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Author Topic: More Grace?  (Read 4668 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: July 22, 2005, 03:17:14 AM »

Hi everybody,
     
I've sort of just been reading lately, and it looks like a lot of you out here really know your stuff, so I got a question.

Was chatting with a friend tonight, (he posts here, so he might even see it, but I won't point him out) and we had a really good discussion on grace.  He suggested that God pours more grace on those He favours.  I argued that I believe that God would not pour to another what He wouldn't give to all.  I figured that those who have such great virtue don't have more grace, but are just more receptive to the love and grace that God bestows on all of us, equally? 

Like I said, I'm far from an expert, so any insight into the Holy Church's teaching would be wonderful. 

In Christ Jesus, the least,
Theodore (Ted)
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« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2005, 03:20:22 AM »

Also, can one start with more grace then another person?  Like, say from birth...if God is not a respector of persons, can one person be born with more grace than another?  I would argue no, but I'd like to hear what you guys think about that too.

In Christ,
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« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2005, 03:29:53 AM »

Many years.

Dear brother Theodore, I would tend to agree with you. I think that God does not pour more or less grace as it was some cool drink that Trinity has to give to us humans. I think God favours all equally. God loves even the worse of us, even the enemy. The grace is constant, that is does not change its consistency depending on "thermodynamics of ones love", so if you love Him more that I, you will have more grace. I really do not see it that way.

Grace is constant as God is constant. Grace is of God and it is His revelation, energy and presence in universe. It is one of those "things" emanating from God's essence (making sure here that Divine essence is totally BEYOND our little brains, and beyond anybody in the creation). Grace is there for everyone and all. However, if one decides-by his own free will to denounce grace, God will not force him to be subject to (fullness of) grace; that is, be enjoying all the aspects of it.
I do not think that someone has more grace that someone else.

In the end as I said at the start, I would tend to agree with you.

Also, lets see what the rest of the Church will say, as I really do not know a lot to make "definite answer".

God bless.
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« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2005, 04:53:41 AM »

Hi everybody,
  ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚Â
I've sort of just been reading lately, and it looks like a lot of you out here really know your stuff, so I got a question.

Was chatting with a friend tonight, (he posts here, so he might even see it, but I won't point him out) and we had a really good discussion on grace.ÂÂ  He suggested that God pours more grace on those He favours.ÂÂ  I argued that I believe that God would not pour to another what He wouldn't give to all.ÂÂ  I figured that those who have such great virtue don't have more grace, but are just more receptive to the love and grace that God bestows on all of us, equally?ÂÂ  

Like I said, I'm far from an expert, so any insight into the Holy Church's teaching would be wonderful.ÂÂ  

In Christ Jesus, the least,
Theodore (Ted)

Yes, I would agree with you, too. I would say that God pours out His Grace on everybody equally but that it is how the individual responds that causes differences in the effects of that Grace.

James
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« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2005, 05:17:42 AM »

well i think you are right in saying that it depends on what you do or how you take the given grace. But i believe it is also a matter of wanting it.
If you really want it then you ask and it will be given. If you dont care then it wont be given to you equally as the one who asks for it in long prayers and from his heart.
but then again it might be given to everyone equally and those who seek it and ask they will start seeing it and living it because of their faith while others who dont care they wont see it because of lack of faith and consequently wont live it.
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« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2005, 07:55:29 AM »

More grace on those he favors. Sounds very evangelical to me.
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« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2005, 08:09:50 AM »

i just remembered the story with the lady who touched Jesus and was healed and Jesus told her your faith healed you. She didnt even ask Jesus and Jesus didnt give her anything.
that means God gives everyone equally, only those who believe benefit.
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« Reply #7 on: July 22, 2005, 08:18:32 AM »

im gonna take sin_vladimirov "WOW factor" topic title and apply it to djraks post! that might not make sense to some people, but with what i have going on in my life right now, his one line story made my jaw drop. thanks djrak, you just made my day.
 
