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Author Topic: Certainty of salvation  (Read 754 times) Average Rating: 0
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Anastasia1
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« on: December 03, 2012, 11:57:52 PM »

How certain can we be of our salvation? Why?
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Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation. (2 Cor 2:6)
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« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2012, 04:18:21 AM »

"He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also will live because of Me. This is the bread which came down out of heaven; not as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live forever.”
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« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2012, 10:08:44 PM »

My thoughts are this: why do we NEED certainty of our salvation? If anything, isn't uncertainty better, because it will eternally promote and urge us to ALWAYS be alert, working diligently and remaining faithful, whereas if we had certainty, we may be tempted to become lazy and let our guard down?
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« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2012, 10:27:49 PM »

'St. Babnuda, his disciple, saw the soul of St. Macarius ascending to heaven, and he heard the devils crying out and calling after him, "You have conquered us O Macarius." The Saint replied, "I have not conquered you yet." When they came to the gates of heaven they cried again saying, "You have conquered us", and he replied as the first time. When he entered the gate of heaven they cried, "You have overcome us O Macarius." He replied, "Blessed be the Lord Jesus Christ who has delivered me from your hands."' http://orthodoxwiki.org/Macarius_the_Great

"Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ" 1 Philippians 1:6

"But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway." 1 Cor 9:27
« Last Edit: December 04, 2012, 10:29:26 PM by Jonathan » Logged
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« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2012, 11:02:14 PM »

How certain can we be of our salvation? Why?

As certain as Peter was that he could walk on water when he got out of the boat and approached Christ. He was able to as long as he kept his focus on Christ, and unable to when he put his focus elsewhere, and then able to again once Christ pulled him back up.
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And FWIW, these are our Fathers too, you know.

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Anastasia1
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« Reply #5 on: December 05, 2012, 03:42:15 AM »

I have an Antiochian friend who was saying that he thinks it is scary when people think about their salvation with certainty that they have it because, as I understand what he is saying, when we sin, we reject God's grace, and then we would not be saved.  I'm not quite sure what to make of this.
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« Reply #6 on: December 05, 2012, 08:49:25 AM »

I have an Antiochian friend who was saying that he thinks it is scary when people think about their salvation with certainty that they have it because, as I understand what he is saying, when we sin, we reject God's grace, and then we would not be saved.  I'm not quite sure what to make of this.

Presuming God's grace is a great sin. If we think we're surely saved, and cease to struggle, expecting God to forgive us, we are in great danger. As long as we keep struggling against sin, and honestly imploring God for help, we can trust that He is able to save us. No matter how much we fall, we trust that He loves us and desires our salvation, and as long as we keep getting up, we trust that He will lead us slowly through these falls to perfection to Himself. We can never be saved by our own works or strength, only by His grace. But we must cooperate with His grace, we must struggle and do our part, He will not force His salvation on us. The idea that we know for sure we are saved is so dangerous because it tempts us to be negligent in our little part, co-working with His grace for our salvation. If I start liking a sin, and saying "God save me" with my lips, be feel no fear in my heart because I trust that His grace will save me despite my sin, then this is in itself a great fall. God rewards are struggle. It doesn't matter if we sin or not, He is great enough to overcome and forgive any sin, what matters is that we struggle, that we cooperate with His desire to save us. St. Athanasius says that a soldier who is victorious is awarded a mettle, a soldier who is wounded while fighting honourably (when we struggle but still fall into sin) is still honoured. But a soldier who flees combat (when we like sin, and do not fight it, but wallow in it) is executed for treason agains the king.
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« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2012, 01:38:24 AM »

I am certain that our God is the lover of mankind, that he came to save me from my sins, that his will is that I be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth, and that if he wills something he cannot not do it, that he who began the good work will bring it to fruition.

I am uncertain of my ability to cooperate with his will and ask for his help so that my weakness and love of sin may not win out over his kindness and compassion and salvation. I pray that, whether I will it or not, he may save me and have mercy on me. I trust in him, not in myself.
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« Reply #8 on: December 06, 2012, 10:59:57 PM »

I have an Antiochian friend who was saying that he thinks it is scary when people think about their salvation with certainty that they have it because, as I understand what he is saying, when we sin, we reject God's grace, and then we would not be saved.  I'm not quite sure what to make of this.

Presuming God's grace is a great sin. If we think we're surely saved, and cease to struggle, expecting God to forgive us, we are in great danger. As long as we keep struggling against sin, and honestly imploring God for help, we can trust that He is able to save us. No matter how much we fall, we trust that He loves us and desires our salvation, and as long as we keep getting up, we trust that He will lead us slowly through these falls to perfection to Himself. We can never be saved by our own works or strength, only by His grace. But we must cooperate with His grace, we must struggle and do our part, He will not force His salvation on us. The idea that we know for sure we are saved is so dangerous because it tempts us to be negligent in our little part, co-working with His grace for our salvation. If I start liking a sin, and saying "God save me" with my lips, be feel no fear in my heart because I trust that His grace will save me despite my sin, then this is in itself a great fall. God rewards are struggle. It doesn't matter if we sin or not, He is great enough to overcome and forgive any sin, what matters is that we struggle, that we cooperate with His desire to save us. St. Athanasius says that a soldier who is victorious is awarded a mettle, a soldier who is wounded while fighting honourably (when we struggle but still fall into sin) is still honoured. But a soldier who flees combat (when we like sin, and do not fight it, but wallow in it) is executed for treason agains the king.
Does that obligate us to spend out days being careful of every little opportunity that we might slip in trying to live perfectly and never go near anything that might temp us?
« Last Edit: December 06, 2012, 11:00:24 PM by Anastasia1 » Logged

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« Reply #9 on: December 06, 2012, 11:00:36 PM »

I am certain that our God is the lover of mankind, that he came to save me from my sins, that his will is that I be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth, and that if he wills something he cannot not do it, that he who began the good work will bring it to fruition.

I am uncertain of my ability to cooperate with his will and ask for his help so that my weakness and love of sin may not win out over his kindness and compassion and salvation. I pray that, whether I will it or not, he may save me and have mercy on me. I trust in him, not in myself.
That is beautiful.
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« Reply #10 on: December 06, 2012, 11:07:32 PM »

Does that obligate us to spend out days being careful of every little opportunity that we might slip in trying to live perfectly and never go near anything that might temp us?

No, right hand errors are just as dangerous. If we try to be instantly perfect we will burn out, fall, and and up in a worse state than the beginning. Being scrupulous is not the right way.

We should repent each day. Each morning we should spend a few minutes preparing ourselves for the day and asking God's protection. Each night we should spend a few minutes examining our hearts and asking for forgiveness for the ways we have fallen short, which we will mention in confession in due time.

If at all possible we should have a father in confession who sets a rule for us, and guides us around pitfalls of being too lax and pitfalls of being too strict with ourselves, in order to help us to progress, to train us. Like an athlete we must work each day, so that each day we can go a little further on the road to perfection. But we shouldn't look to see how we're doing, we should just focus on working, on weeding out vices and cultivating virtues. What this means practically depends on the person, their stage, their circumstances, their temperament... this is where guidance and obedience come in.

"The way of the Ascetics" by Tito Colliander is a great introduction.
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« Reply #11 on: December 07, 2012, 02:32:30 AM »

Does that obligate us to spend out days being careful of every little opportunity that we might slip in trying to live perfectly and never go near anything that might temp us?

"I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave, though he is the owner of everything, but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father. In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the Law, to redeem those who were under the Law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, 'Abba! Father!' So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God."
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