of our weaknessses and limitations, but we are required to struggle.

When Satan told Christ that angles would save Him lest he dash His foot against a stone, He replied with "Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God". It's one thing to fall and have confidence in God's promise to catch you when you do, it's another to purposely throw yourself off a cliff and be confident that God is required catch you.
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And FWIW, these are our Fathers too, you know.

Made Perfect in Weakness - Latest Post: The Son of God
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« Reply #94 on: December 29, 2011, 09:33:12 PM »

*subscribed*   Grin (Probably the longest thread I've read on theology that hasn't bored me to tears. Won't be commenting though as I'll probably be shot out the blue like Bambi's mom. Tongue)

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« Reply #95 on: December 29, 2011, 10:22:31 PM »

 what Melodist quoted was exactly on point, those people whom the Lord denies, were Christians who believed in his name, preached and taught in his name, they have been calling his name, yet all that did not save them... and we should ask WHY NOT? if confidence was only in What God is capable of doing and yet we fail to participate in the grace that he freely gives and do what he wills then even though God is capable of doing all things, he will not take away our choices even when they are bad ones and lead to our ultimate demise, he will warn, entereat, beg even but never takes our free will from us, to chose our path.

so here is the confidence we are talking about..

1, we are confident in who Christ is, and what he is capable of doing!

2, we are Confident that without Christ we can do NOTHING!

3, we are Confident in the Salvation that is in Christ given for us Free!

4, we are confident that we are given FREE WILL to either receive or reject the gift of eternal Life that is being offered for free.

Free will makes it imperative that we cooperate with God in our salvation by saying yes to him. When we are struggling with sin and our attachment to it, we confess and ask for God’s help not because we doubt Christ can save us, but because Christ can save us! Because we are called to be Holy not by our works alone, but in union with God's Grace. The faith without Work is the faith of the demons.

Holy Communion is given for all who confess their sins (sinners who are repentant of their sins and are willing and committed to Live with Christ in Christ through Christ) examine yourself, and know that you need Christ is the Church's message, know you are a sinner, and Christ came for sinners, to heal them for those who want (have faith) to be healed. if they do not want to be healed, if they have no faith in him, if they are not willing to abandon their sinful ways yet come while plotting murder , while still engaged in adultery, still engaged in idolatry etc... Just because they call his name does not make them immune from the judgment that will come upon them.

Repentance is the utmost confidence in God's Mercy!

Knowing that God's Mercy is infinite, and Christ is the Savior of the World! Those who come to God with a repentant heart are never turned away!

1John 1:5-10 " 5This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. 7But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

8If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives."



St Paul reminds the Philippians to take care and to work out their salvation in fear and trembling, why the fear, why the trembling when only a chapter before he has told them that God is able to finish what he has started in them. Of course there is no contradiction, God is always able to finish what he has started, however the human can always back out while on this earth by loving the world as Demas did, and abandoning the will of God towards him and all humans : that all to be Saved! Indeed St. Paul says to them that it is God that works in them, to will and to act according to his good purpose.


Philippians 2:12-13 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed--not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence--continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.

God is the one working in all of us all the good things we get to do, with this we have confidence that the grace of God will work in us when we cooperate with it.

1 Corinthian 12:6 there are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.


1 Corinthians 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them--yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.

1 Timothy 4:10 for therefore we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, specially of those that believe.



Now, what of the immorality of a brother? A believer, yet who does and persists in the work of darkness? Should he for having confidence in God be allowed to eat and drink from the Lord's Table while unrepentant of his sin and unwilling to sever his attachment to it? St. Paul says different...

1 Corinthians 5:1-13
1It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that does not occur even among pagans: A man has his father’s wife. 2And you are proud! Shouldn’t you rather have been filled with grief and have put out of your fellowship the man who did this? 3Even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. And I have already passed judgment on the one who did this, just as if I were present. 4When you are assembled in the name of our Lord Jesus and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present, 5hand this man over to Satan, so that the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord.

6Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough? 7Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb has been sacrificed. 8Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth.

9I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. 11But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.

12What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked man from among you.”


Do not mistake the humility of Christians for Lack of Confidence in God or, despair! It is the very humility that leads them constantly to have a broken and repentant heart, that loves God and has utterly confidently surrender itself to Him.

Many make the mistake of Judah, in thinking that they are beyond God's mercy that kind of theaching is both forigen and blasphemous for the Orthodox! NO ONE is beyond God's mercy! not even Lucifer if were he to repent, God's Mercy will drown all the sins that the fallen angel the ancient enemy of mankind has committed against God as if it was a speck of sand in the ocean of God's mercy! It is this confidence you constantly hear among the Orthodox, when they say Lord Have mercy! It is the pouring out of God's infinite love we are asking and we know and believe that nothing overpowers His love for us!