 
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« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2005, 08:23:57 AM »

you're welcome!
Glory to God
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« Reply #9 on: July 22, 2005, 08:49:26 AM »

"For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath." Matthew 13:12
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« Reply #10 on: July 22, 2005, 08:56:41 AM »

"For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath." Matthew 13:12
it's all a matter of perspective bro, whoever believes will have more and wil build more on his faith and life in him will increase, whoever doesnt believe he wont see more and a time will come when all the grace that was pouring on him while he couldnt see it will be taken away from him including wealth, health and life.
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« Reply #11 on: July 22, 2005, 09:09:35 AM »

it's all a matter of perspective bro, whoever believes will have more and wil build more on his faith and life in him will increase, whoever doesnt believe he wont see more and a time will come when all the grace that was pouring on him while he couldnt see it will be taken away from him including wealth, health and life.

So what did these people do wrong so that what you call "Grace" is now being withdrawn from them?
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« Reply #12 on: July 22, 2005, 09:16:29 AM »

So what did these people do wrong so that what you call "Grace" is now being withdrawn from them?

if what you think i call grace is withdrawn from them then why dont you restore it thru your faith? If you can.
How do you think God works in this fallen world? thru His body which is US the Church.
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« Reply #13 on: July 22, 2005, 09:24:01 AM »

if what you think i call grace is withdrawn from them then why dont you restore it thru your faith? If you can.
I don't think that grace is being withdrawan from them- but you seem to think so, by your interpretation of Our Lord's words in Matthew 13:12.

How do you think God works in this fallen world? thru His body which is US the Church.
Are you saying that Grace, which, as the Orthodox understand, is the Uncreated Energies of God, can only be dispensed through human beings?
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« Reply #14 on: July 22, 2005, 09:32:02 AM »

I don't think that grace is being withdrawan from them- but you seem to think so, by your interpretation of Our Lord's words in Matthew 13:12.
i was saying the opposite, but the end will come and Christ will come and everything given will be taken back
Quote
Are you saying that Grace, which, as the Orthodox understand, is the Uncreated Energies of God, can only be dispensed through human beings?
anything is possible for God but theChurch is the body and Christ is the head. light and salt of the world Wink
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« Reply #15 on: July 22, 2005, 09:43:20 AM »

Spiffing.....

But either way, the fact remains, some are given more. "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." (James 5:16) - God does seem to have preferences as to how and where He bestows His Grace.
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« Reply #16 on: July 22, 2005, 09:54:26 AM »

Spiffing.....

But either way, the fact remains, some are given more. "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." (James 5:16) - God does seem to have preferences as to how and where He bestows His Grace.
doesnt it also say not to say useleess and long requests in prayers because God knows better than us what we need? so we shouldnt pray? or does that meanwhen we pray we come closer to Him and realize how magnificent his grace is and thatg race and faith manifests itself in our lives wether by miracles or effective works built on faith?
tha's how the body works and that's what is meant in that verse.
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« Reply #17 on: July 22, 2005, 09:56:55 AM »

seem to have preferences as to how and where He bestows His Grace.
if that's how it SEEMS, dont believe in appearances look for the source.
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« Reply #18 on: July 22, 2005, 09:59:54 AM »

Spiffing.....

But either way, the fact remains, some are given more. "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." (James 5:16) - God does seem to have preferences as to how and where He bestows His Grace.

I don't think I can read it that way. A righteous man surely has accepted more of God's Grace, but I don't think that means that God offers less to an unrighteous man. I have a bit of a problem with the idea of God having favourites on whom he bestows more Grace because, if the Grace had yet to be bestowed, the decision on who to bestow it would be arbitrary. This is a little too close for comfort to Calvinist ideas of pre-destination and irrisistible Grace to my mind (although it's nowhere near as extreme).

James
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« Reply #19 on: July 22, 2005, 10:05:48 AM »

James,
This has nothing to do with predestination.
The point is, if the prayer of a righteous man, and the prayer of an unrighteous man "availeth" the same, then why does your namesake, St James the Brother of Our Lord, take pains to say that "the prayer of a righteous man availeth much"?

George
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« Reply #20 on: July 22, 2005, 10:11:30 AM »

I agree with James.

St. James is not stating whether a righteous man receives more grace.

The verse in question 5,16.  is firstly related for confessing sins to one another and then to healing through the prayer, it has nothing to do to pre-determinism or determinism.




