My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ God,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE.
“Your Adversary the Devil…” (1 Peter 5:8)
The holy Apostle Peter exhorts us to “Be sober, be vigilant; because YOUR ADVERSARY (ENEMY)
the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking WHOM HE MAY DEVOUR. RESIST HIM, steadfast
in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world”
(1 Peter 5:8-9).
Saint Paul in his letter to the Ephesians writes: “And you He made alive, who were dead in
trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world,
ACCORDING TO THE PRINCE OF THE POWER OF THE AIR, THE SPIRIT WHO NOW WORKS
in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the
lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children
of wrath, just as the others” (Ephesians 2:1-3).
What this reveals is the two unequal kingdoms ARE AT WAR. Each is spiritual in nature; each stamps its image on its subjects and requires strict obedience. Yet they are OPPOSITES. The king of the Lesser Realm IS A CREATED BEING, Satan. His domain is “OF THE AIR” (v. 2), NEITHER FULLY OF EARTH NOR OF HEAVEN. He is the author OF DISOBEDIENCE (v.2), REBELLION. The beginning OF HIS RULE IS SPIRITUAL DEATH (V.1). The “DESIRES” of his subjects are lustful of “THE FLESH AND OF THE MIND” (v.3). Their deeds are “TRESPASSES AND SIN” (v.1). The result of his rule is WRATH (ANGER) (v.3) and hence ETERNAL DEATH.
The King of the other Kingdom is UNCREATED GOD the Father (v.4) His realm is THE HEAVENLY PLACES (v. 6). He rules BY “MERCY and LOVE (AGAPE) (v. 4). The beginning of His Rule IS REDEMPTION TO ETERNAL LIFE. The desires of His subjects are THANKFULNESS AND GLORIFYING GOD. Their deeds ARE RIGHTEOUS, AS IS PROPER TO THOSE WHO REIGN WITH CHRIST. The result of His Rule is EXCEEDING RICHES AND KINDNESS, and hence ETERNAL LIFE.
The holy Apostle John writes: “Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is Righteous. He WHO SINS IS OF THE DEVIL, FOR THE DEVIL HAS SINNED FROM THE BEGINNING. For this purpose, the Son of God was manifested, that He MIGHT DESTROY THE WORKS OF THE DEVIL. Whoever has been BORN OF GOD DOES NOT SIN, FOR His SEED REMAINS IN HIM; AND HE CANNOT SIN, BECAUSE HE HAS BEEN BORN OF GOD.
In this THE CHILDREN OF GOD and the children of the devil are manifested: Whoever does NOT PRACTICE RIGHTEOUSNESS is NOT of God, nor is he who DOES NOT love his brother. For this is the message that you heard from the beginning that WE SHOULD LOVE ONE ANOTHER, not as Cain who eas OF THE WICKED ONE and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his works WERE EVIL and his brother’s RIGHTEOUS” (1 John 3: 7-12).
The Christian, though SINFUL, “does not sin” (v. 9; literally, “DOES NOT KEEP ON SINNING.”) as the world does. Our Holy Church lives under God’s influence; THE WORLD UNDER SATAN’S “LAWLESSNESS, is living without law IN A HARDENED ENMITY TO GOD. The devil (literally, “SLANDERER” or “OPPOSER”} IS A CREATURE, A FALLEN ARCHANGEL. “From the beginning” refers to Satan’s CEASELESS SINNING SINCE HSI FALL.
“If then we wish to receive the Lord’s blessings we should restrain not only THE OUTWARD expression of anger but also angry thoughts. More beneficial than controlling our tongues in a moment of anger and refraining from angry words is PURIFYING OUR FROM HOSTILITY AND HARBORING MALICIOUS AGAINST OUR BROTHER OR SISTER. The Holy Gospel teaches us to cut off the roots of our sins and merely their fruits. When we have dug out the root of anger and of our heart we will no longer act with hatred or envy. “WHOEVER HATES HIS BROTHER IS A MURDER” (1 John 3:15), for he kills him with hatred in his mind. The blood of a man who has been killed by the sword is seen by men, but the blood shed by hatred in the mind CAN BE SEEN BY GOD, Who rewards with PUNISHMENT or A CROWN not only for his acts but for his thoughts and intentions as well.
Knowing all the above, a good Christian, a true follower of Christ, is constantly vigilant and alert. The Christian is always obedient to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ Who has given us all the spiritual weapons needed to fight the battle against evil and triumph. We are all combatants and warriors and we must be ready to confront our Adversary, the devil who wars against and seeks our eternal death. The devil and his demons watch us individually, looking to find our weaknesses. He uses our own bodily members against us, i.e., eyes, ears, senses, r tongues, hands, and minds. For example, the devil will use our eyes to lust for some appealing vision, our ears to hear obscene words or slander, our tongues to speak evil, our hands to injure others or steal from others, to fill our minds with indecent fantasies and thoughts. The devil’s attacks are multi-faceted and, therefore, we must be careful and ready to resist him and his temptations at every turn.
It is a grave mistake for a Christian to deny his existence and the threat to our souls. I have read and also heard of leaders of heterodox Christian communities openly rejecting and even denying that there is a Satan, that there is hell, that there is sin, that there is a day of Judgment, that it is right or wrong, that the Christians will be accountable to God for acts of disobedience, and immoral behavior. Their stand is that everything is acceptable and, therefore, they condone all evil and unnatural acts and behavior. This of course is wrong and heresy and an abomination for those who possess this mindset and philosophy. It is nothing else than a perversion and distortion of what Christ teaches and His Holy Church. We need only to turn to the Christian Holy Scripture, the Holy Canons, Holy Dogmas, and decisions of the Ecumenical Synods to see the authentic truth taught by our Savior. What is professed by these heretics is demonic and creates confusion among the faithful and also division. It also hinders and interferes with the spreading of the Gospel of Christ to the world. It is an outright attack on the Founder of Christianity, Christ God. Among all the numerous heresies which they teach is the outright denial of the DIVINITY OF JESUS CHRIST, THAT HE IS GOD. This is an old heresy repeated.
Discern between what is the Truth and what is heresy! Do not be blind and gullible. Scrutinize everything you hear and see and do not become a victim of the evil one. Be a good and faithful servant and soldier of Christ and appreciate our Holy Orthodox Christian Church which remains steadfast to the Truth and to the Head of the Church, Christ. The Truth always remains the Truth, no matter what the world does. Our obedience and loyalty are only to Him and Him alone. Those who rebel and deviate from the Truth are expelled from the Church and the Kingdom of God. THE TRUTH ALWAYS PREVAILS as shown over the many centuries. “To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen” (1 Peter 5:11).
“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