Re: [LutheransLookingEast] St. John Chrysostom on Salvation by Faith Alone?
- Another way to say it might be that God doesn't save us *in response* to either our works or our faith. He saves us because He wills to save us, period - without first being (or needing to be) impressed or won over by anything about us. There is no way we can influence Him to save us, because He already wills to do it, from before He ever created us. Because He LOVES us.
But He saves us in and through our active faith-based relationship to Him. By faith we believe. By faith we commit ourselves to Him. By faith we take up our crosses and follow Him. By faith live, by faith we die, by faith we know that we shall rise again. Faith is what makes the unseen things (e.g., general resurrection) evident to us, and the things hoped for, already present to us. Faith is their (current) hypostasis, or being.
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- Bobby, I recalled a couple of questions you'd had, then looked back and found them in this e-mail.
Orthodox believe that the sacraments and the gospel are generally necessary for salvation.
We see grace as God coming to us Himself, not something created He gives us (as Catholics believe; you hear them speak of "getting graces"). We see that outpouring of Himself as union with Him, the greatest goal and joy of His creatures. It is His good pleasure to give us that blessing.
Of course, if you are not able to receive the sacraments (perhaps you die before you are able), or if you are not able to intellectually receive the gospel (for example, babies, retarded people or demented elderly) that is an exception. God doesn't hold it against you if are unable.
I might add that the piety associated with the sacraments is quite high. For example, all ORthodox are encouraged to say a set of prayers that takes at least an hour before receiving Communion, and must fast from midnight (except for medical reasons) and have confessed "recently."
If any of His blood is spilled on the floor during liturgy, it is burned. If it spills on a rug the rug is burned; if it spills on tile, you pour a bit of alcohol on and burn it, saying prayers. (Normally you don't give Communion over a carpet for obvious reasons!) No one but a priest, deacon or bishop may touch the altar at any time. We subdeacons are rarely able to touch an object that is sitting on the altar. If you have any sins against anyone on your conscience, you must apologize to the person before receiving Eucharist.
In baptism you are exorcised, the water is exorcised, and you literally (not figuratively) spit on the devil. You wear a baptismal garment at services then for 40 days, at least in Slavic tradition.
There are frequent references in Scripture to the "energies" of God. (The Greek term is "energeia.") Comes up something like 40 times in the New Testament, as I recall. This is GOd present in dealing with His creation. It is not His essence, which is incomprehensible, but His actions toward us; how He reveals Himself to His creatures.
We humans have energies, too. Our body/soul/spirit is our essence; how we move and think and interact with people and things, what we do, is our "energies."
Roman Catholics hold that God's energies, like His graces, are created things. We ORthodox believe that He Himself is wholly present in His energies; He deals with His creation very directly and personally.
"As Thou, Father, art in me," Jesus says, "and I in Thee," He prays "that they also may be in us." John 17:20
It's a bit difficult for us to grasp....however, the Greek term "energeia" predated the New Testament for centuries, and back then the people understood basically what it signified.
St Gregory Palamas is the saint most associated with the theology of the energies of God.
Anyhow, hope this helps a bit---
From: solascriptura1971 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Friday, November 28, 2008 2:48:20 AM
Subject: [LutheransLookingEast] Relationship of Free-will, Energies, and the Means of Grace
Randy et al,
Thanks, yep, I'm lacking in biblical Greek. That is interesting
about the word occuring in the New Testament.
I was just reading an article
(http://www.orthodox info.com/ inquirers/ non-orthodox_ ch2.pdf) where
it discusses this in more detail. In it he has a quote from (yes,
you guessed it) St. John Chrysostom:
"If He "lighteth every man that cometh into the world," how is it
that so many continue
unenlightened? For not all have known the majesty of Christ. How
then doth He "light
every man"? He lighteth all as far as in Him lies. But if some,
willfully closing the eyes
of their mind, would not receive the rays of that Light, their
darkness arises not from the
nature of the Light, but from their own wickedness, who willfully
deprive themselves of
the gift. For the grace is shed forth upon all, turning itself back
neither from Jew, nor Greek,
nor Barbarian, nor Scythian, nor free, nor bond, nor male, nor
female, nor old, nor
young, but admitting all alike, and inviting with an equal regard.
And those who are
not willing to enjoy this gift, ought in justice to impute their
blindness to themselves; for
if when the gate is opened to all, and there is none to hinder, any
being willfully evil
remain without, they perish through none other, but only through
Someone mentioned to me earlier on this board that the problem I'm
having may be that I don't understand the difference between East
and West with respect to the Uncreated Energy (grace) of God acting
everywhere. Anyways, this article reminded me of that. I guess I
need to bear that in mind.
Also, another side issue popped up reading that quote from St. John
above. He makes it sound as if the means of grace, the Word and
Sacraments, are not necessary in order for one to come to salvation.
Is this true? If so, how does this relate to Romans 10 where St.
Paul appears to state that it is necessary for one to encounter/hear
the Gospel message in order to be saved?
Thanks a lot for your help.
We had a good Thanksgiving and hope you and your family did as well.
--- In LutheransLookingEas t@yahoogroups. com, randall hay
<stortford@. ..> wrote:
>by the apostles. I don't know what your knowledge is of biblical
> Bobby, I feel constrained to point out that "synergy" is commanded
Greek, but "syn" means 'with' and "ergon" means 'work.' I Cor
3:9: "we are God's synergists." 2 Cor 6:1: "synergizing with Him,
we beseech you not to accept the grace of God in vain." St Paul
lauds Timothy, in fact, as "synergist of God" in I Thes 3:2.
>means He damns many people by not saving them. This is not the God
> If we are saved without any movement of the will toward God, it
>fault for sinning because we couldn't help it. This is not the God
> And if our wills are completely helpless, then we're not really at
>image....everything created by Him is not good (which doesn't jibe
> And if we are helpless in the face of sin, we aren't really in His
with I Tim 4:4). This is not the good Creator!
>because "seeing they don't see." They are at fault. God gave us
> In the Parable of the Sower, we see that humans reject the Gospel
eyes; the problem is that we don't see with them.
>wonderful Thanksgiving- ---
> At any rate, His blessings upon you, and I hope you have a
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> In Christ,