Note on James 5,16.
The rendering that KJV gives that is quoted by OzG is unwarranted. It stands πολυ ισχυει δεησις ενεργουμενη. The verb energoumene is the present participe of energeo. The correct english rendernig is: The entreaty of a righteous man hath much strenght when it is energised (The Patristic commentaries provided on this verse are supporting this rendering) [Orthodox New Testament vol. 2 - Praxapostolos p.448]
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« Reply #21 on: July 22, 2005, 10:16:01 AM »

The correct english rendernig is: The entreaty of a righteous man hath much strenght when it is energised

OK. So if the entreaty of a righteous man and the entreaty of an unrighteous man have the same strength when they are energized, why does St. James, the Brother of Our Lord, take pains to say that "The entreaty of a righteous man hath much strength when it is energized".?
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« Reply #22 on: July 22, 2005, 10:18:13 AM »

James,
This has nothing to do with predestination.
The point is, if the prayer of a righteous man, and the prayer of an unrighteous man "availeth" the same, then why does your namesake, St James the Brother of Our Lord, take pains to say that "the prayer of a righteous man availeth much"?

George

I accept that you aren't talking of pre-destination, but your view seems one step too far along the road that leads there, if you see what I mean. I don't believe that a righteous and an unrighteous man's prayers are equal and never said I did. I was trying to say, perhaps unclearly, that just because a person is righteous and displays more of the effects of God's Grace than someone else, doesn't mean that God gave more Grace to the righteous man in the first place. We work in synergy with God. He gives us free will to accept or refuse His Grace - it is not irresistible. Why, then, do you think that the unrighteousness of a man is evidence that God poured out less Grace upon Him? I would rather see it as an effect of his refusing that Grace which is offered equally to all, else what happens to free will?

James
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« Reply #23 on: July 22, 2005, 10:31:49 AM »

I was trying to say, perhaps unclearly, that just because a person is righteous and displays more of the effects of God's Grace than someone else, doesn't mean that God gave more Grace to the righteous man in the first place.
And nor am I saying that he was given more grace in the first place. But he is given more grace now. "To him that hath, more will be given".

We work in synergy with God. He gives us free will to accept or refuse His Grace - it is not irresistible. Why, then, do you think that the unrighteousness of a man is evidence that God poured out less Grace upon Him?
No, but he received less grace. "To him that hath not, even that little he has will be taken away."
 

I would rather see it as an effect of his refusing that Grace which is offered equally to all,
This is how I see it. But the fact remains that to those who have received Grace, more is given. And to those who resist Grace, even what they have is taken away. Even if we choose to say that Christ was talking about "faith" when He said- "To him who has (faith) more will be given", the fact remains that we cannot have faith without Grace.
So clearly, some are given more than others after the initial "equal distribution" of Grace- those who have, receive more, while those who have not lose even the little they have.
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« Reply #24 on: July 22, 2005, 10:42:10 AM »

And nor am I saying that he was given more grace in the first place. But he is given more grace now. "To him that hath, more will be given".
No, but he received less grace. "To him that hath not, even that little he has will be taken away."
 
This is how I see it. But the fact remains that to those who have received Grace, more is given. And to those who resist Grace, even what they have is taken away. Even if we choose to say that Christ was talking about "faith" when He said- "To him who has (faith) more will be given", the fact remains that we cannot have faith without Grace.
So clearly, some are given more than others after the initial "equal distribution" of Grace- those who have, receive more, while those who have not lose even the little they have.

OK. It sounds like we both mean the same thing but are coming at it from different directions, sort of like the glass half empty half full argument, though nothing to do with optimism or pessimism. I now completely agree with you. Of course if you accept Grace more will be given you it's just that I thought you were talking about God offering less Grace to some people than others in the first place. I'm sure you understand how that seemed uncomfortably like Calvinism - even though it now seems clear to me that that is not what you were saying at all. I wonder how many other disagreements here are down to misunderstandings of language used. I'm willing to bet quite a few.

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« Reply #25 on: July 22, 2005, 10:47:38 AM »

OzG, you have made your point very clear, and now that you have done so, I can not say that it is a worthy point and one that is right.

I would like to return to the OP, in which our brother Ted says:
He suggested that God pours more grace on those He favours.  I argued that I believe that God would not pour to another what He wouldn't give to all.  I figured that those who have such great virtue don't have more grace, but are just more receptive to the love and grace that God bestows on all of us, equally? 

