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TheTrisagion
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« on: September 17, 2013, 11:07:32 AM »

It is pretty well established that the Orthodox view of salvation and the protestant view are quite different.  If you were asked by a protestant to give a synopsis of what salvation means to Orthodoxy, what would your answer be?  What is a good way to explain the difference between asking the Theotokos to save us and God's saving grace?
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« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2013, 01:04:41 PM »

From my past experience as a protestant and from witnessing to current protestant family members, most believe that salvation happens at the time that you say the sinners prayer and ask Jesus into your heart(once saved, always saved). They will allude to John 3:16 saying "all you have to do is believe". Since protestants stick strictly to the Bible, I'll sometimes ask "where in the Bible did anyone ask Jesus into their hearts to be saved?" I'll also point out the context of John 3:16 by reading the first of that chapter where Jesus is speaking to Nicodemus. Nicodemus was amazed at the idea of being "reborn" so Jesus was explaining in detail the whole idea of being "reborn" which included repentance, baptism and believing or having faith in what Jesus was telling him.

Now, as an Orthodox Christian, I understand that Salvation is something we all work through every day though Gods Grace. (Romans 8:13
For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.)
I've heard an analogy with a light switch with a dimmer in that the more you turn the dimmer up the brighter everything is and the more you see. Just like the more I strive to remove desires of the flesh the more I can see within myself that needs purging.

I'm new to Orthodoxy so that's the "noobie Orthodox" answer  Grin



« Last Edit: September 17, 2013, 01:10:47 PM by orthodox4life » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: September 18, 2013, 12:53:50 AM »

1)Protestant believes God saves us by satifying His 'justice' need and killing His only begotten son. Orthodox believes God saves us by entering and defeating the death.

2) God saves us by entering and defeating the death. Theotokos did not suffer on cross, enter or defeat the death,while she saves us through her prayers.
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« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2013, 12:56:43 AM »

1) God is a doctor; not a judge. Salvation is not a static acquittal verdict but the lifelong process of being healed and conformed to the image of God as partakers of the Divine nature (allude to Scriptures or else they won't take you seriously).

2) We ask the Theotokos to save us through God's hand by her prayers and any authority God may have bestowed upon her relating to our Salvation.
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« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2013, 03:02:42 AM »

To quote myself in narcissistic fashion:

"Salvation is free, but not easy. It is completely dependent upon the grace of God, and yet we must work it out with fear and trembling. It is given to all, but only a few find it. We are saved only by His Cross, and yet not without taking up our own."



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TheTrisagion
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« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2013, 08:06:37 AM »

Is it possible at any point of one's life to say with confidence that if I died right now, I have lived my faith and I will go to heaven based on the promises in Scripture?
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« Reply #6 on: September 18, 2013, 08:46:40 AM »

Is it possible at any point of one's life to say with confidence that if I died right now, I have lived my faith and I will go to heaven based on the promises in Scripture?

Absolutely. There are various answers to this in the Church Fathers, but some of them were perfectly fine with the idea that you could be confident about where you were going. I believe it was fairly recently that you began hearing in Orthodox circles that this was impossible; I would assume this is a reaction to Protestant belief.

Also, while I'm being disagreeable, of course God is a judge. Scripture says so. And a doctor. And an executioner. And a pardoning Governor. And... well about a thousand things. I sort of try to nick the surface of how many ways there are to talk about salvation in this post (also see posts in that thread for my thoughts on your OP, which I can clarify in this thread, but that would have to wait until later). Anyway, in my hubris I have often thought about writing this book or that, and one that I have long considered would be titled The Many Faces of God, which I suppose could be confused with a book about perennialism or something, but would actually be about how many different ways we humans need to use to look at God to even begin to understand the concept, at least as given to us in Christianity. You need, like, a whole book, just to get started.
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« Reply #7 on: September 18, 2013, 09:44:25 AM »

It is pretty well established that the Orthodox view of salvation and the protestant view are quite different.  If you were asked by a protestant to give a synopsis of what salvation means to Orthodoxy, what would your answer be?  What is a good way to explain the difference between asking the Theotokos to save us and God's saving grace?

God's Saving Grace - is an ongoing process.  We constantly fall, but, through repentance/penance struggle back up to our feet, only to stumble again.  It is through this state of repentance that we grow in humility, in kindness, in faith.  God has paved the road to salvation, but, it is up to us to walk upon that path. 

Mother of God's Salvation - We ask for her intercessions.  She is the mother of Christ.  One of the God's Commandments is to respect your mother, as such, Christ often "listens" to her requests.  Think of the wedding at Cana.  He said it was not yet His time, however, upon her persistence he acquiesced and did her bidding.  In this same sense, we ask her to intercede on our behalf's before her Son....so, that we can avail of God's Saving Grace.

Is it possible at any point of one's life to say with confidence that if I died right now, I have lived my faith and I will go to heaven based on the promises in Scripture?

How can we ever be "worthy"?  Even in last week's Gospel Reading (Matthew 19:18) where the man asked Christ what he needed to do to gain salvation, Christ answered:

“‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother, and love your neighbor as yourself.”

The man answered that he done all this.....and pushes it, "what else must I do to be guaranteed salvation?"

