So why don't Lutherans believe this?
- Hello all,
I would have just continued the third use thread, but it was not allowing me to reply...
Randall Hay just wrote what follows (except that great prayer from Basil of course). My question for persons on this list is this: "What below do you think Lutherans do not believe?"
I mean, I'm not sure why we can't say "Amen" to all of this...
By the way, I was looking at Martin Luther's complete antinomian theses the other day and was surprised to see that one of the students in the disputation had said something to the effect that "since no one today feels damned by the law"... I suspect that Luther was very cautious to make provision for persons like himself who were very senstive to God's law - but that even then, more persons, rather that less - even among the monks - did not feel themselves damned...
And I'm really going to try to just listen for a while, not commenting again at least for a week. : )
Walking in danger all the way,
Hi....here are a few thoughts on the recent exchange---wasn't able to respond
"Good works are our salvation." Salvation isn't a one-time event....it's life
in Christ, moment-by-moment, to all eternity. Works don't earn a bit of it; but
they are what the life of the new man consist of. "We were bapitzed into His
resurrection so that we might walk in newness of life," Rom 6:4. Newness of
life doesn't mean wallowing in the same sins and depravity we always did; it
means living a resurrected life.
Of course, no matter how many times we fail, He will forgive us...that's why
confession is so important in Orthodox life....and in spite of our falls He
grants us Himself again and again and again: the Eucharist is celebrated every
week till the eschaton.
St Paul describes the Christian life a number of times as a foot race and
wrestling match and a battle. The Greek verb "gumnazo" (and its noun) occur 5
times in the NT; "athleo" and its noun 3 times; "run/race" 13 times. The first
two, obviously, are where we derive our words "gymnasium" and "athletics." I
haven't counted the references to warfare in the NT.
We shouldn't overlook the obvious. Races, wrestling and combat aren't over in
a moment; they take sustained
effort; and you can lose at the last minute if you're not on your guard. You
need to prepare yourself by exercise. (Our word "ascesis" is Greek for
'exercise'...it appears in Acts 24:16.) That's why Paul uses this language.
Every moment of every day the demons are trying to bring us to damnation. They
don't eat or sleep, and they've been practicing lies for thousands of years.
They want us to be overconfident so we slacken a bit.
What can happen if we get overconfident in our salvation?
I Cor. 10:12 ...Let any one who thinks that he stands take heed lest he
Heb 3:12 Take care, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil,
unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God.
Heb 4:11 Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, that no one fall by the
same sort of disobedience.
II Jn 8 Look to yourselves, that you may not lose what you have worked
for, but may win a full reward.
I Pet. 4:18 âIf the righteous man is scarcely saved, where will the
impious and sinner appear?â
Luke 11:35 ...Be careful lest the light in you be darkness.
I Cor. 9:24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners compete, but
only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. 25 Every athlete
exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath,
but we an imperishable. 26 Well, I do not run aimlessly, I do not box as one
beating the air; 27 but I pommel my body and subdue it, lest after preaching to
others I myself should be disqualified.
According to Scripture, we don't believe we're damned...but we don't believe
we've made it to the finish line, either. We work out our salvation, which has
been freely given to us, in fear and trembling.
Martin Luther developed his theology in a world in which Roman errors
had led many people to think they were damned. That was back in the
1500's. Today our spiritual situation is completely opposite. It's
hard to find a single person these days who thinks he's damned. The last I can
remember was a friend-of-a-friend I heard about in 1989. Other than that, I
can't name a single person
who believes he's damned.
We Orthodox do believe we're saved; but only by the grace of God...because of
our own evil, and countless examples from Scripture and our own lives, we know
we can easily lose our salvation if we slack off. "If the righteous are
scarcely saved, where will the wicked and impious appear?"
I think it's easy to overlook the fact that re-birth is just that; it's
re-birth. It's not spiritual adulthood. Paul
chides the readers of Hebrews for being infants, still needing
milk....there are numerous allusions to spiritual growth in the NT.
Growth doesn't happen by complacency. From the very day of our baptism we
engage in trampling the heavenly gifts of re-birth; we need to struggle to live
in that "newness of life," that salvation.
I'll close here with a longish quote from one of our pre-Communion prayers
(written by St Basil the Great in the 4th century), which gives a good feel for
the Orthodox ethos on salvation. I don't normally include long quotes, but if
anyone is interested here it is.
I have sinned, O Lord, I have sinned against heaven and before thee, and I am
not worthy to lift up my eyes to the majesty of thy glory, for I have affronted
thy goodness, and broken thy commandments, and disobeyed thy laws. But thou, O
Lord most loving, long-suffering and merciful, hast not given me over to perish
in my sin, but dost ever await my return. For, O Thou who lovest mankind, thou
hast said, by thy Prophet, that thou hast no pleasure in the death of a sinner,
but rather that he should turn from his wickedness and live. Thou dost not
desire, O Master, to destroy the works of thy hands or that they should perish,
but willest that all men should be saved and come to the knowledge of the Truth.
Wherefore I, although unworthy both of heaven and of earth and of this temporary
life, even I, a wretched sinner who had given myself over to every evil desire,
despair not of salvation, though I have been wholly subject to sin, a slave to
have defiled thine image within me, who am thy creation and thy work; but
trusting in thine infinite compassion, draw nigh unto thee. Receive me, O Lord,
thou that lovest mankind, as thou didst receive the sinful woman, the thief, the
publican and the prodigal son. Take away the heavy burden of my sins, O Thou
that takest away the sins of the world, and healest the infirmities of men, and
callest all that are weary and heavy laden to thyself and givest them rest; thou
that camest not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance, cleanse thou me
from all stain of body and soul and teach me to fulfill holiness in thy fear,
that with the witness of my conscience pure, I may receive a portion of thy Holy
Gifts, and be united to thy Holy Body and Precious Blood, and may have thee,
with thy Father and Holy Spirit, dwelling and abiding in me.