The infinite Glory before whom the angels tremble, we eat and drink, in confidence of his mercy, his love, for us, and because we know who he is and because of our love to him, we approach with reverence, with awe and wonder, with repentant heart that laments her sin against her beloved even as she thanks him for the new beginning the new chance he gives her to be One with Him and to remain in his love. We approach with humility as we are awed by his humility; we approach because we have no life by ourselves, as he is our Light and our Life! We approach because he is our only healer who restores our souls.

Those that abstain from communion should do so only if they do not have a repentant heart over whatever sin they have attached themselves to. If a person does not admit that he or she needs the healing of Christ then that person has no business eating and drinking the body and blood of our Lord. It takes an honest examination of oneself to see whether or not one is repentant of the sin one loved to commit. The murderer should stop killing, the adulterer should stop cheating, the thief should stop stealing etc... Then come to Christ with tears of repentance and Christ along with the Father and the Holy Spirit will make their home with him.

Those who abstain, claiming unworthiness just because they are sinners even while they are repentant of it, then in that case they are in error, they have strayed away from the teaching of the Orthodox Church! The Church is there for sinners, we are all sinners, it’s because we are sinners that we need Christ, however we must repent and come to Him who is willing to heal us, to make us New Man in Christ. As often as we sin against him and yet turn back to him once more, he is willing to forgive and embrace us with his love. The greatest sin we can commit is to say God will not forgive me! To despair!
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Only pray for me, that God would give me both inward and outward strength, that I may not only speak, but truly will; and that I may not merely be called a Christian, but really be found to be one. St.Ignatius of Antioch.Epistle to the Romans.
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« Reply #96 on: December 30, 2011, 08:58:31 AM »

There seems a good deal of sound Orthodox theology here in this thread. I think it is important to consider how the Fathers and the Early Church considered this issue.

There was never a time in the church when there wasn't a tension between our confidence in what Christ accomplished and granted freely to us and our need to work out our salvation in fear and trembling.

We see this tension vividly in I Clement, written in 96 AD.

1Clem 32:4-1Clem 33:1

"And so we, having been called through His will in Christ Jesus, are
not justified through ourselves or through our own wisdom or
understanding or piety or works which we wrought in holiness of
heart, but through faith, whereby the Almighty God justified all men
that have been from the beginning; to whom be the glory for ever and
ever. Amen.
   What then must we do, brethren? Must we idly abstain from doing
good, and forsake love? May the Master never allow this to befall us
at least; but let us hasten with instancy and zeal to accomplish
every good work."

The Didache, which was written perhaps in 70 AD and therefore before much of the New Testament, was not available to the Reformers, unfortunately since it was rediscovered just in the 19th century. The Didache clearly stresses the importance of working out one's salvation in humility:

"1:1 There are two ways, one of life and one of death, and there is a great difference between the two ways.

5:1 But the way of death is this.
5:2 First of all, it is evil and full of a curse murders, adulteries, lusts, fornications, thefts, idolatries, magical arts, witchcrafts, plunderings, false witnessings, hypocrisies, doubleness of heart, treachery, pride, malice, stubbornness, covetousness, foul-speaking, jealousy, boldness, exaltation, boastfulness;
5:3 persecutors of good men, hating truth, loving a lie, not perceiving the reward of righteousness, not cleaving to the good nor to righteous judgment, wakeful not for that which is good but for that which is evil;
5:4 from whom gentleness and forbearance stand aloof;
5:5 loving vain things, pursuing a recompense, not pitying the poor man, not toiling for him that is oppressed with toil, not recognizing Him that made them, murderers of children, corrupters of the creatures of God, turning away from him that is in want, oppressing him that is afflicted, advocates of the wealthy, unjust judges of the poor, altogether sinful.
5:6 May ye be delivered, my children, from all these things.

6:1 See lest any man lead you astray from this way of righteousness, for he teacheth thee apart from God."

There was from the beginning of Christianity very much a fear that if a follower of Christ strayed from the way, he would incur spiritual death.

Witness the same idea in The Epistle of Barnabas, also considered a First century document (or possible second) and rediscovered in the 19th century:

V 21 "All this shows what a good thing it is to have learnt the precepts of the Lord, as they are set forth in Scripture. For the man who does this (ie the Way of Light), there will be glory in the kingdom of God, but the one who prefers the other Way will perish."

The Early Church had a heathy respect for the need to balance confidence in Christ with working out one's salvation and this balance continues today in the Orthodox Church.


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