Christ instructed him to sell all his goods and give the proceeds to the needy.

There's always something more that we can do.  We should never sit back on our laurels and think we have achieved salvation, lest we become like the man with all the bursting barns filled with grain, and become complacent....and thereby, lose the very salvation we yearn.


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« Reply #8 on: September 18, 2013, 10:00:16 AM »

It is pretty well established that the Orthodox view of salvation and the protestant view are quite different.  If you were asked by a protestant to give a synopsis of what salvation means to Orthodoxy, what would your answer be?  What is a good way to explain the difference between asking the Theotokos to save us and God's saving grace?

God's Saving Grace - is an ongoing process.  We constantly fall, but, through repentance/penance struggle back up to our feet, only to stumble again.  It is through this state of repentance that we grow in humility, in kindness, in faith.  God has paved the road to salvation, but, it is up to us to walk upon that path. 

Mother of God's Salvation - We ask for her intercessions.  She is the mother of Christ.  One of the God's Commandments is to respect your mother, as such, Christ often "listens" to her requests.  Think of the wedding at Cana.  He said it was not yet His time, however, upon her persistence he acquiesced and did her bidding.  In this same sense, we ask her to intercede on our behalf's before her Son....so, that we can avail of God's Saving Grace.

Is it possible at any point of one's life to say with confidence that if I died right now, I have lived my faith and I will go to heaven based on the promises in Scripture?

How can we ever be "worthy"?  Even in last week's Gospel Reading (Matthew 19:18) where the man asked Christ what he needed to do to gain salvation, Christ answered:

“‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother, and love your neighbor as yourself.”

The man answered that he done all this.....and pushes it, "what else must I do to be guaranteed salvation?"

Christ instructed him to sell all his goods and give the proceeds to the needy.

There's always something more that we can do.  We should never sit back on our laurels and think we have achieved salvation, lest we become like the man with all the bursting barns filled with grain, and become complacent....and thereby, lose the very salvation we yearn.



I don't mean to say that we can say we have acheived it, but if we are on our deathbed and the doctors are saying we have less than an hour to live and we have lived a life devoted to God, could that person say at that time, "I will be with God upon my departure". Obviously, if he made a miraculous recovery, he would have to continue living that life, but is it presumptous to say on your deathbed, "I will be with God", or is it something that we could say with confidence because of the promises He has made to us?
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« Reply #9 on: September 18, 2013, 10:59:39 AM »


I've always struggled with that at funerals when everyone says "they are in a better place, etc."

Are they?  How do we know?  Only God can judge that person, and knows what was really going on "inside"...so, how do we know they are in a "better" place?

We pray that they are, and we ask God's forgiveness for any sins they may have incurred...but, I don't think anything is guaranteed.

....as for being on one's deathbed...I don't know.  I don't think I would feel certain.  I would instead be thinking of all the things I could have, or should have done, things I've been too embarrassed to ask forgiveness for, things I forgot to ask forgiveness for, people I may have offended and been angry yet.

No, I would not feel comfortable in saying that I was in the "clear"....ever.

It is by God's Grace that we may be saved, not by anything we have achieved on our own.

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« Reply #10 on: September 18, 2013, 11:05:45 AM »


I've always struggled with that at funerals when everyone says "they are in a better place, etc."

Are they?  How do we know?  Only God can judge that person, and knows what was really going on "inside"...so, how do we know they are in a "better" place?

We pray that they are, and we ask God's forgiveness for any sins they may have incurred...but, I don't think anything is guaranteed.

....as for being on one's deathbed...I don't know.  I don't think I would feel certain.  I would instead be thinking of all the things I could have, or should have done, things I've been too embarrassed to ask forgiveness for, things I forgot to ask forgiveness for, people I may have offended and been angry yet.

No, I would not feel comfortable in saying that I was in the "clear"....ever.

It is by God's Grace that we may be saved, not by anything we have achieved on our own.



Indeed. Even Orthodox funeral and memorial services do not assume anything about the fate of the deceased, but are full of prayers and petitions for God to be merciful to his or her soul. We pray for the souls of the departed, as we should, but God is the final arbiter.
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« Reply #11 on: September 18, 2013, 11:15:57 AM »

How does St. Paul write that he has finished the course and kept the faith and then proceed to say that his reward is stored up for him in heaven?  Is it that some might be granted that knowledge but most are not?  If we cannot know of the final disposition of those who die, how do we know who to canonize as saints?  It all seems rather confusing.  Huh
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« Reply #12 on: September 18, 2013, 01:26:41 PM »

Some taught that we cannot know about others, we can know about ourselves. St. Symeon the New Theologian went so far as to say that if you didn't know and experience the Holy Spirit inside you that you weren't really a Christian and didn't have him inside you. Seems like a strange thing to say, but then there are a lot of interesting things in them there hills.
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« Reply #13 on: September 18, 2013, 07:10:44 PM »

Trying to explain things like that, it seems to me, doesn't do justice to Orthodoxy or Protestants. Primarily, Orthodoxy is lived theology whereas Protestantism doesn't necessarily include the application of intellectualized theology. If a Protestant wants to know, he should come to church for a few years.
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