I think that (as far as I can see) the argument was in regard to "initial pouring out". I do not know wheather the argument related for "primary pouring out" or for those consequent ones (that is the actual state of being under grace,  I do not think that it comes in portions that are poured out). Anyway, I saw the OP as a "pre-deterministic argumentation" that some of our protestant brethren would use. The words:"God pours more grace on those He favours" to me, just sound to Calvinist or at least to "what I think Calvinist is".

So, when brother Ted answered as he did, I saw his answer as right. And I still do.

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« Reply #26 on: July 22, 2005, 10:48:36 AM »

 One should not try to second guess God. ÂÂ We believe that he is all loving and merciful. ÂÂ He loves everyone and He knows what is best for all of us. ÂÂ We as humans have no real conception of the mystery of grace. ÂÂ My question is which comes first.....grace or faith? ÂÂ Does a person have to believe (have faith in God) to receive grace? ÂÂ Or does one need grace to then attain faith? ÂÂ How does a person come to have faith?
Is there anything written about this question in the writings of the Holy Fathers?

Thanks in advance, ÂÂ  Juliana

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« Reply #27 on: July 22, 2005, 10:52:13 AM »

OzG, you have made your point very clear, and now that you have done so, I can not say that it is a worthy point and one that is right.

Fine. I'll shut up then.
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« Reply #28 on: July 22, 2005, 10:56:15 AM »

No no no... OzG, you got that way too wrong... not two fingers but three. LOL (I am just a Serb)

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« Reply #29 on: July 22, 2005, 11:00:50 AM »


Bump.  My post seems to have gotten lost in the argument.  Anyone?
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« Reply #30 on: July 22, 2005, 11:18:07 AM »

One should not try to second guess God.  We believe that he is all loving and merciful.  He loves everyone and He knows what is best for all of us.  We as humans have no real conception of the mystery of grace.  My question is which comes first.....grace or faith?  Does a person have to believe (have faith in God) to receive grace?  Or does one need grace to then attain faith?  How does a person come to have faith?
Is there anything written about this question in the writings of the Holy Fathers?

Thanks in advance,   Juliana

Sister Juliana, I believe (and I could be very wrong) that they are two halves (not 50-50, but so to speak halves) of the same whole. As brother James kindly pointed out, God and we work in synergy. Now you asked some good questions:

Which comes first: Grace or Faith? I would say grace, for we are under grace long before we have faith.

Does a person have to believe (have faith in God) to receive grace? I think that person receives grace regardless of wheather he/she believes or not, BUT if we do not believe we wont bring forth fruit, and there will be tears and grinding of the teeth.

Or does one need grace to then attain faith?  Yes, one can not do anything without God.

How does a person come to have faith? By the grace of God and mystery of Divine revelation to us.


These are my little theories, lets see what the Church says.
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« Reply #31 on: July 22, 2005, 11:34:25 AM »

Brother sin-vladimirov,   Thank you for responding.  Your words hearen me.  One other question.  I assume that one also receives grace in the sacraments beginning with baptism.  Does this mean that if one is not baptised or in the church they receive less grace?      Juliana
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« Reply #32 on: July 22, 2005, 11:44:32 AM »

There has been much debate regarding the 'degree' of grace received, but no body has defined what they mean by 'grace.' Does 'grace' refer to a soteriological grace, or to an increase in materialistic and earthly wealth?

The answer to the initial question has considerable dependancy on one's definition of 'grace.'
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« Reply #33 on: July 22, 2005, 11:47:32 AM »

Good question sister Juliana.

Try this: http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/baptism.aspx

I am still non-baptised so my knowledge is very limited, and I do not wish to give these types of answer as I might say something heterodox that I learned before, that has not been washed out yet.
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« Reply #34 on: July 22, 2005, 11:52:30 AM »

GiC, ÂÂ  I never heard grace described as "materialistic or earthly wealth". ÂÂ Are we not told by our Lord to not worry about such things? ÂÂ I thought grace is a gift of love from God that helps us to get closer to Him.

prayers, ÂÂ  Juliana
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« Reply #35 on: July 22, 2005, 12:00:45 PM »

Brother Sin, 
 I am still a catachumen myself.  I will be seeing my spiritual father (priest monk) this coming week and  I have a list of questions for him.  He has been very patient with me on learning about the faith.
God bless you,  Juliana   
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« Reply #36 on: July 22, 2005, 12:44:46 PM »

