Re: St. John Chrysostom on Salvation by Faith Alone?
The trick for me is trusting in "the church" who's teaching, at
least on the surface, contradicts Scripture. However, I'm willing to
concede that if it's possible that your church, the Orthodox Church,
is the true church of the New Testament, then I should at least
prayerfully struggle over these issues while bearing in mind that my
perception of what Scripture teaches could, in fact, be in error
(after all, I'm human with a fallen will as well!). But yes, I can
see how your quote can bring peace of mind to those pondering
Thanks for your help, and prayers.
Now I'm off to start reading all of the stuff on free-will
Christopher sent me earlier when we should have been working!
Sincerely in Christ,
--- In LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com, randall hay
>bit I found years ago, not long after I converted from
> Bobby, your question seems to have got people really interested!
> I looked back through my notes, and I'll just share this little
Lutheranism....it's from Staretz Silhouan, by Archimandrite Sophrony
(p. 190). While it's good to try to seriously look into dogma, our
reason is fallen, and sometimes what Scripture or the fathers say
doesn't somehow strike a chord, and we have to be patient for a
while and let God reveal it inwardly:
>trying to related grace and the freedom of man. They forget, as it
> "Scholars, for instance, have wrestled down the centuries with
were, there is another solution of these problems: the way of
existential knowledge of the reciprocity of Divine grace and human
> "It is the Church's route in general. The Church is strongand rich...but...in her actual possession of the gifts of grace.
The Church lives by the Holy Spirit, breathes through Him, and
through the very fact of this communion with Him knows how He
operates, know, too, how and within what limits human freedom
>Salvation by Faith Alone?
> At any rate, you'll be in my prayers---
> In Christ,
> From: solascriptura1971 <email@example.com>
> To: LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com
> Sent: Monday, November 24, 2008 6:39:47 AM
> Subject: [LutheransLookingEast] Re: St. John Chrysostom on
> I'm still struggling with the whole free-will issue. You quoted
> John Chrysostom writing the following:Of
> > "Whence then are some vessels of wrath, and some of mercy?
> their own free choice...(p. 469)."brag.
> It seems if this is the case than the saved would have room to
> Not that they would of course, but, technically, there is "room"to
> do so, which doesn't seem to square with Eph. 2:8-9:not
> "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faithand this
> from yourselves, it is the gift of God not by works, so that noone
> can boast." (NIV)will.
> St. John is stating that we are saved, ultimately, by our free-
> If that were true, than we "can" boast, which St. Paul says wedoes
> can't. Paul writes that our salvation is "not from yourselves,"
> which would seem to contradict our being saved by our free-will.
> I have a lot of respect for St. John Chrysostom, which is making
> this frustrating for me. I can't seem to get my head to agree with
> him. At any rate, I'll keep pondering this issue. I appreciate the
> assistance you've provided me.
> In Christ,
> --- In LutheransLookingEas t@yahoogroups. com, randall hay
> <stortford@ ..> wrote:
> > Bobby, I checked back and the particular passage about crowns
> not specify that....I'd skimmed through a bunch of stuff andOf
> conflated that passage and another.
> > But this idea is found in the passage I sent from Homily 16 on
> Romans, where he points out that God gives the same mercy and
> kindness to everyone:
> > "Whence then are some vessels of wrath, and some of mercy?
> their own free choice. God, however, being very good, shows thesame
> kindness to both. For it was not those in a state of salvationonly
> to whom He showed mercy, but also Pharaoh, as far as His part wentwe
> (p. 469)."
> > God offers His mercy---which includes every good thing----
> universally. He offers everyone a wedding garment (Mt 22), a
> crown. We can take it off or refuse to put it on, in which case
> will be found naked and un-crowned after we leave this world.
> > As St John mentions in the Romans stuff, we don't know who is
> saved and who is damned....but we do know what God wants us to do!
> That's the hard part...
> > R.
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
- 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
>[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
> In Christ,