My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ God,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE,
“Now the Lord spoke all these words, saying: ‘I am the Lord your God,
Who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
You shall have no other gods before Me” (Exodus 20:1-2).
God gives the Ten Commandments to Moses and through him to the chosen people of God. Moses brought out the people to meet with God, that is, with God the Son. He is the Lord Who came down on Mout Sinai, and He is God, for it was He Who spoke to Moses on the mountain. The Jews acknowledge that God spoke to Moses, but said concerning Jesus they did not know where He was from (John 9:29). Yet it was He Who spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai.
Everything that is good comes from God, and everything should be drawn back to Him. God’s original intent for the Incarnation was not redemption from the fall but “ADOPTION AS SONS” of God as is revealed in Ephesians 1:5, “having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,” that is, THEOSIS (deification). Because when our Almighty Creator contemplated creating the world, He planned on bringing it into UNION WITH HIMSELF THROUGH THE INCARNATION OF His Son, that is, through the Son’s union with human nature. That is why Saint Athanasios the Great can say, “God became man that man might become god.”
The Father chose us (Ephesians 1:4) in “Him,” the Son. Jesus Christ, Who is God by nature, became Man by choice. If we choose Him, we, who are human by nature become “gods” by grace. If we are in Christ, the Son of God, we are sons of God. The holy Apostle Paul is not addressing individuals but us, the COMMUNITY, THE Church. And he is not addressing the issue of human will in salvation but the will of God, which is that all are chosen (Romans 11:32; 1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9). But being “predestined” (v. 5) but God DOES NOT NULLIFY HUMAN WILL: in everything, God is the Originator, the Initiator; we merely respond, but our response is necessary. Becoming a Christian is not so much inviting Christ into one’s life as getting oneself into Christ’s life. What is true of Christ must become true of one who is in Him.
Mankind has serious limitations of of Who God is and how one may come to know God’s will and ways. Our Fashioner and Creator has revealed His Divine will to humanity in various ways. However, even then, the human race found it difficult to understand. Saint John the holy Apostle writes: “And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us AN UNDERSTANDING, that we may know Him Who is True; and we are in Him Who is True, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the True God and Eternal Life” (1 John 5:20). Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ Who is the Son of God, and is one with the Father and the Holy Spirit ” has given us and understanging” that no one else is able to give. “For One is your Teacher, the Christ and you are all brethren” (Matthew 23:8).
With us is God the Son, begotten by Him, Who for the sake of Divine love has manifested Himself to men as Man so that we might know and see with our own eyes that God is with tus most intimately, partaker of flesh and blood with us (Hebrews 2:14) in the most perfect way. Saint Clement of Alexandria states: “God is like a mother bird who, having seen her baby fall out of the nest, flies down herself to raise it up, and when she sees it in danger of being devoured by a serpent, with a pitiful cry she flies around it and all the other baby birds, not capable of being indifferent to the loss of a single one of them.”
The Almighty God, according to Saint John Chrysostom, “loves us more than a father or a mother of a friend, or anyone else can love, and even more than we can love ourselves, because He is concerned more for our salvation than even for His own glory. A testimony of this is the fact that He sent into the world for suffering and death (in human flesh) His Only-begotten Son, solely in order to reveal to us the path of salvation and eternal life.”
“Nevertheless, to a certain extent we do have a knowledge of God, a knowledge to the extent that He Himself HAS REVEALED IT TO MEN. One must distinguish between the COMPREHENSION of God, which IN ESSENCE IS IMPOSSIBLE, and the KNOWLEDGE of Him, even though incomplete, of which the Apostle Paul says, “For now we see through a glass, darkly; and “I know in part” (1 Corinthians 13:12). The degree of knowledge depends upon the ability of man himself to know.”
The powerlessness of our mind to comprehend God is expressed by the our Holy Orthodox Church also in the Holy Services: “At a loss for words to express the meaning of Thine INCOMPREHENSIBLE Thrice-radiant Godhead, we praise Thee, O Lord.” God is Holy. Holiness consists not only in the absence of evil or sin: holiness is the presence of higher spiritual values, joined to purity from sin. Holiness is like the light, and the Holiness of God is like the purest Light. God is the “one alone holy” by nature. He is the Source of Holiness for Angels and men. Men can attain to holines only in God, “not by participation, by STRUGGLE AND PRAYER” writes Saint Cyril of Jerusalem.
It is futile for man to attempt to understand His Creator God when a person is not even able to understand himself or others. The psalmist says, “Oh, how great is Your goodness, which You have laid up for those who fear You, which You have prepared for those who trust in You” (Psalm 31). If one seeks knowledge and understanding, he/she should pray to God in earnest and genuine humility, He will answer at the appropriate time. Whenever people strive earnestly to see the Truth, and when they put nothing else before the Truth, God, in His compassionate way, comes to meet them. God guides with a marvellous compassion those who give themselves over to Holy will and His care. “As a candle-maker uses the soft wax to make whatever sort of candle he wishes, so God in His wisdom makes from His consecrated (Baptized) servants immotal lights in His Heavenly Kingdom.
“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