GiC, ÂÂ  I never heard grace described as "materialistic or earthly wealth". ÂÂ Are we not told by our Lord to not worry about such things? ÂÂ I thought grace is a gift of love from God that helps us to get closer to Him.

prayers, ÂÂ  Juliana

Well, I have heard of it so described, ever hear of Andrew Carnegie? the Gospel of Wealth? It may not be an Orthodox understanding of Grace, but it is certainly a prevalent one, and as I have observed the use of empirical methods within the context of this discussion, I also submit that it is an understanding that this debate has not entirely divorced itself from.
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« Reply #37 on: July 22, 2005, 02:17:18 PM »

GiC,  ÃƒÆ’‚ I realize that we can not put an empirical value on the mystery of grace.  i am not concerned with amounts of grace given because I believe God is all loving and just.  My query was how a person comes to aquire faith.  I was wondering if it is THROUGH grace that one comes to have a belief in God's existence?  And if this is true, is it only through His grace that we can strengthen and nurture the little faith that we have?  Or is it by hoping and following His commandments that our faith grows?  I am asking these questions because I want to believe with a deep faith.  However, I sin and fall again and again...so my love of God is not as strong as it should be.  In theory, being a christian (if one truly loves our Lord) shouldn't be that difficult....but alas it is the hardest  thing for me.  I am still just working on always having a rememberance of Him and giving thanks for all that He has given me.
God bless you,  ÃƒÆ’‚ juliana
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« Reply #38 on: July 22, 2005, 05:26:39 PM »

Regarding the original questions, I think that God allows different measures of grace according to His purposes, though He takes into account what we are capable of handling (and therefore, only indirectly, deserving of). Whenever we are ready for more grace, He allows us to experience it. It's not a matter of God favoring one and not another, it's a matter of protecting us from ourselves. Grace hardens an unready heart. Grace, like salvation itself, is about growth. It's a process that we must go through if we are Christians. If we, as terrible sinners, were given the same "measure of grace" as someone like St. Seraphim of Sarov (who spent his whole life, 24/7, as a preperation for receiving God's grace), it would only harm us.

"You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." - 2 Pet. 3:18

"But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift... And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head--Christ..." - Eph. 4:7, 11-15

As to how we get to that "fullness of Christ," I think St. Justin Popovich covered that pretty well in many of his works, some of which are available online (e.g., From Time to Eternity: the Internal Mission of Our Church)
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« Reply #39 on: July 22, 2005, 10:35:42 PM »

Wow!

I just wanted to thank everybody for taking the time to post your replies.  I think I'll have to read them through a few more times. 

I'm just hoping the answers will just help me make more sense, and not just confuse me more. Smiley   

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Theodore (Ted)
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« Reply #40 on: July 23, 2005, 12:40:25 AM »

Good post, Paradosis.

First off, regarding the "which came first?  Grace or faith?" debate, I welcome any and all, if you haven't already, to read the famous Conference 13 of St. John Cassian, which shows us that this all is, ultimately, unknowable, that Christ our God demands that we follow Him, yet Himself gives us the grace to do this.  Or, as someone has said, "The household of faith has two signs above the door.  From the outside, one reads, 'Choose you this day whom you will serve,' and, once inside, the other sign above the inside of the door reads, 'You did not choose Me; I chose you.'"  We are told to cooperate with God, but can only do so by His grace.

I am asking these questions because I want to believe with a deep faith.  However, I sin and fall again and again...so my love of God is not as strong as it should be.

True.  Neither is mine, nor that of any other person.  Much of the growth is found in the struggle, not the victory.  The victory comes about after we struggle, not before.  Forgiveness and grace are there to raise us up afterwards and, by repentance, heal our wounds so that we can continue on.

Quote
In theory, being a christian (if one truly loves our Lord) shouldn't be that difficult....but alas it is the hardest  thing for me.  I am still just working on always having a rememberance of Him and giving thanks for all that He has given me.

Theories are funny things.  They are often proved wrong by living life.  In reality, following Christ demands a cross, and falling under the weight of that Cross is something we all do.  The One to Whom we are united got back up, however, and will help us do the same.  If we stay down, however, in spite of His help, there's nothing more He will do.

