Beloved brothers and sisters in Christ God,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE.
SALVATION ACCORDING TO THE
ORTHODOX CHURCH (Part II)
Man is inaugurated into the Kingdom of God (into the Body of Christ) through Holy Baptism, and he is called to live the life of the Body, i.e. TO BECOME A PARTAKER OF SALVATION IN CHRIST, OF THE LIFE IN CHRIST. In this sense, he can now say along with Saint Paul, "I NO LONGER LIVE, BUT CHRIST LIVES IN ME" (Galatians 2:20). For this reason, Saint Paul’s task aimed at "SUCH TIME AS CHRIST SHALL BE FORMED WITHIN YOU" (Galatians 4:19). The Lord Himself assures everyone who shall love Him in truth, that he shall be loved by God the Father "AND WE WILL COME TO HIM AND MAKE OUR HOME WITH HIM"; WE WILL DWELL WITH HIM" (John 14:23).
It is important to underline that the body which Christ assumed was no different than our body. It was a created body and thus susceptible to corruption and death. And indeed, Christ subjected Himself to these in order to meet death and destroy it through His death in the flesh on the Cross, and to LIBERATE US FROM ITS BONDS, THUS BECOMING THE FIRST BORN FROM THE DEAD (I Corinthians 15:55-58). In this way the believer, incorporated into the human flesh which Christ assumed, in the body of Christ, MAKES HIS OWN COMMUNION WHICH WAS BROUGHT ABOUT IN THE PERSON OF CHRIST AND IS LED TO THEOSIS (DEIFICATION); IN CHRIST THE UNCONTAINED GOD BECOMES CONTAINED AND IN CHRIST MAN BECOMES A "PARTAKER OF THE DIVINE NATURE" (II Peter 1:4).
The path which God chose in order to save man is the path of love and honor towards His creature. God Himself undertook the task of man’s salvation. In God’s eyes, APOSTATE MAN ceases to be something precious. For this reason, He did not search him out and summon him back through "a representative or a messenger"; He Himself set out in search of him and "EMPTIED HIMSELF OUT, TAKING THE FORM OF A SERVANT". He humbled Himself (Philippians 2:7-8), IN ORDER TO RAISE MAN UP FROM THE STATE OF DISHONOR T THE HEIGHTS OF HONOR. HE OFFERED HIM THE COMMUNION OF HIS LOVE WITHOUT CRUSHING HIM, WITHOUT VIOLATING MAN’S PERSONALITY.
That which remains for man IS HIS DISPOSITION. He IS STILL FREE AND CAN MAKE HIS OWN CHOICE; THE BELIEVER KNOWS THAT THERE IS BUT ONE ROAD TO SALVATION: CHRIST, Who said, "I AM THE WAY… NO ONE COMETH UNTO THE FATHER EXCEPT THROUGH ME" (John 14:6). THERE IS NO OTHER WAY TO SALVATION OUTSIDE THE God-man Jesus Christ; neither can our brother saves us. How then can someone else save us? NO ONE CAN OFFER ANYTHING TO GOD TO ATONE FOR HIM. HE DOES NOT HAVE THE PRICE TO PAY FOR HIS SOUL, EVEN IF HE WERE TO LABOR ALL HIS LIFE.
This is underlined by Holy Scripture: "NO ONE CAN RANSOM A BROTHER, THERE IS NO PRICE ONE CAN GIVE TO GOD FOR IT. FOR THE RANSOM OF LIFE IS COSTLY AND CAN NEVER SUFFICE" (Psalm 48:8-9). In harmony with Holy Scripture one of the hymns of the Church emphasizes:
"BEING CRUCIFIED, O CHRIST,
TYRANNY HAS BEEN DONE AWAY WITH;
THE POWER OF THE ENEMY HAS BEEN TRAMPLED UPON;
FOR NEITHER ANGEL NOR MAN,
BUT THE LORD HIMSELF HAS SAVED US.
GLORY TO THEE."
Here then every idea of self-development, self-realization, self-discovery, and self-salvation is overthrown and shown to be incompatible with the Christian faith. MAN’S PARTICIPATION IS FOUND IN HIS FREE AND TOTAL CONSENT TO THE SAVING WORK OF GOD IN JESUS CHRIST. (Source: The Orthodox Church Its Faith, Worship, and Life by Father Antonios Alevizopoulos)
"Glory Be To GOD
– Saint John Chrysostomos
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With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia (Ministry),
The sinner and unworthy servant of God
+ Father George