My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ God,
Christ is in our midst! He was, is, and ever shall be.
ON GOOD AND EVIL AND RIGHT AND WRONG (Part II)
"According to the testimony of the word of God, the ORIGIN OF SIN COMES FROM THE DEVIL. "He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning" (1 John 3:8). The word "devil" (διάβολος) means "slanderer"…Possessing, like all rational creatures, the freedom which was given him for becoming perfect IN THE GOOD, he "abode not in the truth" and FEEL AWAY FROM GOD. Saint John Damascene writes: "Every rational being IS FREE. The Angelic nature, then, insofar as it is rational and intelligent, is free; while insofar as it is created, it is changeable and has the power to persevere and progress IN GOOD OR TO TURN TO EVIL."
Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ said of him: "He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar and the father of it" (John 8:44).
"What was the cause of the fall in the Angelic world? From this same Divine Revelation we can conclude that the reason was ‘"PRIDE: THE BEGINNING OF SIN IS PRIDE," says the son of Sirach (Sir. 10:13)."
Why was man’s fall into sin possible? "The Creator imparted to man THREE GREAT GIFTS AT HIS CREATION: FREEDOM, REASON, AND LOVE. These gifts are indispensable FOR THE SPIRITUAL GROWTH AND the BLESSEDNESS OF MAN But where there is freedom there is the possibility of wavering in one’s choice; thus, TEMPTATION IS POSSIBLE. The temptation FOR REASON is TO GROW PROUD IN MIND; instead of acknowledging the wisdom and goodness of God, to seek the knowledge of good and evil outside of God; to desire oneself to be a "god." The Temptation for the feeling OF LOVE is: in place of love for God and one’s neighbor, TO LOVE ONESELF AND EVERYTHING THAT SATISFIES THE LOWER DESIRES ADN GIVES TEMPORARY ENJOYMENT. This possibility of temptation and fall stood before mankind, and the first man did not stand firm against it.".
The loss of the Kingdom of God as the most severe consequence of the fall. However, the final and most important consequence of sin was not an illness and physical death, but THE LOSS OF PARADISE. This loss of Paradise is the same thing as the loss of the Kingdom of God… The Lord did not abandon men, did not turn utterly away, but from the moment of the fall into sin led them toward future salvation.
"Great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh" (1 Timothy 3:16).
The unutterable, unknowable, invisible, unattainable God, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, became man in the form of the God-Man, the Lord Jesus Christ, and dwelt among men on earth…"
"The good tidings (news) of the Gospel are the good tidings of the Incarnate Son of God Who became man, having come down from heaven to earth.
Faith in Jesus Christ–that He is the Son of God–is the firm foundation or ROCK of the Church, according to the Lord’s own words "Upon this rock I will build My Church" (Matthew 16:18).
We, the faithful followers and disciples of Jesus Christ should seek and pray for the gift of discernment. It is imperative that we are alert and vigilant so as not be deceived as the gentiles and unbelievers in the world. The adversary, the devil, brings "defective reasoning and confusion of thought". The evil one pursues us continually and seeks our destruction and spiritual death.
We live at a time when society condones all vice, immorality, and spiritual darkness. Secular and corrupt society teaches that there is no right and wrong. There is no God, that there is no Creator, that there is a Savior and Redeemer, there is no sin, there is no eternal life, there is no heaven or hell, there is no accounting for one’s evil and immoral actions, there is no Savior of the world, that life is not sacred, that there is no such as deception and lies, that the body is not temple of the Holy Spirit, that there are not Divine Commandments given by the Most High to mankind, that there is no Judgment Day or Second Coming of the Lord and there is no righteousness or holiness, that there are no virtues and values.
Our loyalty is only to God the Life-giving Holy Trinity, our Creator. As a follower of Christ, the believer is obedient and abides by His Commandments, not of fear but our of faith and love. Our relationship with our Savior is a personal one. Our path is the path of Christ and in Christ that leads to eternal salvation and to His everlasting Kingdom.
I assure you, dear friends, that we are always in His presence. There is no place where God is not. There is no separation from Him unless we desire the separation from Him which will lead to eternal death and damnation. Our Lord will never abandon either His creation or us. How can anyone of sound mind and heart ever question His unconditional love for us when we see Him on the Cross suffering and dying to save us from sin and death. Through His Resurrection has restored mankind and opened the gates of Heaven.
Christianity is NOT one of the many thousands of man-made religions but instead, it is the direct revelation of God. The Almighty God offers humanity Life Eternal, unlike Satan who offers death and eternal life of torment. Our choice where we wish to spend eternity is ours here and now. Remember the Divine words of the Lord Jesus Christ Who said: "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I give you the AUTHORITY TO TRAMPLE ON SERPENTS AND SCORPIONS, AND OVER ALL THE POWER OF THE ENEMY (THE DEVIL), AND NOTHING SHALL BY ANY MEANS HURT YOU" (Luke 10:18-19). The power of Satan has been destroyed by our Savior Jesus Christ and therefore the devil has no power over man. We are NOT to fear the devil and his demons for he cannot control, possess, and enslave us.
The evil one may tempt us but he cannot impose his will upon us. We, Orthodox Christians, who are baptized into Him need NOT BE DEFEATED WHEN TEMPTATIONS COME ALONG BECAUSE, LIKE JESUS, WE ARE AIDED BY THE Spirit. "Then Jesus said to him (satan), ‘Away with you, Satan! For it is written, you shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve" (Matthew 4:10). The New Adam (Jesus Christ) CONQUERS ALL TEMPTATIONS, THAT He might give OUR NATURE POWER TO CONQUER THE Adversary (Satan).
When tempted make the sign of the Cross and say: "GET BEHIND ME, SATAN!" (Matthew 16:23).
(References: The Orthodox Study Bible, Orthodox Dogmatic Theology)
"Glory Be To GOD
– Saint John Chrysostom
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With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia (Ministry)
The sinner and unworthy servant of God
+ Father George