This brings me back to the verse in James about the righteous man's prayer "availing much."  It is true that the Scripture says that "to him that hath, more will be given," yet this is seen as a natural consequence of the man's cooperation with the grace available to all men.  Think of it as a layer of grace, of the ever-presence of the Holy Spirit here on earth.  All are able to respond (thanks to God), but some will respond, while others will not.  A sort of "chain reaction" develops (if one can call it that), wherein those who take the first step find it easier to take the next one.  Those who refuse a step find it harder to take the next one, and often must be broken through repentance in order to take the next step.

These are my thoughts--take them as being worth what I'm charging you for them  Wink--and, again, let St. John Cassian speak instead of me, for his voice is much more gracious than mine.
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« Reply #41 on: July 23, 2005, 12:53:47 AM »

Good posts Pedro & Paradosis.

I was wondering if it is THROUGH grace that one comes to have a belief in God's existence?ÂÂ  And if this is true, is it only through His grace that we can strengthen and nurture the little faith that we have?ÂÂ  
IMHO it is the synergy/co-operation of Grace and the effort of our will. This is best summed up in the cry of the father of the possesed boy in the Gospel: "I beleive Lord! Help Thou my unbelief!" (Mark 9:24)

And beleiving God exists is not the same as "faith in God". Even the demons believe God exists, and tremble (James 2:19)
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« Reply #42 on: July 23, 2005, 10:57:56 AM »

Personally, I do believe God gives all his children Graces and awaits those who are lost to give them Graces....yes, it depends how you handle these Graces in order to establish more or to keep Graces within your soul.

Remember, when Christ went to Mathew's (who later became one of his apostles) house who had drunkens, prostitutes etc.... the Pharisees asked "Why do you enter the house of a sinner?" Jesus replies "It is the sinners who needs healing and not the righteous...."

I base Grace on this....if once you were lost and then found God, then why not receive more Graces...you had a harder journey then the rest of us who already believed and know the Word of God.

Make sense? I hope....Smiley

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Hadel
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« Reply #43 on: July 23, 2005, 11:21:33 AM »

 Smiley Woooohoooo, you guys ROCK!  Thank you so much for all your replys. 
Ozgeorge, "I beleive Lord! Help Thou my unbelief!" (Mark 9:24) is a frequent prayer of mine.  Is there any patristic references about this synergy you talked about?
Pedro, I am grateful for your  thoughtful words and for the link to the conference of  St. John Cassian.

God bless you all,   Juliana     Smiley
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« Reply #44 on: August 03, 2005, 06:58:42 PM »

Hello Everyone...peace be with you all.

My good friend Ted and I were chatting about this and would like to get further input on why I do believe God gives more Grace. My last comments made to him were:

Ted:God gets things done by grace...but not by more grace.  The Uncreated Grace is received by a willing receptive heart, who works with God to serve His purpose (synergy).

Victor: My problem with that is that God is fully DEPENDANT upon whether they (apostles, Mary, etc.) respond or not respond. If this is the case, then His purpose may not ever happen. Making Him powerless to bring about His purpose.

Victor: On the other hand with His ability to give more Grace at any moment; gives Him the ability to have full control at all times. Why does he do it to some and not others? For His purpose and for our salvation in some cases. That’s why. Not for that particular persons salvation.

Let me know your thoughts.

~Victor
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« Reply #45 on: August 07, 2005, 02:02:33 AM »

Hi Everybody,

I just feel the need to qualify what was posted here.  Granted, Victor and I were having a conversation on grace, but I think I need to clarify what I meant.  I had problems with the idea of MORE GRACE, because I felt that suggesting that God would give to some, what He would not give to others, makes Him a respector of persons.  Victor told me that those who receive more grace from God receive it so that God could accomplish His purpose, and it doesn't in any way effect their salvation.  I found this problematic, because if we look at the Incarnation of God the Son alone, we know that God's intent with all of us in the world is that we all be saved.  If we want to talk about God's purpose in the world, we cannot divorce His purpose from salvation.  If we say that God would give some "more grace" for His purpose, then wouldn't that "more grace" be technically given to all, that all souls might have that "extra boost" to accept and believe?  So that not one is left behind?  Is salvation separate from God's purpose?  And if it is not separate from His purpose, how can we say that God gives that "extra" or "more grace" to just a few?  It seems to me that a God who is no respector of persons, would give to all, love and grace.  In the end, it is SYNERGY, the freewill of that soul, to work WITH and not against God's will, that makes it more receptive to the grace that God freely bestows on all.

Furthermore, I think I had issues with time, that Vic was trying to get me to look past.  I had a problem with the idea that some had been given "more grace" from the get go, while others didn't have that "extra", because the particular souls who received would go on to be the Apostles, or the Blessed Virgin, etc.  I felt conflicted, because if the Apostles and the Blessed Virgin are worthy of our emulation, it is because they submitted their will to God's will, and were obedient and worked with God (synergy).  To say that they "had extra" is essentially saying that if they didn't have that extra, they wouldn't have been able to do it.  We know that the Apostles served God's purpose, the foundation of His Church, but we also know that it wasn't an issue of more grace.  If more grace in the Apostles meant that God's will would definitely be done, why would one of the Apostles deflect?  Is it because only the eleven, and not Judas, got the "more grace"?  But they did have grace, and they did respond to that grace, and it was Judas who WILLFULLY rejected that grace, which he held with the others for the 3 years of our Lord's public ministry.  Furthermore, if we say that they were spiritually great because they had more grace, it follows that a soul that yearns for God and is fighting the good fight as best as they can, will at one point say, "why Lord did you not give me this extra boost also, so that I might run the race better?  Had I received the 'more grace' as some had received, perhaps I would not perish, perhaps I would have been greater in the struggle!  Perhaps I would have been more resolute, or more helpful to your purpose in the world."  I'm sorry, I know I would think that if I knew that, through no fault of my own, a soul, WITHOUT his/her choice, was imbued automatically with something I did not have, because He was to serve a role that I wasn't?  Where is the freewill of man in this?  Where is the justice, and the "No Respector of persons" in all this?  Perhaps then, the Lord could get me to serve a similar role today, so that I may have that "extra, more grace"?

Suffice it to say, that I do believe the more responsive a soul gets to God's call, the more one will experience His Uncreated Grace.  However, I believe that what they will experience is the grace that God freely bestows on all, and has ready and available to all.  The more does not come from God, God is love, and allows the rain to fall on the sinner and the righteous.  The MORE comes from that thirsty soul, who wills to experience grace more, and moves to the Mysteries of the Church.  Like the Psalmist says, when one tastes and sees that the Lord is sweet, one wants to drink from that Sweetness that is never denied anyone, nor ever exhausted.  But I disagree that God would willfully give more to someone,  and not to another.   

As for the question of whether or not God is dependant on us, and that His will might not ever be fulfilled if He is reliant on our freewill, I believed that this was an excellent question (Vic, you should have quoted me telling you that it was a great question :lol:  )  I will tell you guys what I told Vic.  I'm NOT AN EXPERT, but I personally find it difficult to think that God would allow us our freewill, only to qualify it.  If anything, we hear that God sets before us life and death, and says CHOOSE life.  We may never choose life.  There are plenty around us who do not choose the path to life.  Do we dare say that it is not God's purpose that these souls too be saved?  Heaven forbid!  But God respects the gifts He's given us!  And if He can cast aside freewill occasionally, for His purpose, one must wonder why the thousands and millions of souls who go to their deaths rejecting God, weren't worth his casting aside freewill, and giving them "extra grace".  One must wonder why the Prophets, whom God Himself, the Holy Spirit, spoke through, were not better received.  If it was God's purpose that Israel hear them, why did He not send down "more grace" to those hard hearts, that His purpose for sending the prophets--the believing of all men--would be fulfilled.   Because doing this "more grace" would qualify His respect for the freewill He has given all of us.

I think the only way I can personally understand this is that yes, the Lord has foreknowledge.  He knows a soul will be faithful or not, EVEN before it is or is not.  He knows it, but He doesn't make it happen.   He has given us freewill, He tells us, "Choose to work with Me or against Me".  Like I said, I am not an expert, and I await your replies.  I hope I haven't offended anyone with what I wrote.

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« Reply #46 on: August 07, 2005, 06:52:16 AM »

i agree with you orth God gives grace to all abundantly and equally it depends on how we respond if we rely on Him He will work in us gradually to turn us into more obedient and grace accepting people and that's why some people might think that God gives more to some than other He just helps those willing to follow to see and get purified and get high off His grace, if eveyone was willing and trusted God equally the effects of His grace would be evident in everyone.
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« Reply #47 on: August 07, 2005, 11:00:34 AM »

I was reading this the other day:

Quote from http://www.ellopos.net/elpenor/greek-texts/fathers/maximus-holy-spirit.asp

WHAT does it mean, “for your incorruptible Spirit is in everything, therefore those who fall astray you reproach little by little”? (Sap. Sal. 12.1-2). If he speaks about the Holy Spirit, how [is it that] in a foolish heart wisdom shall not come nor inhabit in a body full of sins? I noticed this, because it says universally [the Spirit is] “in everything”.

Answer.

The Holy Spirit is present in all creatures and most of all in those who have participated in any way to reason. Because He is who holds and unites the knowledge of all creatures, since He is God and God's Spirit, going into everything according to the potentiality that He foresees, and He enlivens and moves the natural reason of all, this way leading him, who senses and has his will ready to receive the correct and natural thoughts, to feel those of his acts that don't comply completely with the customs of nature.

It is certain that there are many people, even very barbarians and nomads, who exchange their manners and become good and beautiful, transgressing the bestial laws, that always had the power among them. This way then in all universally the Holy Spirit is. Yet specifically and according to another conception, He is in all who live according to law, as legislative and foretelling future mysteries, generating in them the sense of transgression of the commands and the science of the foretold perfection according to Christ. Hence we see also many of them to abandon the old worship, which lies in shadows, and being transposed willfully to the new and mystical worship.

Besides the foresaid way, the Holy Spirit is also in all who happened to gain the divine and indeed divinising name of Christ by their faith, not only as guarding and foreknowingly enlivening and moving the natural reason and showing the transgression or the keeping of the commands and announcing things foretold about Christ, but also as creative of the adoption, which was granted according to grace through faith. For, as generating wisdom, the Holy Spirit becomes only in those who have been cleaned in soul and body through the precise exercise of all the commands, speaking to them as relatives, through the simple and immaterial knowledge, and forming their mind according to the holy perceptions of the ineffable things, in order to divinise them.

Therefore, the Holy Spirit is in all universally, as holding all together and taking care of all and enlivening the natural sperms, but specifically He is also in all who obey the law, as revealing the transgression of the commands and illuminating the foretold promise according to Christ, and, besides these, He is in all who live according to Christ, as working the adoption. As generating wisdom, in none of the foresaid is universally, but only in those who have followed and understood and by living according to God have made themselves worthy of His divinising inhabitation. For, everyone who doesn't do the divine volitions, even if he is faithful, he has his heart empty of discernment, as a workshop of evil thoughts, and he has his body obliged to sins, as being full of the filth of passions.

/end of quote
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« Reply #48 on: August 08, 2005, 04:58:16 PM »

Here is one thing I should have clarified from the get go. I blame this on myself because I can totally see why Ted got this from our conversation.
Point to clarify is that God’s Grace (habitual grace) does indeed effect a persons salvation. My point was that the main reason extra/more grace was poured out (for people who were predestined) was for God’s purpose. Salvation was a secondary effect. Furthermore I will point out some more points that will hopefully clarify things.
1. Sufficient sanctifying grace (supernatural life, stays attached to soul, it’s a condition you are in) is given to all to be saved. (if you respond).
2. Habitual graces (supernatural push, does not attach to the soul) on the other hand are different per individual.
3. Some people do indeed respond more to God’s graces (sacraments, prayer, etc.).

I was talking about no.2 the whole time and never clarified that to Ted. I got confused myself as well so I apologize Ted. After having read this, you may have more questions. Let me know your thoughts.

~Victor
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« Reply #49 on: August 17, 2005, 12:31:09 PM »

Maybe I'm a bit confused but is grace quantifiable?  Are there units of grace of which I have received 8 and someone else 12?  I must say "No!" if this is the original question.  I don't think grace is something that can be measured.  However when we think of grace making up what is lacking in my life, perhaps some do receive more than others.  Perhaps the image of a cup being filled would be more appropriate - God fills each to overflowing, yet what was needed may be different.  And also, sometimes it takes us a while to remove the stone that clog up our cup so that it may be filled even more.  The stream of grace from God will not cease.  And I can say with confidence that I continue to need his grace every moment of every day.
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